Give ‘Em Enough Rope.

Chubstrerope

As a postscript to the staircase mystery story we were wryly amused by the red herring in the press statement given by Town Hall mouthpiece David “Stretch the bounds of Credibility”  Armstrong. The attempt to explain that the staircase was part of the plans to make Wallasey Town Hall Disability Discrimination Act compliant was an exercise in breathtaking cynicism even by Wirral Council’s world-beating standards.

There are numerous examples which evidence that complying with the Disability Discrimination Act has not, historically, been a particular concern for Wirral Council…. indeed a Council insider gives us this particular example….

“In the North Annex there is no fire escape! You would assume the same in the South Annex. When one chap – severely disabled …….. managed for years working on the 3rd floor and he had no legs and was in a wheelchair! If the lift was off he was telephoned and told not to come in. He had a carer with him at all times, if a fire had broken out everyone knew there was a ‘rescue portable fire chair’ that the fire marshals were trained to use. As far as I know there are no plans to fit a fire escape in the annexes. So one would assume its sod the staff lets look after ourselves…...”

Unless of course there are other plans for the current inhabitants of the Town Hall annexes to be, er, annexed, by the burgeoning CoSocius empire by April 1st 2014?! ( no we didn’t make this date up)……

Meanwhile the unconfirmed reports that interim fire exit arrangements for both Annexes include the issuing of a rope ladder and a mattress have been denied by a Council smokesperson………

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Frank Drebin’s Secret Staircase?

GoofyB-_stairway

The news that nearly a million quid has been found to build an Executive Staircase at Wallasey Town Hall comes as no surprise to us at Leaky Towers.

 Have a look here at today’s Wirral Globe Story

However, we think it highly appropriate that Comrade Burgesski and his elite corps of yes men and women should have a glistening back passage built in their honour.

As a Council insider informs us:

“Ironically enough, it’s that very stairwell – pre double glazing – where Spinders and other smokers gathered for a crafty fag so the nasty public couldn’t see them outside…..doubly ironic when you think she’s the one allegedly responsible for public engagement  !!!!!!”

The stately pleasure dome (with shower) that Comrade Burgesski has had under construction since he deigned to honour us with his celestial presence must be nearing completion.

Can it be long before we espy a helicopter pad atop the Town Hall?

Although it must be noted that a Council spokesperson denies there are plans to convert the Town Hall basement into “The Stella Shiu Memorial Dungeon Rooms” which are named in tribute to the elusive Chinese businesswoman whom Wirral Council, it could be said, have “courted, even feted” ( to quote Foulksey).

It has been alleged these rooms were intended to consign Council and Bedroom Tax defaulters, Brown bin refuseniks, whistle-blowers and anyone that wasn’t “on message” that Wirral Council was the “Best Council Ever, Ever, Ever”

However we do question whether the money is for an actual staircase or whether the phrase: “phase 1 means of escape £850,000” is actually a reference to money that’s been set aside as pay-offs when this bunch of inept charlatans are rumbled much like all the ones that have gone before…

WHATEVER THEY CALL YOU……

GorgeGeorge

After seemingly taking a brief hiatus from his relentless round of self promotion, Deputy Council Leader Cllr Gorgeous George Davies returns for the launch of the Stop Hate UK helpline.

With his hair expertly glued to his head, the dapper quilted jacket and that cheeky impish grin he’s just the kind of wholesome representative that Wirral Council needs to front this worthy campaign.

However with the campaign byline being “Whatever they call you…call us” we really do hope this charming picture doesn’t turn out to make him a hostage to fortune (cookie) !!!!………….

For a kick -off (pun intended) can we suggest that as part of Wirral Council’s “Bluenose Contingent” he refrains from hateful name calling at today’s Everton/Liverpool derby match.

We know you guys have an aversion to whistleblowers but that doesn’t mean you have to make offensive remarks about the questionable parentage of the referee!

After all, like all whistleblowers, he is just trying to do his job and prevent foul play ……………………….

Conscious of “CoSocius”?

