Loss of Control

Loss of Control

We don’t know who’s piloting Flight WBC right now but it appears to be experiencing severe turbulence.

We mentioned in our last post about council bosses love of power and control ,well all of the indicators – and as we know these people love their key performance indicators – seem to be showing a distinct loss of control.

Talking of which news reaches us that ex emergency control room staff are to sue the council after their jobs were kept open after the proposed date firstly by agency staff and now by community patrol staff .

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that the community patrol staff are being paid to cover their former colleagues jobs.Talk about no honour in honorariums!

There has also been confirmation in writing from Council Leader Power Boy Pip Davies that the council had no intention of closing the control room all along. We are promised the release of some interesting emails which will detail the full extent of the callous skulduggery which led to people losing their livelihoods.

Meanwhile we at Leaky Towers are absolutely loving the pressure group Brand New Brighton Rocks On and their highly effective campaign which led to a humiliating council U-turn on car parking fees at Fort Perch Rock https://www.facebook.com/groups/brandnewbrightonrockson/

Witness also the political awakening of the usually supine union Unison who have finally smelt the coffee and are kicking off about  Wirral Council  appointing consultants to deal with “public affairs and communications” and  “budget planning” and they will receive a daily rate of £850 and £903 respectively.The appointments of Paul Masterman  and Julie Alderson have been described by Unison as a “kick in the teeth for council staff.”

Especially as the both come with “a bit of previous” and appear to be in the usual mould of local government money-grubbing leeches.

It’s interesting to note that Masterman is a former head of communications at Staffordshire County Council where no doubt he worked with Eric “Feeble” Robinson – so again it seems we’re back to auto-pilot where the incoming Chief Executive parachutes his mates in from previous jobs.

http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/Residents-angry-Staffordshire-County-Council/story-23353978-detail/story.html

Masterman is obviously the replacement to fill the infamous Ugg boots after the former head of communications was shoved down the emergency shute. However we still can’t understand how someone can be made redundant and yet ,somewhat like the control room staff, their posts remains intact and still attracting a huge pay-packet for consultant at council tax payers expense.

Meanwhile Ms Alderson’s colourful past history speaks for itself and it seems she’ll fit in nicely with the self serving crew at WBC .

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/236983/Disgraced-town-hall-chief-s-new-200-000-job

Unison spokesperson Paddy Cleary says the union is “totally dismayed” by the extraordinary sums the pair are being paid and is hoping there will be a backlash from “an angry Wirral public”.

We certainly hope so too – especially when there seems to be a reassuring new breeze of political activism blowing a gale through Wirral and it seems to be blowing Flight WBC off it’s well worn chartered course.

Needless to say Wirral Leaks is looking forward to reporting on the inevitable crash landing.

EXCLUSIVE: Degg denies ever wearing proper Ugg boots – but denies nothing else

Image

Rocket Dog

Fleece is the word.

Emma Degg  – the gift that keeps on giving  (and receiving cheques)!.

As this week’s revelations prove we’ll miss you sooooo much here at Leaky Towers.We’d like to thank you from taking time out from your busy schedule  (oh…. perhaps not) to respond to our story about your recent departure from Wirral Council.

For those who haven’t had the chance to read the heartfelt plea for “humanity” here it is:

Dear Wirral Leaks,
This is the first and only time I will post on this site. I do so for two reasons, firstly because having left the employ of the council I have a voice should I choose to use it. 2nd because despite the inevitable unpleasant backlash I will get I have something to say that others cannot. As I said to you in the conversation your referred to Paul – if you want to criticise Council Officers work then absolutely you should do so. I simply gave you my card and said if you wanted to do so then to come and see me and I would have a conversation with you anytime. If you were not satisfied then by all means say whatever you want about my or the councils work. That is all absolutely fair game. What is asked was when making personal comments for you to remember that regardless of how much pain you think I deserved that I have children who have done nothing wrong and who get upset. As I remember you shook my hand and said you had children yourself. And that is the point – if you create an environment when the only senior officers who can cope with the job are those who do not care what is written about them then you will end up with public services run by people who don’t care about anything other than the job title and pay. You are creating an environment where Officers are so frightened of being the next ‘uggly’ that they avoid difficult decisions and doing anything to upset anyone at all. Create pantomime villains and we will all be entertained – but try not to completely forget your humanity. For me I am done – hospitalisation over Christmas does that to you. Next time any of you post about another human being perhaps consider wether you would look them in the eyes and say it? Ps ironically I have never owned a pair of ugg boots they were a rather smart pair of Rocket Dogs – funny how a misconception can become a truth

We also posted some supportive comments admiring your ,erm,”balls” for replying to us.Which, to be fair ,compared to the likes of snivelling senior council officer David Armstrong who resorts to making snide remarks at Council meetings to John Brace about charging us royalties for use of pictures from his blog your response can be seen as being either very brave or very foolish.

You’d think that someone who is supposed to be so media savvy would understand how things work in the blogosphere. You must have heard of Marshall McLuhan surely ?.The medium is the message and all that .We will always have the last word on here and it’s something you and your erstwhile colleagues never had and never will have any POWER or CONTROL over and that’s what really upsets you people.

