A Leaky Christmas

ScaryXmas

Our Christmas message for Wirral Council and their favoured ‘stakeholders’

Best wishes to all our readers from everyone at Leaky Towers.

Watch out for some belated Christmas presents early next year as some long running Wirral Leaks stories finally come to a head . We anticipate that some of our most prominent public servants will be shown to have been very naughty indeed………….

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Christmas Bonus for Business

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A source sent us the above template for the Wirral Council tender for Wirral Business Support Services  :“The costings for delivery of the Wirral Business Support Services is an astonishing £1.3m. Why can’t this be delivered by the highly paid officers already employed there?” 

To which we can only reply : because that’s not they’re paid for. The highly paid officers at Wirral Council are remunerated so handsomely to systematically dismantle our public services. Why should they care if there are no public services left?. They’d have been paid a heap of cash by then. What’s more  why should they care if the outsourced services prove to be inefficient ,poor quality  and cripplingly expensive  ? – they’ve got a pension pot to protect them from the consequences . A pension pot they can top up by sitting on the board of the companies that benefited from the fire sale of public services !

If you want to see where all this ends look at ‘Community Care . An ideologically driven and under funded government initiative that twenty years after its implementation has led to the current crisis in social care where local authorities have been given extra powers to raise money via Council Tax to cover spiralling costs of increasingly poor services………

But why should our public service potentates be concerned with jam for everyone tomorrow when they can have jam for themselves today?

 

 

The Ugly Truth

ugly-sisters

 

Do you think Frank Field was forced to eat sprouts as a child ?

We ask this as he seems to have a deep aversion to greens. First it was Wirral Council Chief Officer Dave Green ,then it was the local Green Party which brought on a funny turn and now dragging every last ounce out of the ‘Sir’ Philip Green BHS scandal Fairy Godfather Frankenfield does what he does best –  being a world class hypocrite and asking for big fines for people who – legally if not morally – have done nothing wrong.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14979464.Frank_Field_urges_billion_pound_fines_to_prevent_repeat_of_BHS_pensions__disaster_/

He’s big on morality is Frankenfield – as long it’s not his own and those he’s protecting. If we didn’t dislike the ugly face of capitalism ‘Sir’ Phil  so much we’d be straight on to his solicitor Schillings with the ugly truth about what Frankenfield has been up to round here.

Lest we forget this involves St. Frank of the Foodbanks trying to get council taxpayers to stump up a bung to protect his Plug ugly* political agent Cllr George Davies (see above) and prevent an highly incriminating recording ending up in the public domain.

Here’s a thought – how about the local Labour group paying the group of complainants with the Wirralgate tapes and not the long suffering local Council Taxpayers ?

We say this as apparently the Wirralgate scandal is ‘live and sensitive’. Ironically we only know this because of a Freedom of Information request on What Do They Know. Needless to say Wirral Council have denied the release of the Nick Warren investigation report that will explain fully and without undue influence what all the fuss has been about all these years – yeah , right!

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/nick_warren_investigation_report#incoming-909829

What could be the possible explanation for the ongoing delay with resolving this case?.

Here’s our guess – current Council Chief Officers Eric Robinson, Joe Blott and especially Surjit Tour and David Armstrong all must know they’ll be tainted forever if they capitulate the immoral demands of the moral crusader Frankenfield. We’ll reluctantly give former Wirral Council CEO Graham Burgess aka Burgesski his due – he wasn’t prepared to be blackmailed by Frankenfield about a £48,000 payment to his ‘special friend’ because allegedly she was bullied and harassed by the other ugly sister in this sordid scenario – Foulkesy.

Have you ever known such a sleazepit in your entire life?

It all makes ‘Sir’ Philip Green look like Mother Theresa ( who as far as we’re concerned was no saint anyway

*The Plug uglies were of course an American street gang who were referred to as a political club. We couldn’t think of a more apt description for local politicians!

Panto Season

Fairy Godmother Frank.jpg

The Fairy Godfather

Some might say it’s always panto season at Wirral Council but we think it officially kicks off at tonight’s full council meeting which features a special guest appearance from whistleblower Nigel “Highbrow” Hobro.

