The Liptrot Mystery


Opposition councillors seem unusually curious about the recent controversial appointment of Council leader Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’Davies political ally , Martin Liptrot(sky) to the post of  ‘Interim’ Investment Lead .

And so they might be! The ongoing saga is worthy of an Agatha Christie murder mystery ….. but who knows where the bodies are buried !?

Of course we anticipated such an appointment long ago The Uncanny and the Corrupt

That’s not because we have second sight, it’s simply because, by now, we know all Wirral Council’s plot devices.

So before we get to the heart of the mystery, let us set out the story so far. Are you sitting comfortably? – because we guarantee you won’t be for much longer!

Remember when we exclusively announced Liptrot’s arrival at Wirral Council and questioned how his ‘Policy Advisor’ post came about?

Remember when we questioned his apolitical credentials when he was appointed to a politically restricted post despite declaring his long held Labour Party affiliations all over social media ?

Who can forget when Wirral Globe disclosed that leaked toecurling early morning email exchange between Liptrot and Pip?  Where the former, in full on diva mode, appears to be calling the shots – complaining about his pay and bemoaning the fact that he has to hand in time sheets to Super Duper Director  Joe Blott  – oh the shame!

“Apparently I’m supposed to work for 24 quid an hour and hand time sheets to Joe Blott [strategic director].Clearly that is both insulting and wildly unrealistic for the scope of the role we are discussing.There is no way I’m going to earn even less than I am now. We need to work out what we need to agree and you will probably have to just step up and tell everyone what you want doing in the end. Let’s talk tomorrow.’

And so having set the scene we move on to the latest chapter in the charmed life of Mr Liptrot and his latest ‘transformation'(!) as ‘Interim’ Investment Lead at Wirral Council.

An extraordinary series of extracts from leaked emails details the ‘bureaucratic machinations’ behind this latest appointment and provides us with even more plot twists……..

Firstly , we might recall that  24 councillors  issued  a ‘Notice of Motion’ in respect of, what was at the time, the creation of ‘a senior post of Investor Development Manager’ in response to the Labour Cabinet meeting held on 16 January .  This meeting was chaired by Power Boy Pip and included a report calling for the removal of ‘Call – in’ , thus denying opposition councillors the opportunity to ask any awkward questions about the post. The report stated :

‘Although this was not a key decision, in the light of the time critical nature of these activities, it was considered necessary to request that call-in be waived. This would enable the activities to progress at once and, therefore, ensure that work was completed in time to meet deadlines for key events such as MIPIM. Due to the absence of the Chief Executive, and on his behalf, the Assistant Chief Executive had recommended that call-in be waived’.

Head of Law Surjit Tour clarified the situation : ‘Cabinet agreed to waive ‘call-in’ in accordance with the Constitution and the decision is therefore implementable immediately notwithstanding the request for an extraordinary council having been made and agreed. Council at the extraordinary council meeting is being invited to scrutinise the creation of the post and decide whether it is justified – but council would only be expressing its opinion/view in respect of the post and its justification. The decision maker remains the Executive and the decision in question remains implementable.’

The post was advertised via  Wirral Council’s temporary worker system (Matrix) . Matrix passed on the job specification to recruitment agencies at an equivalent day rate of £195.

Initially six applications were received. However according to Wirral Council’s HR  : ‘none of the applicants met the specification. We  have received feedback from the agencies that the remuneration is not sufficient to attract calibre candidates.Given the urgent requirement for the additional capacity and limited budget we are sourcing an Interim role – Interim Investment Lead on an interim rate, but for a shorter period of time’

HR went on to later add :‘The agencies feedback that they could potentially source some applicants at £350 day , but the calibre we required is likely to be £500 day. Given the urgent requirement for the additional capacity and limited budget we need to increase the day rate .’

Frankly it is simply an astonishing state of affairs when so-called committed, and no doubt ‘passionate’ public servants, don’t consider it worthwhile getting out of bed for less than £350 a day!  And of course the recruitment agencies are going to advocate such a hike in the daily rate because presumably it means more money for them! All of which means that public authorities are held a hostage to fortune!

Needless to say when the post was advertised at the higher rate, 13 further applications were received !

5 candidates were shortlisted. One of the candidates was unable to make the interview date and one candidate withdrew. And in true Agatha Christie fashion :  ‘And then there were 3’. These interviews took place on 15 February 2017.

Initially we understand that Asif Hamid was due to be on the interview panel but he mysteriously withdrew to be replaced , inevitably, by Wirral Chamber of Commerce chum Paula Basnett. Clare Fish , Wirral Council’s Executive Director for Strategy was also a late absentee. This left :

  • Alan Evans, Strategic Commissioner for Growth (Chair of the Panel)
  • Stephen Butterworth, Interim Strategic Project Support
  • Sally Shah, Lead Commissioner: Place and Investment
  • Paula Basnett, Chief Executive, Wirral Chamber of Commerce
  • Ellen Cutler, Director Inward Investment, Liverpool Vision

Now as we know the successful candidate was our leading suspect Martin Liptrot who was awarded an an initial 4 month contract  @ £350 a day.

However the  mystery here is whether the panel made the appointment or was the final decision made by Power Boy Pip and his supine CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson?

