Carry On Regardless – Wirral DASS

Our sources, (lets call them HP and Heinz) have shown us the proposed restructure for Wirral’s Department Of Adult Social Services (DASS.) This must be  the fifth occasion in three years that staff have been “realigned” and we would question just how much this bureaucratic tomfoolery is costing the taxpayer.

Alas it would appear the Department, is on the whole, being managed by the same old clique and sadly it really does look like a case of simply moving the deck chairs around the Titanic. Yes the much loved Howard Cooper has left with his CBE and we have a new director, but unless there is a root and branch clear out of a department that has been shamed, of one that has been described as “toxic and dysfunctional” and a place were a culture of management bullying and intimidation pervades,then Lord and Lady Wirral Leaks fear nothing will really change. Again it seems to be merely spin bluster, piss and wind.

You can view the Draft restructure by clicking the link below

DASS Restructure

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Nothing To See Here – Moving Along …

Is it any wonder the electorate have no faith in their Councillors and MP’s – Contrast and compare Councillor Roberts speech in 2009 [ Below- Re : Martin Morton’s concerns] to the Klonowski Report.  We really do hope she has read it and absorbed it’s full horror. Or will she again blithely stateDrawing this process out any further will serve no real purpose.” andIt’s time now to move forward, and look to the future “

[Here it is in full ]

Councillor Denise Roberts amendment, written in November 2009.

This matter has now been the subject of intensive investigation by the Audit Commission and by the Council’s own Internal Audit. 

A number of key reports have been produced and there are further reports for consideration on the Agenda of the Audit and Risk Management Committee tomorrow.

Let’s be quite clear what we are dealing with here, and what we are not dealing with.

●    We are not dealing with intentional fraud.

●    We are not dealing with decisions taken in malice.

●    We are not dealing with decisions taken for personal gain.

●    We are not dealing with hidden wrongdoing and corruption that needs to be rooted out and punished.

 

What we are dealing with, quite frankly, is a mess that needs to be sorted out.

●      We are dealing with honest decisions on charging taken at a time when there was no national guidance, which, in hindsight, could have been different.

●      We are dealing with decisions which were intended to improve the life of those moving from residential accommodation, where they had little disposable income, to supported living, where they had higher levels of disposable income.

 

●      We are dealing with decisions that, none the less, may have set charges too high, and then failed to review them.

●      We are dealing with people trying to do the best job they could, and that best job just not being good enough.

●      We are dealing with decisions not taken when the first opportunity to change things presented itself.

●      We are dealing with decisions taken, but not fully implemented.

●      We are dealing with a lengthy delay from the introduction of national guidelines on charges to their implementation in practice.

●      We are dealing, in short, with a period of intense stress, high staff turnover, chaos and confusion, dating back ten years or more, some of which led to the Department being placed in Special Measures.

This is not to excuse what happened. There were clearly significant and serious management failings, which we all recognise[sic]

It is right and proper that these failings should be properly investigated, and we have formally thanked Mr Morton for bringing these to the Council’s attention.

It is also right and proper that every effort is made to ensure these failings cannot happen again, and that procedures are put in place so we can be absolutely sure they won’t happen again.

 

It is also absolutely right and proper that any individual who may have been overcharged should be compensated for that overcharging.

A recommendation has already been made by the Audit and Risk Management committee to reimburse service users at Bermuda Road, Curlew Way and Edgehill Road, Moreton for overcharging between April 2003 and February 2006 and we welcome that.

A further report is being heard by members of that committee tomorrow night which looks at whether or not compensation should be paid for the period between 1997 and April 2003.

There is also a detailed report on the agenda from the Director of Social Services setting out the progress made in addressing the failures identified and ensuring they cannot happen again.

There have been allegations made of bullying against the whistleblower and Cabinet has already instructed the Director of Law, HR and Asset Management to initiate an investigation into these allegations and this will be carried out by an outside, independent person.

There is absolutely no reason to commission yet another investigation into areas that have already been exhaustively covered by the Council.

Measures have now been taken to put things right, and further measures have yet to be considered by the Audit and Risk Management Committee. 

