End of Days, 4 Week Delays and Doing What Pays


Now of all the stories that we’ve covered on Wirralleaks the one that hits home most with the good Lady and I is the 4 week delay story which caused such a furore and then rapidly seemed to disappear from public consciousness.

I think the reason that the story hits home with Justine and I is that as we enter our final years , thoughts turn rapidly to mortality and how we’d like to spend our last days on earth.

Preferably not suffering in pain and all alone and lying in our own poop.

Not much to ask you’d think in 21st century Britain  – but you only have to read the horror stories from the Mid-Staffs Inquiry (dehydrated patients drinking from flower vases,naked elderly patients left in their own dried excrement) to realise that somewhere along the way dignity and compassion got lost in the pursuit of targets and savings.

The 4 week delay story so far is on Wirralleaks  but basically to recap it would seem a bevy of exceedingly well paid Social Services managers sat around a table and on the suggestion of  ***********  came up with a jolly good wheeze to save money  – the jolly good wheeze being  “LETS NOT SPEND ANY”! and the best way not to spend money was to delay the commissioning of care packages to which vulnerable people were LEGALLY ENTITLED to in accordance with care legislation.

.Although it seems social workers could ask for a “waiver” of this 4 week delay if the vulnerable person was in particularly dire need,the delay was implemented in the hope that as a Social Services employee once stated that vulnerable people “did the decent thing” and died in the intervening 4 weeks and so save the Council some money.

It beggars belief that someone who worked for a Social Services Department apparently thought this was an acceptable thing to say.

So for clarification Verity kindly went back to an Independent Review Report published in April 2012 which was written by Rob Vickers (on hearing this Eldritch rather pithily commented : “Is that his name or a fucking job description”?) .

Anyway the mysterious Mr.Vickers (about whom I feel we be hearing more about)  provides a succinct explanation of the 4 week delay in the reports conclusion :

In relation to potential policy contravention, the view of the IR (Independent Reviewer) is that the 4 week delay was clearly seated within the overall Budget setting process for the Council and expectations that Departments would seek to deploy and utilise resources efficiently and effectively and achieve balanced year end budgets. The 4 week delay was one of a raft of in year budget actions to seek to correct a projected in year budget
overspend. As such, the action was set against other actions and was an appropriate
and proportionate management initiative endorsed at Branch and Senior Leadership
Team levels. Adult Social Services Managers were endeavouring to respond in a
responsible manner to demographic pressures and budgetary constraints that whilst
in year could equally be set against a backdrop of a recurring structural deficit

Eh? Pardon?!.Clear as custard old chap!……

I asked Verity if she could be so kind as to do an Easy -Read  version of this conclusion for me but she just sneered at Eldritch and said : ” I fear Eldritch has a more succinct and accurate explanation ……. it’s “a load of fucking bollocks” m’lud.Or as I might have alliteratively put it – meaningless management-speak meant to mask malpractice”

We all applauded Verity on her oral dexterity and then passed round the magnifying glass to try and make sense of the report.

One of the many perplexing aspects of the report is that the appendix identifies that the only people interviewed by Mr.Vickers seem to be those who devised the policy .Bizarrely the investigation did not include  the whistleblower (Andy Campbell ) or any of the DASS staff who had to implement it!.

The same DASS staff who historically been blamed for misinterpreting the intent of the 4 week delay as they are portrayed as a bunch of duffers who don’t understand the finer workings of complex financial jiggerypokery.

However I just wonder if all of the DASS Managers feel as though their views on the 4 week delay are truly reflected in the Independent Review Report.

Interestingly enough we have an email which has recently come into  our possession -which we have been informed is also in the hands  of a unnamed Councillor – which has some interesting views on the 4 week delay (and indeed other matters).

