The Green Shoots of Spring

SHOOTSLEAVES

With the clocks going forward it’s allegedly spring and old man’s thoughts turn to….. mystery and intrigue….and er strippers!!!.
You may remember from a previous posting that we asked Verity to check out the Dave Green situation.

Remember him ?- Director of Technical Services chappy,sent off site sometime last year.

Then it was revealed late last Christmas Eve that he had no case to answer and he was due to return to the loving bosom of Wirral Council.
However it’s Easter now and not a peep about the return of the prodigal.

So as you know we are in awe of Verity’s persuasive powers so we sent her off to mingle with the movers and shakers (aka no marks and slackers) of Wallasey Town Hall.
Needless to say Verity was able to wheedle out of the great and the good ( aka they grate and they’re gormless) what was going on.

However in the interest of natural justice (another concept that Wirral Council seem unfamiliar with) we shall remain the soul of discretion on this one for now – as at Leaky Towers we’re always far more interested in the “bureaucratic machinations” and the fallout which usually ensue when we get the full reveal (that’s a joke by the way – there is no such thing as a full reveal at Wirral Council. They are the Dita Von Teese of Local Government …..all tease and cover up when you were expecting a full frontal).

As Miss Von Teese kindly demonstrates here the usual response is that somebody ends up gagged and bound.

53717_dita-fon-tiz_or_dita-von-teese_1600x1200_(www.GdeFon.ru)
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Happy Easter – The Yolks On Us

EASTER

Now although this site has been described as “disgusting” and ” insulting and utterly poisonous” Wirral Leaks does try to at least maintain some standards – unlike some organisations such as that there Council who having given up even attempting to maintain any standards and are looking to ditch their own “ineffective” Standards Committee – see here

Wirral Councillors seem to be saying – “let’s just give up the pretence we try and maintain any kind of selflessness,integrity,objectivity,accountability,openness,honesty respect for others or leadership – just give us the gifts and the perks and allowances”.

Meanwhile the Leaky Towers coterie does try to exhibit a semblance of integrity and that is why, although we have been leaked confidential documents relating to a potential Judicial Review involving Wirral Home Owners Association and Wirral Council, we will not be publishing or commenting on them because we do not believe in interfering with due legal process and frankly the allegations of Mal-Practice (which we agree is rather an odd spelling ) in relation to a consultation by a public body strike us as frankly tedious and slightly tawdry ( as ever the issue is about filthy lucre).What we will say though is that Jasper Bartlett is a simply spiffing name. LOLZ !

What interests us more are the side issues – how consultations are generally undertaken by Wirral Council and how the Council’s Adult Social Services and Legal Departments are embroiled in a seemingly endless merry go round of controversy.

Indeed from what we hear that these days the Legal Department in particular seem to be specialising in hissyfits,walkouts and spectacular rudeness. Bring back Bill Norman – all is forgiven.

As for DASS – well what can we say?.After the lamentable Miller/Webb/Cooper era we were prepared to give the latest DASS Director Hodgkinson a chance,especially considering he inherited a big bumper bag of abnormality.

Unfortunately we have to say his handling of the 4 -week delay scandal indicates to us he’s from the same cookie cutter as his predecessors.The latest Director was not around when it was concocted and enacted – so what’s stop him  admitting what we all know to be true –

FACT: THERE WAS AN ILLEGAL 4 WEEK DELAY AND IT WAS A SHAMEFUL EPISODE

As many former Wirral Council senior officers have learned – denial is a dangerous game to play.

As the annotation on the following  Freedom of Information request dated 28th March shows the questionable practices surrounding the implementation of  the 4 week delay in care packages continues to mount.

Its here in glorious black and white:

 Furthermore there is also evidence of continuing massive overspending and next weeks Employment Committee will hear that DASS heads the departmental list for the most days taken off due to illness.
Oh by the way this contributes massively to the average £1 million per annum that Wirral Council has been spending on sickness absence these past few years – despite reduced staffing levels or because of reduced staffing levels who can say? –
see HERE
We would also like to draw attention to the proposed closure of Moreton Day Centre for disabled people ( DASS clearly seem to have a thing about erasing “The M Word” from history don’t they?) .
Let’s be honest (well, we will be even if they won’t) DASS have wanted rid of day centres for years and years and somewhat like central government seem to be using the economic situation to justify their ideology of cuts and closures.
Big H neatly sidesteps the “What Really Matters” consultation about the need to “protect vulnerable people” ( a first for Wirral Council surely?) and says that DASS has had a “vision” ( DASS and “vision” in the same sentence is yet another first) and therefore Moreton Day Centre must go.
As Eldritch said : ” Vision?.Can we have some of what he’s fucking on”?.
” £100K plus apparently…..” Verity sniffed.

