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Call for Balfour Beatty Inquiry kicked into the (very) long grass

September 29, 2015 11:53 AM

A motion on the Highways and Streetscene maintenance contract was put to the Wiltshire Council meeting today, as a result of an initiative by councillors Jon Hubbard and Jeff Osborn.

They asked for an inquiry into the ill-fated contract, which has been dogged by problems ever since it was awarded. The two councillors say the way the contract process was handled, the costs involved, and the secrecy which prevents any evidence-based questioning of the Conservative administration's competence, should be looked at.

However the Conservative majority at Wiltshire Council ensured such an enquiry will be not held, and the public will not be made aware of the background to the decision nor the details of the cost to the taxpayer.

The motion said:
"Council notes the decision of the cabinet to end the BBLP Highways and Street-scene maintenance contract 2 years early.
Council requires the cabinet member to instigate an independent enquiry into the issues surrounding this contract, specifically:
Identifying and detailing the perceived savings that the council claims to have achieved, and why if such savings were being achieved the council felt it necessary to end the contract early?
In tendering the contract was the case for an "in house" operation seriously considered?
What were the performance issues experienced with the contract?
What the true costs are to Wiltshire Taxpayers resulting from the early ending of the contract
What lessons should be learnt from the failure of this contact for any future contacts the council considers awarding?
Why has it been necessary for all details about the ending of the contract to be kept secret, what is being hidden from the taxpayers?"

The motion was defeated by 55 votes to 27, with two Conservatives abstaining.