Opposition councillor demands to see report on controversial Sandwell school transport contracts

An opposition councillor has complained that an initial review into the controversial awarding of school transport contracts at Sandwell Council was not shared with him.

Sandwell Council House.
Sandwell Council House.

Jay Anandou claimed that as a member of the council's scrutiny board and audit committee, he should have seen the report before details were made public.

The authority said an initial review had found "no initial evidence of financial wrongdoing, impropriety or non-compliance with the procurement and contract procedure rules".

But there were a "number of operational procedural areas identified for improvement" that "should be made alongside wider consideration of the choice of delivery model and type of tender process used".

The review was launched after an Express & Star investigation revealed four contracts worth more than £20 million over four years were set to be handed to companies run by Azeem Hafeez, a former council employee who was named in a 2016 report on land deals at the authority. He denied any wrongdoing.

New council leader Rajbir Singh stepped in to delay a final decision from councillors and has pledged to be "as transparent as possible" over the matter.

An independent review into how the companies were chosen has been promised.

But Councillor Anandou, one of nine new Conservative councillors elected in May, said he had been kept out of the loop.

He said on Twitter: "The internal audit report is not even shared with me, a member of both scrutiny board and audit committee, yet I see in the news the council declaring there is no wrong doing in its initial findings. Reckless!"

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News