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”

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