Investigation into former leader dropped

The former leader of Lancashire County Council County Coun Geoff Driver says he is taking legal advice after police dropped a long-running investigations into his role with controversial company One Connect Limited.

Wednesday, 23rd March 2016, 3:00 pm
Coun Geoff Driver

Lancashire Police told him he is no longer suspected of any criminal involvement, following a two-year investigation into allegations concerning the county council’s joint venture with BT.

Coun Driver, now leader of the council’s Tory opposition group, said: “I have been informed by Lancashire Constabulary after their lengthy investigation into allegations made by Lancashire County Council, they are satisfied that I am entirely innocent of any wrongdoing.”

Lancashire Constabulary said: “Following lengthy and thorough enquiries we can now confirm that Coun Driver is no longer suspected of any criminal involvement as part of this investigation.”

Coun Driver is now having talks with his legal advisers about “the best course of action” to take against those who made allegations against him.

One Connect Limited was set up in May 2011, when Coun Driver was the council’s leader, to run various council functions, with the aim of saving the council £400m over 10 years. It had around 800 staff.

But in August 2013 the council’s chief executive Phil Halsall was suspended over allegations about the awarding of a £5m fleet maintenance contract. He later left the authority by mutual consent and a disciplinary investigation was dropped.