We briefly touched upon the Wirral Council Control Room debacle in a previous post:
Well here is further shameful information about how Wirral Council decided in their infinite – or should that be infinitesimal? – wisdom to destroy the livelihoods of some of their own staff.
Michael Edwards is one of the guys who suffered as a result and is now relentlessly pursuing the matter.Needless to say he is being thwarted at every turn as the Most Improved Council on Fantasy Island do what they do best – which ironically is being “controlling”.
Mr.Edwards has now had to resort to having to make a series of Freedom of Information Act requests in the hope of finding out exactly how he and 10 other colleagues lost their jobs.
We quote Mr.Edwards’ annotations to this particular request as they neatly summarise the sorry story :
“Clearly stated now in black and white by Wirral Council , Control Room staff made redundant but control room kept open.”
“Wirral Council is meant to be open and transparent but getting relevant information is like getting blood out of a stone. This is quite straight forward people were made redundant but their job wasn’t and they were deceived into walking out the door.”
“The fact staff are in the Emergency Control Room carrying out the same duties over 12 months on brings the question why were the staff made redundant, just a bit of honesty and maybe right what is wrong.”
“Not only was the Control room kept open but untrained agency staff taken on who had to be supervised to carry out the role.”
“CCTV control staff made redundant then replaced by staff paid honororium to their grade plus huge amounts of overtime.”
Wirral Council’s pitiless yet pitiful response to this FOI request was this :
“4 members of staff were given honorariums due to loss of CCTV Control Room
staff through the Council’s Budget Options exercise. Agency staff had been
employed to handle calls and supervisors were needed for these new staff.
It was a management decision to give temporary honorariums to 4 existing
staff members. This had been a management decision while the service was
in a state of flux during a period of time when they had not been able to
recruit staff. It was the only option available.”
As Mr.Edwards says : “They had no choice as the service was in a state of flux?
The choice was not to make the staff redundant.”
However it seems it’s an ill wind that blows no good as untrained council mercenaries are willing to pick up a few more bob at the expense of their former colleagues.
It also seems to us that in this context the priceless phrase ” a state of flux” is council-speak for “our highly paid managers haven’t got a clue about what the actual fuck they are doing”.
We also wonder whether this cock up hastened the departure of former Streetscene supremo – that sweet talkin’ guy and Mr.Expletive himself – Cllr. Harry Smith.
However needless to say Wirral Council considers that the actual cost of this cock up is “commercially sensitive” and therefore exempt information under Section 43 of The Freedom of Information Act 2000.
In this context “commercially sensitive” means that Wirral Council don’t want to admit to the extent of how they’ve wasted council taxpayers money yet again and they’re not going to tell us how they’ve wasted our money because in their twisted mindset they’re simply not accountable to the people who pay their wages!.
Indeed a couple of recent FOI cases illustrate this twisted mindset further.
The first is concerned by campaign group Big Brother Watch who made requests of all councils in England & Wales about sensitive , confidential or personal information which had been lost by or stolen from councils.Whilst most councils responded to the request Wirral Council maintained their secretive stance with a plaintive : “request denied”.
The second example borders on the tragi-comic as inveterate amateur investigator John Brace comes up trumps with an absolute howler.
This particular case concerns a request for a powerpoint presentation that was concerned with Wirral Council’s “organisational vision”, “values”and “culture” (please no laughing at the back).
What could be so compromising that Wirral Leaks regular and Wirral Council’s law lord Dimwit Tour (who made the first decision to refuse this request) wanted to keep the information out of the public domain for the increasingly popular reason that to release the top secret slideshow would :
(b) inhibit the free and frank provision of advice or exchange of views;
(c) otherwise prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs.
However following a further refusal by new Wirral Council CEO Eric Feeble (who we are becoming increasingly disillusioned with here at Leaky Towers ) and after a year of wrangling the indomitable Mr.Brace got the decision overturned with the help of the Information Commissioner’s Office.
So it is now thanks to him we can finally see the presentation in all it’s comic glory.
A flavour of what has finally been released is contained in one particular slide which states without a hint of irony :
“We communicate & are open and honest in what we do.”
Therefore after all that’s gone before we can only conclude here at Leaky Towers that the real reason the request was denied was to inhibit the satirical opportunities the slides afforded to the likes of us.
However there are some things that even we concede are simply beyond satire and for Wirral Leaks it would be like shooting fish in a barrel.
As we’ve said many times before : You really couldn’t make this shit up!.