And so of course this is what your response is really about –  trying to regain some control by playing the “poor me” card and bringing your children into it. What your children (who are hardly babes in arms) may or may not read is not our responsibility.The person who needs to take responsibility for their actions is you.

It’s also a bit rich (pun intended) to be claiming victimhood when a rough calculation indicates you have outstripped everyone (including former CX’s) when it comes to your pay-off(s).

Now time to put a couple of other “misconceptions” to bed :

Anonymity – we were accused in one of the replies of hiding behind anonymity to have a pop at Little Bo Peep .This seems a tad hypocritical coming from someone with the self-righteous nom de plume as Pastor Niemoller – actually that’s one of two aliases they use – so we’ll take no lectures from them both on the use and abuse of anonymity.

Let’s break it down and get back to what we stated before about power and control. The way this site operates means we do not face the same constraints as the local mainstream press – who despite some valiant campaigns can be compromised by threats to advertising revenue, a risk averse legal department or just lack of future co-operation from some some of the most important sources of news and some of the most powerful people in the area.

Plus it is not the job of the local media to hold local officials to account – it is local politicians and they have failed miserably and shamefully to do so.So how else do we ever hope to get stories like this which are very much in the PUBLIC INTEREST out there?.After all it’s the poor punters who pay their council tax who should have the right to know where the hell their money is going.

However vulgar and disrespectful it may seem to self righteous prigs like the Pastor Wirral Leaks is a place were the disenfranchised,the bullied ,the cowed,the downtrodden and the powerless have a voice and sometimes it’s an angry voice – an anger borne of frustration and injustice.And lets make no mistake what is written on here is exactly how ,behind closed doors, the so called respectable and powerful speak about other people and each other.

Private and personal – Our self appointed morality guardian Pastor “First they came for the hypocrites” Niemoller along with Degg also refers to “personal comments”.

This site is about public accountability and not personal attacks. Personal impropriety in the course of public duties will inevitably lead to comments about nepotism,conflict of interest and the appropriate use of public money and we make no apologies for that.

Although it goes against our ethos to edit,censor or redact replies we have refrained from publishing replies that we think are gratuitously insulting or appear to us to emanate purely from personal enmity (and believe us there were plenty of those).

However if indeed we are “creating an environment where Officers are so frightened of being the next ‘uggly’  ” we’d say that was a good thing.

Finally we’d like to give the last words (because that’s how it works round here) to one of our most valued contributors who somehow puts Degg’s plea into proper perspective :

” The difference is we ended up in hospital trying to make a corrupt system better, she , by trying to defend it…” 

The Bung,The Bad & The Uggly : Silence is a Golden Handshake

CIGGIEMATES

Two terse sentences brought to an end 13 long years in the chaotic world of Brighton Street on Monday:
“We can confirm that Emma Degg left the Council on Friday 17 July following her request for voluntary severance and an agreement being reached with her.
We wish her well for the future.”

Precisely who the “we” is wishing the now departed head of tourism and community engagement “well for the future” would be interesting to know, however.
Because there isn’t exactly a queue of people lining up to donate towards her leaving present.
Emma “Uggs” Degg is of course long known to regular readers of Wirral Leaks. She’s been directly and euphemistically referred to in virtually all of our reports.
Such was her influence right across Wirral Council, there seemed little that could be done without her first giving it the nod.
And that includes her control over and interference in replies to Freedom of Information requests…

During her tenure she held enormous sway over three chief executives – and got a fourth, the incumbent  Eric “Feeble” Robinson, to sign off her generous leaving package – which we’ll come to shortly.
Degg was in effect the de facto deputy chief executive to previous CX Graham Burgess and Jim Wilkie before him, again, more of which later.

There are anecdotes galore about her antics. About her manipulations, her tantrums, her politicking, back-biting, hair pulling out, floor-rolling hysterics, wild accusations and constant poison-dripping.

There are those colourful relationships with certain senior council officers, too.
For a long time – too long a time – none of it seemed to matter.
Such was her vice-like grip on the balls of weak men in powerful positions – and let’s make no bones about it, we’re looking at every single individual, elected or employed, who failed to act against her histrionics – Degg remained untouchable for over a decade as she rose from mere spin doctor to taking up residence in the office next to the boss.

To the abject horror of many inside and outside our rotten borough, she appeared to be unstoppable – right up until the wheels began to fall off in October 2013.
That was when a letter was sent out to the local press detailing how Degg – who earned £84,000 a year of your council tax – had been paid a further, tax-free, hush-hush one-off payment of £48,000 out of the public purse.

The 2013 letter, since obtained by Wirral Leaks, said: “It was paid through the payroll and was tax-free, being classed as compensation – apparently in relation to her being bullied and ill-treated at work.
“The payment was authorised by Graham Burgess, the [then] Chief Executive and Chris Hyams, the head of human resources and organisational development.
“It is unclear as to whether elected members were involved in the decision to make this payment, or indeed, are even aware of it.
“External legal advice was sought as to making the payment, so that will add to the bill for the residents of Wirral.”

Though Degg was never identified as the recipient at the time, the reaction throughout the council was instant: Utter consternation.
But still she clung on.
Burgess of course skipped out of Brighton Street on New Year’s Eve, under circumstances that appear related to secretive and possibly romantic goings on between himself and Degg – and that of Degg and the director of regeneration, Kevin Adderley.
The heat was very definitely on, so Burgess scuttled out of the kitchen.

