Wirral Council – Where Transformation Means More Of The Same

york-010

A shout out to one of our many Wirral Council watchers who has sent us some news all the way from the charming city of York.

Here we pick out some of the most pertinent points from the following newspaper article published by The York Press ( who are like our own dear Wirral Globe only a little bit posher). Whilst the issues raised read like our back catalogue – serious failings, procedural breaches,cover ups, procurement issues, dodgy contracts, lack of monitoring, culture of fear , leaked reports and how City of York Council are more concerned about reputation management than exposing malpractice. Bear with us , there is a punchline :

The Press revealed yesterday, council bosses have been criticised for paying tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money without proper monitoring, and told to take “robust action” to avoid a repeat of serious failings.

The council refused to publish one of two auditors’ reports, but a copy has now been seen by The Press and adds more detail to the published report.

It alleges that another £150,000 was paid out, and a catalogue of other failures including the council official responsible not getting proper tenders, quotes or contracts for work commissioned, and not drawing up business cases or monitoring the work that was paid for.

According to the report, there was a series of policy breaches, but auditors have made clear there is no evidence of fraud or criminality.

It states:

  • Stewart Halliday, who held senior roles with the council, authorised a raft of payments to communications consultant Stuart Goulden without obtaining quotes
  • Mr Halliday sent council information to his own personal email address, and the personal email addresses of one serving and one former councillor
  • Contracts were awarded to other companies Mr Goulden was involved with, as well as to him personally
  • There was a “lack-of-recognition” in the council that Mr Goulden was being paid so much
  • Procurement staff and a former chief executive tried to challenge the troublesome contracts, but failed “possibly due to the culture within the area at the time”.

The auditors’ investigation included checking Mr Halliday’s email account after he had left the council, trying to check historic entry logs at the council headquarters, and exploring potential personal links between Mr Halliday and Mr Goulden. None were found.

The auditors said they could see Mr Goulden had carried out the work, but they could not find any evidence Mr Halliday had followed procurement rules by looking for other quotes, drawing up contracts and putting them on the council register, or monitoring the work.

Instead, the report lists ten alleged breaches including no paperwork being retained; no quotes or contracts for the work; one payment in advance of work being carried out; and a lack of contract monitoring.

Furthermore, auditors say they found emails containing council information which had been sent from Mr Halliday’s work account to non-council email addresses, including some information marked “confidential”.

The auditors raised concerns about the potential data protection implications of that.

Mr Halliday was the council’s assistant director for transformation and change in 2014, and had also held the title of head of strategy, partnerships and communications.

Mr Goulden and his company Like No Other worked for the council between 2013 and 2016.

A spokeswoman for City of York Council said: “The report was exempt from publication and our employees identities kept private because it identified individuals by name and this information related specifically to their financial or business affairs. As a responsible employer we have a fundamental duty to protect the privacy of our employees and former employees. We are taking this matter very seriously. An investigation into how this confidential report was released is being conducted and this will involve North Yorkshire Police.

The Press has made efforts to contact Mr Halliday, without success.”

http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/15098444.Council_payments_row__what_the_secret_report_said___/

Perhaps  The Press could contact a certain Mr  Stewart Halliday at Wirral Council  – stewarthalliday@wirral.gov.uk

Could this be the same  Mr Halliday  who is now responsible for Wirral Council’s  ‘Transformation Programme’ ?. I think we should be told!

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50038045/Delivering%20Wirrals%20Growth.pdf

If so Wirral Council were clearly impressed that Halliday can do a powerpoint presentation and utter council-speak at the same time.

Moreover we can almost guarantee he used the word ‘passionate’ if he had an interview. But then again we can’t understand how many of these people get appointed in the first place. Is it a Masonic thing ? Common Purpose? Knights of St Columba? or do they just have to like playing golf and support Everton FC?.

