Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Official Forged Bids for Contract

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Official Forged Bids for Contract

Article excerpt

Byline: By Ross Smith

A firm won a lucrative council contract after an official at the authority forged all the other bids, documents have revealed.

North Tyneside Council's asset manager, Peter Arkley, was suspended over the allegations, but resigned before investigations were complete.

He is now contracts manager for a private company which is carrying out work on a council site in North Tyneside.

Claims of "irregularities" in a contract to survey council housing in North Tyneside sprang up last summer. The full details have only just emerged after two tenants used the Freedom of Information Act to gain access to Government documents on the process. They are now asking for a full independent inquiry.

Minutes of a meeting between council and Government officials on July 27 last year, shown to former tenants representatives Terry Harding and Jeff Watts, report: "On first sight the tenders appeared to be in order, however she (the council's monitoring officer) decided to look more closely at the tender documentation.

"She considered that the front sheet and all of the papers relating to the individual tenders were written with a very similar hand.

"Further investigation revealed that all documents purporting to be tenders had in fact all been written by Peter Arkley. It also transpired that counter-signing signatures of senior officers had also been forged.

"Peter Arkley was immediately suspended and (chief executive) John Marsden reported that he has since resigned. He emphasised that there is no evidence of personal gain."

The council was satisfied that the company which won the tender, Dysons, "were not involved in the deception and were not aware of the forgeries".

When approached by The Journal last night, Mr Arkley declined to confirm or deny the allegations in the documents. …

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