To join in the festive fun Wirral Leaks have been working on a pantomime production of our very own . Coming soon is ‘ Pipperella’  which is our unique take on the Cinderella story starring the following :

Pipperella – Cllr  Phil Davies aka Power Boy Pip. Will Pipperella be asked to attend the Queen’s Ball to pick up an OBE or even better a knighthood for services to the BS industry and the business community?

The Ugly Sisters –  Cllr Steve Foulkes / Cllr George Davies aka Foulkesy and Georgie . Typecasting we know  !. Will Foulkesyetta and Georgetta De Combova spoil Pipperella’s plans by their bungling incompetence and inability to tell the truth?

Wicked Stepmother – Cllr Moira McLaughlin aka Matron. Will the bossy old trout continue with her unquestioning devotion to the unworthy?

Baron Hardup – Asif Hamid aka  Massive. Will struggling millionaire get another grant of public money and bail everyone out of trouble?

Dandini – Paula Basnett aka Pouting Paula . Will the dandy highwaywoman break the budget with awards ceremonies and costume changes?.

Prince Charm Offensive   – Martin Liptrot aka Liptrotsky .  Will  Wirral Council ‘cheerleader’  ensure that Pipperella has a happy ending ?

Buttons –  Wirral Council  Chief Executive Eric Robinson aka Eric Feeble/Stressed Eric. Will the one who doesn’t get paid ‘buttons’ get out from under his desk and do the right thing?

and finally

The Fairy Godfather – Frank Field aka Frankenfield  . Will all troubles disappear with one swish of his magic wand? –  be it hunger , poverty or protecting your political agent with public money !………

A Dim View

things-to-do-030

Despite the publication of the third issue of Wirral View we have yet to see a copy of Wirral Council’s limp organ at Leaky Towers – and from correspondence we’ve been receiving we’re not the only ones.

Meanwhile we’ve had to content ourselves with reading the online version. As it remains a particularly dreary read we ended up quickly clicking through the pages to count the number of Santa hats that appeared in the latest edition. Sadly whilst we anticipated that Wirral View would present us with endless opportunities for satire  , each issue has proved to be so anodyne we’ve been given nothing to work with.

Although for quite different reasons  , also taking a dim view of Wirral View is Marcus Jones , the Minister for Local Government. A sabre-rattling warning letter from the MP to Council leader Cllr Phil  ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies about non-compliance with the Publicity Code for councils apparently went unread for 9 days , allegedly because of ‘a post-room mix up’.   

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14969048.Post_room_mix_up_caused_Minister_s_crucial_warning_letter_about_Wirral_Council_s_newspaper_to_go_unread/

So do we believe that boys and girls ? Remember this is an organisation that has dishonesty running through it like a stick of rock . As former council leader and ex- Mayor Foulkesy proves persistent lying is no hindrance to high office. Indeed a series of council scandals have over the years proven that this culture of mendacity extends to senior officers and indeed was once endorsed by a veteran senior councillor with the words : ” We pay our Chief Officers to be slippery”.

The Wirral Globe article provided us with moments of both comedy and tragedy. The former inevitably is provided by class clown Kev aka Wirral Council’s supposed head of communications or more accurately ‘Policy Advisor’ Martin Liptrotsky’s patsy. The Globe  reports Mr McCallum ‘remained defiant’ or more accurately was shoved into the firing line to defend the indefensible . Having said that we feel he is a bit harsh on himself and his team when he says  : “It was clear from the research we have completed and the feedback we get on an ongoing basis, that the communications tools we were using were not getting this job done….”

The tragedy is provided by one of the the comments made by Paddy Cleary who declares himself UNISON branch secretary as if this gives his post some kind of extra credibility. Talk about deluded! Cleary suggested that the solution to the post room mix up would be to address staff cuts. It’s a comment which for us not only characterised either his naivete or complicity but explains why the local branch has an ever diminishing number of members.

