Well,well, well – less than a week after our “Free and Frank” story https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/exclusive-free-and-frank/
Wirral Council finally see fit to disclose the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Nick Warren review requested by ex-Wirral Council whistleblower Martin Morton nine months ago!.
No wonder he added the annotation :
“I’m wondering whether it was the ICO Decision Notice issued on
December 15th 2015 or the article published by Wirral Leaks on
January 14th 2016 that was more effective in ensuring this
information was disclosed!.
Shameful behaviour yet again by Wirral Council.”
We are particularly grateful that this document is in the public domain as we can now have a “free and frank discussion” about what is a fascinating insight into the warped world of Wirral Council.
The title of the Terms of Reference for the Warren Commission is “Review: Allegations raised by former employees of the Council concerning their treatment” which was compiled by Wirral Council’s Monitoring Officer Surjit Tour who makes the review sound as though it could be about prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay.
First we have “Background” (of which there is very little) where Tour tells us :
” I appoint Nicholas Warren (R) to review the circumstances surrounding the allegation of a breach of confidence by four former employees of the Councils (“the complainants”).
What Tour’s motive for going along with this sleazy charade we can only hazard a guess as he seems to have a twisted symbiotic relationship with council leaders especially when he is in some ways responsible for instigating this whole sordid saga in the first place.In fact we think we may have just answered our own question!.
However we are particularly grateful that he has coined a collective term for the people at the centre of this review. ” The Complainants” seems a much more accurate description than “whistleblowers”.
“The Complainants” complaining about their treatment by Wirral Council whilst their own treatment of Wirral Councillors and council officers (including Tour) is for some reason seemingly ignored.
We also learn that despite not having a legal claim for compensation (for if they did it surely have been settled by now) Wirral Council saw fit to offer them a £ 3,000 “time and trouble payment” to “The Complainants” .Bless.
We presume the three grand bung was more for trouble they could cause rather than the time the boo hoo boys spent telling everyone how badly done to they were.
However “The Complainants” knew that what they knew or rather what they had recorded on the Wirralgate tapes was worth much more than £3,000 each.More importantly their benefactor Frank Field MP knew it was worth much more to protect himself and his political agent Cllr George Davies , who in turn was trying to protect his reckless bezzy Cllr Steve Foulkes. Meanwhile feckless Council leader Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies has had no choice but to go along with this scandalous scheming even though it has been alleged he too was recorded saying ” I can’t defend that” when he heard the Wirralgate tapes.
Enter : Nicholarse Warren.
The second part of the Tour’s TOR is ironically titled : “Principles governing the Review”.
Principles!!! . We wonder where various Code of Conduct principles fit in here?
Did Tour ever think when he was training to be a solicitor that he would be drafting something which reads to us like How To Legitimise Dodgy Payments to Complainants
Interesting to note that Nicholarse Warren is to consider all the circumstances of the matter relating to “The Complainants” and yet seemingly pre-empting his findings Tour records that : “If it came to a question of expenditure Warren would have to take soundings from the District Auditor about its scale and any recommendation made by (Warren) involving expenditure by the Council must be limited to what local authority accounts rules permit ;and be within the bounds of what the District Auditor would accept as reasonable”.
Hang on didn’t Wirral council state in a previous response (see What Do They Know FOI request above) that :” Warren has not been given any decision making powers by the Council in respect of awarding or making any compensation payments. Any decision to pay compensation would be a matter for the Council. For the avoidance of doubt, no decision has been made on whether any compensation should be paid.”
Let’s face it the decision and the amount of compensation was expected to be a formality when Frank Field “demanded” £48,000 each for “The Complainants” in October 2014.That’s nearly £200,000 of public money to cover up corruption.It is of course now January 2016 and no further compensation payment has seemingly been made – so what could possibly have happened to prevent Field getting his own way?.
However the most troubling aspect of Tour’s TOR is described thus :
” The Council will indemnify R (Warren) against the reasonable costs of defending any defamation action or threat of defamation action against R in his role as the R and any damages awarded against R in any such action.Any threat of or institution of such proceedings shall immediately notified to the Monitoring Officer and no liability shall be admitted by R”
This is a simply astonishing indemnity as it seems that Warren is given carte blanche to defame anyone he chooses in his review and (once again) Wirral Council will pick up the tab if he does so!.If we ignore as to whether Wirral Council have the authority to indemnify someone who is not an elected member or employee of the Council we have to ask ourselves as to the dubious motive for doing so? . Could it be that this allows uncorroborated allegations made by The Complainants against former Wirral Council employees who do not have a right of reply to be included in the review report?.
Although we’ve been covering this particular story since August 2013 the threat of defamation has never occurred to us as our sources can substantiate their allegations.We can only hope that The Complainants/Warren can do the same when it comes to their respective claims/findings.