The Wirral Way – How Things Work Part 189.

Leaky- Towers seems to be getting positively inundated with anonymous missives from disgruntled and brow-beaten Wirral Council employees these days. Each new missive seems to reveal yet another fresh layer of Hell and makes Dante’s Inferno resemble something akin to a jaunty stroll through an enchanted forest.  It also appears that the endemic culture of bullying and intimidation is alive and quite literally kicking!

 One item which keeps popping up is the invasion of a so called “Liverpool Mafia.” It appears the infamous “Halton Mafia” that once ruled the roost in WBC’s Social Services with ham-fisted but ruthless impunity has slowly seen its influence crumble, like some sort of mushy, malignant, foetid “Farley’s Rusk.” This has been due in the main down to the simple fact that the officers involved were so very,very completely and utterly SHITE at their jobs and were universally despised by all right thinking staff.   However Wirral Council came up with another innovative idea from their book of  great ideas, one which sought to cure all of it’s Social Services Departments well documented ills. Why not  employ some of those nice folk  who worked across the water in Liverpool City Council, another local authority who do a rather natty line in bullying and inefficiency.  It is rumoured  that some may even have taken advantage of the recession and taken Voluntary Severance from Liverpool City Council in order to join the publicly funded Wirral Council gravy train – Well why not ? After all, it appears everybody is at it these days and after all, it’s only public money.

And so it came to pass that the Department Of Adult Social Services now have a new “Head of Personalisation,” one Christine Beyga, who formerly worked as the ludicrously, pompously titled ” Head Of Transformation” within Liverpool Council ( yes I know, it does sound rather like a Harry Potter job title doesn’t  it? Apt perhaps as  WBC has been practising the Dark Arts for many years.)  It appears this may well have been the start of the “Ferry ‘cross da Merzeee” and one can only hope that all these good folks who came on over were interviewed properly in fair, transparent ,open, competitive interviews.    

As the Liverpool crew made themselves at home, things did indeed transform…for the worse.  Sources  told us “safeguarding is becoming a joke,” that “they are getting jobs for their mates”  Another source tells us tales of tenders going out for “support planning” contracts, all part of the Personalisation Agenda (ie/ Cuts dressed up as empowerment) at the end of 2011 which caused them some concern. For example they suggest that a company called IPDF won the contract but it was decided to go through the process again.  It is furthermore alleged by our sources that a company called Self Direction was engaged by a senior manger to provide a support planning service for very vulnerable adults initially without approval of  the SLT /Council Members? And that anybody who raised questions around this matter suffered being bullied to the verge of a nervous breakdown.  Part of this does indeed seem to be true, as borne out by this Freedom Of Information request HERE .

  We of course, being old, infirm,  and quite frankly 4 weeks short of care package, have no knowledge as to whether all we have been told is factually correct but our faithful retainer and PA Verity Snoop did some more digging and unearthed some rather interesting information using something she called “Google”

This is Self Direction  

http://companycheck.co.uk/company/07993770

Strangely it’s also listed here

http://companycheck.co.uk/company/07545704 as ARCHITECTURAL & ENGINEERING ACTIVITIES & CONSULTANCY ????

Their Director listed   HERE  (make a note, you may need this later) and also ran a company called “Lifestyle and Dreams” which is listed as  SUPPORTING SERVICE ACTIVITIES FOR GOVERNMENT (now dissolved)

A further search reveals a Personalisation talk given by (Scroll to page 2 Item 2 ) ……, check those names  yes it’s two former Liverpool Council colleagues now ensconced in Wirral Social Care, one for WBC and one for Self Directions. What a coincidence!

http://www.lldpartnership.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/LLDMIHP-Meeting-4th-March-2010.pdf

other meetings here, again look for familiar names….

http://www.lldpartnership.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Personalisation-Notes-09.12-01.12.09.pdf

OH ! Why here they are again working as part of the LCC Personalisation Team

( see Page 153 of this http://bit.ly/MRc7a0

We of course are not alleging any impropriety, that would be outrageous. We are simply highlighting information that is already out there on this new fangled internet thingy-ma-bob !

Ok so how does Wirral Council monitor such companies to ensure they are delivering these services safely and efficiently ? After all its a lot of money and these are some of the most vulnerable people in society. Ones whose interests  Social Services are charged with safeguarding. I mean surely they’d check against their own robust criteria, have a check list, some sort of performance indicators ( because, after all PI’s are, according to one former DASS manager,  “sexy”)   ? No?

Well observe this FOI – http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/wbc_dass_contracts_monitoring_te_2#incoming-293046

After months waiting for the disclosure of Wirral’s contract monitoring policy the person making the submission is told  

“Errr.. actually we don’t have one..” The reasoning ?  “Well we use the CQC essential standards and outcomes. (Phew.. he almost had us there!! Aren’t we ever so clever, wriggling out of that one – *High fives*- these MBA’s are REALLY paying off now!)

Next question –  Ok, so how do you train staff to understand the application, implementation etc  of said standards  ?  I assume all staff are required to undertake rigorous training when working in such an important area ?

Er… Pause.. Er… Delay… Cue Internal review – Cue more delays..(*if we ignore him he might get fed up- shhhhh*)

Eventually, and with Wirral Councils track record, somewhat inevitably,  the person making the request has no other recourse but to submit a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office over Wirral’s abject failure to comply with a perfectly reasonable  Freedom Of Information request.

THEN – *fanfare* ….

FINALLY-

THE ANSWER –

Well actually we don’t train our staff… We just give them the book and tell them to get on with it.


Good luck to the vulnerable people of the Wirral!

DASS at its finest! Promoting best practice at every opportunity.

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