However we have concluded that judging by the appalling grammar,spelling and Eldritchesque expletives it couldn’t  possibly have been written by a senior DASS senior manager. We find it shocking that the Council/Councillors have had this information and have appeared to do very little with it – We don’t know if the content is correct, but  as councillor Jefferson Green once said quoting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandei ‘Sunlight Is the Best Disinfectant‘.,”


“I am not complicit or corrupt, despite what you think. All i do is do my job which i think i do to the best of my ability and nothing more, yes i did get an honorium (sic) being in the ******** Team  and I think I deserved that so i have no guilt for accepting it.

Nor did i have anything to do with the “4 week rule to delay care packages,”in fact when i heard of that i told both my boss and the director as i knew it was illegal. I could not influence the fact that they did nothing about it. For you (sic) information the ******* grant was snatched by **** who got his nasty little hands on it in the first place. Our jobs were not funded from the ****** grant at all, our jobs were suppose (sic) to be back filled using the grant but as **** stole it to put it towards his overspent budget none of our jobs could be back filled.

So take that one forward and see how far u get, no doubt its all been covered up and cant be proved but i know otherwise While your (sic) at it take the issue of the RAS forward too, **** and ***** ********** did a deal with councillors to drop the RAS from 1.88 to 1.62, oh yeah it made them look great as you can imagine, they all think the sun shines out of ****’s  arse anyway. This will mean that all those on ILF will be disadvantaged. The councillors wont have understood that till (sic) the shit really hits the fan.

I raised it with ****, with M*****, with F***  with whoever would listen to try to stop him taking forward the proposal but it didn’t matter a jot, it made ****  look good but u wait and see what happens when people on ILF realise that when they are reviewed there (sic) budget will drop to such a level that they will also loose (sic) their ILF unless *****  fiddles the figures for these people through the panel process to keep their packages above the ILF ceiling. i cant remember the figures of how many people in wirral are on ILF, the info is on the ILF website but it amounts to around 2 million pounds that people will loose (sic), i got all this information and presented it to **** but he and ****** said it was irrelevant and put a one liner in the report that will probably cover their back if and when the shit hits the fan.

You are right the council is corrupt but you know what  all we did was try to do our job we were small fish in a very big pond but all of the ***** Team have been tarred with the same brush. . Hopefully I can be another Martin Moreton (sic) and be paid off to shut up and get out the fucking shit hole. I have so much informaiton (sic) to blow them all to smitherines (sic) and dont give a fuck””

We here at Leaky Towers are simply breathless with anticipation……..

Whistleblowing: The Real Story

Whistleblowing: The Real Story
So Hows That Gag Working For You Wirral Council?

Listen to Wirral Whistle-blower Martin Morton on BBC Radio Five Live

The Read this

Wirral Whistlebower on BBC National Radio

Wirral In It Together

16th February 2013


Tonight, Wirral Council whistleblower Martin Morton appeared on the Stephen Nolan programme on Radio Five Live.  He gave a compelling and at times disturbing account of the atrocious treatment he’d received both before and after going public with harrowing details of Wirral Council’s long term abuse against disabled people.

His treatment whilst still employed there involved savage psychological bullying by management; repeated intimidation; harassment; alienation; mobbing by groups of managers, the shredding of items from his personnel file, the writing and shredding of secret reports and later, an outrageous claim that he was ‘mad’.  Such was the level of cruelty applied, Martin and his wife sank to an extremely low ebb, and with their health  failing, even considered taking their own lives.  At this low point, he signed a compromise agreement with a gagging clause – one which the council should have been aware breached the…

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He’s back, but he never really went away……

Does This Gravy Train Stop On Merseyside ?

Dear,darling Verity has the unenviable task of trawling through Wirral Council minutes which frankly,judging by John Brace’s Blog are usually a wildly inaccurate representation of  proceedings in Wallasey Town Hall.

Those who are unfamiliar with Mr.Brace’s oeuvre should be advised that he is like Wallasey Town Hall’s own Alfred Hitchcock and likes to film Council meetings for posterity (and accuracy).For some strange reason this seems to reduce some Councillors to apoplexy ( including some spectacular hissyfits from foulmouthed Councillor Harry Smith).For this alone everyone  at Leaky Towers applauds you Mr.Brace – our very own bureaucratic auteur .Cinema Verite indeed!.

