Auditors not expected to complete community transport probe until August - meanwhile coach and taxi drivers to protest outside police HQ

Taxi and coach operators protest, Shire Hall, Cambridge. Picture: Steve Williams.

Taxi and coach operators protest, Shire Hall, Cambridge. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

A Northampton based specialist firm of internal auditors commissioned by Cambridgeshire County Council to examine a dossier on community transport is now not expected to conclude its work until August.

Greenbiro was appointed by the council last month to examine claims made by the Cambridgeshire Bus, Coach and Taxi Association (CBCT) about the handling of school contracts and other monies awarded to community transport groups.

Graham Hughes, executive director of economy, transport and environment at the council said last month he was expecting a preliminary report by the end of June.

“This will of course be reported to members when available,” he said at the time.

However in a fresh email tonight he said it is likely to be August before a report is made public.

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“Our independent auditor has now completed her initial look at the information provided by the CBCT and their claims,” he told county councillors.

“She will now go onto the next phase of the process to look at the issues that have been raised in more detail and produce a public report that we hope to have and be able to share in August.”

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Mr Hughes said: “This is something we take very seriously and as noted before, we have also made the police aware of the allegations being made and have had discussions with them about their views on the information.”

In May Mr Hughes said of criminal allegations that “the police have been made aware of the information. At this stage we do not believe they will be undertaking any further investigation as they were aware of and had looked previously at what has happened.”

Earlier this week a detective met officials of the CBCT to discuss their allegations ahead of a planned protest at police headquarters on Tuesday.

Chief Constable Alec Wood was advised of the planned protest on June 14 in an email from the CBCTA.

Mark Holland, chairman of the CBCTA, told the chief constable they were unhappy with a “very dismissive investigation” carried out previously by Wisbech police.

Since then, said Mr Holland, the organisation had commissioned evidence from other bodies including a “Home Office approved forensic company” to assess evidence.

Mr Holland said their actions had support from all members of his organisation “as well as councillors and members of the public”.

Mr Wood told Mr Holland: “We are of course happy to receive any new information regarding your case which we would look to review.

“I hope this may cause you to deter your protest plans”.

The county council confirmed that in addition “we are looking at the claims about what training and licences drivers should have.

“This is a complex issue and while we are following the lead of other councils in how we deal with this, we are asking the Department for Transport for clarification.

“We will then take the appropriate action if anything changes as a result of this clarification.”

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