As for this bogus ‘transformation agenda’ it comes to something when even enriched municipal mandarins tell us it’s ‘time to stop the lies ‘. Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy chief executive, Rob Whiteman, and chief executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority, Martin Reeves say that local government should stop lying about its financial problems and give up pretending transformation will solve the massive underfunding it faces.

https://www.themj.co.uk/EXCLUSIVE-Time-to-stop-the-lies/206737

As far as we’re concerned at Wirral Leaks the ‘transformation agenda’ is nothing more than opportunists setting themselves up to benefit from the demise of public services. The hope being  that one day they will get a cushy number sitting on a trustee or management board. Locally one only has to check out the Wirral Chamber of Commerce and Magenta Living . Nationally there are Arm’s Length Organisations (ALO’s) and private enterprises which are awash with local government failures supplementing their engorged pension pots by picking at the corpse of local government.

So remember when you see or hear the word ‘transformation’ – be afraid, be very afraid.

 

 

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “Wirral Council – Where Transformation Means More Of The Same

  1. I have just attended the Budget Oversight Committee, a classic example of stage management, to the extent that one of the cabinet members had to be reigned in when they began to speak out of turn. No opposition councillors able to speak. I approved Pips £150,000 allocation to apprenticeships, which could have been more than doubled if Liptrots salary had been given over to supporting the community, but then there was a theme of equity running through the whole proceedings!

  2. What a boringly boring man! Good bloody grief! Everyone has the right to be boring and tedious at some stage of their life but this man is taking the piss out of the privelege. Having viewed and listened to the entire clip I can honestly say had I been dressed up in my bestest Crimson quilted satin smoking jacket who’s stitched pocket contained a small pocket Derringer pistol and that guns chamber had contained one single deadly bullet, I’d have stood up, logged bloody out, placed the barrel to my forehead, howled, ‘take me Jesus I’m ready’ and blown me fucking brains out happy that my suicide was the right and proper thing to do.

  3. Dear Lord Leaks

    I would like to…..

    hearby officially declare that Mr Halliday is to be now known as ‘The French Elvis’

    (I feel confident that the Aussie will agree with me..)

    And boy can there some interesting lyrics…

  4. Its Golf and a special club. The score from the recent charity football match between the Freemasons and the Knights of St. Columba is still a secret!

  5. Hi from York. Very observant of you to pick up this story from beautiful York. A citizen objected to these payments in the annual citizen audit of accounts. It resulted finally in three separate investigations, and this week a meeting of the City of York Audit committee ( where the key report is as expected kept secret by ‘officers’. It will be webcast. Many questions remain unanswered.

    http://democracy.york.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=437&MId=10282&Ver=4

    • Thanks Gwen
      Shocking but not surprising that it was only picked up on citizen’s audit of accounts. Wonder whether it prompted Mr Halliday’s flight to Wirral ? Although it seems he’ll fit in well.
      Keep us posted and feel free to share with the citizens of York who will no doubt be delighted to hear how Mr Halliday is getting on!
      Regards from Leaky Towers

      • Perhaps Granty may like to report that ‘The French Elvis’ has now moved to the Wirral? Chatty enough for his wobbly column…?

  6. G’day Leaks

    I was giving you a weeks rest from me Lordsville but “Phil the Very Very Very Very Slimy, Elusive, Lying and Deluded Dill” is finally and completely morally and ethically bankrupt.

    The buffoon is just going too far.

    I know Wirral “Funny” Bizz was only a £2,000,000.00 knock off but no lessons were learnt.

    The “Dill Wit” still hasn’t got round to writing to “Highbrow” as he said publicly he would on 19 December.

    The man is just a stinking rotten LIAR.

    How can he be trusted?

    Ooroo

    James

    Luv XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    • I feel as if I have been ‘transported’ to my fav Aussie tv series…. Round the Twist…

      The theme is in my ear now…..’strange things are happening, I am going around the twist’

      We need the Twist family to come and sort things out…

      Maybe the Aussie knows them…. Ha ha…

  7. Pingback: ‘Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York…..’ | Wirralleaks

  8. Pingback: Happy Halliday | Wirralleaks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s