GBFDFU

In an internal memo sent by Comrade Burgesski and his snivelly looking counterpart from Cheshire West And Chester (CWAC) there is an update on what is euphemistically called the development of a Shared Services Programme. It reads:

As you know, across the council we are engaging with employees about the future vision for the organisation. Against a challenging back drop of national cuts to our budget and increasing demand for our services, we are having to consider different ways of providing services to our communities as one strand of redefining the council. One such way is through the shared services programme we are working on with our neighbouring Cheshire authorities. We are now pleased to share our joint proposals for shared services with you, which are due to be formally considered by councillors in January.

In summary:

• We will jointly establish a new company, fully controlled by both Wirral and Cheshire West and Chester Council, for our professional corporate services. The company will operate with a strong public ethos philosophy (sic).

• This company will be established by 1st April 2014 (NO JOKE!) and staff will start to move into the company on a phased basis up until October 2014.

• Our company will seek to grow in the future to provide services to other public sector organisations. This will help make the company successful in the long term, making savings for both councils and improving future employment opportunities for staff.

• We will standardise ways of working and invest in shared technology to deliver efficient, corporate services which are both efficient and best in their class.

• We will keep a small unit acting jointly for both councils to ensure excellent governance and high standards of probity, to order services from the new company, to set standards and to oversee performance.

• We will also gain agreement on all sides for Wirral Council to become a full partner in the separate company which is already in the process of being established between Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East. Called ‘CoSocius’, this will provide all transactional support services to all three councils.

The update also states “Our Joint Shared Services Programme Team based in Wallasey Town Hall has been very busy….”.

Haven’t they just! – selling their colleagues down the River Dee by the sounds of it!

So what is this mysterious organisation ‘CoSocius’?

Their website  http://cosocius.co.uk/  fails to mention the potential link up with Wirral but instead heralds their links with Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester Councils.It is significantly described on the website a “private limited company”.

However we have a few observations from Leaky Towers –

Firstly, CoSocius ? !  Seriously?- What kind of an unholy mash-up of a company name is that?  For a start we defy anyone to say CoSocius without sounding drunk.

Go on try! ………. See we told you so !

Secondly – funny how on the one hand the Labour controlled Wirral Council wants to buddy up with other Merseyside Councils to create the Peoples Socialist Republic of Merseyside and yet are seemingly quite happy to propose working  with the Tory-controlled Cheshire Councils to hive off their own back-room boys and girls into the private sector.

Thirdly – we’d be interested to know what the local unions think of these proposals. We suspect that if Wirral was a Tory -controlled Council making the proposal to shunt public sector workers into the private sector there would be an outcry – but as we know that’s not how the unions roll on Wirral, especially when some of their reps are actually on the pay-roll …..

Remember Wirral Council staff you need to be conscious of CoSocius  – this is where the public service ethos philosophy comes at a price……..and that includes you!.

Fazed Return – The Return To Abnormal

Utterlyuseless

Unfortunately not being personally acquainted with some of the main characters in the alleged Wirral Council makeover means that Her Ladyship missed one of the main protagonists when she was viewing the recording of last weeks Improvement Board meeting.

Clearly refreshed after his recent,ahem,absence the Super-Duperest of all Super Duper Directors and Burgesski’s particular favourite until that recent,ahem, “misunderstanding” did indeed make a fleeting appearance.

On being informed of her oversight and being guided to the footage by a thoughtful leaker Her Ladyship responded: ” My goodness, the only time I want to see a grey mullet is when it’s the fish course at a royal banquet….” .

We do wonder as to whether the timing of his sudden departure from the Improvement Board meeting had anything to do with the prospect of forthcoming revelations such as those contained in an email sent to all and sundry and subsequently leaked by a Council insider.

We’d like to respect the wishes for anonymity so eloquently expressed by the deeply affronted union rep at last weeks meeting but frankly a) we know all about the connections,conflicts of interest and motives for doing so b) the world and her husband seem to have seen the following email and c) we couldn’t be arsed.

“The day I met Kevin ( Utterly Butterly )Addelry and Paula (‘Bertie Bassett’)Basnett to blow the whistle on Wirral Biz sums up WBC…. perfectly.

It was 862 days ago and nothing has changed apart from them both having been promoted I believe.