Since then Degg has largely been absent from the town hall, supposedly through illness.
Yet as one Leaker informed us yesterday: “Just had a call from… who were told this morning that she had decided to leave after being off ill for some time. What a joke.
“They have played the whole ‘she’s been off ill for some time’ card with the staff. One of the things that took so long was agreeing how she would go.
“She has even been putting the feelers out for who might like to go for leaving drinks with her (presumably to celebrate her massive cheque)…. Er, that will be no one, thanks.”

Ah yes – the massive cheque.
Another letter obtained by Wirral Leaks from what appears to be the same well-informed source behind the 2013 revelation about the £48,000 payment – a payment that to this day has never been explained to council taxpayers – offers up some details.
If you have recently left the council’s employ with a meagre pay off – or if you have left because you couldn’t work with or alongside Degg or her ever shrinking number of acolytes – then you may want to look away now……

She leaves with three month’s pay in lieu of notice, £35,000 in redundancy, and a £15,000 compromise agreement to keep her mouth shut.
The letter writer adds: “What makes it even worse is she insisted on receiving £50,000 cash to go – so the council has paid the income tax and national insurance on her behalf – so the taxable element of her payment has cost the council £27,000.
“It all means that Emma Degg’s take home pay for July is £97,000.”
(Interesting how Wirral Council always – always – has money to pay off senior staff members, but cries penury whenever we want some actual services, isn’t it?).

The writer also says the first £48,000 payment was not for “bullying” after all.
It was “hush money as she had threatened to divulge certain information publicly”.
What that information was we can still only speculate. But it presumably wasn’t her poisonous briefing in 2008 that adult social services whistleblower Martin Morton was “a bit bonkers”.
Another Leaker, themselves in a different job after years working near Degg, contacted Leaky Towers yesterday, to say: “I don’t think I realised what an abnormal environment I was working in while working with her.
“[The new job has been] a massive eye opener… to make me realise how much [working in proximity to Degg] had really affected me. My default position with her was self-defence mode!
“[Now there is] No getting a million people to sign anything off, no worrying about whether I was allowed to share, and no being scared that I may have said too much.
“No drama and no one barking orders or screaming at people for doing things wrong. I am glad she has gone but so disappointed and let down she has been paid off.”

It’s interesting that part of the severance package included £35,000 “redundancy” – does that mean the role of head of tourism has now been deleted?
Surely the long-suffering council taxpayers of Wirral should be told?
As for the £15,000 to keep schtum – something Jim Wilkie, Graham Burgess and Kevin Adderley (at least) will be desperately hoping she sticks to – it seems pretty unlikely to be a watertight agreement.
Emma Degg knows where all the bodies are buried at Wirral Council. Not least because she helped bury many of them.
The question now is: Will the gatekeeper turn poacher in revenge?

Troubled Minds

Frank and Cameron 2

Wirral’s ‘Troubled’ Families Project

‘As an ever increasing number of families become dysfunctional

an ever increasing supply of socially offensive individuals results’

Frank Field MP -‘Neighbours From Hell’

‘They [the troubled families] are the source of a large proportion of the problems

in society. Drug addiction. Alcohol abuse. Crime. A culture of disruption

and irresponsibility that cascades through the generations…a small number

of these families cost an extraordinary amount of money’’

David Cameron MP Oldbury Speech; 2011

This is the story of how central governments and compliant local authorities like Wirral, have wasted vast sums of tax payer money in failing to ‘re-programme’ poor, vulnerable families in the underclass via ineffective, sanctions led, interventions. There is a very long history in this country of the middle class political establishment defining the poorest elements of the underclass as ‘folk devils’: costly nuisances, threats to social and ‘moral’ stability and even as an existential threat to racial purity and survival.

‘Some [of the underclass families] are of low intelligence, most of low educational attainment. The balance of our population, our human stock, is threatened’ Sir Keith Joseph intellectual godfather of Thatcherism; 1974

In the early 20th century such thinking led to an active eugenics movement in western democracies justifying the sterilisation or confinement of social misfits including unmarried mothers, the disabled, beggars, homosexuals, addicts, prostitutes and problem children. Herr Hitler, learning from the eugenic engineers of the democracies, spun the unacceptable cost of the disabled German ‘useless mouths’ and with the help of doctors and the local authorities, quietly began to murder disabled children and adults. By 1942 all were gone. The SS Aktion Gruppe T4, who had developed the necessary murder technology, then went on to new triumphs at Belsen and Auschwitz.

Of course today we would not countenance such horrors…would we? Yet the underclass is still projected as a major threat …’crime, drug and alcohol addiction’…’a culture of disruption’…’socially offensive individuals’…’scroungers’…’benefit cheats’…’ASBO yobs’…’families from hell’: familiar descriptors in the propaganda of the last four governments.

