FACT investigation: Cambs County Council apologise but FACT bosses insist they are 'not guilty', as audit committee meeting gets underway

PUBLISHED: 11:41 31 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:41 31 July 2018

FACT, HACT and ESACT report from Shire Hall on Tuesday, July 31. Picture: HARRY RUTTER / Archant 2018

FACT, HACT and ESACT report from Shire Hall on Tuesday, July 31. Picture: HARRY RUTTER / Archant 2018

HARRY RUTTER

Council bosses have "strongly apologised" for the way they failed to handle complaints made over several years in a community transport scandal.

FACT, HACT and ESACT report from Shire Hall on Tuesday, July 31. Picture: HARRY RUTTER / Archant 2018FACT, HACT and ESACT report from Shire Hall on Tuesday, July 31. Picture: HARRY RUTTER / Archant 2018

Taxi drivers have urged resignation of Fenland Association for Community Transport (FACT) management following “significant failures” highlighted in a damning report.

It comes as an audits and account meeting is underway at Cambridgeshire County Council today (July 31) at Shire Hall in Cambridge.

Speaking this morning, CEO of Cambs County Council, Gillian Beasley, said that more staff would be employed by November 2018 to oversee new monitoring procedures into FACT and that the council would “objectively assess” the transport provider by August 6.

FACT, HACT and ESACT report from Shire Hall on Tuesday, July 31. Picture: HARRY RUTTER / Archant 2018FACT, HACT and ESACT report from Shire Hall on Tuesday, July 31. Picture: HARRY RUTTER / Archant 2018

Dozens of transport providers from across the county have gathered to express their concerns and ask questions following an investigation into FACT by forensic accountants.

The county council gave tens of thousands of pounds over several years to the Fenland Association for Community Transport (FACT).

But loans were not repaid and there was no scrutiny of whether funding should be given.

FACT, HACT and ESACT report from Shire Hall on Tuesday, July 31. Picture: HARRY RUTTER / Archant 2018FACT, HACT and ESACT report from Shire Hall on Tuesday, July 31. Picture: HARRY RUTTER / Archant 2018

“I strongly apologise for the way the County Council failed to handle complaints made over a number of years,” Ms Beasley said.

“I have made it clear to FACT that for us to continue to support and contract to them their service must be fit and proper to work with.

“During the investigation is become clear that there were issues that needed to be addressed and we said we would address them immediately.

“Actions have been taken but there but there may be further actions from this committee today.”

Speaking about grant applications by FACT, a lead investigator from accountants PKF, who oversaw the investigation, said that it was “not possible to check if cash was used for its specified purpose”.

FACT manager Jo Philpott said: “I spoke with police and no prosecutions took place and nothing was pursued further.

“I feel that all we are guilty of is using our effort to provide people with affordable and safe transport. We are proud of what we do and these errors are years old and will not happen again.”

• The meeting continues.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Cambs Times

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists