Reputation Protection

Reputation ProtectionReputation ProtectionReputation ProtectionReputation Protection

As we’ve previously reported a Serious Case Review (SCR) concerned with the Rajenthiram brothers Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) case was due to be published in July of this year. It is now November and we now learn that that the SCR will not now be published.

SCRs should be carried out by the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) for every case where abuse/neglect is known or suspected and either ; a child has died or; a child has been seriously harmed and there are concerns about how organisations or professionals worked together to protect the child. Since 2010 there has been a requirement to publish SCRs in full . Accordingly Wirral’s LSCB website states:

Findings and recommendations from the Serious Case Review or SCR , will be published in full in a report , which will be publicly available on this website . The purpose of the SCR will be to learn from what happened in individual cases so that future tragedies can be prevented. SCR-Wirral

Whilst the National Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) website says this about publishing SCRs:

The final SCR report, and the LSCBs response to the findings, must be published on the LSCB website for a minimum of 12 months and should be available on request. This is important for sharing lessons learnt and good practice in writing and publishing SCRs.

SCR reports should be written in such a way that publication will not be likely to harm the welfare of any children or vulnerable adults involved in the case.

The final report should:

  • provide a sound analysis of what happened in the case, and why, and what needs to happen in order to reduce the risk of recurrence
  • be written in plain English and in a way that can be easily understood by both professionals and the public and
  • be suitable for publication without needing to be amended or redacted.

The LSCB should send a copy of the final SCR to the National Panel of Independent Experts at least one week before publication. NSPCC

However Dr Maggie Atkinson , chair of Wirral’s LSCB said this week of the Rajenthiram case :

“This Serious Case Review examines – in great detail – the circumstances surrounding the sexual abuse of a child. It was my view, as chair of the safeguarding board and entirely independent of the council and all public agencies involved, that there was no way to publish the report which did not lead to a high risk of this child being identified.I could not countenance that risk. It would be morally wrong, and absolutely illegal, to risk identifying the victim of a sexual crime.My opinion was ratified by legal advice from barristers and my assessment on this matter was specifically sent to, and agreed by the Department for Education. I do agree that it is important the lessons which were learnt as a result of this tragic case are in the public domain and, to ensure they are, I had already requested that a report explaining the recommendations coming from the review – alongside the work which has been done since to address them – was published. This report will be published in the coming weeks.”

Whilst we agree that protecting the anonymity of victims is paramount we can’t help wondering who Dr Atkinson and the LSCB are actually protecting here. Oh and don’t come the ‘morally wrong’ and ‘absolutely illegal’ with us – this is Wirral Council we’re talking about and it’s never stopped them before – unless of course it suits them.

It should be remembered that one of the (many ) criticisms previously levelled at Wirral’s LSCB  by Ofsted in their damning  report ,which led to a rating of local Children’s Services to be rated ‘inadequate’, was that it was not sufficiently ‘independent’ from Wirral Council and other agencies involved in child protection.   What’s more isn’t talk of protecting victims of CSE a bit like closing the cornershop door after perpetrators have been convicted? Where was the protection from organisations and professionals when victims of CSE needed it ? That ,of course, should be the main theme of this secret SCR and based on what’s gone before who can blame us for thinking that this lurch to secrecy is more about protecting the reputations of the powerful than protecting the anonymity of the powerless?

 

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Birkenhead MP’s Brexit Bitchfest Backfires

Birkenhead MP Frank Field ,  having moved an amendment to the European Union (Withdrawal ) Bill earlier this week must be grateful that the local TV media chose a clip of Wirral South MP Alison McGovern’s contribution to the House of Commons Brexit debate for their news bulletin rather than his latest waspish display of self-aggrandizing disrespect for others. Therefore we’d particularly like to thank Old Queen TV  for posting the above footage.

Field’s innocuous amendment read : ” The UK ceases to belong to the European Union on 30 March 2019″ and  we can say one thing about Frankenfield and that he united the House during the debate  – united that is in their distaste of his sly jibes.

The most spectacular putdown was of fellow Labour MP Hilary Benn which drew gasps from benches on both sides of the House. Sitting behind Frankenfield David Lammy looks simply aghast……and who wouldn’t be as Field snipes at Benn : ” I’ve always bought my houses, I’ve never inherited them……”  . On being corrected by Benn he apologised and withdrew the comment. However the snooty, sarky tone of his statement , part Lady Bracknell/part Lily Savage, continued unabated.  

The thing is with Frankenfield is that locally he is so used to saying what he likes to who he likes – and being gifted a platform to do it – that it comes as a bit of a surprise when someone dares to challenge him on the facts.