By denigrating ‘troubled families’, the last and current governments have eliminated any sympathy for these people, justifying harsh, sanctions based, interventions against them and general reductions in unemployment, sickness, working tax credit, and child tax credit benefits. Now, in summer 2015, we find that the Conservatives will limit child related benefits to two children. Are we seeing here the rebirth of eugenics motivated social policies? After all, why should we fund their ‘lifestyle choices’? Our very own Frank Field has proposed combating poverty by sending poor,’ irresponsible’ parents who can’t budget, who supposedly spend money on non-essentials and so fail to feed their children, to the Troubled Families Projects for re-programming.  In fact we will see that the families targeted for ‘The Troubled Families Programme’ have ‘lifestyles’ which heavily feature long standing physical and mental illnesses, genuine inability to work and children with learning disabilities. These are families in hell, not families from hell. Very few are criminal; very few are drug or alcohol addicted, despite the false claims of Cameron. We will also see how the public has been shamefully hoodwinked by equally false claims of project success in ‘turning families around’ and saving money. We will use data obtained from the official Dept. for Communities & Local Government website and Freedom of Information Act requests to Wirral Council and the government.

Nationally 120,000 families were targeted, supposedly for being lazy, criminal drug addicts but actually for having multiple forms of deprivation. In Wirral 910 were targeted. In the TFP local authorities like Wirral were paid a bounty of £3,200 for each family signed up. Additional bounties were paid by results. That is for

* an adult who gains continuous work for 6 months                                        £800

* a family meeting the ‘crime/ anti-social behaviour/ education’ target            £700

So what did the Wirral project achieve? Overall locally, 910 families were ‘reprogrammed’.

In March 2015 a conference at the New Brighton Floral Pavilion ‘celebrated’ the ‘remarkable success’ in ‘turning around’ the lives of these families. Cllr. Tony Smith, Cabinet Member for Children & Family Services, said (in www. wirral.gov.uk/news/17-03-2015)

We have seen a hugely successful outcome thanks to close partnership working between public sector bodies and Wirral families’

The close working partnership included ‘assertive, non-negotiable interventions’ and ‘tough sanctions’ for non-cooperation. The government has repeatedly stressed the role of sanctions e.g.

‘Sanctions are key. The threat of sanctions and the use of sanctions provide both a way of curbing bad behaviour and also a lever for persuading people to co-operate fully

…families need an intensive, persistent and if necessary coercive approach’

This approach was applied to the many families with mental health problems and learning disabled children as we will see. The council claimed that

‘67% of participants re-engaged with or stayed in employment, education or training in 2013/14…’

Er?…clearly those who stayed in work, or education, or training  may have done so without project interventions. In fact at entry 74% of households were workless. The key question is: how many families got somebody back into work over the duration of the project? The answer is 2.6%. Of course these people may have got jobs anyway without the project. It would have been useful to know what % got a job in the year before project entry, would it not? However no such data is collected in the TF projects. Neither are there any control groups of similar families run in parallel with the projects which would have provided a solid baseline. Strictly speaking, as the DfC&LG admits in the appendices of it’s reports, out of sight of the media, claimed family changes cannot objectively be attributed to the project interventions. Even if we accept the 2.6% change in employment this leaves 71.4% of households workless. Can this truthfully be described as ‘hugely successful’?  Surely our Council is either shamefully careless and numerically incompetent in its reporting or deliberately lying to tax payers? Surely either explanation is unacceptable?

The Council claim is that family turn around in the ‘crime / anti-social behaviour / education’ arena was also a great success. We are told of a

‘95% reduction of ASB across all families engaged with the service’

In fact, for the Wirral, the DfC&LG database tells us that 77.2% of the families had met the ‘crime/ASB/education’ improvement target …not quite 95% but still an apparently impressive result. However there is a slight problem. My FoIA request to Wirral Council yielded additional data. It turns out that at project entry 93.5% of adults had no reports of ASB; 89.6% of children had no reports of ASB; 87% of minors had no proven offences; only 1.2% of the children had an ASBO or Acceptable Behaviour Contract. By the way local authorities were not obliged to record the frequency and severity of supposed ASB. The pattern is similar across the country. This is surely a long way from government spin that all our families are criminal and anti-social.

So how can we explain the claim that 95% or 77.2% of families had met the ‘crime / ASB/ education’ target?  If most had no ASB or crime to start with the ‘turn around’ must be in educational issues. We find that 13% of children had three or more temporary exclusions from school at entry. 42% of children had 15% or more unauthorised absences in three school terms. It appears that our Wirral project reduced truancy…a useful result surely? However looking at the official success criteria we discover that a ‘turned around’ child could be regularly absent for 1 day in 7 and still be claimed as a success ! A child could have fixed exclusions at 66% of his entry rate and still be claimed as a success ! By the way the work and crime cluster claims were based on a period of only six months. Cllr. Smith transformed this into ‘effects’ lasting into ‘future generations’. I suggest these are rather low success thresholds for claiming Smith’s ‘hugely successful outcome’ on behalf of the Council.

Perhaps more importantly, by reporting ‘success’ for the ‘crime / ASB / education’ aggregated cluster, a deliberately false impression is given to the public of high initial levels of crime and ASB in the families then successfully reduced by the projects. In fact what has been achieved is a modest, partial reduction in truancy. There is rather a big difference between adult crime and truancy.  Coupled with the mere 2.6% claimed fall in unemployment the TF project results for Wirral are ‘remarkable’ only for the way the tax payer has been misled by the Council and nationally by the government. The Council also proudly records the praise of Louise Casey, the Troubled Families Tsar, who told them it was

‘a fantastic performance’ from a ‘tremendous team’

Given the actual results in Wirral this is an astonishing conclusion, but then Casey has a long history of fantastical outbursts, recommending ministers to come into work ‘pissed’ and threatening to ‘deck’ anybody at No. 10 if they mention ‘evidence based policy one more time’. (This was at a Home Office / ACPO formal dinner in 2006 when she was Blair’s Respect Tsar, as reported by what she calls the ‘friggin Guardian’; see below).

