Chief executive of controversial partnership resigns

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The chief executive of a controversial partnership set up to save Lancashire County Council £400m over 10 years has resigned.

David McElhinney of One Connect Ltd has left his post saying it was time to “move on after four long years.”

His resignation comes after the chief executive of Lancashire County Council Phil Halsall was suspended following allegations over contract tendering.

One Connect is a partnership between Lancashire County Council and BT. It was set up in May 2011 and has around 800 staff seconded to it from both Lancashire County Council and BT.

Former council leader and Conservative leader County Coun Geoff Driver said: “My understanding is he doesn’t want to work for these people who are currently running the county council.

“I have spoken to him and I know he is not at all happy with what is happening, he is not happy with the culture of fear which seems to prevail at the county council. He just doesn’t want to be a part of it.

“The two men who have done so much to improve service at the county council, one has resigned and one suspended. The council has gone from showcase to basket case in such a short space of time.”

In a statement sent to colleagues internally Mr McElhinney, said it was time to move on but that he would be continuing his work with BT.

He 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 a half successful years of operation.

“I have resigned from the business and August 30 is my last day with the company.

“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. The Partnership is a great credit to each and every one of you.

“Performance has continued to improve, savings have been delivered to our partners, the business has grown and the customer experience is better. I will be continuing my work with BT.”

The statement goes on to say that the current chief operating officer of One Connect Limited Rob McVicker will be stepping up to the role of Chief Executive Officer on September 1.

The leader of the liberal democrats on the county council Coun Bill Winlow said he was “surprised” by the news.

He added: “There has been some queries about the way in which One Connect has been run from some of our employees but this is a surprise and I am not quite sure why he should have done that.”

Asked if he thought it was linked with Mr Halsall’s suspension Coun Winlow said: “I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.”

Les Parker Unite representative added: “I don’t think the employees will lose any sleep over him going and it begs the question is he going to avoid being held accountable?”

Lancashire County Council were approached for a comment but failed to respond by the Evening Post’s deadline.

The leader of the Council Coun Jennifer Mein was unavailable for comment.

Phil Halsall was suspended following allegations over tendering, which were heard by the council’s Urgency Committee in a County Hall meeting.