Police confirm no arrests and no charges in ongoing investigation into community transport provider FACT

Ex FACT manager Jo Philpott. Her role in the organisation features in the ongoing investigation by C

Ex FACT manager Jo Philpott. Her role in the organisation features in the ongoing investigation by Cambridgeshire Police. Picture; ARCHANT - Credit: sm

Investigators – both from Cambridgeshire Police and those brought in by the new management team – continue to trawl through thousands of transactions made by the Fenland Association of Community Transport (FACT).

Invoices relating to payments made and inventories of mini buses bought and sold feature in the ongoing investigation.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Police said today: "There have been no arrests and no charges. The investigation is still ongoing."

The new team running FACT has scrapped all its commercial activities - a key complaint of the long running dispute with taxi drivers who branded the competition unfair - and has reverted back to its core charitable aims of community provision.

One aspect being dealt with by the county council - who commissioned the £200,000 report that dismantled the former working practices of FACT - is the amount it might be due under State Aid legislation. One focus has been to determine how much FACT may have received that it was entitled to claim.

A report to the county council audit committee last week said: "The key outstanding action relates to the council reclaiming any money due in respect of State Aid or any inappropriate competitive advantage conferred as a result of historic grant awards."

The report said a meeting is to take place to negotiate a final settlement.

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"This meeting is in the process of being rearranged and it is expected that negotiations will conclude in time for a full report to committee in September," said the report.

Cambridgeshire Police was alerted by the new management team at the March based headquarters of Fenland Association for Community Transport following concerns over what appear to be major discrepancies in the organisation's accounts. The inquiry also includes running of the Huntingdonshire and East Cambridgeshire associations controlled by FACT.

It is understood that the concerns relate to transactions during the previous period of management under Jo Philpott.

Mrs Philpott was manager of FACT until last summer when she was forced to quit in the wake of the county council report.

Cambridgeshire County Council that concluded the organisation had falsely used funds meant for community transport to establish a fleet of up to 70 buses to operate commercial work, mainly undertaking home to school contracts.

The cross subsidisation of the commercial fleet was accepted by the audit inquiry and has resulted in FACT being put at risk of repaying hundreds of thousands of pounds to the county council.

Earlier this year a spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Constabulary said: "On January 15 we received reports of alleged fraud concerning Fenland Association of Community Transport.

"The allegations relate to a time period between 2012 and 2018.

"The investigation is ongoing. No arrests have yet been made.

"Anyone with information concerning this investigation should call police on 101 quoting 35/3922/19."