A Message From Burgess

Hello Lord Leaky here, word reaches us that Council Leader Graham Burgess-Meredith has written to staff to discuss changes in terms and conditions and a period of “consultation”…Oh dear, that sounds rather like a vote of confidence from Roman Abramovitch doesn’ it!  But cuts have to be made, after all its a costly affair paying off Heads of Law and the like…  One cannot help but wonder what grades the Department of Spin are currently on? They aren’t very good are they? We at Leaky Towers would certainly look at getting shut of them and pronto!

  This missive (below) comes in the wake of an announcement of the creation of the post of “SUPER DIRECTOR” on a salary of £127,000 or thereabouts, but fear not council staff you have the might of the Union to back you up, replete with “Just For Men” perma-tanned, Cuban heeled reps who will happily sell you down the river for the quiet life and a nice round of golf.

 Once again, the words of Martin Niemöller remain as prescient and well chosen as ever (See HERE)

Here’s what Burgess has to say – he certainly is no joker

From: Burgess, Graham
Sent: 30 October 2012 15:31
Subject: Message from the Chief Executive

Dear Colleague,

I am writing to let you know that I will shortly be publishing a report, that will go to the Council’s Cabinet on the 8th of November, that requests that I be given the Authority to begin formal consultations with the Trade Unions and all staff on some proposed changes that will affect you. I would like to stress that this report seeks to give me the ability to consult and no decisions have been made.

You know that we face an unprecedented budget challenge – we have no choice but to reduce our net budget by £100 million – this includes a projected deficit for next year of £39 million. Given that over 70% of the Council’s revenue budget is devoted to the cost of employing our staff, tough choices need to be made.

Proposed changes include a significant reduction in the cost of senior management, changes to your terms and conditions and potential changes to the manner in which we deliver our services. These are as follows:

1) Firstly we are seeking to reduce our management costs by significantly reducing the number of managers across the Council and so ensuring we have an appropriate structure moving forward.

2) Options need to be considered with the aim of reducing the costs of our enhanced discretionary severance scheme. The aim would be to seek ways to reduce the costs, which will in turn protect more jobs and services, while keeping an enhanced scheme to reduce the potential impact on the very lowest paid. In the event that the scheme is modified any staff leaving after a new scheme comes into effect have to leave on the new terms, regardless of when the dismissal process began. In order to manage expectations, I am recomending that the current voluntary redundancy scheme is suspended immediately.

3) You are currently employed on national and local conditions of service. The local conditions of service are subject to local agreement through a collective agreement with recognised Trade Unions. I wish to work with the Trade Unions and all staff to consider options to reduce the cost of local terms and conditions. This will enable the Council to reduce the potential numbers of job losses that we face.

4) Finally, on the 9th of November I will publish a range of officer options for budget savings. While no decisions have yet been made on the future of services, any options that are being considered that potentially impact on staff require consultation at the earliest possible stage.

I will also be exploring and consulting on options that will enable the Council to implement job evaluation for those staff on grade principal officer (earning over £27,849 and above). This will enable us, as promised, to implement a legally fair, affordable and sustainable pay policy at this level.

My hope is that by entering into constructive discussions with the Trade Unions and all staff we will be able to do all we can to mitigate the impact of the budget reductions we need to make and save as many jobs and front line services as is possible.

My pledge to you is that over the coming days, weeks and months that I will ensure you are kept fully informed of any developments so that you hear about them first from me. The Council Leader and I will also be meeting with as many of you as possible so you have the opportunity to talk to us directly about any concerns that you have.

Best wishes

Graham Burgess

Chief Executive

Advertisements

Quantum of SOLACE

Last night I was rudely awoken from a postprandial snooze by some startling knockers.

Eldritch ran immediately to the Leaky Towers entrance where he saw a couple of figures running away into the distance. ” Fucking trick or treaters!  -should I get the 12 bore M’lud. I understand that nice Mr.Cameron chap is all in favour of blasting the head off bloody burglars……”

 Lady W, exasperated by the fact that her viewing of the documentary “Downton Abbey” had been interrupted, sternly interjected:

 ”Oh really Earnest, must we have such a commotion!  I think Dear David may have had hardened criminals in mind rather than kiddies asking for sweeties……  “

 “It’s a slippery slope M’am…and I should know.  I started off begging for money outside Leaky Square Station with a tatty Guy Fawkes .Next thing you know I’m in a branch of NatWest wearing a balaclava and brandishing a sawn -off shotgun ….”