Let’s look at costs. Cameron claimed that the 120,000 troubled families nationally cost the state a horrific £9 billion per annum. The promise was made that the TF Programme would eliminate these costs. So how much was saved? Supposedly by March 2015 117,910 families had been processed. 8.9% allegedly met the employment criterion (compared with 2.6% in Wirral). 80.6% met the ‘crime / ASB / education’ criterion (compared with 77% in Wirral). The average family allegedly cost a computed £26,000 per annum to support at project entry based on benefits, social service costs and criminal justice system costs. Conveniently this was also the total benefits cap set by the Coalition government. The DfC&LG claims that £11,200 per annum per family was saved by the projects giving a total of £1.18 billion per annum. However these are not delivered savings but hypothetical estimates based on complex assumptions about sustained changes in family behaviour into the future. Remember the ‘changes’ had only been monitored for six months while the families were under close supervision. Many years of evidence on previous family intervention projects suggests a rapid decay when support is removed. Also please note that local authority data on ‘success’ was not audited by any outside body and the project data are not recognised as official government statistics. The reader may find all this highly suspicious but I could not possibly comment!

You will recall that Cameron claimed that £9 billion, not the highly doubtful £1.2 billion, would be saved. This was noticed in some places. On March 10th 2015 Eric Pickles, Communities Minster, reported to the House of Commons on the TFP ‘triumph’. He was challenged by Hilary Benn MP about the claims. He replied

‘ The Rt. Hon. Gentleman made a number of points on how we can demonstrate success and square the £1.2 billion [savings] with the £9 billion [we promised]…this is notoriously difficult territory because governments of all types are absolutely terrible at measuring outcomes’

And I suggest, normally good at deliberately stacking the deck to maximise the appearance of policy outcome success. Even so £1.2 billion is a long way from £9 billion …even with fiddled data. This time the state was tripped up by its own spin and lies. Look at the data released again. The average saving per family was £11,200 compared with a £26,000 starting cost. This means that the remaining cost per family is 26,000 – 11,200 = £14,800 per annum. This is 56.9% of the starting cost. But 89.5% of families were ‘turned around’. Does this mean that the 10.5% of unreformed families now carry 56.9% of the starting costs? In fact it tells us that the ‘turn around’ criteria’ are not strongly linked to the actual costs generated by the families. Remember that only 8.9% of families got a member back into work. We can also show that success on the ‘crime / ASB / education’ criterion has little effect on costs. For example, nationally only 10% of adults had a proven offence. In Wirral only 6.5% of adults had an ASB report.

So where do the costs that lead to the £26,000 per annum troubled family total come from? We know that the average troubled family has 1.7 adults and 2.5 children. DfC&LG survey data tells us that the children had high levels of disability and illnesses. 39% had a statement of special educational needs; 33% had a mental health problem; 19% had a long standing physical illness; 46% of families had one or more adults with a mental health problem; 33% of adults had a long standing illness; 83% of families received out of work benefits; 97% were in social housing or temporary accommodation. These are very poor, very sick families. If we consult the various state benefit websites we can enter the average demographics and health profiles for our families and calculate the benefit and service costs they would attract. Depending on assumptions we get a range of £21,000 to £29,000 per annum. This compares with the claimed average cost of £26,000 per troubled family. My calculation did not include an estimate of criminal justice system costs for the 10% of adults who had at some time offended. The match is still good.

The bulk of our families are costly because they are unemployed, with chronically, physically and mentally ill adults, and larger than average numbers of children, many of whom are learning disabled and ill. If the families cannot work and many children are disabled it is difficult to see how a significant reduction in the average £26,000 cost could be achieved other than by stopping unemployment and the additional benefits currently associated with those disabled children. Threats, sanctions and parenting classes delivered by the Troubled Families Projects cannot affect these costs in any significant way. The TFPs are simply a cynical fraud on the public. However, the harsh denigration of the families opens the way to justifying drastic cuts in current benefits as we are beginning to see. Even so the government’s £9 billion savings target is a fantasy figure…unless sterilisation, euthanasia and other eugenic measures are indeed back on the table for a significant section of the underclass. This Conservative government’s aim now is to re-programme a further 400,000 troubled families.

Let’s go back to Cameron’s spin and compare it with what we have learned.

‘They [the troubled families] are the source of a large proportion of the problems in society. Drug addiction. Alcohol abuse. Crime. A culture of disruption and irresponsibility that cascades through the generations. A small number of these families cost an extraordinary amount of money.’

Surely any state action against such people is justified? Yes, they cost a lot, but they are long term unemployed with remarkably high levels of chronic physical and mental illness and learning disability in the children, as the official data show. But aren’t they are also criminals with irresponsible life styles? The DfC&LG national evaluation of the families tells us that only 3% of adults in the families had been treated for non-prescription drug dependency; only 3% had been treated for alcohol dependency; 90% of adults had not offended; 93.5% of adults had no ASB; 89.6% of children had no ASB; the under 18 conception rate was only 2%.  We shrug off political rhetoric and spin these days …politicians lie, that’s all…but in this case that lying rhetoric has lethal consequences for vulnerable, poor families across the country.