However there were several other comments Frankenfield made during his speech which led to us sit here scratching our heads with our mouths agape. The full transcript of the debate can read here

 

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We’re confused as to what Frankenfield is trying to say in these statements . However it  should be noted that overall 51.7% of the voters of Wirral voted to remain in the  EU Referendum , whilst  his own constituency  voted 51.7% to leave .

 

 

Public Services – ‘At Risk’

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Public service ‘transformers’ at work.

Today we return to a sadly familiar tale. The destruction of public services and those public servants making a killing making it happen and enabling private sector vultures to gorge on the corpse.
Let’s start appropriately enough with one of our respondents by the name of ‘P45’ who told us in a reply to an earlier post :
Won’t be reported in the glorious Wirral View how hundreds of (Wirral) council workers have just this week received ‘at risk’ letters.
Average wage of these manual workers 18k a year – the normal cuts start at the bottom.
Compare that with the obscene rates paid to fly by night municipal mercenaries in the form of external consultants and  particularly so called ‘transformers’ who seem particularly adept at transforming their bank balance if nothing else. These are dark days for public services – not just in terms of central government funding but also because of those who seek financial and /or career advantage from its demise.
No doubt the latest round  of redundancy threats will be done in the name of short term savings when we all know its more about the Council divesting themselves of direct responsibility for staff and services.  Then watch as in the long term the council wage bill rises to pay for agency workers and temporary staff on insecure short term contracts.
But then what hope do rank and file staff have when they are not only at the mercy of self serving senior managers but are also ill served by supine unions and betrayed by amoral councillors – the most sickening example being serial failure Cllr Steve Foulkes recently voting himself a rise in expenses/allowances for sitting on outside bodies alongside his day job and his council duties when council staff are at risk of losing their livelihoods.
Of course this  “I’m Alright Jack” mentality shows up the support for the likes of foodbanks and the homeless to be the phony political posturing and cynical virtue signalling that it is.  ” Oh these foodbanks are a damning indictment of modern society  ….. I know !  let’s open another foodbank so I can get my picture in the paper”.
As we know there’s not only political capital to be had at the expense of the vulnerable there is ,more pertinently,  financial capital to be gained.
Indeed we have been provided with a telling example by a well placed source who notes that we have written extensively about Change, Grow, Live  (CGL).  As we know CGL are the grateful recipients of the biggest slice of Public Health monies ( £7 million +) to provide drug and alcohol services that were previously provided by the NHS. Our source has been reliably informed that David Biddle the Chief Executive of  CGL ( formerly Crime Reduction Initiatives) will be in line for a £1 million golden handshake when he retires next year .  David Biddle – ‘stepping down’
In an interview published last year in The Guardian Mr Biddle claimed ‘what pissed people off’ was that CGL were ‘very businesslike’. Read the full story here : What pisses people off
Believe us Mr Biddle the CGL operation on Wirral has been described to us in many ways but ‘very businesslike’ certainly isn’t one of them! What’s more what we think really pisses us off is people making obscene amounts of public money that can be made out of other people’s misery . As our source says :
Surely this is public money, squeezed from LA drug budgets as CGL undercut by some way existing NHS services, like Wirral, and set up inferior and less effective services. Remember the 72 dead here in their first eighteen months? Talk about blood money.
It is because of the increasing prevalence of scenarios such as this that we applaud the work of campaign groups such as Defend Our NHS Wirral who campaign to support public services for the benefit of ALL and not just the gilded elite ‘transforming’ public services mainly for the benefit of themselves.
“Will you defend our NHS?”
Wirral campaign group Defend Our NHS has written to all councillors to find out where they stand on the destruction of the National Health Service.
The group, alongside others in Cheshire & Merseyside, is asking councillors to do more than express their admiration for the NHS and its staff.
Rather than simply share patients’ and widespread public concerns at the harm being done to our health service by cuts and closures Wirral councillors have the statutory power to STOP the damage in its tracks.
Wirral shares the same problems as other parts of the country. But the closure of the Eastham Walk-In Clinic (without adequate notice or indeed any consultation), the pressures on Arrowe Park Hospital, and the ongoing appointment difficulties are just some of the specific local concerns.
All of this, and the accelerating pace at which problems are mounting, are the inevitable result of £22 billions cut from the NHS budget. And now the so-called ‘sustainability and transformation partnership’ (STP) would produce a permanent regime of cuts (almost a further £1 billion in our region) and threats to a free national health service.
Wirral Council voted last December to oppose the STP for Cheshire & Merseyside which would inevitably (unless stopped) lead to an American-style ‘accountable care system’ (ACS).
The STP and ACS scandal is now the subject of two legal challenges.
Defend Our NHS is asking all councillors three simple questions to discover where they stand on all this.
Along with other campaign groups in the STP ‘footprint’ Defend Our NHS will be publishing the results and inviting councillors to briefing sessions to learn more about the destruction of our NHS – and how to defend and reinstate it.
1. Do you support our campaign to stop the STP and oppose the further cuts? YES/NO
2. Do you support the reinstatement of our NHS? YES/NO
3. Will you tell Wirral voters what your responses are in any forthcoming communication? YES/NO

Show ‘Inappropriate Comments’ The Red Card

 

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Tony tells the truth : ‘The darkness around us is very deep”   Pic : John Brace

Little did we know when we published our Sorrento Shame : Holidaymakers claim they faced ‘racist abuse’ from ex – Wirral Mayoress  story ,that with some perverse synchronicity, it coincided with the 3rd annual ‘Show Racism The Red Card’ campaign.

To mark the event at the full meeting of Wirral Council held on 16th October Cllr Tony Norbury recited a poem.  Fortunately John Brace was able to capture the recital for posterity HERE . Now we can’t say it was one of the greatest orations we’ve ever heard but for those of you with strong stomachs and no gag reflexes it’s well worth enduring – if only for the closing line. Which was :

The darkness around us is very deep 

No seriously, Cllr Norbury uttered those immortal words , seemingly without a trace of irony. Under the circumstances the assembled throng of elected members holding up red cards with ‘ Show Racism The Red Card’ emblazoned on them with different translations of the slogan on the reverse has to be a contender for the empty political gesture of the year (and that’s always a particularly strong category).

Needless to say when it comes to certain councillors we know already that the hardfaced don’t get redfaced but as far as we’re concerned nobody’s hands holding those cards were clean .

Of course whilst councillors wouldn’t know about ‘the Sorrento incident’ they can’t say they didn’t know about the ‘Wirralgate incident’ involving Cllr George Davies , which although now 4 years old still reverberates around the corridors of power at Wallasey Town Hall.

Although the racist slur that forms part of the ‘Wirralgate’ recording is by no means the only disturbing aspect of the telephone conversation between Cllr Davies and a disgruntled ex-employee of Wirral Council , we have to say we had our doubts when we heard that Cllr George Davies had been recorded saying that former Wirral Council CEO Graham Burgess had thought that his former head of law was a “bloody useless Chink” . Whilst we had no trouble accepting the “bloody useless” bit – the pejorative description of  Surjit Tour as a “Chink” didn’t seem to make any sense in terms of ethnicity, race or heritage. However the slur has subsequently been confirmed by a disparate range of sources – so who are we to dispute it? What’s more, and on reflection, it made perfect sense as a particular kind of old school casual racism which is deeply ingrained and borne out of sheer ignorance and an appreciation of Bernard Manning.

However what we have never been able to reconcile is that after hearing the ‘Wirralgate’ tape recording himself why didn’t namesake and Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies suspend Cllr George Davies and refer the matter to Wirral Council’s Standards Panel ? Instead he facilitated the means by which a racial slur becomes sanitised and minimised as an ‘inappropriate comment’ in a report written by a certain Peter Mackay that never saw the light of day.  Way to go, Pip!

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Under these circumstances  it seems to us that it’s a case of ” Show Racism the Red Card – unless it’s a well connected Bluenose”  ……and no race awareness/race equality course or waving a red card in the air is ever going to remedy that kind of hypocrisy. We just wish councillors would spare us the self righteous, sanctimonious empty political gestures when we know that certain councillors are clearly comfortable in the company of people who make racist comments.

Caption competition :

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Any Old Ion

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Currently awaiting artist’s impression.

Have you noticed how the supposed grand plans for the regeneration of Wirral (and Birkenhead in particular) are being disseminated in the the press in exactly the same incoherent , opportunistic and uncoordinated  way.

For example we’ve already covered how the charisma free zone that is Wirral Council CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson chose the trade press Inside Media (who?) to tease us about future major land and property deals Double Dealers

Subsequently there then followed  an announcement in the Liverpool Echo that there were plans to convert Wirral Council’s former finance building into student flats under the title ‘ Hamilton Hub’ (groan ). Here we learned that Liverpool-based developer YPG wants to convert these offices in Cleveland Street into an ‘apartment complex’ for 200 students. Hamilton Hub

Sze Ming Yeung, managing director of YPG, said: “Our research tells us there is a real appetite for this kind of student and key worker accommodation in the centre of Birkenhead, partly because of the city region’s excellent cross-river transport links.

Since YPG were set up in 2015 have been busy  helping turn Liverpool city centre into ‘Studentland’. It also won’t surprise you to read  HERE that Asif Hamid’s  Contact Company and YPG have teamed up on the controversial Monarch’s Quay development in Liverpool about which we commented on here :  Asif Attack

Well it would now appear that another one of these landscape changing deals is now out in the open. As apparently the developer behind the controversial Lime Street redevelopment in Liverpool has bought the site of an old Birkenhead railway station – and has vowed to use the land to transform the town. Into what?  Reno? Or has that desert mirage faded before our very eyes too ? We can hardly wait for the artist’s impressions !

We learn from the Liverpool Echo that Ion Property Developments has bought the site of the former Birkenhead Town station, off Tunnel Road between Borough Road and the Rock Retail Park. Ion, formerly known as Neptune Developments, has not yet revealed what it plans for the land. But it says the site is “in a strategic position for the regeneration of Birkenhead town centre”. Read the fully story here : Old Site

Wirral Leaks readers may remember that Neptune Developments had exciting plans to redevelop Birkenhead town centre and which included (gasp!) a drive-thru McDonald’s .  Mysteriously Neptune’s plans were kicked to the kerb by Wirral Council only to be replaced by new plans for  ,er,  a drive -thru Maccy D’s !

So now that Neptune Developments have had a re-branding and changed their name to Ion Property Developments could Managing Director Steve Parry be getting in on Asif Hamid’s act and is acquiring land and sitting back and waiting for the grants of public money to enable them to develop a bit of particularly undesirable piece of derelict land ? Of course Ion don’t quite have Hamid’s position of power and influence as chair of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Board . We await developments (pun intended) with interest.

Meanwhile Wirral Globe are gamely still referring  to ‘the Wirral Waters regeneration project’ in a story about an ‘art installation’ on the site of what perhaps should have been an ‘International Trade Centre’. Forgive us for being so cynical but after the Stella Shiu debacle we feel we’re in for a continual series of piecemeal , ad-hoc developments being heralded as part of the ‘Wirral Waters regeneration project’ rather than the comprehensive transformation we’ve been sold . As a highways feasibility study tender issued last week demonstrates it would seem that there is still a long and winding road to travel before the Wirral waters regeneration project’ becomes a reality.

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As an aside an interesting aspect of this story Wirral Waters  was the accompanying picture which included  ‘Community Arts Facilitator’ Cathy Warren alongside Birkenhead MP Frank Field. Could Ms Warren be in any way related to Frankenfield’s favoured report writer and former Judge Nicholas Warren?  I’m sure all of you who know how things work round here will know the answer to that one. 

Praise for Wirral Waters' art installation

Pic : Wirral Globe

Finally a concerned correspondent from over the Mersey has been in touch to provide us with a salutary tale and timely reminder as to what can happenwhen Due Diligence is sacrificed in favour of headline grabbing developments .

According to the Department for International Trade, ‘The UK continues to attract record levels of inward investment and remains extremely attractive to foreign investors.’ In fact George Osborne went to China with the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson to promote the ‘Northern Pitchbook’, with the £200 million New Chinatown development in Liverpool being the ‘centerpiece’ development 
In terms of Cash Only/Investor development investments, this is fast becoming a national scandal, which will have a very negative affect on UK/Chinese relations, and will seriously limit inward investment into the Northern Powerhouse. 
FACT 1 – Record numbers of Chinese and Hong Kong investors have been putting their money into northern developments, especially student accommodation and city apartments .Investors have to put 75% cash up front and the developments are usually ‘off-plan’. This means, in many cases, that not even the foundations have been built. 
FACT 2 – This has attracted the very ‘worst!’ of developers, which can be seen from the following information: 
[1] Angelgate Development- Manchester – which was developed by Pinnacle MC Global and went into liquidation in April 2015, leaving the development unfinished [foundations only]. By August, the developer told buyers the project had been “seriously undervalued” by around £14 million (HK$140.04 million), requiring additional funding in order to complete. The developer gave Angelgate [mainly Chinese/Hong Kong] investors two options: contribute more money to complete the project, or handle the construction themselves.According to a solicitor’s update from Pinnacle, a total of £13.2 million went to commissions and fees, with £7.9 million spent on “overheads, running costs and profits. [this begs the question: how can developers take profits when the development hasn’t actually been built]”An Angelgate investor said an estimated £32 million (HK$330 million) had been paid in deposit money from the buyers in the steering committee and they had filed reports with local police and fraud action groups.

 The Angelgate project was a scam and investors felt helpless, she said. One of the men involved in this development, Tony Freeman, has been arrested by the police. 
[2] Investors from around the world say they will never put money into Liverpool again after their experience of dealing with a city “landlord from hell”.

 They have been bombarding council chief executive Ged Fitzgerald [this man has also been arrested by the police for suspicion of conspiring to pervert the course of justice and intimidating witnesses.]with complaints about Nigel Russell, who runs a number of student properties around Liverpool. Investors say that if the council had carried out Due Diligence then they and fellow investors from as far away as Canada, Brunei, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines may not have had to endure what they called years of hell.

