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Lancashire County Council officers dismissed in shake-up

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The chief executive and other senior officers at Lancashire County Council have been dismissed as part of a controversial shake-up.A meeting of the full council on Thursday backed the move which Conservative leader Geoff Driver claims will save the authority money.But Labour leader Azhar Ali alleged the move is because they are witnesses in an ongoing financial probe.Mr Driver is one of four men arrested as part of a police investigation.Mr Driver, who became council leader after the Tories won a majority in elections in May, had previously been in charge until 2013.A few weeks after the election victory, he was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and witness intimidation, and later released pending further inquiries.Three other men were also arrested.

The investigation relates to allegations of financial irregularities at Lancashire County Council in the tendering of a £5m contract with One Connect Ltd, a joint venture between the council and BT to run some services.In an interview with BBC Radio Lancashire, Mr Ali said he believed those who have been removed are “witnesses and whistleblowers” in the case and “many people believe that the whole purpose of the reorganisation that’s been engineered by the Conservative administration has been purely to remove these individuals”.The council voted on Thursday for a management restructuring which will see current chief executive Jo Turton leave in three months.She will be replaced by interim chief executive Angie Ridgwell, who has been director general of corporate services at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy since October 2016.
Source: BBC Lancashire