Memo to Mr Cleary from Leaky Towers : believe us you could have had a flock of pigeonholers in that post-room and the Marcus Jones missive still wouldn’t have been answered promptly ! Might we suggest you might serve your remaining members better if you turn your attention to the continuing outsourcing of their jobs….

wirral-business-support-008

Christmas Day in the Control Room

nestle-quality-street-tin-820g

Inspired by  Christmas Day in the Call Centre one of our many aggrieved contributors has kindly provided us with a seasonal , if dark , insight into the Wirral Council control room that is worthy of The Brothers Grimm. Read it and weep ( yet again).

It serves to reinforce our belief that Wirral Leaks serves a repository for all those people who said “NO”. The good people of the world who know the difference between right and wrong , refuse to be chess pieces and can’t be bought like chattels:

After your report on Massive Asif call centre Christmas this is a little insight into the councils still fully operational control room after the supposed closure of 2014.

5 cover staff on the same pay band as former staff doing 40% less duties as you can imagine the mood is quite festive and cheery with staff enjoying many shifts on overtime rate as the new year approaches and the rustling of sweet wrappers at the bottom of the office Quality street mix with the clunking of shoes discarded as feet are placed onto the once hectic work stations as the click of the kettle breaks the silence from the once over used telephones.
We all know those workstations have been overused on various weekends but even that was brought to a halt when the chauffeur was called back onto the road and Cindereaden wasn’t allowed there after 12.
The madness of the Christmas and New Year has gone replaced by nose picking,ball scratching and working out how much more overtime can be fitted in before the end of March.
The 40% eye in the sky is now embedded in the far away land of Bootle never to return, a ghost of Christmas past.
Happy Christmas all at Wirral Leaks
JKs Happy Elf

 

OH NO IT’S THE ICO (Revisited)

 ico-1
Just to update you on a story that we published in autumn concerning a breach of data protection by Wirral Council.
The story clearly upset someone who goes by the pseudonym of R.Sole . Well we presume it’s a pseudonym  , either that or they were an unwanted child. The only thing we haven’t printed from their email to Leaky Towers is who they addressed their delightful missive to – because  a) they’re out of order and b)  way off  target.
It was interesting to see your recent story regarding noise logs being “dumped” in the street by Council officials.
You really do embellish the truth don’t you!!  It is quite obvious that they weren’t dumped, dickhead.  This was obviously a genuine mistake by a Council officer who either dropped them by accident or had them stolen.
I admit that he or she was very careless but to say that they were deliberately dumped is ludicrous.
Get your facts straight before you publish.  You fucking idiot.
Regards
R. Sole

Dear R. Sole

We didn’t say the documents were “deliberately dumped”.
You say dropped , we say dumped. However they ended up on the pavement it’s still a breach of the Data Protection Act
What we’re left wondering is why you choose to provide such positive feedback on a Saturday night  7 weeks after we published the story ? 
You also ask us to get our facts straight (by the way it wasn’t just information about noise logs). Do you know more about the incident than our source ?- if so would you care to share that information so we can set the record straight?
Thankfully we are able to go back to our original source who provides us with an update on the story  having received a more polite response from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) than we did from R.Sole.
It is interesting to note that the ICO tell us that Wirral Borough Council ‘self reported’ the breach of the Data Protection Act. Was this before or after we’d reported the matter on Wirral Leaks ?  No prizes for guessing !
Nevertheless we’ll be checking out the ICO website to see what action – if any- they publicly (rather than publically) choose to take .  Needless to say censure by the ICO is very much a case of deja vu when it comes to Wirral Council :
 https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/oh-no-its-the-ico/

Dear Sir/Madam

Thank you for your email of 14 October 2016 concerning papers you found belonging to Wirral Borough Council relating to noise complaints.
 
We want to know how organisations are doing when they are handling information rights issues. We also want to improve the way they deal with the personal information they are responsible for. Reporting your concerns to us will help us do that.
 
Our role is not to investigate or adjudicate on individual concerns but we will consider whether there is an opportunity to improve the practice of the organisations we regulate. We do this by taking an overview of all concerns that are raised about an organisation with a view to improving their compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
 
I can confirm that Wirral Borough Council has self-reported this matter to us and we are investigating this incident. As part of our investigation we will take steps to ensure that the council has addressed all foreseeable weaknesses in its organisational and technical controls, with a view to reducing the potential for a recurrence.
 
