Whistleblower reveals how Wirral Council dealt with concerns

Wirral Leaks has been given an insight into how everybody’s favourite Council deals with Whistleblowing/Confidential reporting…. erm it doesn’t … And this in the wake of the Martin Morton debacle,where we were assured lessons had been learnt

Here is an actual extract from the Whistleblowers email rasing his initial concerns to Social Services Director Howard Cooper about delays to care packages .

“One of my roles within the section was to assess vulnerable clients
eligibility for  packages of care if they met FACS criteria I was then
required to commission the appropriate services. The resulting electronic
‘paperwork’  was then checked and  authorised by my line manager and then
forwarded to the Brokerage team. After a while I started to receive queries
from Brokerage asking me if my requests to commission services needed a
‘waiver’ from my principal manager. As a new employee within the department
much of the terminology was unfamiliar and I sought clarification. It was
explained that there was an automatic four week delay built into the system
and that if I required this to be lifted I needed to request authorisation
or a ‘waiver’ from my principal manager to lift the delay.  Somewhat
confused I asked my line managers what was the reason for this delay and was
told it was for cases ‘in the community’ and all I needed to do was request
a waiver.”

The Whistleblowers email continues

” Another social worker informed me we were not supposed to talk about it, that it’s not really an official policy, but that everybody is aware of it and that it’s designed to save the department money.

Again I  asked Brokerage why there was a four week delay they stated ‘orders
from above’ and when pressed for more information they shrugged and said ‘we’ve never been told why’.  I questioned finance and they also knew about the
delay, and were under the impression it was ‘a money saving tactic.’

I then discussed this with a social worker who told me that this policy was
‘probably illegal’ and was certainly putting vulnerable people at risk

And

“Therefore   I would like my concerns to be investigated. namely
Are you aware of a ‘four week’ delay?

If so :

How long the four week delay on care packages has been in place ( is this an
official policy? )

Who was responsible for overseeing and implementing such a procedure?  And
what really was its purpose ?

Is this delay is still in place.? Are there still in built delays in
providing care packages?

*********************************************

And the response from Mr Cooper ?

*********************************************

——- Original Message ——-
From: “Cooper, Howard” <howardcooper@wirral.gov.uk>
To: XXXXXX
Sent: Friday, February 18, 2011 2:06 PM
Subject: Not read: Confidential Reporting procedure

Your message

  To:      Cooper, Howard; Norman, Bill D.
  Cc:      Unison
  Subject: Confidential Reporting procedure
  Sent:    Thu, 17 Feb 2011 10:00:32 -0000

was deleted without being read on Fri, 18 Feb 2011 14:06:53 -0000

***********************************

The Whistleblower did receive an answer to his concerns eventually, at the end of August, some six months after his original concerns were raised  after being promised by Council leader Steve Foulkes in June…..

“The latest update on your whistleblowing complaint, following my last e-mail, is that the solicitor has now drawn up a formal Opinion on the legal position on the Council practices you complained of. This Opinion is now being referred to an external lawyer for an independent view on whether it is legally correct, to be absolutely sure we are getting an unbiased view.

 

When this has been received, you will receive a full response with both Opinions so you can see for yourself what is being said.”

  Needless to say this has never happened. The Whistleblower has since gone public as he feels the whole sorry process did not seek to investigate his claims in a robust fashion, but instead attempted to pass delays off as ‘misunderstandings.’

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