It’s time now to move forward, and look to the future and to much of the excellent work now being carried out by the Department of Adult Social Services.

Drawing this process out any further will serve no real purpose.

I urge you to support this amendment. 

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

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear it’s almost one of those “I have in my hand, a piece of paper” type moments all politicians dread isn’t it ?


We note Cllr Roberts stated that  “Measures have now been taken to put things right” yet we observe this distressing  comment on The Wirral Globe website

“Abuse still continues .The company contracted by the council for my sons care continually break the terms of their contract yet DASS continue to insist they provide his care.This despite the fact they have just been found guilty for the third time of financial abuse at his home.It took 4 years of complaints to all levels at DASS we were even told to stop e-mailing the director which we ignored. It took the intervention of the Ombudsman before DASS would even investigate.The 2 young men concerned have just been refunded almost £800 for this latest abuse and we have been awarded £100 in recognition of the delay and trouble taken in persuing the matter.When reporting it to CQC I was told they don’t look into individual complaints despite the fact the Care Company state this is how they operate in all their other houses.”

We would also like to direct our gentle readers HERE  which reveals an email to Cllr Roberts from a concerned party …

We would expect a full and unequivocal public apology, but sadly breath holding is not advised.

Rotten Boroughs (Yup It’s Wirral Again)

Wirral Council yet again appear in Private Eye’s “Rotten Boroughs” section. It makes Lord and Lady Wirral Leaks heart soar with pride that we have such wonderful Town Hall officials looking after the public. So squeaky clean in fact that they make the Jonas Brothers look like Marilyn Manson.

The final sentence deftly sums up many peoples frustration –

The fact that only two heads have rolled, and far too late, is not cause for optimism”

From today’s Private Eye

A Grave Injustice

Whilst reading the Klonowski Chronicles (aka Independent Review Report ), there were times when Lord and Lady Wirralleaks had to go back and read certain passages again just to make sure that they weren’t hallucinating.
 
One such passage contained on Page 210 (Click HERE) of the report is concerned with Bentley -driving Service Provider 10  and 11- who sound like a particularly interesting  double act.
 
Among the allegations were that disabled people had suffered verbal abuse,lack of food and heating,the opening of dodgy bank accounts in their name and having their bag snatched ( “Service Provider 10 would take the bag off him/her and take the money out of it without any explanation or justification”).
 
However we were relieved to read that  CSCI , which we believe is now  known as the “Care” “Quality” Commission –  were able to provide a perfectly rational explanation of what was going on:
 
” There is no financial abuse.
   
The money that the service users have left over is given to Service Provider 11 for the service users to have a nice grave when they pass away”
 
Oh that’s all right then!, and what about the poor soul who was still going hungry THREE AND A HALF YEARS after it was first reported to Social Services?
 
I take it that this was seen as providing a special opportunity to sample their “nice grave” early was it?.
 
Which brings us to the first in a new series of cut out and keep Lessons To Be Learned  :
 
No1  – Remember ! next time somebody snatches your purse or you’re victim of identity theft  – don’t be quick to call the police – that person might just be a “funeral friend”  saving up for a marble headstone or a horse-drawn funeral cortege for you to enjoy when you’re ,erm…..dead.
 
Wirral is getting used to hearing about organisations who should be safeguarding  disabled people riding roughshod over their rights but driving over them in a Bentley adds insult to disability! 
Other lowlights (from the report) included;
Employee 98 records that Service User 9 (who was the service user who initiated the original concerns about Service Provider 4 in May 2004 via his/her Day centre Manager) was still, three and a half years later, going without food. Mr Morton is understandably appalled and the reader would expect the Members and Senior Officers reading this report to have similar reactions.

It is also recorded that:

“All three tenants told me they did not like living at Seabank Road, Service User 18 was inconsolably crying and pleading with me to help him/her move out.The previous night Service Provider 10 called round and frisbeed his/her envelope of money at him/her which fell on the floor.”

6.22.96. The report details how Service Provider 10 physically removed a support worker who had been commissioned by SP (WBC Supporting People team) out of the building.