Although I cannot confirm what action, if any, we will take, in common with all such cases I can advise that there are four options available to us:
 
 We may issue advice. This may take the form of a letter, or an undertaking. The latter is a publically available document signed by both the ICO and the organisation to which it is issued;

  • We may mandate the steps required to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence by way of a formal Enforcement Notice;
  • In the most serious cases, we may issue a Civil Monetary Penalty. This acts as a deterrent against future incidents;
  • Finally, we may offer an audit or advisory visit. These allow the ICO to review specific areas of a data controller’s compliance and to make tailored recommendations for improvement.

 
Further details of all our regulatory powers can be found in our Regulatory Action Policy, which can be found on our website.
 
The above steps are not mutually exclusive and in common with all such cases we will use a combination of our powers to ensure that both the incident and any improvements required are appropriately addressed. 
 
At this stage we are unable to confirm what the outcome of that investigation will be. We will not write to you again in this matter but any formal regulatory action will be published on the ICO’s website.
 
I hope this information is helpful. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.
 

Christmas Day in the Call Centre

workhouse

“Your call is important to us , but not as important as putting food on the table…..”

 

Following on from our posts earlier this week – which we understand has ruffled the feathers of those who are usually more concerned with feathering their own nest – we’ve been contacted by people with inside knowledge of exactly what happens when you give a multi-millionaire a million pounds of public money.

But first of all we need to declare a deep, abiding prejudice. As we’ve said before we think call centres are ‘the satanic mills of the 21st century’.

And indeed the Indeed website provides us with a fascinating insight into what it must be like to work in such a place :

http://www.indeed.co.uk/cmp/The-Contact-Company/reviews?fcountry=ALL

Among the reviews from former employees we note the use of the term ‘workhouse’ . And again this is a term used by one of the commentators on one of our previous posts:

Speaking as one of many local little people, who is employed Mr Asif he runs two modern day work houses were approx 75% are employed by outside agencies , it is a work house where, fear of dismissal is ever present, a living wage is non existent, plus huge staff turnover, and low morale, he is a modern day pirate……..a very morally corrupt business model

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/the-common-people/

So have local prominent politicians had that difficult conversation with The Contact Company owner Asif ‘Massive’* Hamid yet ? ( * the ‘Massive’ tag  refers to his ever expanding business empire obvs).

You know that difficult conversation about ‘championing’ the living wage?

http://www.frankfield.co.uk/latest-news/articles/news.aspx?p=102665

No, thought not!. They clearly think that the serfs who keep them in power should be grateful for any level entry employment going no matter how demeaning/demoralising/disempowering.

However we at Leaky Towers like to look at the bigger picture and comment on the fact that all studies of mental health wellbeing always indicate security as the defining factor – be it security in relationships, security in employment and the ultimate security of having a roof over your head.

But how better to keep people in subservience  by being in constant threat of being unemployed and at risk of attending one of Frankenfield’s foodbanks ( do you see how this sh*t works yet?) . The Contact Company appear to do it by hiring staff via an agency ,presumably as a means to undermine employment rights. Wirral Council do something similar but pay lip service to the Employment Rights Act 1996 and instead subjugate their staff by subjecting them to the constant threat of redundancy. Forget zero hours contracts – this unspoken practice is the greatest threat to workers in the modern workplace and which has sent us hurtling back to the nineteenth century.

P.S. Oh and by the way  what’s this posted on our Facebook page about (we presume) Hamid buying water from Home Bargains for 24p a bottle and selling them for £1?. Surely that’s an urban myth?.

 

Democratic Deficit

 

dont-speak

Bullets Over Birkenhead : Paranoid Power Boy Pip plays the petulant diva

If evidence was needed that we are dealing with an increasingly controlling, paranoid and insecure Labour administration at Wirral Council we need look no further than last night’s council meeting where sole ,lonesome councillor Pat Cleary wasn’t ‘allowed’ to speak.

Democracy eh? –  don’t- cha just love it?.