Meanwhile back to those minutes – Verity informs us that a story in the Globe

triggered something about “bad debts” being buried in the sound and fury of the heated Cabinet meeting held just before Christmas.
It was here that Team GB announced that there had been a failure to recover Social Services debt which ran into millions of pounds and went back a number of years. Council Leader Pip raised his hands in mock horror and said something like “what a terrible shame,how could this have possibly happened?” and then moved swiftly on to the next agenda item completely unchallenged by the angry Council workers who seemingly didn’t make the connection that their jobs were under threat and services would be lost because Social Services Managers (and it must be said Councillors)  had clearly not been doing their jobs properly.

Team GB’s response to this is as predictable as it is dispiriting . In a verbal report to Cabinet on January 24th  titled: “Failure to Recover Social Services Bad Debt”-

“He commented that a revised system of debt collection and pursuance had been introduced to ensure that the build up of unrecoverable bad debts did not continue and that a small team of staff had been set up to pro-actively pursue all outstanding bad debts, where there was a possibility of recovery. In spite of this, the initial indication of the level of unrecoverable bad debts of approximately £10m still stood at the present time. However, with a bad debt provision of £4m, the impact on the current year’s budget would be £6m. This would probably need to be written off and would impact upon the Council’s overall budget.To establish how the level of unrecoverable bad debt had come about, the Chief Executive had appointed Eugene Sullivan, who until a month ago had been the Chief Executive of the National Audit Commission, to undertake an investigation. His brief was to look at the history of the matter, to establish the reasons for the policies that the Council appeared to have in place regarding the collection of debts, to validate the likely amount that could be recovered and to make any recommendations he felt appropriate for future action to ensure there was no repeat of the problem. Mr Sullivan had indicated that he would complete the investigation by mid February and his report would be available initially to the Cabinet and publicly shortly afterwards”

As we understand these “bad debts”  date back some 5 or 6 years  Lady Justine’s eyebrows went heavenward (well they would have done if she wasn’t so expertly Botoxed).”What the blazes were Councillors, Audit Commission,Internal Audit and  Anna Klonowski doing missing the odd £6 million ……whither scrutiny?” she implored, reaching for a sugared almond. “Fear not my good lady…” I said reassuringly “our new permanent Chief Executive has appointed just the man for the job…Mr.Eugene Sullivan is the former Chief Executive of the now defunct National Audit Commission.He sounds like a fine upstanding pillar of the establishment ”

At this point our Librarian Miss Philippa Larkin-About entered the drawing room, gave a discreet cough and sheepishly  handed me an article from our extensive archive.

And it was with a sinking heart we learned that Eugene Sullivan, the £180,000-a-year former chief executive of the Audit Commission – motto: ‘protecting the public purse’ – charged taxpayers £18,000 a year for his stays at the luxury Westminster hotel, plus more than £5,000 a year in train fares, taxis and car mileage.The former Quango chief charged with curbing wasteful public spending was being paid a £4,070-a-year ‘travel allowance’ – even though his daily commute was a one-minute walk between his office and a four-star hotel.That’s £25 a yard……Verity is now doing a quick  FOI request to check if Wirral Council are paying Mr.Sullivan by the yard or by results!…… and all for telling Wirral Council what they should have known already and for which his now former organisation failed to spot in the first place!.

Nice work if you can get it and you can get it if you’re a washed up bureaucrat.  At this point Lady J idly picking bits of confectionery from her false teeth sighed heavily and  said: “For heavens sake when are Wirral Council going to stand up and say ” The Gravy Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore”?.

At this point Eldritch popped his head round the door and unhelpfully remarked: ” Not whilst Casey fucking Jones is at the throttle of the Wirral Council Cannonball Express – it’s like a runaway gravy train fuelled by Council Tax payers money.As the theme tune goes -it seems as though every ex- Chief Executive in the land has jumped aboard when they’d heard  “the tooting of the whistle”.