Unsurprisingly without any fanfare top-notch bean counter Eugene Sullivan’s long awaited Independent Review of Sundry Debt has been published and is due for consideration at a Special Meeting of Wirral Council Cabinet on 23rd May.
Might we suggest that Cabinet have a lot to ponder as to why the Council (and particularly the Department of Adult Social Services) has failed to pursue outstanding debts which it was owed!.
However the scores on the doors are these:
Total Council Debt : £31,251,000
Department of DASS outstanding Debt: £ 24,703,000
DASS Debt written off : £10,900,000
What can we say?… other than initially quote directly from yet another damning report about how Wirral Council conducts it’s business:
“This problem has existed for many years ,has grown steadily and is not yet solved.There has been no concerted action by the Council despite awareness at the highest level in at least three departments…..This should not come as a surprise to many within the Council….
Over the years the Chief Officers in DASS,Legal Department and the Finance Department were aware of the growing problem on aged debt. There has been a corporate failure to understand the scale and consequence of this issue.None of the Departments has taken effective action to ensure this matter was addressed.It should have been recognised as a serious corporate risk which was not being mitigated.It had gone on for so long ,and become so big and complicated ,no one seemed to know how to address it or should take ownership for addressing it….
There have been suggestions that the Department (DASS) was reluctant to tackle the issue because it might have adverse affects on their budgets .Some interviewees have told me specifically about incidents where at least one Head of Service declined to take action,on more than one occasion ,because it would harm the Departments budget….”
We at Leaky Towers have considered these findings and the following local newspaper reports:
Our sorrowful collective comments are as follows :
- Well the findings certainly didn’t come as a “surprise” to whistleblower Martin Morton who alleges he reported his concerns about financial mismanagement from 2006-11 (including to the then Chief Executive Steve Maddox in 2007)
- And what was the Council’s response ? – gave them yet another reason to hound him out of his job!…..FOR TELLING THE COUNCIL THEY WERE LOSING MONEY!?
- Power Boy Pip Davies absolutely pitiful response is that: ” Part of the problem was elected members were not made aware of the issue..”
- THE CLAIM THAT ELECTED MEMBERS DIDN’T KNOW IS SIMPLY NOT CREDIBLE!.THEY EITHER DID KNOW AND CHOSE TO TURN A BLIND EYE KNOWING THAT THEY’D GOT AWAY WITH IT FOR YEARS AND WOULD OF GOT AWAY WITH IT FOR YEARS TO COME UNTIL THAT BLOODY WHISTLEBLOWER CAME ALONG !…..OR THEY GENUINELY DIDN’T KNOW AND THEY WERE DECEIVED BY SENIOR OFFICERS FOR YEARS. EITHER WAY IT IS A DAMNING INDICTMENT OF WIRRAL COUNCIL’S ELECTED MEMBERS
- And oh it gets worse – Power Boy Pip also claims: ” The report makes it clear that senior officers in adult social services ,legal and finance knew and did not do anything but individuals have left….There is not much we can do in addressing historic problems..”
- MANY OF THESE SENIOR OFFICERS DID NOT JUST “LEAVE” – THEY WERE HANDSOMELY REWARDED FOR THEIR FAILURE BY PIP & HIS CREW! .NO WONDER THE REPORT IS “EX – RATED” (THE “GOING RATE” USUALLY BEING SIX FIGURES). REMEMBER THE DASS HEAD OF FINANCE WHO SURELY NEEDS TO TAKE A LARGE PART OF THE BLAME FOR THE “CORPORATE FAILURE” “LEFT” THE DAY BEFORE THE AKA INDEPENDENT REVIEW REPORT WAS PUBLISHED AND OF COURSE WITH THE REQUISITE SIX FIGURE CHEQUE. IS PIP REALLY CLAIMING THIS IS ENTIRELY COINCIDENTAL?.
- We note ,as ever,there are no names ,no pack drill ,no accountability when it comes to the guilty parties.
- MIGHT WE SUGGEST THE FOLLOWING SHOULD BE NAMED AND SHAMED ( THOUGH WE’RE OPEN TO FURTHER SUGGESTIONS) DASS CHIEF OFFICERS: KEVIN MILLER,JOHN WEBB,HOWARD COOPER ? LEGAL CHIEF OFFICERS: SIMON GOACHER, BILL NORMAN? FINANCE CHIEF OFFICER: IAN COLEMAN HEADS OF SERVICE: MIKE FOWLER, MAURA NOONE? OH AND LETS NOT FORGET THE CHIEF EXECUTIVES: STEVE MADDOX AND JIM WILKIE BECAUSE ULTIMATELY THAT’S WHERE THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THIS FOUL UP LIES. YES THE SAME MADDOX WHO WAS GIVEN THE FREEDOM OF THE BOROUGH ON HIS SUDDEN “RETIREMENT” FOR SERVING THE PEOPLE OF WIRRAL SO WELL.OH THEY “GOT SERVED” ALRIGHT!.
- And to think those poor Chief Officers trying to make ends meet on £100K PLUS getting all befuddled because their corporate failure “had gone on for so long and was too big and too complicated” and so they’d go all woozy when they saw the financial spreadsheet with the row of noughts on and the alarms bells would be ringing in their heads and the red lights flashing before their eyes and the only appropriate response they could think off was to go and give a good kicking to a junior member of staff to make sure they kept their mouths shut.
- WHAT DID THEY THINK THEY WERE BEING PAID FOR? – TO BLOODY SORT IT OUT! – NO WONDER THEY GOT TOGETHER AND GOT RID OF THAT MORTON BLOKE!.SO WHAT DID THEY DISCUSS IN THEIR CHIEF OFFICER MEETINGS? – THEIR GOLF HANDICAPS? THEIR EXOTIC HOLIDAYS? WHO WAS TOP OF THE KICKBACK LEAGUE?
- So finally after all the above named have “left” ,”interviewees” (or “gobshites” as Eldritch describes them ) come clean and disclose to Mr.Sullivan what was known to all and sundry ( except apparently elected members! ) about the woeful financial arrangements which have cost Wirral Council millions.
- DID IT NOT OCCUR TO INTERVIEWEES/GOBSHITES TO SPEAK UP BEFORE MR.SULLIVAN SHOWED UP?.SILLY QUESTION! – LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO MORTON!.WHY WOULD ANYONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND SPILL THE BEANS UNTIL THE BEANCOUNTER CAME ALONG?!.
- So the alleged justification by DASS Heads of Service for declining to take action was to prevent “harming the Departments budget”
- THE “HARMING” OF ESSENTIAL SERVICES , VULNERABLE PEOPLE,THE PAY AND CONDITIONS OF COUNCIL STAFF & THE COUNCIL’S REPUTATION FOR FAILING TO RECOVER MONIES THAT WERE OWED TO THEM DIDN’T SEEM TO COME INTO THE EQUATION!
Therefore is it any wonder, in consideration of all of the above, that the only word we can use to describe the contents of this report is……OBSCENE