East Lancashire 'One Connect' executive steps down amid probe into tendering irregularities (From Blackburn Citizen)
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East Lancashire 'One Connect' executive steps down amid probe into tendering irregularities
THE chief executive of One Connect, which is being examined in a probe of possible irregularities in a tendering process with Lancashire County Council, has resigned.
David McElhinney has quit One Connect, which was established in May 2011 and aimed to save the council £400million over 10 years. Around 800 county council and BT employees were seconded to staff it.
Early last month council chief executive Phil Halsall was suspended to allow a ‘confidential, external review’ into the tendering process.
Mr Halsall has vowed to fight to keep his job and in an email sent after his suspension, said: “Suffice it to say I believe it all to be complete nonsense. I have already started to pursue my reinstatement vigorously and I expect to be back soon.”
He is now subject to a disciplinary investigation, and an independent review is underway into the decision to award the contract to BT, and the role of One Connect, which was to manage the the council’s £5million fleet maintenance service contract.
In an email sent internally to county council colleagues, Mr McElhinney said: “I have decided now is the time to move on after four long years working on the One Connect Limited project, particularly the last two and half successful years of operation.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at One Connect Limited and I believe that collectively we have helped to make a real and positive difference.
“I wish you all the best in your work and I look forward to hearing about your future successes being celebrated nationally. I will be continuing my work with BT.”
Mr McElhinney also said One Connect’s chief operating officer Rob McVicker would be stepping up to the chief executive role.
Former county council leader Geoff Driver said: “I am disappointed because Mr McElhinney has done a really good job. The partnership has saved the county council tens of millions of pounds and it has provided much better services for the people of Lancashire.
Lancashire County Council declined to comment.
A BT spokesman confirmed that Mr McElhinney informed the company of his ‘resignation from the role of chief executive officer of One Connect Limited and as an employee of Lancashire County Council’ from 31 August 2013.
Mr McElhinney was unavailable for comment.
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