 They had to endure months without any payments, and some had put their life savings into buying units from Mr Russell. Nigel Russell has been arrested by the police 
[3] £200 million – New Chinatown development – The companies involved in this development were given ‘preferred developer ‘status by Liverpool City Council without any proper Due Diligence being carried out. There was significant investment by Chinese and Hong Kong investors. With only the foundations completed, two of the construction companies involved have gone into liquidation and the development is at a halt.

[4] Baltic House – The companies involved in this development are on the point of liquidation. There was significant investment by Chinese and Hong Kong investors. With only the foundations and a small amount of the construction completed this project is at a halt. 
[5] The Paramount – There was significant investment by Chinese and Hong Kong investors. The development is only half built with 140 Chinese students living in the built half. This building is probably dangerous and building is at a halt

[5]Berry House – There was significant investment by Chinese and Hong Kong investors. The company involved is close to liquidation-no building work completed at all.

[6] North Point – There was significant investment by Chinese and Hong Kong investors. The company involved is close to liquidation-very little building work completed .

[7] St James Court – sold to investors, but absolutely no building works even started

[8]Metalworks – sold to investors, but absolutely no building works even started

[9] Eldon Grove – sold to investors, but absolutely no building works even started

It is clear from the above information that Manchester and Liverpool City Councils [as just examples] are not carrying out Due Diligence and are leaving investors prey to criminals. It is quite evident that this is going to lead to a significant reduction in the number of foreign investors in the North West [Northern Powerhouse] and a deterioration in the Chinese/UK economic relationship. 

 

The Never-ending Story

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Now if there’s one area of council business we receive more complaints about than any other it’s social services (be it children’s or adult services and particularly the transition between the two). Of course this might be expected. It’s an important component of public services and is a difficult area of work as it involves the most vulnerable people in our community and the involvement of statutory services is often required at times of crisis and distress.

With the push towards more integrated working with the NHS , includes moves to create an All-Age Disability Service – which we hear is not going down too well with staff as it it as seen as another way of undermining professional expertise and status of social workers – we are left to pity the poor carers and service users out there who find themselves all at sea trying to deal with what are now called ‘care navigators’ .

Earlier this week at the Wirral Council Cabinet meeting we had councillors  Christine Spriggs, Chris Jones and Phil Davies extolling the virtues of integrated working and how it would prevent carers telling their ‘story’  over and over again in an attempt to acquire a service to which they are legally entitled. Needless to say Cllr Bernie Mooney waded in to blame everything on Tory cuts but reassured everyone she had written to everyone she could think of to protest about how unfair it all was. This included a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May. You can imagine the consternation in 10 Downing Street can’t you? as a special adviser whispers in the PM’s ear : “Psst ! Theresa – you’d better drop the Brexit negotiations and forget about that bit of bother you’ve got with Priti and Boris and Damian and Michael and whoever the next errant Tory is – Cllr Bernie Mooney is on the warpath and you wouldn’t like it when she gets angry!”

So what we’d like to do here is to provide a case study which is typical of the many complaints we receive from carers and which suggest the problems that Wirral Council have are not just about money it is, as ever ,about the CULTURE  of Wirral Council.  How about they look more closely at why they can’t recruit and retain quality staff and have to spend a fortune on consultants and agency staff.   Talking of which we hear a social services big hitter may soon be on their way out……we’ll bring you more when we get it.

Meanwhile read this never-ending story and weep :

I could fill a book about this but, in short, my severely autistic and learning-disabled son (aged 19) and I have just lost our second second social worker in 15 months.

Last August (2016) I got a call out of the blue from our social worker to say “I am going on secondment and I won’t be seeing you again.” 3 weeks earlier she had said, without prompting, that she would be “right beside you” for at least another year, as my son went through his last year at school and made crucial preparations for college and work placements. When I objected she said “Here’s the number of my immediate boss. Take up your concerns with him.” I kept phoning, over a good two weeks, only to get voice-mail. I left a message that wasn’t picked up, etc. Eventually it turns out that her immediate boss had already been on “indefinite sick leave” for quite a time already, something she must have known when she suggested I ring him.

My son still asks what happened to this social worker and wonders why she didn’t say goodbye.

A new social worker arrived from another borough in Sept 2016. (As did another person to replace the person who was on indefinite sick leave.) In January, the second of these two people gave a week’s notice and went back to South Wales, clearly defeated by Wirral Council’s complete inability to organise. . .anything. Our new social worker kept saying to me “We need to work with each other on the basis of trust.” I have tried for a year now to get my son’s respite dates guaranteed to me in writing by Wirral Social Services. I have been in contact with the MP about it, and she has tried repeatedly to be in contact with them. They are usually on voice-mail, or don’t respond to emails, hers or mine. I still have no written guarantee.