 

It was at this point that Miss Snoop espied a mysterious note lying on the parquet.Ever the one for proper decorum Lady W declared: “Eldritch – the silver salver and the tortoiseshell letter opener, if you would be so kind.”

 And so with due ceremony I slipped the note from the envelope and this is what it said:

  Statement from the HESPE Whistleblowers

 The HESPE Whistleblowers have met with Wirral Council to express their serious concerns regarding the investigation procedure.

 Mainly that the independent investigator Mr Richard Penn did not interview them or request any evidence from the Whistleblowers.

 Mr Penn did state that he would need to interview the group regarding the statutory officer involvement etc. However, the Council then decided not to involve the investigator any further with the group.

 We are perplexed how the Council has stated (No case to answer) we have informed Wirral Council that this cherry picking manoeuvre will be exposed.

 

And so it would appear another character is added to the cast of Wirral Council Cluedo.Who could be this mysterious Mr. Penn?

 Quick as a flash Verity is fiddling with her i-thingy and it would appear that Richard Penn works for the organisation SOLACE Enterprises.  Which, to be frank, we all thought sounded like an organisation run by a Bond villain.  However according to their website:

 SOLACE (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers) is the representative body for senior strategic managers working in the public sector.  The Society promotes public sector management excellence and provides professional development for its Members who come from all areas of the public sector.  Whilst the vast majority of its members work in local government it also has members operating in senior positions in health authorities, police and fire authorities and central government.  SOLACE spans all of the UK, having membership in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and England.

   SOLACE Enterprises is wholly owned by the Society and operates, in effect, as a “not for profit” public sector company.  It provides high quality, customer-focused and practical support to local government, the public sector, and the voluntary sector, both in the UK and internationally.

 Which rather makes SOLACE sound like a Corporate Old Boys Network if you ask us.

At which point it might be useful to remind everyone that Michael Frater is also a member of SOLACE.

 We can only assume that Mr.Penn has been attracting the same kind of financial remuneration from Wirral Council, as did Mr.Frater…………. a quantum of SOLACE indeed.

Tricked or Treat ? Where the Abnorman is Normal

DIRTY TRICKS AND TASTY TREATS
 
Lord and Lady Wirralleaks and all at Leaky Towers have been casting an increasingly jaundiced eye over recent comings and goings at Wirral Council.However if you’ll excuse the mixed metaphor we have been keeping our powder dry and waiting for the dust to settle before we decided to put in our twopenneth worth with regard to the recent departure of Bill Norman Esq – ex Director of Law & Whatnot at the aforementioned esteemed institution (and we use the term advisedly).
 
New Chief Exec Graham Burgess seemed awfully keen to state that following the fallout from a recent investigation concerned with some decidedly dodgy dealings that there was “no case to answer” after all –  and so with a cry of “William ,it was really nothing”  Wirral Council’s Monitoring Officer was bade a fond farewell with a big wodge of Council Tax payers cash.
 
This apparently was agreed after the former Director of Law said he wanted to leave the Council and hired some lawyers to fight his corner ( we know! – there was many a chuckle at the Towers when we realised the irony of that one) We can only conjecture that these fearless legal eagles must have mounted a robust and complex legal challenge which went something like: ” Sweet William has been terribly upset by all this unpleasantness so can you be awfully good chaps and pay our legal bills and give him a nice fat cheque to add to his collection and he’ll go quietly .Please?.Pretty please?” .
 
Because as we know that “Torbay Bill” has a bit of  a track record in not only ”dealing” with whistleblowers but also for “trousering the cheque” courtesy of a troubled Council .
 
 
 
However we couldn’t help feeling that there was something decidedly amiss about this arrangement. As I reminded Lady W when I had that unfortunate misunderstanding over my expenses (some pesky penpusher asking awkward questions about claims for dredging the moat at Leaky Towers, the ornamental duckhouse and the business trip with Miss Snoop to Paris) –  I soon came to realise that perhaps it might be expeditious to “spend more time with my long suffering family ” which I believe is correct expression used these days – although Eldritch puts it rather more prosaically as : ” Leg it quick- we’ve been fucking rumbled” .
 
