WIRRAL Council's suspended technical services director David Green has been told he can return to work in the New Year.

Council chief executive Graham Burgess said in a statement released at 4pm on Christmas Eve that an inquiry by independent consultant Richard Penn, commissioned to review Mr Green's actions, found he has “no case to answer."

Mr Burgess's  statement said: "I have therefore told David Green to return to work on the week beginning January 7, 2013.”

Mr Green has been suspended from work since March during which a £75,000 investigation was conducted by District Auditor Michael Thomas. 

The probe delved into the background of how privately-owned service provider Colas was awarded a £40m, five-year contract to assist the borough's highways and engineering services section in October 2008 after a tendering process.

The review was sparked when whistleblowers raised concerns with Birkenhead MP Frank Field over alleged "irregularities" in the way the contract had been processed by the council.

The audit probe concluded Mr Green had “probably broken” European Union rules by meeting with a Colas representative and by further failing to declare an interest when the contract was awarded.

This finding has now been dismissed by consultant Mr Penn.

His document published today says the claim is misleading as the "wrong report" was presented at a council meeting in July.

The original allegations "taken from draft 2 and remaining in draft 3" contained the claim of breaching EU rules...which is now accepted by the District Auditor as incorrect and no longer appears in the final draft.

Mr Penn's review says: "This was still being widely reported (and understood to be correct by elected members due to their consideration of the wrong report.

"Dave Green considered that it was absolutely unreasonable for the council to allow such inaccurate reporting to continue and demonstrated a poor ‘duty of care’ to him as one of its employees.

"In summary, Dave Green contends that there is no evidence of any willful neglect of duty, disregard for council procedures or authority, misleading elected members or any other conduct issue that would require disciplinary action.

"He believes that he has provided comprehensive information to support this contention."

In a letter to council cabinet in September, District Auditor Mr Thomas said his examination had shown the town hall had “exposed itself to significant risks.”

It continued: “The weaknesses identified were, in my view, indicative of similar failings identified in other recent reports issued to the council.

"They highlighted the need for the council to strengthen its arrangements for demonstrating good governance and securing value for money in its use of public funds.

“My findings have continued to emphasise the need for the council to secure improvements in its arrangements for maintaining sound governance and for securing value for money.”

Two other senior officers suspended at around the same time as Mr Green have since left the local authority.

Finance chief Ian Coleman opted for early voluntary retirement and departed in October with a five-year package worth £86,000.

An independent review of the conduct of the council's head of legal services, Bill Norman, found he had "no case to answer" and should be immediately allowed to return to work.

However, due to a major restructing of the authority's senior management group, Mr Norman asked instead to be allowed to leave and received a settlement of £146,000.