Cllr Cleary tells us on his blog :

Arrangements for the Liverpool City Region Authority are being finalised this month and debated tonight by Wirral Council. Well, they were due to be debated but the dysfunctional outfit that Wirral Labour is they abused their majority to deliberately shut me out and refused to let me speak. How that makes them look anything other than completely ridiculous only they will know. 

http://patcleary2.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/liverpool-city-region-combined-authority.html

Of course to Wirral Labour Cllr Cleary  presents a clear and present danger to their hegemony as his recent appearance on the Tony Snell programme on Radio Merseyside testifies. Whilst council “leader” Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies demonstrated all the strong leadership qualities we’ve come to expect of him by conveniently planning a trip to China the week the controversial Wirral View newspaper website was launched and news reached us (not via Wirral View) that plans for revamping Birkenhead town centre had been thrown overboard. Cleary proved be both eminently sensible and eloquent when discussing the recent Neptune Developments debacle. He put the case that Wirral Council needed to present a viable , coherent vision for Birkenhead and not be at the behest of opportunistic businesses and property developers offering a piecemeal and unco-ordinated approach to regeneration.

What we’re  dismayed at is that we presume that Pip & Co  must have known their plans at a previous Council meeting held in October but in true “Keeping Residents Informed” style the opportunity to inform us of a change in plans was dumped in favour of a debate about banning the The S*n newspaper , which as worthy as it is, is one of those debates that we thought Wirral Council  had foregone in favour of realpolitik?.

The Core Strategy Local Plan – Wirral Retail & Leisure Study Update discussed at Cabinet in July was included in the Council meeting agenda but was not discussed or debated. The report was prepared by  Wirral Council’s “retained retail consultants” Nathaniel Litchfield & Partners . Wirral Council tell us they intend to use the findings of this report to shape their “approach to supporting small businesses and high streets to succeed.”

https://www.wirral.gov.uk/sites/default/files/all/planning%20and%20building/Local%20plans%20and%20planning%20policy/Local%20Planning%20Evidence%20Base%20and%20Research/Wirral%20Documents/41303_03%20Wirral%20Retail%20and%20Leisure%20Study%2021-07-15%20(Complete).pdf

The report is dire news for Birkenhead town centre  – basically the retail sector is dying on it’s feet share with its market share plummeting. Despite Pip’s aspiration of Birkenhead becoming a “Destination” . We have our doubts whether a drive-in Maccy D’s makes Birkenhead  a “destination” – unless that destination is diabetes.

In the light of all this we anticipate that the way things are going the local Labour group will be throwing everything at the Tranmere ward in an attempt to oust Cleary at the next council elections. Based on previous experience it can only be a matter of time before the smear campaign starts or should that be renewed ? ………………..

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/frank-field-the-biter-bit/

The Common People

rich-pickings

Rich pickings for the Basnetts and friends.

Now you all know we are totally non-judgemental at Leaky Towers so when we refer to the common people we are talking more about some of the people we discussed in yesterday’s post  who seem to have a lot in common.

They call it partnership working / networking – we call it cronyism and empire building at the expense of the ‘little people’ .The rich enriching themselves and their friends by accessing scarce public resources …..and with Grant Thornton being the common denominator when it comes to auditing there is very little chance of any awkward questions being asked.  We note that the late-to-the-party Daily Mail follow up their own concerns on the matter by belatedly bringing to their readers attention the Peel Group and particularly group director Robert Hough.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4003918/Ban-fat-cats-secret-deals-says-MPs-demand-action-Mail-exposes-old-pals-club-doles-public-money.html

Fortunately our own consultant Dr Robert B Smith has been able to remedy any ‘information deficit’ our readers may have when it comes to the following local contacts and connections that have increasingly caused us so much concern :

Board Games (of recent times)

Liverpool City Region (LCR) Combined Authority committee members

ex-Chair Cllr Phil Davies; Leader Wirral Council -, now committee member
Asif Hamid; The Contact Company – committee member

Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) 

Chair

Robert Hough; Peel Group (previous Chair until end of June 2016)
Asif Hamid; The Contact Company – previously Vice-Chair, now Chair

Board members 

Cllr Phil Davies; Leader – Wirral Council

Asif Hamid; The Contact Company
Neil Sturmey; Head of Office & Partner, Grant Thornton

