Cllr James Pearson, Wrenbury, mobile phones story

Cheshire East Council has been paying for 3,000 mobile phones for its staff but 500 of those have not been used for several months, a councillor said.

Cllr James Pearson, of Wrenbury Ward, also said the council had now put a phone “amnesty box” inside a staff entrance at Westfields.

The Tory councillor brought up the matter during a meeting of the corporate policy committee after council leader Sam Corcoran (Lab) had asked for suggestions as to how the committee could achieve savings.

A report to the meeting indicated the committee needs to make savings of £1.2m – and £100k of this is earmarked from ICT.

Cllr Pearson said the phone issue had been revealed by interim chief executive David Parr in a message posted on the council’s intranet.

“The council’s been paying for 3,000 mobile phones, 500 of which haven’t been used for some time,” said Cllr Pearson.

“Also, the other message from the chief executive – don’t use hotspots on mobile phones because the data is really expensive.”

He said it was clear the council did not have good controls in place when it came to who it had issued phones to.

“This is clearly an example of where the council’s lost control,” he said.

Council leader Sam Corcoran (Lab) thanked the chief executive for uncovering the matter.

But Cllr Pearson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service after the meeting, he wanted to know how such a wasteful practice had been allowed to happen in the first place.

“To be so far adrift on something that actually should be incredibly basic to manage is bizarre and needs further investigation,” he said.

“For 500 phones to be issued and not being used I think is alarming, given the practices and procedures that should be in place to safeguard the council’s assets.”


  1. What a comedy of errors. Why is this happening. Rate payers shouldn’t be paying for mobile phones for Council staff. I wonder if those mobile phone accounts are being cross-referenced for usage of calls on Council business, versus personal usage. Bet it isn’t. Outrageous. Rate payers will be asked to pay more for Council services next year. This new CEO should start looking internally at their accounts.

  2. well this shower go from one epic fail to another with the uninspiring control of an organisation totally out of touch with reality, are you sure these are not burner phones??

  3. Chris Moorhouse says:

    How many more bad news stories are we to read before the end of 2023 about this poor performing Council.
    CEC must provide more information eg annual costs and average per phone, how are they allocated department by department including number of staff (no names) just numbers.
    It would also be interesting to know the annual costs for Councillors for this equipment.
    Perhaps information should also be provided about number of laptops for those working from home?
    Nantwich News please do some digging and FOI requests as they are likely to respond quicker to you than the public.

  4. Quick search says CEC employ between 3000-3500 people, be interesting to know how mobile phones are allocated and if there is a genuine business reason for having one . Add to this how have the mobile phones been acquired, what network is being used , tariff , personal use and contract period. Basic stuff and should be made available to public (to be clear not peoples names) So Nantwich News are you going to investigate on our behalf

  5. No surprise is it, with the shower of s*** running the show.

    No wonder they are in deficit ,but as long as us mugs are here to be miked to the hilt in taxation then all is well.

    We need to wake up and take notice of these idiots and hold them to account,at best they are incompetent.

    Identify those responsible, there is bound to be a large department and get rid of those not capable of doing the job,there are too many layers of so called managers,too many departments,all working independently.

    It needs streamlining and robust process put in place,good luck to the new CEO.

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