This ”accounting error” ultimately meant I had to leave my office with a shoebox  full of the loose change out of my desk drawer,some snaps of Verity under the Eiffel Tower and half a box of Earl Grey teabags.However as far as I can remember I did not depart with £150k of public money tucked cosily into my handkerchief pocket.
 
Therefore ,especially as the nights have been drawing in, the Leaky Towers household have been entertaining themselves in front of the log fire with games of Wirral Council Cluedo .
 
After a hearty,warming supper prepared by cook Miss Knowall – believe me there are times when I simply can’t wait to get my teeth into Nigella’s dumplings-  we all hunker down and lay the suspects on the floor, trying to identify what was behind this seemingly “irrational generosity” towards Mr.Norman. 
 
Now the first thing that perceptive Miss Snoop suggested was that we needed to identify was who sent Mr.Norman off site in the first place?.
However matters were confused by the fact that over the past couple of years there had been so many Chief Execs or Acting Chief Execs ( or “Acting the fucking goat” as Eldritch would have it)  – that it was difficult to identify who might have done the dirty deed just as Billyboy was due to go his well-earned summer jollies.
 
Lady W peeked out from behind her  Sudoku puzzle to suggest that perhaps it was Mr.C in the Finance Department as he was Acting Chief Exec at some point. “ No couldn’t be him “ prompted Miss Knowall   “because he was sent off site at the same time”.
And  what’s more I added Mr.Coleman must be a bit miffed that he bagged just over half of what Bill Norman got especially since Norman has been at the Council for 4 years and Coleman had been there for as long as any of us could remember.  
 
It was at this point that Eldritch blurted out “MF”!. Lady W  was rather taken aback by this outburst : “ Really Ernest, must we?, I know you’re frustrated about this situation but the Oedipal expletive is not an acceptable term to be used in a respectable household”  
 
 ” No Ma’m. I meant MF for Michael Frater”.
 
We all scratched our heads and looked at each other quizzically until Miss Snoop helpfully opened the press cuttings file and yes, indeed there he was!  – he was the high flyer who flew in like a particularly opinionated canary saying that “weird” things were going on in Wirral and that the AKA report was “understated” and he was going to chuck out those birds of a feather who had flocked together to feather their own nests or some such birdshit.
 
However it would appear that before anyone noticed that he’d made not a blind bit of difference, he too flew south (while the Council went west) – clutching a big bag of swag in his beak ( £75K for 6 months work – nice work if you can get it).
 
So forthwith off went Miss Snoop to make some enquiries of trusted sources about the mysterious Master Frater and well,well,well it would seem that he may well have been involved in the suspension of Norman,Coleman ,Green and the other one who’s name escapes us – Lady W keeps referring to him as Mr.Taylor -Dane- but I’m sure that can’t be right.   
 
Anyway I digress –  as the crux of the matter lies in the fact that according to official Council sources “there was no case to answer”.However what seems not to have been considered in all this is an obscure Council ruling that Miss Snoop has uncovered in Chief Officers contracts of employment.And it would appear that Wirral Council Chief Officers, as befitting their Godlike status, cannot be suspended until it is first established that : “THERE IS A CASE TO ANSWER”!.
 
This privilege of course does not extend to the rest of the hoi polloi who work for the Council – but of course what it affords is the opportunity for Chief Officers to head for the shredder ,lean on the underlings to keep schtum and generally get their friends in high places to close ranks, all accompanied by the discordant clamour of the armour plating of backsides.
 
Of course if  Master Frater did indeed send  Bill Norman packing before it was proven “there was a case to answer” then dare we suggest this would have “compromised” Wirral Council somewhat and smoothed legal negotiations towards an amicable settlement on behalf of Mr.Norman?.
 
Of course as we understand that Bill Norman was not subject to a confidentiality clause within his Compromise Contract perhaps he’d like to resolve the mystery and share with the long suffering Wirral public what actually happened.
 
However the reality will be that with Norman,Wilkie and Coleman gone that some very senior Councillors will be resting easier in their beds -seemingly safe in the knowledge that the REALLY BIG DIRTY SECRET will remain forever hidden.
 