6.22.97. Employee 98 goes on to list the following concerns, most of which (and more besides) had been previously reported by Mr Morton and known to DASS for over 3 years:

A. No written, signed and dated rental or other payment agreements

B. No receipting of monies paid or received

C. Evidence of Service Provider 10’s deceased husband/wife still being appointee and his/her bank account still being used to handle monies, this came from Miscellaneous 6 in the DWP Fraud team

D. Tenants who do not spend their weekly allowance are only “topped”up at the end of the week and resulting in a couple spending all their money on the day before payment to get the full amount

E. Tenants getting “fined” £5 if they ask for their money a day early.

F. A tenant told me that she is shown statements of her savings accrued through the year but this then goes back to nil at the end of the year

G. Service Provider 10 telling residents not to touch the substantial amount of food in the outside shed as it is his/hers”

H. According to other tenants one resident of Seabank Road who Service Provider 10 is appointee for and claiming all benefits has not slept in her room for more than two years, she lives with her boyfriend in another place in Egremont and collects her allowance from Service Provider 10

I. Copies of an agreement (signed but not dated) saying residents pay Service Provider 10 £47 a week for food which is certainly not provided and £35 for unspecified “management fee”

J. Miscellaneous 9 who is appointee for Service User 19 being charged £96.10 per week by Service Provider 10; he/she has a breakdown which states this is for utilities, food and care however the food and care are not being provided to this extent.”


Failure Is Not An Option – Its A Career Choice!

Huzzah and Hurrah ! News reaches us that former Wirral Chief Executive Steve”Mad Dog” Maddox is now a Deputy Lieutenant for Merseyside !!

A what?  Well basically these demi gods assist a Lord-Lieutenant who is the queen’s representative down here on planet earth.  Because of their expertise or much admired role within the local community they may be asked for their help with very important issues such as Honours nominations , Assessments for The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service; Suggesting names for Royal Garden Parties; Participation in Citizenship ceremonies as well as gadding about like some sort of Netto version of Richard Gere in an “Officer And A Gentleman” (because Male Deputy Lieutenants get to wear a knee-tremblingly sexy uniform replete with a bright shiny badge.) We wait with bated breath to hear if any of Wirral Council’s much loved senior officers make the next honours list now Steve has got his foot in the door.

Indeed Wirral seems to have an inordinate number of well paid failures, who , upon  leaving public office go on to do rather well for themselves. For example local MP Frank N. Field once publically called for Steve Maddox’s resignation and that of the then Education Director Howard “Tommy” Copper in a blistering public attack in which he referred scathingly to their inability to show the minimum level of leadership necessary to run any local authority. The incompetence that you and Howard Cooper have displayed in mismanaging education in Birkenhead has smitten the lives of too many of the young people I represent in Birkenhead and is unacceptable.

“I told you that if there were any further setbacks to establishing a new secondary school in Birkenhead I would publicly call for the removal of you both. I therefore serve notice that I am doing exactly that.””

OUCH!


Steve “Mad dog” Maddox of course left WBC by “mutual consent” after being gently nudged towards early retirement prior to the full details of Anna Klonowski’s damning report being made public. He also pocketed an OBE plus (according to WBC’s 2010/11 accounts) £157k  paid as “Compensation for loss of Office”(a similar amount was paid to former Social Services Director John “Curly Watts” Webb). Bizarrely, for a man who once suggested that the only thing Wirral tax payers were interested in was “dog crap,”Chester residing dandy Maddox was also awarded the freedom of Wirral!! But what of Cooperman ? Well Howie went on become interim manager of the sinking ship that is known as Wirral Social Services, he picked up a CBE (just like that! ) and has recently sailed off into the sunset with what one imagines is a comfortable pension. It would appear that a public savaging by dear old Frank N. actually enhances your career prospects!

For the record Frank N. Field is also a Deputy Lieutenant.