The social worker, after lots of meetings/phonecalls with me, assured me at the start of June that my son’s two work placements would start this September. September came: no work placements. It turns out that the work placements hadn’t received the necessary paperwork from the social worker to enable my son to start work; Social Worker insisted that they had the necessary paperwork. Then she and I and the work placement people (Wirral Evolutions) have a meeting in which it is agreed that my son needs one-to-one support at both of the placements. “Don’t worry, I’ll get these sorted” social worker tells me. This was at the end of September. Yesterday (November 3rd), having heard nothing, I phoned the social worker to ask what the delay is. I get a person on the phone who says “Social Worker doesn’t work for Wirral Council anymore. She left 2 weeks ago. Who are you?” This person was, apparently, a receptionist, someone I’d never dealt with before, left with the task of telling x number of people that they have been abandoned.

Wirral Council/Wirral Social Services are grossly incompetent. They are rude. They have no regard for their clients and their clients’ families. They don’t even show the most basic courtesies or consideration. In due course, I daresay I’ll get a call from whoever the replacement social worker is, and the replacement will say “We need to work with each other on the basis of trust.”

Basically, it is the same thing over and over and over: incompetence, very poor communication (with me, but also with other agencies and between themselves), rudeness, poor or non-existent note-taking, people leaving at short notice and with no proper explanation, etc etc. It just goes on and on.

When the Klonowski enquiry produced its damning report, I briefly hoped that the people found to be grossly incompetent (and, in some cases, corrupt) would be removed. Disheartening, to say the least, to see people like Steve Foulkes still in place. Where is the accountability? There simply is none.

It beggars belief that Wirral Council has not been placed in special measures. I daresay the reasons behind that are political. The Tories asking for it are being hypocritical because part of the problem is chronic underfunding from central govt but I do think that being placed in special measures would be the best thing. The only thing, actually, that would give people like me and my son the chance at least of a semi-decent service. I know special measures are not a panacea but they would be our best chance.

Apparently the new person to whom my son and I have been allotted is going to be in contact “in due course.” Big deal. The “leader” of the “integrated” (!) team for disabilities at Wirral Social Services since January is someone who clearly does not lead. When I told him at that point (no-one had told us the previous man had left, I found out by chance) that Wirral Social Services is a shambles, he replied with “But that’s just your opinion.”  No-one with a shred of conscience can stay working with these people for any length of time: they either go off sick, having had some kind of breakdown, or they are “let go.” The people there for any significant length of time are, almost by definition, dead wood.

When my son is going to get his work placements is anyone’s guess. Ever? SW who has just gone was saying to me most of the past 12 months “It’s very important that your son gets a 5-day week”. .. I know, I had never suggested otherwise!”

Standards and Measures

We promised to revisit the Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ)  ‘It Has To Stop’  story with our considered views on the role of Wirral Council’s Standards Panel/ Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee and the measures they have taken to sanction LRJ. As we said :

We are not giving LRJ an out here – she deserves everything she gets but it is a matter of proven fact that she has been treated markedly differently than her Labour colleague Cllr Steve Foulkes by the Standards Panel. As far as we’re concerned councillors McLaughlin, Gilchrist and Blakeley have some explaining to do. This is something we will be analysing in a later post.

So let’s briefly recap what sanctions that LRJ faced for being a bad – but by means the worst – councillor at Wirral Council

  •  suspension from the local Labour Group

The Labour Group ‘leader’ , Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies in a rare show of authority recommended permanent expulsion 

  •  referral to the Labour Party regional body ( Labour Northwest) 

Labour Northwest ,who must be heartily sick to the back teeth of Wirral Labour Party careerists, sorry members, commuted the suspension to 6 months 

  • removal of the Labour Party whip 

Thus isolating LRJ from the ‘support’ of the local Labour Party machine. Although we have to say the Labour Party whip would have to have the skills of an ex-lion tamer with a whip and a chair to keep local Labour members under control

  • removal of LRJ representing Wirral Council on outside bodies

Although we’re not sure whether this involved any loss of remuneration (our money)

  •  asked to make full apology to whistleblowers 

And look how that went! LRJ came across as an obstreberous 6 year old stamping her feet and crossing her arms in protest at being found with her hands in the cookie jar

  • asked to make a full apology to all elected members at next full Wirral Council meeting

We won’t hold our breath waiting for LRJ to humbly apologise for her misdemeanours 

As we all know the last councillor to face the Standards Panel prior to LRJ was ex- Wirral council leader and mayor Cllr Steve ‘ Don’t Mention Sorrento’ Foulkes. And what sanctions were imposed on him for being a serial liar?