I sat through a couple of hours of listening mainly to Addled talking of his brilliant career in audit, his having contacts in the tax office etc, how great the Big Fund Panel was, “implying, what would I know”, whilst Basnett looked shocked at my allegations and asking me about forged signatures that I didn’t know about at that stage…they obviously did! (Obviously mentioned in the ISUS Report that is harder to find than the Holy Grail.)

All whilst sitting under his ridiculous football shirt with his name on it.

Now 862 days later they are still collecting massive salaries people have come and gone Grant Thornton Reports ferreted away somewhere…..What has changed….Naff all!!”

So shocked were we about the fact that a Super Duper Director and a fully grown man would disport themselves in a football shirt and at the same time claim to have a brilliant career in audit we felt the urgent need to consult Leaky Towers psychologist Dr.Sigmund Bonkers. He sent us the following assessment:

 “Under the circumstances I would suggest if a person attains the dizzying heights to which they are clearly unsuited for, there is an increased likelihood of that person suffering from vertigo ….”.

“You must improve!” – Wirral Council Goes Back To Skool.

DUNCE

After our little jaunt to Birkenhead Town Hall last week we really couldn’t do the double and take in the Improvement Board meeting at Wallasey Town Hall on Friday as well ,especially as we’d already had a fair share of doubles at the Remembrance Day event! (hic!)

What’s more, we can all testify at Leaky Towers that His Lordship never goes to official functions without being properly attired and unfortunately his fedora is currently with the milliner being repaired.The excess doffing of his titfer to the assembled throng of dignitaries at last weeks event means that, like some of them, it’s a bit worse for wear……

Therefore I am eternally grateful to local public interest crusader John Brace for recording the Improvement Board meeting so I could view it at my leisure whilst His Lordship and Verity nipped out. Last thing I heard them cry was that they were heading for some tea and tiffin at The Spotty Blue Teapot.

Mr.Brace’s recordings (Parts 1-5) can be found on Youtube at  ” Wirral Council Local Government Association Improvement Board 15th November 2013″

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2J1hpwHC-A

As the filming is restricted to Improvement Board Panel my first impression, after wanting to scream at the screen to Comrade Burgesski and Power Boy Pip: “Oh for goodness sake will you two boys STOP FIDGETING!”, was that it seemed like the Council had been called into the Headmistress’s office after being very naughty boys indeed and they’d been put on report and told in no uncertain terms that they needed to jolly well pull their socks up!

Improvement Board Chair Joyce “firm but fair” Redfearn seemed to be playing the headmistress role and clearly exasperated with the ” It wasn’t me ,Miss, it was him Miss…” she’d finally accepted it was everyone’s fault and it was a case of “corporate failure”.  Which basically means that no-one is held accountable for anything.Ever.

So much so it appeared that there was no naming of names allowed in the meeting in case we got into the realms of “hurt feelings” and more bumper payouts for the sensitive souls who are quite happy to accept huge salaries for being complete nonentities but don’t appear to have grasped the idea that they are public servants and that being named and shamed comes with the territory,especially when they have failed time and time again.

There even appears to be some dreary Union person bleating in the background about her members rights to anonymity.Why does it seem these people always defend the wrongdoers and abandon the truthtellers?

Talking of which – the usual crew of whistleblowers appear to have been there and they were apparently unsupported by any union representation or a retinue of fawning staff.
By the way as a matter of interest what is the collective noun for whistleblowers ? – a toot? a malcontent? a grievance? Answers on a postcard please.

To give him his due at least Burgesski (literally) stood up to a tough crowd ( it must’ve felt like amateur hour at the Glasgow Empire and we’re already big fans of the delightfully named straight-talking Mr.Voyages (?)already! ) which is more than can be said for  Council “Leader” Power Boy Pip who clearly couldn’t stand the heat,said very little and sloped off halfway through the meeting before too many awkward questions were asked or revelations were made.

His empty chair seems to be symbolic of a complete abdication of responsibility.

Perhaps he was rehearsing for his woeful performance on today’s’ Sunday Politics show. I feel he would have been better off sending  the empty chair in his place.
He reminds me of that existential joke about describing a void.
“What kind of void….?”
“An empty void” .

Although I have to say he offered rare insight when the show’s presenter asked him what’s the situation with Wirral Council?

