Councillor who pointed out ‘how sorry I am to see how many unfortunate accidents seem to occur as far as FACT is concerned’ set to join FACT board

PUBLISHED: 11:07 09 August 2018

County councillor Mac McGuire (left) who has quit the FACT board in March and the HACT board in Huntingdon. His replacement will be Fenland councillor Chris Boden

County councillor Mac McGuire (left) who has quit the FACT board in March and the HACT board in Huntingdon. His replacement will be Fenland councillor Chris Boden

Archant

A county councillor who promised ‘no stone will be left unturned’ into the investigation into community transport provider FACT will join its board next week.

Whittlesey councillor Chris Boden has been invited to replace long serving councillor Mac McGuire on the board of the challenged company that is reeling from a £170,000 county council report into its management.

Cllr Boden was a late substitute on the audit and accounts committee last week that spent six hours debating the report and detailing issues of cross subsidy where public and charitable money had been used to expand the FACT fleet.

Throughout the hearing, at Shire Hall, committee members were repeatedly told of errors in accounting and of apologies for false claims on membership and need – the latter blamed on temporary and work experience FACT staff.

Cllr Boden told the committee; “I’ve reached this point before saying this, but I can’t resist any longer.

“I fully accept that it is not implausible, not impossible this has happened accidentally; I fully accept that it is not impossible, but I have to say how sorry I am to see how many unfortunate accidents seem to occur as far as FACT is concerned.

“There seems to have been such a lot of it.”

Members of Cambridgeshire County Council’s environmental and economy committee are due to discuss the appointment of a replacement county council representative on both the Fenland Association for Community Transport (FACT) Board and the Huntingdon Association for Community Transport (HACT) Board, following the resignation of Cllr Mac McGuire.

A council spokesman said: “Cllr McGuire has represented Cambridgeshire County Council on the board of FACT for more 10 years, but has never been a trustee of the organisation. He has fulfilled his obligations during this time diligently.

“Following the recent PFK Littlejohn audit report he has considered that the time is right for a new representative to take on this appointment – holding the board to account as they work to deliver a very detailed action plan aimed at restoring public trust and confidence in FACT/HACT and ESACT.”

The spokesman added: “Cllr Chris Boden is the proposed replacement and a decision on his appointment will be made at E&E committee next Thursday (August 16).”

Chief executive Gillian Beasley told the audit committee: “I want to make it clear it’s not acceptable for public money to cross-subsidise commercial services. That’s why we are here today and we take it very seriously what we must do to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

FACT could be forced to repay up to £300,000 once further investigations have been carried out.

Cllr John Williams told the audit committee: “I have been waiting to hear – for the whole of today – from FACT for an apology.

“But all I have got so far is like a bank – we’re too big to fail and you have to put up with us because you’ve got no-one else”

FACT could be forced to repay up to £300,000 once further investigations have been carried out.

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