Which buys you a lot of nest eggs ……. for as long as the chickens don’t come home to roost.

Happy Easter, Lord & Lady WL x

 MUWAH !

Room At The Top

PIPSPEAKS

Dear Verity was flicking through the archive when she came across this corker from the Wirral News from June 2012 (or BC Burgess)

My goodness it appears to us that Councillor and occasional MC Pippy D was entirely correct!. The “top executive” bit we mean!.
And my how we laughed at the suggestion that successful applicant of Chief Executive would need to work with Councillors ” to ensure effective governance of the council,high critical standards, probity and integrity of decisions made”.

Eldritch particularly sniggered at the word “probity” – but then he would!.
So Pip didn’t think Wirral would get a top notch/top flight person, does this mean time he’s simply making do with He Be GB?.
Meanwhile He Be GB having secured a permanent contract in quick-fire time (funny how the Council can get it’s A into G when they want to isn’t it?) now appears to us to have “gone to earth” as my fox-hunting friends would say and is holed up in his palatial office demanding that the underlings wash up the coffee cups after he’s had top notch meetings with top flight people ( by which of course we mean highly paid external consultants)
We can remember a time when you couldn’t walk into a supermarket ,a bingo hall or a crack den without his gurning steel-grey fretted visage thrusting a questionnaire into our hands and asking us “What Really Matters” whilst tilting his head slightly and giving us that serious, caring face.The one that says ” I’m trying to look interested but f**k me I could murder a bacon butty right now” . Could it actually be that “What Really Mattered” to He Be GB was that permanent contract.

Spin Me a Dream – WBC and FOI

CHUCKLE-BROTHERS

Now as you know we’ve covered some mindboggling stories about Wirral Council but this latest one can only be described in the words of Eldritch as a “complete clusterfuck”.

This story is concerned with what at first to be a fairly straightforward Freedom of Information request made by a certain I.Sevova on the always informative Whatdotheyknow website.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/martin_morton_gagging_clause_dir#incoming-361696

The original request was made in July 2012 but was eventually refused in it’s entirety by Wirral Council in February 2013, seemingly with a triumphal cry of  :”Oh give over I.Sevova” .

The annotations linked to this request (including from a certain M.Morton esq) are fascinating in themselves. However one part of the request that was refused that is particularly curious is the refusal of a copy of the infamous Martin Smith report into Bullying ,Harassment & Abuse of Power at Wirral Council.

This report has been freely available on Wirral Council’s own website at various times since February 2012 ( itself nearly 12 months after it was completed in April 2011).

So why the refusal? .

We at Leaky Towers think this story is instructive on two counts because not only does it demonstrate that Wirral Council is in dire need of an anatomy lesson as they don’t seem to know their arse from their elbow and secondly it shows exactly who wields power in the Town Hall.

Additionally, dare we suggest it isn’t the wisest move during a time that Wirral Council is the only local authority in the land to be subject to close scrutiny by the Information Commissioners Office because of their woeful response to FOI requests that they choose to mess about with people making requests in the public interest.

Consequently I.Sevova had to appeal to the ICO to get a copy of the Martin Smith report and needless to say Wirral Council caved in –  after the usual comedy of errors played out in all it’s agonising glory here:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/refused_martin_smith_report_ico#incoming-371275

However in what seems to be an inadvertent peak into how things work behind the scenes

someone has accidentally leaked the internal bureaucratic machinations leading to the report’s release . The link to which is here :

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/152812/response/370455/attach/4/FW%20604310%20Freedom%20of%20Information%20request%20Refused%20Martin%20Smith%20Report.ICO%20Case%20Reference%20Number%20FS50484498.html

However I think it is useful to print the exchange fully before it disappears and at the same time ask the following questions :

A) Why is the Head of Tourism approving the release of information to the public?

B) Who is this Turgid Wotsit person?

C) Why would anyone in their right mind want a copy of the Martin Smith report ?.There’s black marker pen all over it. Even Lady Justine (who admittedly likes the gee-gees) laughed when Eldritch said ” That report has got more black -type than fucking Frankel’s formbook”

As ever scroll down to the bottom and prepare to be gobsmacked !.