  • asked to make an apology  to the then Tory leader Cllr Jeff Green

Even though by his own admission Cllr Green WAS NOT THE COMPLAINANT!

  • Er, that’s it  

Bit of a discrepancy don’t you think?, especially when the reason given by clapped out Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin for the local Labour group going after LRJ was her lack of ‘credibility’ and ‘reliability’ as a witness. We’re left wondering whether Matron should have been on the Standards Panel in the first place . She nearly came a cropper for declaring she put her personal friendship with Kevin Miller ,the former monumental failure of a Director of Adult Social Services, above her civic duties.

But then Matron isn’t the only errant councillor in this farrago. Where were the rest of the councillors of all parties when the first Patricia Thynne report was published and where Foulkesy said he couldn’t possibly have handed over a document attempting  to smear Cllr Jeff Green to duplicitous journalist Liam Murphy because there would have to have been an adjournment of the Council meeting when it was alleged he had done so.

Apparently neither ‘investigator’ Thynne or any Wirral councillor bothered to check the minutes because they would have found out that there had indeed been an adjournment. This was one of the reasons that a second (costly) investigation took place and enabled several witnesses to later testify that they saw Foulkesy hand over the incriminating document to Murphy. Something which he had denied in the first investigation. The only explanation we think of for this particular lack of scrutiny is that councillors must have all just sat there and said  : ”  Well, it’s Foulkesy, innit, what do you expect?”

Clearly our expectations are out of step with our local elected members and until they realise they are accountable to us we’re afraid it will remain forever thus.

So when it comes to ‘credibility’ and ‘reliability’ as a witness we’re left thinking that Foulkesy is even more lacking than LRJ – and that’s really sayin’ somethin’ ! What it doesn’t do is explain the difference in the measures made against each respective councillor.

But then those who regularly read Wirral Leaks will know exactly what the explanation is…..

Meanwhile compare and contrast these respective investigators comments :

LRJ v Foulkesy 017

LRJ v Foulkesy 019

 

 

 

International Relations

Wirral  Council have a couple of mentions in the Rotten Boroughs section of the latest edition of Private Eye .

“Just a couple ?…..” snorts Her Ladyship ” that’s a good ‘Performance Indicator’ of the ‘Direction of Travel’ on their  ‘Improvement Journey’ “

The first mention is in an article about Sheffield City Council and their pursuit of Chinese investment (or “Wang wonga ” as the Eye would have it) . However when it comes to such ventures it would seem that Wirral Council has now become the byword for naivety, lack of due diligence and hyperbole after the Stella Shiu ‘International Trade Centre’ fantasy left them with “egg foo-yung on its face” ! 

Private Eye Nov 2017 010

It really doesn’t augur well for Wirral CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson and Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘ Power Boy Pip’ Davies repeated declarations following their MIPIM missions that billions and billions and billions of pounds – or euros or dollars or yuan , they’re not fussed where the moolah comes from –  will soon be ‘transforming’ Wirral and it’ll be the land of milk and honey where the streets are paved with gold (see artists’ impression).

The second mention involves the Eye picking up on our  Sorrento Shame story under the title ‘Travel Section’ . You’d think after undertaking an ambassadorial role as Mayor and Mayoress that the Foulkes’ would be well equipped to foster good international relations. Alas – it would seem that whilst you can take the girl and boy out of Birkenhead you can’t take Birkenhead out of the girl and boy.

Private Eye Nov 2017 014

However to end on a happy note here – giving a whole new meaning to ‘holiday snap’- is a touching Sorrento memento which Elaine Foulkes posted on social media for us all to enjoy.

Foulkes in Sorrento

‘It Has To Stop’

AnimatedStop

‘It has to stop’ …..

These were the poignant words used by one of the whistleblowers at last night’s special meeting of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee. These whistleblowers had been found to have been victimised by Labour councillor Louise Reecejones (LRJ) at a Standards Panel hearing held in June.

As we flagged up last week  in our Sorry/Not Sorry – The LRJ saga continues story it seems that LRJ didn’t offer up an adequate apology for her actions and compounded the original breach by continuing to victimise the same people who had been brave enough to act in the public interest and raise their concerns about how LRJ had allegedly handled the financial affairs of a charity.

We recommend you watch both parts of the John Brace videos below to witness the full halloween horrorshow.