However, this sort of old boy’s club wankery isn’t confined to Wirral Borough Council.  Last year Consultants at Arrowe Park Hospital passed a vote of no confidence in their Chief Executive Len Richards. At the time the unions stated  “”The RCN has been raising concerns for many months about cuts in nursing staff, a lack of consultation with clinicians such as nurses and doctors, the closure of wards at Clatterbridge and reductions of beds and staff at Arrowe Park.

“Our members certainly feel that there has been an unwillingness to listen to clinical concerns and we hope that any new CEO will be prepared to listen carefully, work in partnership with us and act on the concerns raised by our members”.

Labour MP  Frank N Field was back in “attack dog” mode and was amongst a number of local MP’s who were highly critical of Mr Richards plans claiming it would cost the NHS extra money and take services further away from people who genuinely needed them.

Mr Richards left the Wirral very soon afterwards… and where is he now?  Well he’s only gone and secured himself a nice interim post as Chief Executive at Newham University Hospital Trust.  

See if you can find mention the vote of no confidence on the Wirral in this sentence?

“Len is ideally suited to meet the particular challenges the Trust now faces”

No joy? Try this one then..

“Len’s track record of service integration and retention of local delivery in merged organisations will help us greatly in capitalising on the enormous opportunities that this merger presents.” Really ???


Above is a photo of Len in his new post, “hangin’ tough”with his new “Transformational Posse” and meeting Stephen Timms, Labour Member of Parliament for East Ham, who, after meeting Len, simpered ““It was terrific to speak together to such a wide range of people responsible for the health service in Newham, working hard to improve services right across the board.  In the House of Commons I opposed the Government’s massive re-organisation of the NHS, but now everybody has to work together to make it work.”

It is not for us to suggest that Wirral’s gain is Newham’s loss but it certainly shows, yet again, just how successful failure can be if you know the right people.

 

If you fancy nominating somebody for an honour you can do so here http://is.gd/wZ2pe5

It would be refreshing to have someone who actually did something worthwhile to get some sort of recognition, instead of usual bottom feeding, obsequious squint-eyed lackies . So if you want to do a good deed for the day why not nominate Martin Morton?  After all he’s done more for the people of Wirral than the officers and councillors who continue to let the public down and desperately still attempt to cling to power, any which way!

The Compromise Agreement

There has been much talk of “Compromise Agreements” which WBC seem to throw  about like expensive confetti, like an annoying guest at a wedding.

But what do these mythical “agreements” look like?

 Well a whistleblower from WBC has kindly  given us “access” to extracts from his to show exactly what goes on when WBC want to “get rid” of bothersome employees who blow the whistle and who are covered by DDA/Equalities Act. It appears this is WBC’s preferred action rather than attempting do the right thing(I mean really? The right thing, who needs to do that shit!) He also tells us he was given 24 hours to sign this agreement or it would be withdrawn which initially just contained the VS payment. He refused the Councils offer of “legal advice” and Union “representation”(sic.)

Instead he got his own advice which we have had sight of and which stated “ the original letter was sent to the wrong address it  made reference to the compromise agreement which alluded for the first time that [Name] has some potential claims against the council that this agreement would prevent him from pursuing.

In this respect then it is already admitted that the general scheme of voluntary severance is being used in his case as a means to negate those claims.  In as far as this is the case, the second issue is that he will receive no more compensation that the another member of the scheme who has no such claims.

Unlike Martin Morton’s agreement this one contained no gagging clause.  Of course Mr Morton’s disclosure was clearly in the public interest and as such, gagging clauses are illegal. Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 – specifically Section 43J states –

43J.
(1) Any provision in an agreement to which this section applies is void in so far as it purports to preclude the worker from making a protected disclosure. 

(2) This section applies to any agreement between a worker and his employer (whether a worker’s contract or not), including an agreement to refrain from instituting or continuing any proceedings under this Act or any proceedings for breach of contract.

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

Anyway here is a Compromise Agreement, this includes VS AND a pay off not to pursue the Council through court due to  Disability Discrimination.

