Cambridgeshire County Council always seeks to be a transparent and responsible council.
Our aim is always to do the best for local people and to spend public money appropriately. If we make mistakes, we apologise, we learn from them and we try to put things right.
After she was appointed in 2015, and after discussions with Council Leader Cllr Steve Count, CEX Gillian Beasley set up the independent audit into the council’s dealings with community transport providers FACT/HACT and ESACT as a result of a long running campaign by local taxi drivers and in particular Dave Humphrey, the Taxi Driver Association Chairman.
The association believed taxi drivers and private hire companies were being unfairly disadvantaged in bidding for transport contracts from the council – a view confirmed when the results of the independent PKF report was heard by the Council’s Audit and Accounts Committee last July.
It did show that Cambridgeshire County Council had made mistakes in the way it procured community transport and in its dealings with FACT/HACT and ESACT which had disadvantaged other local transport providers.
It also highlighted a number of failings in the way FACT/HACT and ESACT worked and was managed
The report also set out an action plan for improvements aimed at both the council and FACT/HACT and ESACT
The Council apologised for its own part in this, and outlined how it had already made many of the suggested actions and gave timescales for completing the others. It worked with FACT/HACT and ESACT to ensure immediate changes were made within the community transport operator’s organisation.
Gillian Beasley and Cllr Count also made a personal apology to Mr Humphrey and the Taxi Drivers Association for the time it had taken for their concerns to be properly considered and acted upon.
They promised that the council would look at making compensation to Mr Humphreys, for the time he had lost from his own business while involved in collecting evidence, and preparing and pursuing the case which eventually led to the independent audit.
As this work stretches back five years to 2014 – it is being reported to General Purpose Committee on 28 May that the Council has now agreed with Mr Humphrey on a final settlement of £30,000 to compensate for his lost earnings over this time, and in recognition of the adverse effects that his work to bring this issue to a conclusion has caused him.
Papers for the General Purpose Committee meeting on 28 May are available here.