One more time, let’s say again that the Troubled Families Programme has not worked and cannot work. In fact let’s listen to Louise Casey, Cameron’s Troubled Families Tsar, who was also Blair’s ASBO and Respect Tsar and who ran the state family intervention apparatus for many years and still does

‘As hard as it is to accept, the truth is despite our best efforts over many years – and I include myself in that – we just haven’t got it right. We haven’t succeeded in getting these families to change or in stopping the transmission of problems from generation to generation – we just haven’t’

Casey came clean privately at the Reform right wing think tank on 12.06.14. So there you have it from the horse’s mouth. In public her stance on these vulnerable, sick, helpless families was

We should be talking about things like shame and guilt …we have lost the ability to be judgmental because we worry about being seen as nasty to poor people’

Her boss, Eric Pickles, was of a like mind

‘We have sometimes run away from categorising, stigmatising, laying blame. We need a less understanding approach’

Since Pickles had over a decade of evidence at his disposal and commissioned the national survey of troubled families characteristics he was well aware of their true nature. Pickles and Casey deserve the highest level of contempt from anyone who believes government is obliged to tell the truth to citizens; anyone with an ounce of compassion.

So what did this latest farce cost us nationally and locally? The central government TFP cost was £462 million to date with local authorities spending an additional £153 million.

The pro-rated cost for a project of Wirral’s scale with 910 families would be £4.75 million. Was a modest reduction in truancy and getting less than 24 adults back into work for 6 months,that is at £198,000 per job, good value for money? Cllr. Smith remember, calls all this ‘a hugely successful outcome’. By the way Smith et al were only celebrating ‘phase 1’ at the Floral Pavilion. Nationally ‘phase 2’ will re-programme a further 400,000 families at a cost of £800 million to £1.6 billion. If Wirral processes the same share of families as in phase 1 it will cost the local tax payer a minimum of £6.2 million up to £12.3 million. Do you really want to spend this money on a discredited, abusive, politically motivated, voodoo social engineering project?

Wirral Council cannot use the Nuremberg defence: I was only following orders. Phase 1 of the TFP was voluntary. Like many councils Wirral was seduced by the easy money of a £3,200 bounty for just signing up a family. Phase 2 pays only £1,000 up front and appears to be compulsory. The administrative load in data gathering and reporting will be much higher, costing us more locally. Wirral chose to dance with the Devil and now the tax payers here will pay for the second, grander dance.

At the same time the National Children’s Bureau, using the Freedom of Information Act, has discovered that funding for ‘early intervention’ on children needing help, has fallen from £3.18 billion in 2010/11 to £1.44 billion in 2014/15, a fall of 54.8%. Many scientifically valid studies (unlike the invalid TFP evaluations), including the Allen Reviews, have demonstrated the cost effectiveness of real clinical / educational interventions. For example the Centre for Mental Health in February 2015 found that school based treatment aimed at ‘conduct disorders’ (yes, the mentally disordered kids from our families excluded from school) cost ~£108 per child but later returned nearly £3,000 per child ‘turned around’. Tackling aggressive adolescents returned less than £27,700 per child for a treatment cost of £1,260. There is also much evidence that simple changes in nutrition can have massive positive effects on child behaviour. But with current family benefit cuts and sanctions this government is moving in exactly the wrong direction to improve child behaviour and learning. Let us hope that the local food banks can blunt some of the inevitable child malnutrition. There is also growing evidence that damaging epigenetic factors related to childhood deprivation can indeed ‘cascade through the generations’.

If multi-generational deprivation, not ‘irresponsibility’, has cursed our families’ genes then Cameron’s demonising comments become even more offensive and misguided.

This has been a short summary of the current position. If the reader wants to know more about the history of failed intervention in ASB, dysfunctional, chaotic, troubled families and the evidence for how we can help these families through professional medical interventions, remedial education and improved nutrition, please see

‘Troubled Families: State Lies, Demonisation and Voodoo Social Engineering’, David P Gregg; Green Man Books 2015; ISBN 978 – 1514170588.

If you wish to learn more about New Labour thinking on dysfunctional families, which started eighteen years of abuse, the hysterical role of Frank Field MP in that thinking,and the rational counter-arguments against it, please see

‘Politicians From Hell’, David P Gregg; Green Man Books 2015; ISBN 978 – 1507610275.

See also ‘Uncle Frank’s Hunger Games’ on Wirral Leaks.

