During the festive lull Verity has been doing some extensive research and careful negotiating on a forthcoming exclusive so we are grateful in the interim for the ongoing investigations of Mr.John Brace which are forensically examined on his blog.
So Brace yourself (geddit?) for further revelations or should that be redactions as Mr.Brace goes to the places where everyone else loses the will to live.
First of all we are eternally grateful that he responded to our request for a guide to the BIG Fund/ISUS/Working Neighbourhood investigation. As he says : “Well where to start?….”
Seems to us it’s the usual stonewalling shenanigans and “anomalies” and a much delayed report prepared by Council beancounters Grant Thornton – which apparently can’t be released yet because it’s either with the police or with the Council or has been lost in transit.
Or possibly – as once memorably happened with that Special Charging Policy Committee report – shoved at the back of a filing cabinet for 12 years in the hope that everyone involved dies in the interim.
Talking of which it was Mr.Brace’s lobbying which brought about the publication of hundreds of pages of appendices associated with the Independent Review .Somehow it seems unbelievable that 2 years ago this forthcoming week that Anna Klonowski’s report was published to a horrified public.
OK nobody knew what they were horrified about in the actual report because it needed someone from GCHQ to decode it first – but the BASEBALL BATS – ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON headlines on Northwest Tonight certainly hinted at the fact that perhaps this report was about something more than “an accounting error”.
Mr.Brace’s illuminating commentaries on some of the aforementioned appendices can be found HERE :
We also understand that former Wirral Council Director of Law advised Mr.Brace that both the report and it’s appendices had to be subject to extensive redactions so as to protect to junior staff from any retribution from more senior staff for speaking out.
To which we can only say : a) we think that’s complete bollocks and b) shouldn’t the Council have been acting to protect junior staff rather than protecting dishonest,incompetent bullies?
Of course the irony being that Norman was eventually hoist by his own petard – notwithstanding the usual haul of public money he managed to wangle on his way out.
We all now know that the political elite and their officer cronies can and still do act with impunity – as the recent £48,000 “hurt feelings ” award testifies.
Meanwhile we are compelled to ask as to why the fallout from these reports continues to have such a negative impact on Wirral Council? – Is it because they came tantalizingly close to the truth and that many people know that behind the redactions, evasions and cover ups there lies a pernicious world of entitled and protected worthies and expendable minions?
Might we suggest further that these reports are the festering sore under the “open and transparent” plaster.
And every mother knows that if you don’t lance the poison the wound will never heal, especially when it is continually being picked at and prodded and probed.
So in an anticipation of the forthcoming Grant Thornton BIG Fund/ISUS/Working Neighbourhoods magnum opus Wirral Leaks are issuing a cut out and keep handy glossary of the terms you are likely to encounter behind the inevitable redactions and the impenetrable language of auditors :
Confidentiality – aka cover up. Matters that are in the public interest can’t be discussed because they’re “confidential”. Confidentiality does not apply to anyone below a senior management grade or whistleblowers as frankly the latter forego all such privileges for “letting the side down”
Commercial confidentiality – see above with the addition that it circumvents the public from discovering the full extent of alleged financial mismanagement or whether there are any embarrassing conflicts of interest between Council officials and their business partners.
Due process – a process that is overlong,overdue,overcomplicated and always,always on Wirral Council’s terms.
Due legal process – see above the only difference being that if legal get involved you automatically double the timescale and the cost and the cock-ups (see case law : Jarndyce v Jarndyce)
Legal opinion – payment is made to get the opinion you want.If it’s not what you want you apply a legal exemption
Legal exemption – Applied when a legal expert has given something the once over and given the following legal opinion : ” Looks like you’ve fucked up again. I’d keep schtum if I were you.”
Unlawful – To discuss the circumstances surrounding the six-figure payments made to 2 Wirral Council employees on the eve of the publication of the Independent Review is “Unlawful” and yet the cover up of £736,000 worth of discriminatory charges which both employees were heavily implicated in is “Not Unlawful” – Go figure.
Anomalies – Wrongdoing made deliberately ambiguous.
Robust – A word used repeatedly and somewhat like Lady W’s girdle – intended to provide sound support but more often used to smooth out the embarrassing and unsightly.
No Case To Answer – There is a case to answer but hey they’ve got enough on us to bury us all twice over -can’t we just bung them a few quid instead?