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

1.              the Council will by [date] pay the Employee the sum of  £19,000 [less any tax that is payable on any amount in excess of £30,000] as compensation for the termination of the Employee’s contract of employment (‘the Termination Payment’). For the avoidance of any doubt, the Employee’s date of termination of employment with the Council for the purposes of calculating the Termination Payment in accordance with the Council’s EVR/VS scheme shall be 30 June 2011.

 

2.              The Employee shall discharge all duties and responsibilities in accordance with their contract of employment up to and including [date]2011, and the Employer shall:

 

a.              Pay all salary and contractual benefits due to the Employee up to and including [date] less any tax and national insurance contributions payable; and

 

For the avoidance of any doubt, any salary paid to the Employee and relating tax and national insurance contributions paid by the Council under his contract of employment with the Council for any period beyond [date] shall be offset against any payment due under paragraph 3b.

 

3.              Subject to the provisions of paragraph 5, the Termination Payment and arrangements set out in this Agreement shall be in full and final settlement of all claims and rights of action that the Employee has or may have at the date of this Agreement against the Council or any of its or their employees or officers arising directly or indirectly from the Employee’s employment by the Council or the termination thereof, including but not limited to:

 

a.              any claim for unfair dismissal, under the Employment Rights Act 1996;

b.              any claim for a statutory redundancy payment, under the Employment Rights Act 1996;

c.               any claim in relation to an unauthorised deduction from wages, under the Employment Rights Act 1996;

d.              any claim for wrongful dismissal, unpaid bonus, enhanced redundancy payment or any claim for breach of any express or implied terms of the Employee’s contract of employment;

e.              any equal pay claim under the Equal Pay Act 1970/Equality Act 2010;

f.                any claim breach of contract;

g.              any claim under common law;

h.              any claim for remuneration for the protected period following the making of a protective award by an employment tribunal under Section 192 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992; and

i.                 any claim for pay in lieu of notice or damages for termination of employment without notice or on short notice.

j.                any claim arising in connection with the application and operation of the Council’s EVR/VS scheme implemented pursuant to the Local Government (Early Termination of Employment) (Discretionary Compensation) (England and Wales) Regulations 2006;

k.               any claim for maladministration arising in connection with the Employee’s employment.

 

5.       Without admission of any liability the Council shall pay the Employee the sum of £25,000 (twenty five thousand pounds) on [date] 2011 in full and final settlement of all claims the Employee may have against the Council or its employees or agents:

(a)      in connection with the Employee’s whistleblowing complaint relating to the Council’s Department of Adult Social Services, including but not limited to:

(i)       any claim that the Employee has been subjected to any detriment by any act or failure to act by the Council on the ground that the Employee made or has made a protected disclosure as defined by Part IVA of the Employment Rights Act 1996;

(ii)      any claim for maladministration including any alleged delay in dealing with the complaint; and

(iii)      any claim for personal injury, including any claim for injury to feelings.

For the avoidance of any doubt, any complaint received by the Council under the Council’s Whistleblowing Policy as at the date of this agreement shall be dealt with in accordance with the requirements of that Policy.

(b)      under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and/or under the Equality Act 2010 that the Council or its employees or agents have:

(i)       discriminated against him because of his disability;

(ii)      discriminated against him for a reason relating to his disability or treated him unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of his disability;

(iii)      applied a provision criterion or practice which is discriminatory in relation to his disability;

(iv)     not complied with any duty to make reasonable adjustments by failing to take reasonable steps to avoid a substantial disadvantage to which he has been put by reason of his disability including the steps specified in Section 20 (3) (4) (5) and (6) of the Equality Act 2010;

(v)      victimised him by subjecting him to a detriment because he has done a “protected act” within the meaning of Section 27 (2) of the Equality Act 2010;

(vi)     harassed him by engaging in unwanted conduct relating to his disability.



Whistle-blower review could become a police inquiry?

“Allegations that vulnerable adults were subjected to violence, sexual abuse and the theft of their benefits by organisations which were supposed to be caring for them could become a matter for the police.”

This would of course be not before time. The sad thing is it appears that people with Learning Disabilities are fairly low down on the Police’s list of priorities

Read more at the Globe.

http://bit.ly/yPk1JL

Accountabilty Please !!