Re:Evolutions

 Companies House 003
We’ve had some interesting feedback on our Wirral De-Evolution story
Not sure that even we can publish most of it as the responses were less than complimentary about some of the main protagonists behind this Darwinian DASS endeavour.
The comment that DASS Director Graham  Hodgepodge ” never comes out of his glass box and really seriously needs to grow a pair!” was probably the least critical comment we received.
However it seems that as ever there are more questions than answers when it comes to Wirral Council (and they wonder why there are so many Freedom of Information requests).
Here are a few questions we’ve been asked and in the name of public interest we’d be grateful if any of our readers could help clarify the following queries:
So how is this going to work then? How can all the senior staff on this project continue to work for the Council? 
Oh wait, here’s an idea. Why don’t we all get handsomely paid off or even better pensioned off, then finish on the Friday and start again on the Monday with the Social Enterprise on even more money.
I would also like to know if these jobs were advertised?
How are the Council going to get around the OJEU regulations for commissioning? Surely there is a conflict of interest!
Did you know the Finance Director of Wirral Evolutions is someone called Sandra Thomas ?- don’t you think it might be worth finding out whether she was involved in the cover up of financial abuse of disabled people by DASS ?.  

Devo-Scouse ? – My Arse!

Featured imageDon’t say we’re judgemental here at Wirral Leaks….but it took until Eric Robinson’s 2nd address to Wirral Council before the penny dropped (or £48,000 in Wirral Council’s case) and we realised that there was yet another corporate-speak spouting spin merchant in our midst.

Let’s face it we couldn’t stand the last Wirral Council Chief Executive Comrade Burgesski from the word get go. The self interest! , the self promotion!  and let’s not forget the self abuse!.”What Really Matters” was his permanent contract and the Council credit card. But then even those tics and twitches  – which made it seem like the person in charge of Wirral Council was the love child of Frank Spencer and Jack Douglas didn’t put certain people off – but then they do say that power is an aphrodisiac!.

However all it took for Stressed Eric to mark his card permanently with us was the use of the dreaded phrase “Devo-Scouse” that’s doing the rounds.In his patronising ExecView missive Eric tells us that “ The Council Leader Cllr Phil Davies met with the Secretary of State to discuss ‘Devo Scouse’ and devolving more powers to the Liverpool City Region. “

And we’re telling you right here,right now Eric we aren’t buying this (or the golf resort spin) – you just about got away with telling us about your “passion” in your inaugural address but you’ve really crossed a line with this BS.

What’s more Her Ladyship concurs with our source –  that ExecView is not only a word blend from hell this edition has more photos than this week’s issue of Hello!.It seems that with Stressed Eric and his rictus grin we find ourselves once more in the realm of the cult of personality (minus the personality).

However there are some moments of of unintentional hilarity as Eric cheerily tells us what he’s been up to to earn his £165K per annum:  “Next stop was Woodchurch, where I talked to the Recycling team about their interesting work to reduce dog fouling….”.

It’s a crap job but somebody’s got to do it eh, Eric?.

Finally our LeakyView on Devo-Scouse  is this – here at Leaky Towers we wouldn’t trust Mayor Joe or Power Boy Pip to look after the class hamster during the school holidays.

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/28dc8b56d191c90e7216a3f5b/images/0f4b4cf5-d6c7-4916-9a56-1414a012da96.jpg

Devo

Rotten To The Core

Crabtree- Private Eye 006Crabtree- Private Eye 009

Private Eye magazine is going to have to re-name its Rotten Boroughs column “Rotten Wirral” the way things are going – so regularly are Wirral council failings recorded in that hallowed tome.

We know that suspended Wirral Councillor Jim Crabtree likes to court the press so no doubt he’ll be delighted to find out today that finally he has national press coverage of his exploits/exploitation.

We note that the Eye article quotes from the Liverpool Echo without acknowledging that it was actually Wirral Leaks that broke the story and that essentially without the leak to us it would have been covered-up,glossed over and forgotten about.

However unlike Cllr.Crabtree we’re not proud – as well we know that pride comes before a fall.We also note Eye rang the beleaguered councillor  “but he hung up”.

Let’s hope Cllr.Crabtree receives similar treatment and that he is eventually hung out to dry – just like he and his colleagues have done to so many people over the years who dared to challenge the bullying,manipulative and utterly corrupt regime that runs Wirral Council.

LOBO- tomy Loans

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Wirral Council and banks…….just think about that unholy alliance for a moment and then top up your swear box .

Apparently the people who govern us locally – again,just think about that for a moment and then order a new swear box from Amazon where you can read : “people who ordered this swear box also bought a rope and a chair”  – have been caught up in what sounds like a glorified loan shark scheme called LOBO loans to pay off council borrowing.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/13376738.Banks_charge_Wirral_taxpayers___8m_interest_a_year_to_service_council_borrowing/

Now we don’t know whether it’s us and we’ve got early-onset dementia but we’re getting really confused at Leaky Towers – wasn’t there some brouhaha not so long ago about Wirral Council lending money at preferential rates to help out their mates at other Councils ?. Seems to us as though someone in the Finance Department had a LOBO-tomy when it comes to managing council finances.

Were these LOBO loans some kind of local government pyramid scheme – with the council tax paying public busting a gut lugging the bloody big stones around to enable the pharaohs (aka councillors,council managers and bankers) to get fanned with peacock feathers and bathe in asses-milk?.

We asked Council spokesperson A  – who told us:

” The loans represent good value for money.They enable Wirral Councillors and senior officers to join our friend Mr.Hamid on jaunts around the globe.They also enable us to make huge pay-offs for failure and bungs for people to keep quiet.So all things considered we think Wirral council-tax payers will be delighted that we’re squandering their money left ,right and centre…..”

