“I would only open this in the presence of a Commissioner for Oaths….”
Today we peer behind the veneer at the sordid reality of what it’s really like for some people who work at Wirral Council. What lies behind the current banal mantra of pledges/ leadership/going forward are the desperate measures that some council employees are forced to take to protect themselves and why callow and complicit councillors and officers are prepared to collude with such a toxic culture.
The case study below tells a salutary tale of operating in such a toxic culture that won’t be found in any Local Government Association or any other so called “independent” report.
For now at least we have adopted the Wirral Council method of redacting the names to protect the guilty. However unlike Wirral Council we “pledge” (!) to reveal the names in time.
Who knows when ? – perhaps when we stand alongside the Commissioner of Oaths when the special delivery above is finally opened?.
If memory serves me correctly they started within months of each other at WBC. It was evident to me that they were ‘out of the same mould’ from the outset. What I would describe as a ‘difficult’ relationship ensued as it soon became apparent to them that I saw through them both, and was not going to be cowed by either or both of them, which did not make me very popular.
Unpopular with them or not, I had a very successful 23 years in WBC as my successes, in spite of, rather than because of the system, have demonstrated. I apologise if that comes across as an arrogant claim, but I do not do false modesty and my track record of public service has had many recognitions, ironically a number from WBC, amongst others.
The background here is important, and precedes any ‘exposé’, or ‘common knowledge’ of insidious bullying, intimidation and other misdemeanours as A and B spread their vicious, manipulative cancer from the outset through weak politicians, and weak chief and senior managers. In a fairly short time they exercised what at times could only be described as an almost psychopathic need to control everything – at which they virtually succeeded.
My WBC networks were external, internal but corporate, and not solely departmental like many staff. The stories on the grapevine, and my own personal experience painted an appalling picture of deceit, self interest, manipulation, tantrums, bullying and fear.
I took the following precaution in the mid-noughties.
In a similar way to which copyright songs were protected in the not-too-distant past, I committed my concerns to paper, and sent a copy to myself at work (I received and dealt with my own post) by Royal Mail Special Delivery/Tracked and registered.
The content of the letter described what I considered to be, at some point in the future, the distinct possibility of unfounded allegations of sexual harassment/ sexual assault or maybe worse against me. That was the situation as I saw it at the time, and I am not prone to flights of fancy, or unfounded speculation of this kind. It was time to take precautions.
As this cabal operated at the highest levels, and ranks were well and firmly closed as you know, where could you go to report your concerns? Nowhere, which was why I took this action.
One could easily imagine the grief I would have been subject to if my concerns had entered the upper echelons of management, or the public domain at the time.
Nothing did happen, but would you have taken the chance against these two and their ‘protectors’, particularly with the benefit now of hindsight?
Others may have taken some sort of ‘precautionary’ action, I am not aware of any, but if it is familiar to you then it is a good indicator of the ‘regime’ and the view that they were ‘bullet proof’.
Whistleblowing in WBC was like pressing the self-destruct button, even though it was a heavily-promoted WBC policy – consequences as per Martin Morton, et al, more recently.
‘Ordinarily’, and I can just about remember a time such as that in WBC, all things being equal, I would never have disclosed this to anyone. It had served its purpose and to date nothing has required me to produce this letter.
I am appalled by what has passed itself off in Wirral Council as ‘public service’ and the way others have profited rather handsomely at the expense of genuine individuals and services. If your face didn’t fit, or you weren’t prepared to be dominated and submissive you would be overwhelmed and driven out. The ‘non-compliant’ were driven out of jobs they loved and unlike these parasites were actual assets to the Council and the public.
This action was not taken lightly, and I am not, and never have been, paranoid. I am reasonably intelligent and articulate, and neither stupid nor foolish (and they couldn’t cope with that), but I have been successful (and they couldn’t cope with that either).
Why wouldn’t anyone ask…What would drive any ‘successful’ sane individual to take this kind of action?
As the ‘dynasty’ subsumed all before it, I took this action to protect me (and my career) as an individual, my wife and family, and my reputation. I saw a real threat, a very real threat indeed, with no prospect of support should it become a reality.
Shall we call it Risk Assessment and Risk Management and an Action Plan? The aim was to minimise the risk, which is what I did. I ensured that I was never alone in any situation, and later when things intensified I arranged to meet only in my office with my staff in attendance. I also ensured that any dialogue we had was documented in emails, not phone calls.
I believed that I had enough verified information, knowledge and experience, that these two individuals in particular, either working together, or alone could so simply orchestrate a situation, with open plan offices full of ‘witnesses’, that some kind of indiscretion had been perpetrated by me. Manipulation and feminine wiles were her stock in trade, and histrionics were her forte. Bullying, ignorance and connections were his.
The letter is still sealed and unopened within the sealed Royal Mail envelope and is in Europe for safekeeping….Maybe it should stay that way?.