A Re-Imagining of Wirral Council


Set out below is a tender recently issued by Wirral Council looking for yet another consultant to ” Reimagine  Leisure, Cultural and other Selected Services”.

We don’t know whether 150000 refers to the contract value. However we have a few observations to make from Leaky Towers and it appears to us that after Anna Klonowski’s monumental failure to “Refresh & Renew” the organisational culture of Wirral Council with her highly renumerated and totally ineffectual reports it seems they’re throwing good money after bad by employing another fly by night and moneygrabbing consultant to “Reimagine” Wirral Council instead.

Needless to say Wirral Plan, 20 Pledges and  2020 vision all get a mandatory mention in the tender blurb. Whilst the paragraph which reads “We have already undertaken significant work to develop our programme; we are implementing a new operating model which sets out the future operating principles of the organisation which includes a strategic hub, business management function and service delivery through a mixed economy of direct provision, shared service and Commissioned outcomes” makes us want to bang our head against the wall or better still bang the head of the person who wrote this BS against the wall – repeatedly and with great force.

No wonder Wirral Council are having to – yet again- pay through the nose for  “external expertise” if this cut and paste  council-speak job is all their own staff can come up with . Although of course we all know that ” Reimagine” is just a manipulative weasel word which really means ” Privatise” and “Outsource” . There’s obviously a good living to be made by some staff selling their colleagues livelihoods and careers down the River Mersey.

We’re left wondering here as to what is the consultant going to ” Reimagine” Williamson Art Gallery as  ? – The Louvre ?. ….and the Floral Pavilion as the Eiffel Tower maybe?.

Meanwhile we’d like to “Reimagine”  Wirral Council as a fully functioning, open and transparent ethical organisation that understood it was a public service employing public servants to serve the public but we understand we’d have to do a shedload of heavy duty mindbending drugs to achieve that particular vision.   

Hold your breath, make a wish, count to three……….

Professional Services to Reimagine Leisure, Cultural and other Selected Services

150000 – Consultancy

The Wirral Plan sets out a vision for Wirral: a set of 20 Pledges which will be achieved over the next five years to improve the lives of Wirral residents. In order to achieve these ambitions, the Council needs to modernise and work in a completely different way, and ensure it has the right culture, abilities, skills and approach to deliver the 2020 vision for Wirral. In order to deliver this plan we committed to delivering a modern public service and are developing a transformation programme to take this forward. It is vital the Council is able to deliver change at pace whilst continuing to deliver positive outcomes to improve the quality of life for Wirral residents. We have already undertaken significant work to develop our programme; we are implementing a new operating model which sets out the future operating principles of the organisation which includes a strategic hub, business management function and service delivery through a mixed economy of direct provision, shared service and Commissioned outcomes. The Council has also set out a Commitment to take a commercial approach to service design, management and decisions, encouraging innovation whilst optimising assets and services to exploit opportunities to generate income surplus for reinvestment and reduce costs. Wirral Council is now looking to make fundamental changes to the way in which it currently provides Selected Services such as Leisure facilities, Parks & Gardens; Arts and Culture (including the Williamson and the Floral Pavilion) and Libraries. We are seeking external expertise to establish how these assets and the businesses within them can be re-imagined to make them more effective and carry a lower cost burden for the council, whilst maintaining their focus on public needs and outcomes.



7 thoughts on “A Re-Imagining of Wirral Council

  1. Why are senior officers paid vast amounts of money to take charge of departments and councillors given bullshit titles to oversee departments then ask or most of the time pay for outside advice on how to manage these departments?
    The privatization of leisure services has been an on going saga for WBC but after the quick departure of Cllr Control Room Meaden it has not been heard of but the plans to bulldoze flagship Europa pools for Nandos and Frankie and Bennys is still on the table despite the head of leisure stint on the table.

  2. Hello Wirral Leaks

    CEO Eric Robinson, and Strategic Directors Joe Blott & Claire Fish will be paid over £500,000 this year between them. And almost certainly more, as a result of implementing Eric Robinson’s new ‘operating model’. Isn’t there supposed to be a highly-paid ‘Head of Strategy’ in post now?

    If we check through the tender details we can reasonably assume that none of the requirements of this fairly basic (£150k???) exercise can be met by the current senior (6 figure salary) management team, or their subordinates.

    Given the number of re-imaginings of Wirral Council during the last 20 years of asset disposal (mostly failed), community transfer (mostly failed) and transfer of leisure and cultural facilities to trusts, other voluntary or private sector operators (mostly failed), all that information should be readily available. But if re-imagining all goes wrong, £150,000 is a small price to pay for the shield of a consultancy, and Cllr Phil Davies and CEO Eric Robinson can wash their hands of it…and blame the consultants?

    After all, they are only refurbishing sports and leisure centres to make them more appealing to private sector operators…

    The tender specification is an obvious admission of the serious lack of skills, experience and aptitude in the very highly-paid upper echelons of senior management in Wirral Council, isn’t it, if they can’t do such a basic exercise?

    As the Council is rapidly diminishing in scale, on an almost daily basis, and the entire Council staff team will shortly be contract managers, why are so few senior managers playing musical chairs, being paid so much to achieve so little?

  3. Even for Wirral the use of gobbledygook is breathtaking. Gone are the days when the senior management were expected to come up with the ideas as they were earning decent salaries and then asking their staff to deliver it. It seems we now pay mega bucks for senior managers yet still need to buy in expensive consultants. My theory is that the senior staff currently in place clearly can’t cut it. They are OK plagiarising ideas from other councils e.g. Sunderland, Hackney etc, but that appears to be their level. What has happened to the super directors? I guess not that super then! Shouldn’t this be a job for the director of each department coming up with a plan or is that to simple? How can they justify their salaries? I can just see Eric Robinson saying how the fuck are we going to deliver this 20/20 bollocks and the rest of them sitting there dumbstruck. Then one bright spark suggests they bring in someone who knows what they are doing. I have also noticed a new name with the title of Head of Strategy, Lucy Barrow. Never was a person less suited to a job. This is everything that is wrong with Wirral. Rewards for turning a blind eye. Very corporate but strategic? Never! Maybe strategic people were thin on the ground when that job was advertised, if ever it was!

  4. Imagine or re-imagine … It Ain’t Half Hot Mum … it’s the Burmese Jungle post German surrender. The profusely sweating senior ‘squad’ at Wirral Council are lined up in pith helmets, stamped with Wirral Logos, before Sar’nt Major Tudor Bryn “SHUT UP” Williams …

    “SQUAAAAD…. SHUN !!”


    **squad shuffles together, ‘delivering’ a closing of ranks**

    To imagine or even to re-imagine requires an imagination in the first place.

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