” Dire” he plaintively answered before revealing more job cuts were on the way.
He then, without a hint of irony, signed off with a statement “that it’s all about fairness”

I could only think to myself : “Well yes,quite Power Boy Pip  but when has fairness been a concept that Wirral Council has ever been familiar with?……”.

At this point His Lordship and Verity giddily entered the drawing room.

” Did you enjoy your tiffin at The Spotty Blue Teapot” I enquired
“Unfortunately… after receiving Council grants and awards ” they both giggled… ” it would appear that as the dignitaries in this picture below indicate it’s all gone tits up”.
launch-of-the-spotty-blue-teapot-in-hoylake-238717973-3271154

LEST WE FORGET ….TO HAVE A FEW JARS AT THE TAXPAYERS EXPENSE

DREBBIN

After the toe-curling Nuremberg rally-like address last week by Colonel Burgesski to Wirral Council staff – that all was now well, there is no longer anything to see here, so please move along; Frank Drebin, eat your heart out – it was a relief to see business has returned to abnormal today.

It is only, after all, the most poignant day of the year, so let’s dunk our heads as deep into the trough as we possibly can, eh?

Lord and Lady Leaks sat appalled today as we witnessed the mutual love in at Birkenhead Town Hall, where the not-at-all-great and the not-even-slightly-good milled around with the decent, the honest, and the friends and family of the injured, fallen, and serving military personnel who collectively put the Brighton Street weasels to shame.

Burgesski was on coffee, we noted. But it was knees-up Mother Brown for council leader Phil Davies, a somewhat subdued George Davies (can’t imagine why, *cough*), mayor-to-be-if-he-really-still-thinks-that-ho-ho-ho Steve Foulkes, and his winsome cohorts Moira McLaughlin, Anna McLaughlin (another cough) and thirsty ex-mayor John Cocker.

All of it paid for by YOU dear Wirral Council taxpayer, too!

Yep, it was a freebie that only last year ol’ Burgesski deemed a bad use of public funds. But this year he changed his mind on opening the bar to all and sundry. Maybe he needs some pals?

“Who is Wirral Leaks?” they murmured and fidgeted, as the lady pianist played in the background in the main reception room, and also as the Scotsman piper played prior to service outside the town hall.

But they soon forgot that as the bun fight began for the free drinks, served in the “old” mayor’s parlour.

Beer on tap, every spirit you could think of. And all free. In a refurbished parlour (Foulkes is coming after all, huge and red like the Coca Cola Christmas truck) that surely cost thousands.

What they forgot to do, of course, was to think about the day itself. Rather than a barney for our Brighton Street brethren, this was supposed to be a day of reflection.

But the lift at Birkenhead Town Hall was too jittery, so Lady Leaks was horrified to see old soldiers having to climb four sets of stairs.

Missing, though, on such an auspicious day, were Spinders and Addled. Why? Prior appointment? Lady Leaks thinks she should be told…

Eldritch’s Bulletin Board

War

How do, Eldritch ‘ere

His Lord & Ladyship were so taken aback by Comrade Burgesski’s press announcement that all was now well with Wirral Council and he was now looking forward to the organisation being known as “outstanding” that they’ve had to take themselves off for a lie down in a darkened room at The Hoity Toity Spa.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/10789500.Wirral_Council_hopes_page_has_been_turned_on_its_chequered_past/?ref=mry

Her Ladyship’s parting words to me were : ” I think Burgesski thought his comment : “We’ve won the war, now we must win the peace.” – was statesmanlike, but considering the proximity to Remembrance Sunday I found his words crass and insensitive.The ghastly man frays my nerves….Eldritch you’ll just have to hold the fort in our absence.Toodle pip.”

Now I’m not a man of many words and most of those are fucking expletives so you lot’ll have to make do with this Bulletin Board because the leaks have been coming in thick and fast.

Anti-Social Behaviour

We’ve been asked whether there will be after party fireworks after tonights Cabinet ( November 7th).