The Extraordinary Council meeting held earlier this week was an attempt by some curious councillors to find the answer to this whodunnit and other mysteries surrounding the case. However the Labour group were anxious to shut this line of enquiry down with Cllr Brian Kenny squeaking up for a ‘guillotine’ thereby reducing the time available for debating the issue.

Perhaps curious opposition councillors should seek clues about the recruitment process from Alan Evans, the Strategic Commissioner for Growth, who chaired the selection panel?

We understand that Evans’ unsung team in Department of Regeneration have been doing some excellent work  behind the scenes  and we can only wonder what they must feel about the influx of Johnny-Come -Lately’s such as Liptrot  who ,under the guise of ‘transformers’ , appear to be muscling in on their act and potentially taking the credit for their work.

We await further plot developments with great interest!


16 thoughts on “The Liptrot Mystery

  1. The more I read about this, the more I realise I am in Wonderland-wondering what the latest trick th clowns will perform!

  2. Alan Evans has clearly been handed a poisoned chalice here. He is a very talented committed officer who has been with the Council for around 15 years. He knows his craft and puts a proper shift in on a daily basis. He is well thought of by his peers and as well as being bloody good at his job, he is a decent person to boot.

    • G’day Stevie

      The same kind of compliments, might, be said of the “Wirral “Funny” Bizz whistleblowers who have about eighty years accounting experience between them.

      The great big cowardly bully that is “Phil the Very Very Very Very Slimy, Elusive, LYING Dill” doesn’t care who he uses and abuses.

      If he was any sort of successful person you might vaguely understand it.

      He is no one and never will be anyone of any decency, or, of reputable public service.



      Come on “Power Boy” make yourself not a liar and write to “Highbrow” its only a letter.

      • Couldn’t agree more James. Utmost respect for anyone that puts their head over the parapet. That obviously includes your good self and Nigel. I’ve had professional dealings with Wirral Biz so understand and agree with mostly everything you say. Looking back, the monitoring was clearly poorly managed and should have been picked up much earlier. My belief is if you make a mistake and we all do, then put your hand up immediately and quickly work to rectify it. Anyway, good day to you my friend.

      • Hi Paul,

        I really value your contributions, follow your blog and know you know your stuff. I don’t know why he didn’t say no. However, as you well know, when we work for someone and they ask us to undertake a duty that is in our JD and commensurate with our pay grade, then if we are to avoid disciplinary action, we usually have to oblige.

        Have a good day.

      • G’day Stevie

        I believe that I have been recently ‘transformed’ into an Aussie, when I am in fact a motor car sat nav…. I look forward to you also being
        ‘transformed’…….. into a…..whistle?……blower?

  3. Just out of interest.
    Over a week ago I contacted my M.P. Margaret Greenwood and asked her to comment on the Liptrot and Halliday debacles and asked her what action she proposed taking?
    Apart from an auto response, her silence has been deafening.
    I wonder if this could be because, I understand, Liptrot was active in her election campaign and thereby a “fellow traveller.?”

    Our four Labour M.P.s were very vocal in their comments about the proposed parking charges but I have not heard even a whimper from them about the many, many scandals on going in
    the political cesspit that is Wallasey Town Hall.

    • You’ve just reminded me of the conversation I had with Liptrot when he phoned me up during the election campaign! I had quite a chat with him, obviously not knowing what the future would hold as far as his employment with WBC. My impressions of him were, he was some sort of naive freshman post-grad student of politics on an internment position. I threw him a few harsh facts about the post-Blair/Brown Labour party and Milliband’s unconvincing leadership and he took it like a good student listening to the old hardened and very cynical voice of experience. To be honest, I never had him down as a corporate ladder crawler but these guys come out of uni with no experience but lots of talking the talk which seems to count these days. BS over substance – a great working model for Davies’ lame administration, meaning Liptrot must tick all the boxes required.

      By the way, loving your FOI activities, there must be some serious squirming going on at the Town Hall!

  4. Hi Interested! I have had my personal run-ins with Wirral Council. After a senior officer in refused to investigate my complaint I took them to an Industrial Tribunal under the Equality Act. This was successful and compensation was duly awarded. Didn’t go down to well!

  5. And another thing, why are they STILL using recruitment models that were the height of fashion in 2003, shortly to be smashed into the cold light of reality by the recession of 2008? It’s like they’re partying like it’s still the DOT-COM boom! Can somebody not remind them these are the proven practices of fiscal failure? How long can Auntie Frank protect his inept squaddies from their collective ignorance?

  6. G’day Leaks

    You have to wonder what wirral will go guarantor for on the strength of Everpeel err I mean Liverpool getting the Commonwealth Games.



    I very much doubt Everpeel will get a new stadium whilst “Phil the Very Very Very Very Slimy, Elusive, LYING Dill” is still leader of wirral.


  7. Ste, I think you might misunderstand me here.

    Regardless of personal decency, competence, etc. if we ALL behaved like Alan Evans and bent to the abusers’ will, the public would be catastrophically shortchanged.

    And this valuable outlet for public concern – and others – would not exist. So there’d be nowhere for you to post your valuable comments or for me or anybody else to respond…

  8. Pingback: Wirral Well Hard : Another Liptrot Mystery | Wirralleaks

  9. Pingback: Pip Pops Off : A Wirral Leaks Tribute | Wirralleaks

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