Please send this one out,

Thanks

Matthew Humble, Business & Performance Manager
Wirral Council
Telephone number: 0151 666 4513
e-mail: xxxxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxx.xxx.xx
Fax: 0151 666 4338

Visit our website: www.wirral.gov.uk
—–Original Message—–
From: Porter, Julie On Behalf Of Degg, Emma J.
Sent: 15 March 2013 09:28
To: Humble, Matthew; Tour, Surjit
Cc: InfoMgr, FinDMT; Lyon, Rosemary A.
Subject: RE: 604310 Freedom of Information request – Refused Martin Smith Report. ICO Case Reference Number FS50484498

Hi Matthew

Emma has approved this FOI.

Thanks

Julie

Julie Porter
Wirral Council
Brighton Street
Wallasey
Wirral
CH44 8ED
Tel: 0151 691 8235
Email: xxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxx.xxx.xx
Fax: 0151 691 8188

Visit our website: www.wirral.gov.uk

Please save paper and print out only what is necessary

—–Original Message—–
From: Humble, Matthew
Sent: 12 March 2013 16:28
To: Tour, Surjit; Degg, Emma J.
Cc: InfoMgr, FinDMT; Lyon, Rosemary A.
Subject: FW: 604310 Freedom of Information request – Refused Martin Smith Report. ICO Case Reference Number FS50484498

Hello Surjit & Emma,

Please find attached a response to an Internal Review request,

Regards,

Matthew Humble, Business & Performance Manager
Wirral Council
Telephone number: 0151 666 4513
e-mail: xxxxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxx.xxx.xx
Fax: 0151 666 4338

Visit our website: www.wirral.gov.uk

—–Original Message—–
From: O’Hare, Tracy J. On Behalf Of InfoMgr, FinDMT
Sent: 12 March 2013 14:22
To: Humble, Matthew
Cc: Corrin, Jane; InfoMgr, FinDMT; Lyon, Rosemary A.
Subject: FW: 604310 Freedom of Information request – Refused Martin Smith Report. ICO Case Reference Number FS50484498

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/refused_martin_smith_report_ico – (open on WDTK)
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/martin_morton_gagging_clause_dir#comment-36210 -(Requester has closed as refused on WDTK)

Good Afternoon

Please see request below:
Rosemary has confirmed with ICO – The internal review process is not exhausted regards this request.

Rosemary has asked if you can reply with the redacted M Smith report.

We have not issued this a new CRM number at this time.

Can you let information management, know of a time frame to complete in order for request to be acknowledged.

Many thanks, kind regards

Tracy O’Hare
FOI Co-ordinator
Information Management

TEL: 0151 691 8397
PLEASE FORWARD ALL FOI RESPONSES TO xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxx.xxx.xx

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Re: ICO Case Reference Number FS50484498 Martin Smith Report

The ICO have advised me that you will conduct another internal
review regarding the following FOI request that was recently
refused, with particular reference to the redacted Martin Smith
report;

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/martin_morton_gagging_clause_dir#comment-36210

Please provide the redacted Smith report as soon as possible and
please bear in mind that I have already waited a very long time.
You appear to have erroneously refused this request as according to
commentators who added annotations, this report has previously been
in the public domain.

As well as the report, please inform me as to the reason WHY this
part of my request was refused? The refusal makes me suspect that
Wirral Council do not always conduct internal reviews with due
rigour.

***Please acknowledge this request and give me an approximate time
frame

Yours faithfully,

I. Sevova

FUNNY BIZ-NESS ?

BeanCounters11

Now although we’ve followed the Wirral Biz story for some time we at Leaky Towers have been reluctant to do a piece because frankly we don’t understand what the blithering hell is going on.Top tooter Nigel Hobro (along with his whistleblower in arms James Griffiths) have been commenting for some time in local press that something was amiss in grant funding administered by Wirral Council.

There appears to have been the usual merry go round of internal audit failing to do their job properly ,the whistleblowers getting rather miffed and Wirral Council then having to commission an external report ( costing £39K) and hey whad’ya know! – the matter has now been referred to the police.
Council Leader Pip does his usual trick of first absolving Councillors or Council Officers of any blame ( whilst according to Mr.Hobro failing to mention they actually haven’t been investigated).Magnanimously Mr.Hobro suggests this oversight was because “the Press officers do not necessarily understand the issues at stake”.Au contraire mon cher, the Press Office absolutely and totally understand “the issues at stake”.
Or specifically the main issue – Reputation Management.
Verity also has brought to my attention that the auditors responsible for this report are Grant Thornton ,who have been appointed Wirral Council’s auditors.She then pointed her immaculately manicured crimson talons at an article on page 29 of Private Eye which states that: ” Grant Thornton ,is doing it’s own nice line in cover-ups”.
The Private Eye story is concerned story an investigation into highly questionable billing in the NHS and a subsequent report produced by the auditors . The Eye obtained a copy of the report under Freedom of Information laws and describes the report as a “classic beancounters fudge……..by ignoring the main over-billing allegation and using what even it admitted was a “non-statistical sample” ,it managed – surprise,surprise – to find nothing wrong”.
Now were not suggesting the same thing has gone on in this particular case but be warned Justine has raised her beady eyes above her pince-nez and .THE GOOD LADY IS WATCHING YOU!
Meanwhile DCI Springfield from Merseyside Police has issued the following statement:”It may be false,it may be true but nothing has been proved”