Needless to say  it won’t surprise any of you to hear we have a few observations to make on proceedings. It was frankly sickening to witness the weasel words of all the councillors on the committee –  ‘beyond belief’,’disbelief’, ‘astonishing’, ‘disappointing’ were used to describe the actions/inactions of LRJ. However it was particularly galling to hear it from Labour councillors and especially from Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin who in full  Matron mode ( stern looks and crossed arms) uttered the immortal words :

As the Labour  member on the (Standards) Panel it was very difficult for me  to hear that a Labour councillor had used her position as a councillor to damage the reputation and the livelihoods of other people. It goes without saying that people who come into this council were elected to serve the residents of the borough and not to use our position to do damage to them………

This was breathtaking hypocrisy – as she of all people knows only too well that Labour councillors have been destroying the reputation and livelihoods of whistleblowers and those who call them out or won’t go along with their cover ups for years and years and years. It’s like the year 2012 has been erased from history.

We are not giving LRJ an out here – she deserves everything she gets but it is a matter of proven fact that she has been treated markedly differently than her Labour colleague Cllr Steve Foulkes by the Standards Panel. As far as we’re concerned councillors McLaughlin, Gilchrist and Blakeley have some explaining to do. This is something we will be analysing in a later post.

Meanwhile we’ll just wait and see as to whether LRJ finally offers a meaningful apology to her victims, whether the local Labour Group does indeed impose further sanctions and whether LRJ turns up to provide Council with a fulsome and sincere apology at their next meeting in December.

As for the whistleblowers all we can hope for is that, for them , the nightmare does ‘stop’. Although our knowledge of whistleblowers on Wirral is that it never ‘stops’ – the sense of loss, injustice and powerlessness stays with them for a very long time.

We also have to ask ourselves whether the appalling conduct of some councillors will ever ‘stop’ without meaningful , equitable and proportionate sanctions.

 

An Eternal Haunting

Honest People

We find Halloween frightful (and not in a good way) so we’ve pulled up the drawbridge at Leaky Towers and are now settling down before a log fire to recall our All Hallow’s Eve stories of yore.

We decided we couldn’t outdo our 2015 story below as it is as pertinent then as it is now.  Wirral Leaks is playing the part of Catherine Earnshaw’s ghost  in Emily Bronte’s classic gothic novel  Wuthering Heights – scratching at the window and haunting the guilty in their sleep…………………for eternity!

Although reporting Wirral Council horror stories is our stock in trade our fiendish readers realise we always like to make a special effort on Halloween.

Halloween Special – House of Horrors – keeping it clean

Halloween Special – You Only Moved The Headstones

Tricked or Treat – where the Abnorman is Normal

So reporting (almost) live from the gothic monstrosity that is Leaky Towers we bring you the leading mischief makers in the Wirralgate scandal that haunts Wirral Council. This is the scandal which the local poltergeist politicians want to keep hidden in the basement like the body of Norman Bates’s mother.Frank-N-Field

The Rt.Hon Frankenfield has like Dr. Frankenstein created a monster.That monster has been cobbled together from a small group of obedient halfwits and an amoral wannabe.

This monster has been running amok for years always knowing that Frankenfield will defend his unco-ordinated , incoherent and clumsy creation.

However by setting up the call which ended in a fateful recorded conversation he effectively created the Wirralgate scandal.

 

Mental-PowerBoyThe eternal wannabe council leader Power Boy Pip Davies – always in denial and forever deluded. In his own words he said The Ghouls ,sorry The Group were using “the content of the phone conversation to pressurise him into settling their claim ” ( page 7 – Report of Investigation Into allegation of Breach Code of Conduct for Councillors – Patricia Thynne June 2014).……and then meekly obeys when Frankenfield steps in and “demands” a compensation for The Group!. Frankenfield then gets close friend “Old Nick” Warren to cobble together some kind of justification for compensation when there is no legal basis for such a claim.     

admin-ajaxIt was the feckless and reckless Foulkesy who instigated the Wirralgate scandal.However there are only so many people’s lives and careers he can destroy before they begin to emerge from his curse. Here he is pictured above with the person who we believe may prove to be his nemesis.

George Comb Forward

If a picture paints a thousand words then no photoshopping is required. Frankenfield’s factotum – the runaround,the go-between,the fixer.Just like Igor obediently acting on his master’s instructions Cllr George Davies had in his own words a “relaxed and unguarded way of talking” to The Group (Page 11 –  Report of Investigation Into allegation of Breach Code of Conduct for Councillors – Patricia Thynne June 2014).This “relaxed and unguarded way of talking” apparently included casual racism , smears and illegal sweetheart deals….all of which was recorded by a member of The Group.

And so like a recurring nightmare Wirral Leaks seeks to be a constant reminder that what is seemingly dead and buried will sometimes come come back and haunt those named and shamed above during their long dark night of the soul*.

*Disclaimer – Wirral Leaks realises the people described above sold their soul a long time ago and any resemblance to a fit and proper person to hold public office is entirely coincidental.