More headlines to be proud of !!

Wirral Council – “When The Chips Are Down”

In an age of austerity, where public services are under huge financial pressures it appears Wirral Council can happily spend  £129,000 to inform all staff about “Destination Excellence” (details HERE) via a series of slumber inducing “roadshows.”

These “roadshows”, one would hope, bear little resemblence to the fabled Radio 1 road shows of yore hosted by the likes of DLT and Gary Davies.  The thought of Councillor Foulkes in a baseball cap wearing a whistle(sic) whilst  telling staff to “keep it real” is almost too much to bear.  Nope these roadshows are in fact a response to the Klonowski report which showed Wirral Council to be an inward looking basket case. The purpose is to tell all staff “we weren’t very good, we got caught, but we can get better by not sacking the idiots who got us in the mess, please help us cling to power”.  Foulkes who clearly will not be troubling  the literary world any time soon suggested that everything could be put right if everybody remembered  their driving lessons in a staff message (or Authority Broadcast as Mein Councillor likes it call them)

To me it’s like going back to the basics of learning to drive again. Remember studying the Highway Code? Learning how to change gears?  Remember that moment when you thought you would never get the hang of it and that there were just too many things to think about all at once, and now, when you drive, you don’t think about it all and it all just happens automatically?”


Erm, ok Steve whatever, so maybe all staff should wear L plates? That’ll be sure to inspire confidence wont it ! But maybe , if we stick with the driving analogy for a moment,  when the public realise just how much money has been wasted by Wirral Councillors and Chief Officers they’ll happily “drive” you all out of office

Let’s have a look :

The council has lost out on millions  due to this debacle which include

The money overcharged, estimated at £500,000.

Fees of £3.3m which Wirral Council’s social services lost out on because their charging policy was wrong.

£250,000 for the Anna Klonowski report.

£50,000 for the Martin Smith report, which upheld many of Mr Morton’s allegations of bullying.

£45,000 payment to Mr Morton to remove the “thorn in their side”

£15,000 for an Audit Commission report which  uncovered the financial abuse.

Other waste include tens of thousands of pounds spent  on two senior social services officers who were suspended on full pay for nine months ( and welcomed back like prodigal sons and daughters by ex Social Services Director John “Curly Watts”  Webb and current Chief Executive Jim Wilkie. These staff have now been allowed to leave by “mutual consent” (ie/ here’s some money, fuck off and shut the fuck-up”) So much for accountability eh ? And of course the question that remains unanswered is how much did that cost ? ( we shall see.)

These totals don’t include any other members of staff who have signed compromise agreements, or those who were allowed to leave under the last round of VS ( Under a different administration it must be noted.)  A number of whom were heavily implicated in the Klonowski report and were simply allowed to cut and run – again we say – so much for accountability ( Check this link HERE and prepare yourself for puce faced rage!)

It doesn’t include the number of staff  who are off on long term sick/gardening leave due to the Councils inability to address exactly WHY they are off sick, and get to grips with the culture of bullying ( as Martin Smith’s report confirmed.) Thus it drags on for months, usually via bullying, intimidation and weekly home visits ( one ex employee informs us they were threatened with the police if they didn’t make contact!)

It also doesn’t include the woeful waste of money on piss poor training (highlighted by CQC.)

Indeed  when we are told that one training course handed out gambling chips to all staff bearing inspirational slogans such as “Value” “Inspire” and “Arsewank”  and they are told that in order to remain positive they should maybe arrive at work and cheerily greet the Council building like some sort of demented Jimmy Stewart “Merry Christmas, Wessie house! Merry Christmas, Cheshire Lines! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Town Hall!” it becomes crystal clear that the have lunatics well and truly taken over the asylum.


Thank god for Martin Morton and anybody else who has been brave enough to say “this is immoral, this is WRONG”

“Kafka Without The Laughs”

Whistleblower Martin Morton gives his side of the story in the Wirral Globe

Mr Morton endured an 11-year battle to get to the stage where his whistle-blowing claims of scandal and malpractice were not just listened to but taken seriously by the council”

Read it all HERE