Forever Delayed

doctor-death
Q: When is a delay not a delay?  A:When we say!!
Well you can’t say we didn’t warn you we’d be hearing more about Rob Vickers in our  ” End of Days ,4-Week Delays and  Doing What Pays” EXCLUSIVE from February 26th! (HERE)
And so we offer you yet another exclusive on the scandal that just won’t go away (as much as many at Wirral Council would like it to) .We have discovered what seems to be a first draft of a statement about the 4 -week delay given to the Wirral Globe by DASS Director Graham Hobgoblinson which Eldritch discovered crumpled up in a bin behind the back of Wallasey Town Hall.
Verity and Phillippa rushed to the library with the document,smoothed it out and behind the large letters  ” NO! NO! NO!” angrily scrawled in red permanent marker pen they deciphered that the original statement to the press by an unknown author is very different to the version which rather insultingly somehow manages not to refer to a 4-week delay but manages to displace responsibility onto the misunderstanding of a bereaved carer. 
The Statement reads:   
“First of all we would like to confirm  that was a policy of 4-week delay in care packages and the intention was to save money.
This was illegal ,unethical and immoral.
We are very sorry that as a Social Services Department we seemed to have lost sight of our purpose and that the vulnerable people who rely on us to do our best and indeed pay our wages have been ill-served.
We would like at this stage say that this unfortunate state of affairs is now a thing of the past and the responsibility probably lies with one of those ne’er do wells who we paid hundreds of thousands of £££££££’s to scarper before the proverbial hit the fan.
Which is kind of ironic when you think about it as trying to save money has cost us oodles and oodles and tarnished even further what was already a tawdry reputation.Oops! what a bunch of idiots we  have been!!.No wonder the person who wrote that email published on Wirralleaks  but who seemingly failed to mention their concerns to Mr.Vickers wants to get out the “fucking shithole”!.
Finally our friend  “Rob” who has a very long and very important job title  has provided further clarification on the 4 week delay which I think puts the matter to bed once and for all:
” The so called 4 week delay shows that such thresholds are nonparametrically identified from standard referral data if unobserved officers heterogeneity affecting referral decisions is median-independent of applicant co-variates and the density of past admits conditional expected performance of brokerage is co-terminus” 
Oh and Here’s a wonderful example of WBC’s new spirit of “transparency”

Wirralleaks Bulletin Board

noticeboard

Greetings leakers, Verity  Snoop here ,and very “interesting times” it is indeed at Leaky Towers!.

I’ve been filtering through correspondence from lot of disaffected Wirral Council staff and in order to provide the Lord and Lady with cutting edge source material I would like to request further information on the following “cries and whispers”:

a)  Reports of a temporary member of Wirral Council’s Legal Department being escorted from the building after getting “tired and emotional” at his leaving do and telling his former colleagues a few “home truths”.

b) Reports of a  “tired and emotional” Councillor using that immortal phrase : ” Do you know who I am” ? at a Tranmere Rovers do.

c) Reports of  the Council’s Legal Department breaching Data Protection law.

Toodle pip,Verity.

 

We can add no more ……

Wirral In It Together

15 03 13 - view out across the broad vista of Wirral Councils impartiality
The view out across the broad vista of Wirral Council’s impartiality

UPDATE March 2013

I spoke to investigator Rob Vickers today re: the FoI request below, which was made a while back.  I’d left a message last week and he was good enough to return my call today.

We discussed the following topics:

  • His new contract at the council
  • The independence of his investigation into the council’s four week delay in care
  • A distinct lack of accountability to the local public

I thanked him for returning my call.  He told me that he used to work at St Helens Council, and after ‘retiring’, was out of work for six months.  He then started up his own company, “ROBERT VICKERS SOCIAL CARE CONSULTANCY LIMITED“.  I wasted no time in conveying my concern that his company had presided over a disgusting whitewash, the effect of which had been to…

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