Fear not Leakers Miss Snoop has the key to that secret on a chain which she wears round her neck and which nestles ,rather pleasingly and reassuringly on her decolletage.
 
Toodle pip……… for now!……………

Having A Ball – The Mayors In Fact

Afternoon Leakers

Verity has been very busy preparing for the Lord Mayors ball, but alas, she seems to be fresh out of Ugg Boots.  But fear not she will be there with her little recording device to capture just how the great and the good in WBC wine and dine themselves …lovely! And the funny thing is these people don’t even know what she looks like! Chortle ! It looks a lovely spread, why they even cater for allergies…which is handy because some of Wirral’s great and good do seem somewhat allergic to the truth. The only worry is Verity’s own allergy may give her away, you see she’s allergic to BULLSHIT.

She’s even been sent the table plan (see below) all the big boys and plate spinners on one table, and oh look even a few local journalists…Verity may feel more at home with them perhaps ? It all looks like wonderfully self congratulatory fun, but we do wonder whose paying for this she-bang ! … to which dear Eldritch our gardener and handy man retorted “us probably, the tw*ts!” Hope it’s Bolly then.

Love, Lady Leaks x

Table 1 – Civic Table (16)

Mayor and Mayoress of Wirral

High Sheriff of Merseyside and Mrs Amlot

Mayor and Mayoress of Knowsley

Sheriff of Chester and Sheriff’s Lady

Mayor and Mayoress of West Lancs

Mayor and Mayoress of Halton

Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayoress

Reverend and Mrs D Chester

Table 2 (9)

Mr & Mrs G Burgess

Mr & Mrs G Hodkinson

Ms Julia Hassall

Mr David Armstrong

Ms Fiona Johnstone

Mr Kevin Adderley

Mrs Emma Degg

Table 3 (11)

Deb Pedlow

Nick Pedlow

Karen McCormick

Joelle Warren

Andrew Warren (no cream)

Mark Ellis

Tope Coward

Jacqui Wenden

Greg Wenden

Natasha Inglis

Fraser Inglis

Table 4 (10)

Carolyn Tallents (gluten free meal)

Andrew Tallents

Karen Griffiths

Sally Robinson (nut allergy)

Lisa Newton (veggie)

Mike Newton

Claire Fletcher

Mark Shepard

Karole Dunmore (veggie and brazil nut allergy)

Steve Mitchell

Table 5 (10)

Cllr John Hale

Mrs Tricia Hale

Mr Nigel Wills

Mrs Sue Wills

Dr Kenneth Young

Mrs Lesley Young

Mr Geoffrey O’Connell

Mrs Maureen O’Connell

Mr Roy Catherall

Mrs Hilary Catherall

Table 6 (7)

Mr John Bebell

Mrs Sue Bebell

Mr David Hind

Mrs Sandra Hind

Mr Clive Watkin

Mrs Monica Watkin

Mrs Vivienne Reece

Table 7 (10)

Cllr Jeff Green

Mrs Carol Green

Mr Alan Kerr

Mrs Catherine Kerr

Mrs Yvonne Sanne

Mr Michael Spencer

Mrs Keri Spencer

Mr Noel Fagan

Mrs Chrissy Fagan

Miss Esther McVey MP

Table 8 (8)

Cllr David Elderton

Mrs Barbara Elderton

Mr Rod Trotman

Mrs Eunice Trotman

Mr Geoff Cross

Mrs Marion Cross

Mr Gerry Johnson

Mrs Christine Johnson

Table 9 (10)

Cllr Geoffrey Watt

Mrs Anne Watt

Mr Bill Withey

Mrs Denise Osborne

Cllr Don McCubbin

Mrs Pat Johnson

Cllr Eddie Boult

Mrs Brenda Boult

Mr Mike Clements

Cllr Wendy Clements

Table 10 (10)

Major David Hudson

Table 11 (11)

Councillor & Mrs Phil Davies

Councillor Brian Kenny

Councillor Moira McLaughlin

Councillor Chris Meaden

Councillor Anita Leech and Mr Gary Leech

Mr & Mrs Tony Norbury

Joe and Maureen Copeland

Table 12 (10)

Gordon and Sue Nicholas

Peter and Jackie Brown

Jerry and Sandra Ireland

Richard and Jeanine Lesley

Giuseppe and Debbie Roberto

Table 13 (9)

