Reference Point


Stewart halliday call

Reference busters : ‘Who ya gonna call? Call Kersten!’  pic courtesy York Press

The ‘Happy Halliday’ story certainly pushed a few buttons didn’t it?

Happy Halliday


Well we’ve got some news for you – the plot thickens or should that be sickens?

Subsequent to our posts you might have read that Wirral Globe reported that the following appointments had just been made by Wirral Council:

£188,192 for a programme manager.

£181,471 for a second programme manager.

£139,080 for an interim head of transformation.

£665,760 to management consulting company Capita.

£185,000 to two companies to provide economic and legal advice to set up a joint venture property company.

The first thing to say is that we wondered how long it would be before outsourcing carrion birds C(r)apita got in on the vulturine act of picking at the emaciated cadaver of Wirral Council.

However our immediate attention was drawn to some of the eyewatering sums involved. Under the circumstances it would seem an obvious choice to assign the post of interim head of transformation to our new found friend Stewart Halliday. However we have reason to believe that ‘Happy Halliday’ may have actually been appointed to the second programme manager post on £181, 471 ! Which would mean that he could have DOUBLED his salary since fleeing City of York Council under a charcoal-coloured cumulonimbus .

Of course our sources may be mistaken and if so we would welcome Wirral Council , in the name of openness and transparency ,to put the correct names in the frames . After all it must surely be in the public interest that we should know where our money is going and who it is going to!

However, there’s more to this fast moving story. Hence the title of this blog post. So, you may be asking yourselves what kind of reference did ‘Happy Halliday’ get from his previous employer? – well , apparently he didn’t get one!

Yes that’s right ,news reaches us that Halliday was provided with a reference from the Chief Executive of Bradford City Council , one Kersten England .

Eh? – well apparently Ms England was CEO of City of York Council before moving on to Bradford City Council in the summer of 2015. So despite there being two subsequent CEOs of CoYC since her departure –  the interim, Steve Stewart, and the current incumbent Mary Weastell –  both of whom could surely have provided a glowing reference for the wonderful work Halliday did for CoYC, he curiously chose to seek a reference from England, along with a reference from an agency ‘outlining’ two years of Halliday’s employment history.

This wouldn’t be so bad , after all everyone ( including the agency involved), wants to present themselves in the best light when a six figure gig is up for grabs , however we understand that, shamefully, it was Wirral Council who made NO DIRECT APPROACH to CoYC for a reference for Halliday. Which makes us to want to wish that the whole  of Wirral Council’s notoriously appalling Human Resources Department management team ,who’s motto seems to be ‘we were only following orders’, gets swallowed up and spat out into the gutter by C(r)apita at the earliest opportunity.

It’s all very reminiscent of the Stella Shiu debacle isn’t it? And look what happened there! It’s like the interweb thingy doesn’t exist for Wirral Council or perhaps there are darker forces at work which ensure that the current administration ‘get their man’ no matter what his credentials.

Might we suggest that whilst this situation may result in big money for Halliday it’s a kick in the holiday money for the long suffering council tax payers of Wirral!



13 thoughts on “Reference Point

  1. I’m actually relieved to hear this and hope it’s true that Halliday got so lucky !

    Why? Because I was very gently corrected on Twitter when I suggested that Halliday had walked into the Transformation job – because the money was too much.

    And fast moving this is !

    Jeff Green’s former workmate and buddy Paul Satoor of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency got Transformation. Very incestuous – and spanning the parties from Labour to Tory.

    Wirral is all in it together !

    • Guilty of the gentle ‘correction’ – simply because it was and is utterly implausible that a staffer leaves one authority on a fixed term £70k job and walks into one twice the salary or more! Add in the procurement issues well recorded on this site, but also on webcast in City of York, the average person on the Clapham Omnibus might reasonably expect a reference check to identify the considerable breaches in public procurement legislation, with Councillors in the recruitment panel briefed and acting accordingly.

      Let me say no more.

      • Hey Gwen, you are leaving one thing out of your well put calculation. This is Wirral where the abnormal is normal. Only in Wirral!

      • I think you will find this story is factually incorrect. I can tell you as a CYC employee …..who is sick of the York Trolls their lies and hatred of anyone who has ever said no to them…… that Halliday left in March 2016 before the new CEX started in June 2016. So it seems he started his new job after the Interim CEX had left….so as anyone would you would get your reference form your last line manager. CYC staff are sick and tired of Ms Swinburn

      • Our story is not factually incorrect as Halliday DID get a reference from Ms England. The appropriateness of which we still say is debatable.We’re more concerned about Wirral Council not pursuing a reference from CYC

  2. Why do these people select the most boring and tedious scene when posing for their photographic image.

    He could have been photographed rolling around in close proximity to the money trough strangling the life out of a Razorback Suckling Sow screaming, ‘die you bitch’ or simply leaning across his desk studying the contents of his wallet, but instead he’s opted for the old ‘picking up the phone, gazing lovingly into the lens with a kindly look that implies, ‘ im saving you all millions’.
    I think the problem is they’ve no imagination and judging by this photograph, very tiny heads, huge fingers and a disturbing way of looking downwards toward us as the poor photographer who’s been directed to lay on the carpet and click focusing upwards, captured yet another slavish follower to Common Purpose and their ideology of self entitlement.

  3. The Council already has Fish, Blott, Hyams, Williams etc etc etc. Why does it need to employ more of the same? Is it because those named are not up to the job? If so then they should be replaced but not by failed officers from other authorities and being paid more than the Prime Minister to boot! When you think things cannot get any worse, something else crops up. It’s not like there is a stink every now and again. It’s a putrid smell that constantly emanates from the town hall without any sigh of stopping. How can a Council officer leave a job under a cloud for not following proper OJEU regulations and end up at Wirral on DOUBLE the salary? It absolutely beggars belief. I don’t understand how a Council officer can be worth so much. That is £3,619 PER WEEK! That’s what I was earning a month when I was there. Unbelievable!

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  5. This council must be an executive recruitment and placements company’s dream come true. Can imagine their sales pitch to any prospective candidate “we’ve got a council who will happily double or triple your earnings and get this, no matter how rubbish you are or were in your previous job, don’t worry for they don’t check your references and in fact seem to relish employing corporate failures, you’ll got right in! And better still if you’re mates or family well we’ll pretty much guarantee you the job now without an interview”….

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