This is do with a report about a review of streetscene and community safety

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/g4362/Public%20reports%20pack%2007th-Nov-2013%2018.15%20Cabinet.pdf?T=10

Our source says: “Item 17  – Slipped in at the bottom of a busy night indeed. No details,nothing attached, no appendix, no EIA, but hey ho you daft uns, agree to it anyway.Aha the Special One MBA becomes the ASB (Anti-Social Behaviour) Tsar (her own words).The report should be seen as an attempt to hoodwink councillors just like the old days.Here’s a review, just a review, just agree it. Read it through and its a proposal that gives an open book to expand a mini dictatorship. Included is the proposal that the ASB Tsar will influence other depts. Or bully as we know it…..”

Anti -Social Behaviour indeed!

Top-up for Taylor-Smith

Apparently David Taylor-Smith,one of the no-marks caught up in the Colas/HESPE whistleblow case was not satisfied with the £68,000 pay -off he received and has come back and bagged another £20,000!
Once again a little financial arrangement that seems to have evaded any scrutiny and had to be leaked.

Gardening Leave

Is Super -Duper Director Kevin Addled aka Utterly-Butterly still on gardening leave? If so –  a couple of questions – we thought Wirral Council didn’t do gardening leave and how big is his bloody garden? Whatever the answer we bet it’s not as big as his salary
But seriously Kev we know you’re a big fan of Chinese cuisine so we’re sending you this irritating ditty to remind you of happier times spent in Shanghai.

Ta -ra, Eldritch

MAKING IT REAL – With MC WBC

ALI-GB

It was awfully thoughtful of someone from Wirral Council to share it’s latest draft “Vision” with their “critical friends” at Wirral Leaks. OK we admit we’re more critical than friends but we hope it enables them to tick the box marked “consultation”.

The full title of this magnum opus is :  “Vision for Wirral and the Council’s Approach in Making It Real”.

This elicited a derisive chorus of : “Are they for real?” here at Leaky Towers with Eldritch adding further scorn by commenting: ” Don’t know why they didn’t do the whole “down wiv da kidz” routine and call it

” 4 Real 4 Life” ….” .

And so it would appear that after ” What Really Matters”  and “Destination Excellence” (anyone remember that hastily ill- conceived car-crash?) that the pattern of empty sloganeering as a substitute for effective corporate governance is set to continue at Wirral Council.

REALBECKrealdud

And as you can see above “Making It Real” is hardly an original title.We don’t know what highly paid policy wonk wrote this draft but we suspect they adhere to the principle about not reinventing the wheel when you can just cut and paste.

As to the draft document itself it’s the usual dreary doublespeak that is the lingo of lobotomized local government bods.

There’s some blather about the Improvement Board wanting to know about Wirral’s  “future state model” which sounds to us a bit like a totalitarian regime in a dystopian sci-fi movie.

Then some context for the vision is given : ” We recognise that the scope and complexity of the change needs to be captured and explained in a coherent framework which is understood by elected members,staff and partners”.

Might we suggest that for the sake of elected members the final document is printed in a format they can understand: B O L D.  multi-coloured crayon.

But let’s not mock because apparently all by themselves (yeah right!) the elected member have identified 3 principles (yes yet more bloody principles) which focus the activity of the Council.They are  :

– Enabling local solutions – local decisions

– Promoting Independence

– Driving Growth & Aspiration

Now you can call us cynical (and who could blame us) but using the language we’ve gleaned from “da yoof ” on daytime TV we read these principles as :

” We ain’t got no money aye, so you be on your own suckers – you just need to ASPIRE more  jus’  like da sad wannabes on  X-Factor…..

They then tell us how they intend to enact these principles – there’s exciting talk of new delivery models ,changing behaviour,work force modernisation and improved business performance.

New delivery models includes would you believe ” staff led spin out arrangements??????!!!!”

I think we can all agree we’ve all had quite enough of those type of arrangements already thank you!

Changing behaviour includes “accountability and responsibility” being clearly understood and putting an end to the “we know best” culture.

” The holding of one’s breath is most definitely not recommended…” is all that Lady W had to say on this particular matter

Workforce Modernisation includes the inevitable  “directly employ fewer people” or as it’s better known -privatisation.Of course “Workforce Modernisation” is more acceptable terminology for a Labour-controlled Council. So to all those about to be made redundant or redeployed in the private sector on less favourable employment terms – remember you’re not just an expendable economic unit  – you’re being “modernised”. Shame the workforce have realised all too late that they’re the ones paying the price for years of Council mismanagement. The irony being that the ones making decisions on peoples livelihoods are the Councillors who jeopardised them in the first place!