Linda Smallthwaite
Jo Hales
Val Boyd
Rachel Jones
Carys Hooker
Geraldine Marchment
Nicola Mullin
Cath Naylor
Sue May – 1 person no seafood, banana, kiwi or melon and 1 person no citrus or cheese)

Table 14 (10)

Scouts

Table 15 (9)

Mary Dutton (9) (2 veggie and 1 celiac)

Table 16 (10)

Wirral & West Cheshire Prostate Cancer Support Group

Table 17 (5)

Wirral and West Cheshire Prostate Cancer Support Group

Table 18 (10)

Councillor Peter Kearney (5)

Councillor Cherry Povall (1)

Mr & Mrs J Clarke (2)

Mr Paul Murphy (2)

Table 19 (14)

Thornton Hall (1 veggie and one no mushrooms)

Justin Dunn

Carole Jackson

Sue Carroll

Barb Marg McGee

Babara Turner

Staff

6 drivers

DJ

Band

 

The Ex-Files Update – Wirral Council

************NEWSFLASH****************NEWSFLASH*******************NEWSFLASH
 
The Ex-Files Update
 
Well I must say the brouhaha that has followed the revelation that Wirral Council’s Former Chief Moneyman  Ian Coleman has swanned off with a big bag of swag amounting to £82K comes as no surprise.However  we our led to believe that this is but nothing compared to the true amount.
 
An anonymous well informed source tells us: 
“The 82K is certainly the tip of the iceberg and is simply the sum Wirral charge payers are handing over to Merseyside Pension Fund to allow the retiree to go before his normal retirement date (60 yrs. minimum)

An additional severance payment is normally paid to the individual concerned and can be up to 66 weeks of salary. Given that Wirral MBC Chief Officers enjoy a remuneration of over £100k per annum the payoff can be well into six figures. Officers mentioned on your site in the past have certainly collected a payoff of this magnitude. “

Lord Wirralleaks is minded to recall the parting words of his late rebellious cousin Sir Jonathan Rotten : “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?
 
We also understand from the same source that David Garry the Chief Internal Auditor – also allegedly implicated in some shady shenanigans may have ”retired” last week.Any information on his “remuneration” would be gratefully received.
 
Of course we’d like to think ,as Council Tax payers, we should be able to freely access the information on where all our money is going and how much is actually involved.However we understand that these Compromise Contracts which are flying around like a flock of birds migrating south for winter, preclude the pesky public from ever finding out about the tidy sums disappearing into the Cheshire countryside.
 
I have to say I am so perplexed by what seems to be a very rum do indeed I wandered into the garden with Lady W in an attempt to clear my head and make sense of it all.It was here that I espied through my monocle the rugged physique of the gardener Eldritch getting to grips with a dirty hoe.I asked him what his considered opinion was:
 ” A fucked up fuck witted clusterfuck, if you’ll pardon my language Sir”

“But Eldritch, can we not take SOLACE ?” I enquired
“Thing is sir, the only thing SOLACE is taking, is the fucking piss,and lots of taxpayers money   if you don’t mind me saying so sir”

 

Wirral Councils Ex-Files

Apologies Leakers – I’ve been to “Hoity-Toity House” – an exclusive country house spa for the treatment of my insufferable gout .Lady Justine Wirral -Leaks keeps telling me to lay off the port and cigars and is insisting I sign a Gifts & Hospitality register each and every time a mysterious crate of expensive comestibles arrives at Leaky Towers.To which I say: “Oh don’t be a silly moo Justine, if Wirral Council’s new Chief Exec ,Graham “Bon Viveur” Burgess, doesn’t seem overly concerned about such matters, then why should I”?.
 
I mean the Department of Adult Social Services apparently didn’t even have a register – which is rather odd as I’ve returned to a mound of missives from disgruntled DASS staff who not only had to sign the requisite forms but were forced to hand over boxes of chocs and booze – usually only to see it disappear into their Managers handbag .
I also missed out on the startling revelation that Council Education Chiefs couldn’t do their sums which resulted in the £1.4 million loss of Government grants………..like you do – if you work for the Council anyway- safe in the knowledge that there will be no consequences for blithering incompetence.
 