Council spokesperson B  later contacted us to clarify spokesperson A ‘s statement by saying:

” We’d like to apologise for Council spokesperson A who we think has been under a lot of strain due to continuous kow-towing and therefore we’ve made a referral to our Occupational Health service – because we truly,truly care about our staff here at Wirral Council. We really,really do.

However what Council spokesperson A was going to say before they were carted off to the basement of Wallasey Town Hall never to be seen again was :

Something,something,something….we know better than you…blah,blah,blah… don’t worry about money stuff you wouldn’t understand anyway… yada yadda yadda……that’ll have to do you ,now will you please go away.” 

Wirral De-Evolution

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Last month saw the launch of Wirral Evolutions,which apparently is a “Local Authority Trading Company (LAC) bringing together nine key day centre and daytime services from across the area to continue to offer high-quality care for people with long-term and learning disabilities.”

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/local-news/new-start-for-adult-services-9383500

However after the ballyhoo and hoo-ha at the Hulme Hall event it didn’t take long before Leaky Towers started receiving a steady flow of concerns raised by staff and carers and not just about the ludicrous name of the company!.

Carers and relatives have frequently mentioned the dodgy consultation process which proved to be a lucrative money-spinner for consultancy firm V4

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2014/10/26/a-v-sign-4-v4/

And now it seems as though Wirral Evolutions is now also proving to be a money-spinner when it comes to the head honchoes salaries at the new enterprise and which have been described to us as “excessive”  , especially when considering the size of the new company and that the budget for providing such services has been reduced from £6.3 million to £4.8 million!.

So not only have these public servants given themselves hefty pay rises but they’ve also bestowed fancy titles such as Managing Director,Finance Director,Marketing Director etc;. So it seems to us it’s the usual story of self-interested chiefs rewarding themselves for scalping public services.

Meanwhile social services staff are telling us the way this was all set up took them back to the bad old days of bullying and nepotism but nevertheless are still quite happy to see “The Coven” (as they’re less than affectionately known) who are behind this exciting/exiting venture to fly off on their broomsticks.

Even browbeaten social services “director” Graham Hodgepodge seems to want rid as he declared in a masterclass of understatement :“We have been faced with a lot of challenges and this is a great way of working together to move forward.”

Well he would say that wouldn’t he ?, especially when considering Moreton day centre staff took a mass grievance out against his father Bill !.

Further concerns have been raised about one of the “principal” figures behind this initiative having a string of dissolved companies behind them and that another seems to have an aversion to “people with long-term and learning disabilities” as apparently they “slobber”.Clearly the money and power have helped the poor love get over her aversion.

Finally let’s leave the last words to Chris Beyga, Acting Managing Director of Wirral Evolutions , who  at the launch declared  : “It is great to see so many people here as we move from a public service to a commercial entity.”

What could possibly go wrong?………….

The Vision Thing

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Oh here we go again – after Destination Excellence,What Really Matters and Future
Council  (just don’t mention Future Blueprint) here comes another new meaningless Wirral Council plan launched by Power Boy Pip and we regret to have to tell you it’s back to one of those old soundbite standbys – it’s all about the vision thing again.

20/20 Vision (aka Pip’s Pledges) is a  5 year plan of 20 pledges to be achieved by 2020 (geddit?) and by which apparently the people of Wirral can hold Power Boy to account (good luck with that one !).

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/20-ways-residents-hold-wirral-9550595

Most of the the pledges themselves are so vague,broad or simply unable to be measured they are virtually meaningless .We can only assume Pip’s gang must have been holed up in a room in Wallasey Town Hall and were under strict instructions they couldn’t leave for a round of golf until they’d reached the number 20.

For example we’d particularly like to know how exactly the following will  a) be achieved  b) be measured and c) how the blithering hell we can be expected to hold anyone to account on any of them! .

1. Improve the quality of life of older people 

2. Ensure children are ready to start school 

9. Develop workforce with skills that meet the needs of businesses for the future

15. Increased access to events and activities for all residents

17. Make community services “joined up and accessible”

The 20/20 Vision pledges seem to us to be so very reminiscent of former Labour leader Miliband’s infamous “Ed Stone” which is all the more surprising considering Frankenfield has previously been so disparaging of this woeful PR stunt as he so melodramatically wailed:

“Will any of them break free ,confess the weakness that now engulfs Labour and point us in a new direction where political principles outweigh gimmicky press releases…….

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/atonement/

We think that Frankenfield’s wise words seem equally applicable to 20/20 Vision but our dearly beloved saint in waiting does seem to have a particular “blind spot” when it comes to the local Labour group doesn’t he?.

To save Pip’s gang (under the direction of Frankenfield obviously) of maintaining this charade for the next 5 years we’d like them instead to turn their attention to just the following 4 pledges :

1.Sort out the Jim Crabtree  suspension

Outcome measure :He’s one of the gang – so no case to answer

2.Sort out the Louise Reece-Jones suspension

Outcome measure :She’s not one of the gang – so it’s bye -bye Lou-Lou

3.Sort out Wirralgate! 

Outcome measure: All those involved ARE the gang – so cheques all round

4.Sort out the she who shall remain nameless  “situation”

Outcome measure :She’s no longer one of the gang – so it’s bound to turn ug(g)ly….unless another big cheque arrives in the post.