Gagging For It – Story Goes National

FOI PC TELEGRAPHWe at Leaky Towers couldn’t let it pass without raising a glass to Mr.Paul Cardin, a local campaigner for open government who went national last week courtesy of a Daily Telegraph front page feature.

His sterling work surveying local councils and their sometimes nefarious use of Compromise Agreements and gagging clauses which aim to stifle dissent or hide a multitude of sins is not only a staggering achievement it also induces open-mouthed bewilderment as to what on earth is happening behind closed doors of Town Halls up and down the country. The link to the survey is here:

Unfortunately the Telegraph seem to have muddled up the £14 million paid to civil servants in Whitehall with the thousands and thousands of cases involving local Councils and many millions of pounds of public money.Very conservative estimates of monies paid out put the figure at least ten times that quoted in the newspaper.

Of course it would appear that Mr.Cardin didn’t have to look far to provide the Telegraph with a suitable case study as local cause celebre Martin Morton gets to air the horror of his experience working at Wirral Council yet again ( is it us – or does this case get worse every time we hear it?).

It is apparent from the interest that this story has engendered from Bradford to Brighton that there is a huge amount of public interest in how public money is converted into hush money.

Closer to home we would like to know how did Wirral declare a figure of 12 Compromise Agreements in this survey when former Chief Internal Auditor David Garry (ironically later to be the lucky recipient of a reward for failure) later found that in the depths of some of the deepest scandals, Wirral Council hadn’t even been monitoring, counting and reporting compromise agreements? – See here:

See page 7, Appendix 1 s of this report

where Mr Garry says :

“1. 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.”

Helpfully Mr.Garry also classified Wirral’s compromise agreements process as:

“An area within a wider list of items of a high priority nature where a fundamental risk has been identified that might affect the ability of a specific service area to achieve its key objectives.”.

Well that’s alrighty-then!.Indeed one wonders whether Mr.Garry attended the same Communication Workshop as Rob Vickers of this parish.They both seem to know how to make everything elliptical ,abstruse & recondite!!!.

In consideration of which it is rather alarming if not surprising that Wirral Council and more specifically legal bod Rosemary Lyon has recently branded Mr.Cardin “vexatious” and obsessive” and on those grounds refused him information which was ironically about the departure of former Chief Internal Auditor Mr.David Garry!!!!.

Once again the workings of Wirral Council, especially during a time when they were being monitored by the Information Commissioners Office, simply beggars belief.

It would seem that Ms.Lyon clearly needs to familiarise herself with the words “public interest” which is the foundation of the Freedom Of Information Act.

And whilst she’s in the Ps perhaps she can look up the word “persistent” which is very different from being “vexatious”.

Does it not occur to these people that Mr.Cardin wouldn’t have to be quite so persistent if they were more forthcoming with information to which the public are legally entitled?.

And as for labelling the indefatigable Mr.C as “obsessive” is Ms.Lyon moonlighting as a Consultant Psychiatrist perchance?.

Indeed Lady W ‘s psychotherapist Dr. Sigmund Bonkers described this as a classic case of transference.As he explained : “Transference eez a vell known psychological phenomenon and based on what ve have observed of Virral’s obsessive secrecy I can only conclude zat it borders on ze pathological”


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