 
So praise the Lord that I’m surrounded by faithful retainers who are able to keep me updated on the fast moving train crash that is Wirral Council. And -strange as it may seem – I find it very reassuring that, in these turbulent times,  some things just don’t change. Or as the delightful Miss Verity put it to me : “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose……”
“I beg your pardon,my dear …….” I asked, adjusting my hearing aid.
” Oh its French for “same old ,same old…..” she replied – adding by way of explanation – ” I forgot to mention I’m bilingual”. Well, I thought to myself, I had my suspicions but I just thought that was “downstairs ” gossip mongering.
 
Anyhoo – what apparently has transpired in my absence is that, to the amazement of absolutely no-one, another Wirral Council Senior Officer ( Ian Coleman, no less- one time Acting Chief Executive and Director of Finance) has flown the coop with a nice big cheque firmly clasped in his beak like a particularly voracious carrion bird
 
News has already reached us that there’s much more to this than meets the eye and what’s more tales of £1 million legal challenges intended to justify the payment are entirely bogus and intended to convince the long suffering people of Wirral that the Council are being careful with our money, whilst at the same time, they hand over another bung to someone to go away and keep quiet.
 
What’s more it would appear we can expect much more of this palaver as there has been a Committee set up especially to look at these arrangements:
 
 
This Committee would appear to be a response to a recent recommendation by David Garry – Chief Internal Auditor from the much maligned and discredited Internal Audit from within the Department of Finance which states :” The system, process and procedure for all Compromise Agreements (whether above or below the threshold for referral to the Sub-Committee of the Employment & Appointments
Committee), should be documented”.
 
Which rather suggests a) Compromise Agreements have been thrown around like confetti made of money and b) Mr.Garry has only just realised it might be a good idea for someone to actually keep a note of where all the Council’s money was disappearing to…….
 
Indeed we at Leaky Towers are led to believe that Mr.Garry has been well aware that the situation with Compromise Agreements (or contracts as they have been re-badged) was a matter which Eldritch (our gardener) has always suggested was going to “come back and bite them on their fat fucking arses”. Therefore we would suggest that the motive behind the belated “armourplating” of said “arse” (if you’ll pardon the vulgar pun) is that chickens are coming home to roost and there is a distinct whiff of rotten eggs in the air!. 
 
I use the term ”belated” because Miss Snoop has been laboriously poring over old Audit and Risk Management Committee reports and after making further enquiries on a seemingly defunct blog called A Really Rotten Borough by the mysterious “Veridici”  it would appear that Mr.Garry may have been involved in the cover up of , ahem,  a particularly “compromising” Compromise Agreement from as far back as 2008.
 
Which rather calls into question why he took 4 years to raise the issue especially when he did so just 2 weeks before his Director, Ian Coleman, was no doubt asked to sign one in exchange for £82K!.
 
Although the saying goes ”the truth is out there” this doesn’t seem to apply to Wirral Council’s Ex-Files.
This is because ,according to Eldritch : “Wirral Council seem to have more gags than fucking Ken Dodd”.
 
The funny thing is………nobody seems to be laughing as the joke’s on us.
Best,
Lord Wirral-Leaks.

More Skullduggery at WBC ?

Afternoon taxpayers,Verity here 

The new spirit of transparency openness and accountability that Graham ‘pre- booked annual leave’ Burgess has promised seems to have lasted as long as the last false dawn over at good ole WBC . Observe if you will this link

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=197&MId=4232

 This links to a very important super duper council meeting this very evening when the ongoing sorry saga of the four suspended statutory officers is discussed – and yet  time there isn’t even a front sheet explaining what the meeting is about.

 It seems the press and public are allowed to know the subject of and reasons why meetings are actually called, yet  we aren’t allowed to know what the Security Services, er sorry, we mean local councillors and town hall pen-pushers, are going to talk about.

 That said even the councillors attending are not allowed to know why they have been summoned to the Clown hall!

 Operation Lockdown seems to be in full swing

 Something’s never change eh ?

 

Which reminds us while we are on  … so much for care homes getting better

 

http://www.cqc.org.uk/directory/1-165819398

 

“CQC has warned Victoria House (Wallasey) Limited that it must make immediate improvements at Victoria House (Wallasey).”