Mark Basnett; LCR – LEP (Executive Director in attendance)

Mark Basnett additional company directorships:

Merseyside Special Investment Seed Fund Ltd.
Merseyside Special Investment Venture Fund Ltd
Merseyside Special Investment Venture Fund Two Ltd
Merseyside Special Investment Mezzanine Fund Two Ltd
Merseyside Special Investment Fund Ltd
Merseyside Special Investment (Small Firms) Fund Two Ltd
Merseyside Small Loans For Business Investment Fund Ltd
Small Business Loans Ltd

Wirral Council

Cllr Phil Davies; Leader – Wirral Council

Kevin Adderley; ex-Strategic Director for Regeneration and Environment

Paula Basnett; ex-Investment Manager
Independent Auditor, Grant Thornton

Wirral Chamber of Commerce (WCofC)

Chair

Asif Hamid; The Contact Company CEO

Board members

Paula Bernadette Basnett; WCofC CEO (ex-Investment Manager at Wirral Council; ex-head of Invest Wirral; ex-Manager of Egerton House; ex-Wirral Business Partnership CEO).

Cllr Phil Davies; Leader – Wirral Council
Kevin Adderley; WCofC Group Managing Director (ex-Wirral Council Strategic Director for Regeneration and Environment)
Sue Higginson; Principal, Wirral Metropolitan College
John Syvret; CEO, Cammell Laird (Peel Group)

Wirral Investment Network (Management) Ltd

Asif Hamid; The Contact Company CEO, Director

Paula Bernadette Basnett; WCofC CEO, Director
(No other Directors)

Egerton House (Wirral) Community Interest Company

Asif Hamid; The Contact Company CEO, Director
Paula Bernadette Basnett; WCofC CEO, Director
(No other Directors)

The Lauries Ltd

Asif Hamid; The Contact Company CEO, Director
Paula Bernadette Basnett; WCofC CEO, Director
Kate Eugeni; Head of Training and Education at Wirral Chamber of Commerce

Paula Bernadette Basnett; WCofC CEO, Secretary

Lauries Events Ltd

Asif Hamid; The Contact Company CEO, Director
Paula Bernadette Basnett; WCofC CEO, Director
Kate Eugeni; Head of Training and Education at Wirral Chamber of Commerce

Wirral Metropolitan College – Governors

Sue Higginson; Principal, Wirral Metropolitan College

Paula Bernadette Basnett; WCofC CEO
Richard Mawdsley; Director of the Peel Group
Grant Thornton (Auditors in attendance)

Join the dots

The Hive – Wirral Youth Zone

John Syvret; Chair (CEO, Cammell Laird [Peel Group])
Cllr Phil Davies; Leader – Wirral Council
Kate Eugeni; Head of Training and Education at Wirral Chamber of Commerce
Phil Garrigan Deputy Chief Fire Officer of Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

Saughall Massie Fire Station proposal

Could this be the trade-off for the Birkenhead site for The Hive/Wirral Youth Zone between Wirral Council and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service…?

Wirral Waters

Peel Group
Wirral Council

Egerton House (WCofC)

Pacific Road (WCofC)
The Contact Company 26.03.2015 Liverpool Echo – The Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and Wirral Chamber of Commerce have also provided Asif Hamid’s company with additional support. (£11m reported costs, at least 75% reported as public funding)

Wirral Metropolitan College Wirral Waters campus for Construction and the Built Environment (£8m public funding)
Tower Road ‘A’ & ‘C’ Bridge replacements to service Ro-Ro Ferry £7.12m all public funding incl £712k from Wirral Council – Peel £0

Now join more dots…..

Who was ‘instrumental’ in the failed £175m International Trade Centre as part of a move to kick-start the £4.6bn Wirral Waters project.

Who went to China to meet Stella Shiu?

Who met Stella Shiu when she visited Wirral?

Who went to Reno?

Who went to the Isle of Man?

Who was responsible for administering and investigating the Business Investment Grants (BIG), Investment Start Up Scheme (ISUS), and Working Neighbourhoods, schemes?