Improved Business Performance tells us that that “work has already begun in this area includes; the asset management strategy whilst providing a structure to how the Council manages it’s assets…”.

Well,well ,well hasn’t it just!  To be frank we think it should be re-named the asset stripping strategy.

Might we suggest keeping a particularly beady eye on Wirral Business Partnership and the various inter-connections and relationships when it comes to this area of work.

Finally it is envisaged that by 2016 Wirral Council will have a new look .

The characteristics include words like “leaner”, “smaller and “slicker. “Which suggests that the Council’s aspiration is to resemble Olympic heptathlete Jessica Ennis rather than racist lard-arse Bernard Manning.

One of the characteristics is described thus: ” Focusing on early intervention to problems which is proportionate and outcomes focused e.g. learning initiatives such as Intensive Family Intervention pilots will be understood and imbedded (?) in day to day practice”.

Oh and believe us there’s plenty more where that came from.

Now we concede we’re not as clever as these folks with their Masters in Business Administration degrees and who can do fancy power-point presentations with sound effects and snazzy graphics but in these austere times we feel we could have provided a more concise vision for Wirral Council:

a) Challenge the half dozen or so of the political power elite who have held sway on Wirral for the best part of a quarter century to either shape up or ship out

b) Employ nice people committed to public service

c) Er,…that’s it

The final characteristic described before the next steps in the implementation of this vision describe Wirral Council as :

“Effectively managing it’s reputation locally and nationally….”

Which proves once and for all that the people formulating these visions just don’t get it!.

The relentless and ruthless focus on “Reputation Management” at the cost of absolutely everything else is not a sign of a fully functioning, healthy organisation.

As the saying goes: ” The Best Don’t Advertise” or indeed have the need to be seen to be : ” Making It Real !! “

What Colour Does Red and Green Make?

WHistles
We understand that Sue Green, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development at Wirral University Teaching Hospital ( aka Arrowe Park Hospital ) has made a rather sudden disappearance.Thereby maintaining a fine family tradition following her spouse Dave “No Case To Answer” Green’s departure from Wirral Council earlier this year.
What we are wondering at Leaky Towers is whether this has anything to do with the recent Care Quality Commission Intelligent Monitoring Report and particularly page 3 where you can see written in red those immortal words “Elevated risk : whistleblowing alerts…”
Surely not another case of whistleblowing proving once again to be something of an inconvenience to another member of the Green household? I think we should be told – but I suspect we won’t be.Perhaps local MP Frankenfield, fresh from his triumph of clearing up Wirral Council,can call for an Inquiry into exactly what is up with Wirral’s other most significant institution?.
Lady W gives an exasperated sigh and says:
” Oh he already has dear……unfortunately the inquiry he asked for was into the crucial question as to why people use foodbanks!  Now, it’s just a wild guess on my part but I would have thought it was because they were living in his beloved so-called “welfare ghetto” and had very little money “. 
Meanwhile Verity was rooting through the archives and spotted this Wirral Globe story from 2011 about a public meeting organised by Wirral MPs who heard a litany of complaints from staff, both serving and retired from Arrowe Park Hospital .The local MPs involved were,yes you guessed it, Frankenfield and Alison McGovern – (” Who’s she when she’s at home?….” Lady W hissed rather coarsely)
Colm Byrne of the RCN nurses union claimed that staff at this time were depressed and morale had crashed and is quoted as saying: “Everybody seems to be working in a climate of fear. I think this needs to addressed……”
And so we’d like to ask what has happened in the intervening 2 years or so since the selfless intervention of the great and the ghoul?
What we find most disheartening is this: Why is it that when it comes to Wirral’s most prominent institutions it’s always left to whistleblowers and regulators red lights flashing before the eyes before anyone takes a blind bit of notice?…………and only then if it’s politically opportune to do so?
“I don’t understand why these days everything has to turn to shit before someone sits up and take notice”  snarled Eldritch .
“Precisely….” replied Lady W “…especially when turd brown is such an unflattering colour”.