WIRRALGATE! – Protecting the Defectives

defective-by-design

This is the last instalment of our deconstruction of Patricia Thynne’s  Code of Conduct investigations.That is not to say that this will be the last you will hear about the Wirralgate scandal as our sources promise to keep spouting leaks.

This particular post concerns itself with the role of councillors. Not the specific councillors implicated in Wirralgate but the role of all councillors in protecting their own regardless of political affiliation.

It is infuriating to recount that in the light of the Independent Review published in 2012 that investigator Anna “BIG WEDGE” * Klonowski was instructed to keep any criticism of councillors out of her investigation and tried to get around this by publishing the cheerily titled ‘Refresh and Renew’ report prior to the publication of the Independent Review . This report told Wirral’s councillors , amongst other tedious procedural matters , that they’d created a ‘corrosive culture’ where the ‘abnormal was normal’.

However as a result Klonowski took her eye of her original brief which was to investigate the whistleblowing allegations of Martin Morton (and various unnamed others) . This meant that many of the issues brought to her attention have up until today neither been reported nor resolved. Consequently Wirral ‘s councillors received a metaphorical gentle slap on the wrist when what they required was a punch in the face.

And so with the abolition of Standards for  England and the introduction of the Localism Act 2011 councils were allowed to police themselves when it came to conduct issues involving elected members.

Wirral Council took full advantage of this void in accountability and almost the first thing they did after the publication of the Independent Review  was to ensure that councillors were protected no matter how many of The Seven Principles of Public Life they violated.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-7-principles-of-public-life/the-7-principles-of-public-life–2

We think it is instructive to examine how Wirral Council’s Code of Conduct complaints procedure works in practice. Cllr Steve Foulkes  and  Cllr George Davies  were originally subject to an investigation following concerns raised as a result of rumours swirling around Wallasey Town Hall and which were ignited by Wirral Leaks . It is significant to recall Cllr Jeff Green , the so-called complainant , chose specifically not to pursue a Code of Conduct complaint. Which surely begs the question as to why not?.

However as we know Thynne’s first deeply flawed investigative report was completed on 20th June 2014 and published the following month by Wirral Council , as it was seemingly a classic  case “no  case to answer” . And that would have been that if it wasn’t for the fact that Foulkesy and Georgie Boy had lied and lied and lied to Thynne. It took an email sent to all 66 councillors in December 2104 from key witness  Martin Morton – the man who had initiated the Independent Review  – to bring the dishonesty and deceit to their attention.

However councillors just chose to simply ignore him and seemingly their own Code of Conduct too and no further investigation took place.

It wasn’t until May 2015 when former council communications czarina Emma Degg , having heard the Wirralgate tape , belatedly came forward for reasons known only to herself and confirmed Morton’s allegations.

Subsequently Thynne was appointed to revisit her original report soon thereafter . Significantly this was at the behest of  council officers and NOT councillors and as we can see Thynne handed in her second report on 6th  December 2015.

protecting-the-defectives-012

Readers may want to ask themselves why it took until 28th June 2015 before a Standards Panel considered Thynne’s findings. The answer is that councillors can delay with impunity. In Foulkesy’s case this included a right of reply (because his rights are so much more important than us mere mortals) and of course having additional time to brief his free legal representation about his misdemeanours (courtesy of the Association of Labour Councillors ).

protecting-the-defectives-014

And after all this flagrant misconduct , what happens?. Nothing much!. An undeserved apology to an opportunistic councillor who hadn’t pursued a Code of Conduct complaint in the first place!. We note ruefully that Cllr  Jeff “Kindred” Green has failed to make that apology public.

We have to ask  whether it can be right that a public servant in the course of public duties publicly violates the principles of public life and yet is allowed to make a PRIVATE apology.

We did manage to squeeze a comment from a local councillor about this abuse of power and they replied :

“The ‘sanctions’ able to be applied are limited to just a few courses of action.”

To which we replied :

“Yes and who decided that? You guys did!. Utterly feeble. Should be with police and you know it. Thankfully we know people much braver and committed to public accountability than you guys and we’ll be supporting them 100%…………” 

It is sickening to reflect that for a local authority that failed to protect vulnerable adults and now has been found to failed to adequately protect vulnerable children finds the wherewithal to protect themselves from any kind of meaningful and appropriate sanction . In this respect Wirral Council are truly Defective By Design.org

 

And that is the most damning indictment of  Wirral Council’s elected members that we could ever make.

*http://thebristolian.net/tag/anna-klonowski/

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7 thoughts on “WIRRALGATE! – Protecting the Defectives

  1. I wrote Why has Wirral Council sunk deeper into the quagmire of poor corporate governance surrounding a complaint about Cllr Steve Foulkes? shortly after.

    Although I didn’t contact them directly, the flagrant breaches of fire regulations that evening in blocking the one exit from Committee Room 2 were investigated by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and the doors have now been completely changed. Indeed the changes mean the doors can now be opened by people with mobility issues!

    So Foulkes’ legacy should be that if there’s a fire in Committee Rooms 1, 2 or 3 people will be actually able to leave?

    Or as 4 Wirral Council councillors are actually on the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority should somebody have actually thought of this???

    But leaving aside the health and safety of workers (before I start sounding like a union rep), these things are a small step in the right direction.

    However I remain very disappointed that Wirral Council chose to hold a public meeting in private. I’m not referring to a decision by councillors to exclude the press and public, but a concerted effort by officers to flout the laws of the land and prevent the public being at a public meeting.

  2. Jesus whipped the moneychangers from the temple. Is not this analogous? The Pharisees make laws which accrete to thwart justice. we know that happened was gross just as we know Tony Blair was wrong to commit British troops to a war of aggression but we are told that Britain never signed up to a convention of laws that made Blair’s actions criminal, and , in the parochial, we are told that the sanctions available to punish Cllr Foulkes by the laws available are restricted.PHARISEES PHARISEES

    • G’day Leaks

      Yeah

      What wirralbizz and John said.

      I spoke to Rosemary Thynne on the phone re Foulkus and she told me she was deaf.

      Ooroo

      James

      HANDY

      Luv ya La XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX in the words of Foulkus

  3. Hello Wirral Leaks

    Take Wirral Council as an example. An example of what, I hear you say!

    It appears from your previous post that Wallasey Town Hall has taken delivery of a whole lot more furniture. When times are hard new furniture is top of the list of priority expenditure, even WL must realise that? Never mind the poor kids and other vulnerable people we are neglecting, never mind streetlights or school crossings, WBC must have new furniture. 2020 Vision Priority One – New Furniture!

    What I was going to say concerning Wirralgate and all the other issues continually being brushed under the existing furniture, is that maybe the new furniture (probably made in China, or by a BIG Fund recipient if there are any still going) is a whole heap of new cupboards.

    Why new cupboards? Well, most (but not all) of the senior politicians in Wirral have been party (pardon the pun) to the catalogue of disasters and endless decline of Wirral Council. The only credible explanation for the current situation is that they must be having to clear out staff to accommodate an increasing number of skeletons needing an increasing number of cupboards.

    Maybe this is the ultimate aim of CEO Eric Robinson’s ‘new operating model’ – skeleton staff! That would save money, and be just as effective as senior management. They can keep an eye (socket) on each other, and WBC can get rid of the need for a restaurant at Wallasey Town Hall and water coolers.

    Make no bones about it…on this occasion (or any other) Eric definitely hasn’t got his finger on the pulse, unless he’s breaking up the furniture to make a raft.

  4. Pingback: Communicating with Kev-Continued. | Wirralleaks

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