Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #1

Following on from last week’s post and with our readers continuing to send us dispatches of despair from dystopia we thought we’d instigate a weekly foreign exchange. Be warned – it might not be weekly. We’ll be treating these titbits like we’re shopping in the local market – keeping it fresh,seasonal and whatever catches our eye.

Tag Hag 

Several of you have been in touch to tell us that Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram plans to fudge a mayoral election pledge to ‘slash’ Mersey Tunnel toll charges . It now transpires he wants to reduce tolls for off-peak fast tag users but to raise charges to £1.80 for everyone else ! We believe the word for this type of manoeuvre is sophistry. However all we can say on the matter is that the £1.70 we paid to get out of Wirral and onward to Liverpool John Lennon Airport for a flight to Nice was the best £1.70 we’ve ever spent. Just sayin’!

What’s in a Name?

We have been sent a very sad story about the death of a young man named Mark Potter –  Wirral Man,32, who died in his sleep was very much loved   

Mr Potter’s family attended the inquest and they repeatedly quizzed mental health workers about how their son would know how to access their services.

Mr Potter’s dad asked Marion Blackburn, from Wirral Ways To Recovery: “Since 2015, how many people have died in your care?

She replied: “We have learnt things and [we’re] to make changes to make things better for people.”

Mr Potter said: “How do we [the public] know you are there?

“People are falling down the cracks. I hope you’re sorting that organisation out because people like Mark might be dying all over the place.”

Needless to say we’ve long raised the same concerns about Wirral Ways To Recovery and particularly the services that operate under the Change Grow Live  (CGL) banner. This of course led to an investigation which concluded the high mortality rate associated with the takeover by CGL of services previously provided by NHS was due to an ageing population. We’re still not convinced.

Public Health england brought in to investigate concerns first raised by Wirral Leaks

Wirral Council are having Nunn of it !

What better way of avoiding scrutiny and accountability by pulling the ‘vexatious’ card from the bottom of the pack. The latest target of this dubious tactic is our old friend Charles Nunn – who has been denied information about consultant Stewart Halliday’s ongoing (?) inflated remuneration because he might say mean things on social media. Wirral Council solicitor Rosemary Lyon , who must be a delicate little flower ,  is also upset by Charles’ ‘tone’ and writes:

I consider that you as a third party are pursuing a legitimate interest.
However I consider that that legitimate interest has been lessened by the
tone of your request in asking the Council to confirm whether “there will
be no further contract extension for this man?”

I have had regard to the guidance issued by the ICO “Dealing with
vexatious requests (Section 14) 20151218 Version 1.3. Paragraph 56 states
that “The context and history in which a request is made will often be a
major factor in determining whether the request is vexatious.” Having
regard to your previous requests about the same individual and also having
regard to comments you have made in the public domain concerning this
individual, I consider that the tone of part of this request for
information is potentially vexatious.

I consider that the processing of personal data ie the release of personal
data in respect of  Mr Halliday is unwarranted  by reason of prejudice to
the rights and freedoms or legitimate interests of him as the data
subject………..I consider that disclosure of the requested information would be
unwarranted having regard to the prejudice that would be caused to the
rights and legitimate interests of Stewart Halliday. 

For full details : Stewart Halliday FOI Request

Ms Lyon appears to have cut and paste her response from various other FOI cases she’s been involved with and one in particular which she suddenly withdrew from. Now that would be a really interesting FOI request for someone to make . The Lyon sleeps tonight? – might we suggest she’ll sleep soundly if she’s got her own solicitor to back her up in case she suffers any detriment for refusing to front a case for Wirral Council that is riddled with corruption. We can only hope the tone of that particular comment doesn’t upset Little Miss Snowflake too much!

All’s not well in Sandwell  

If Rosie Snowflake thinks she’s got it bad she needs to spare a thought for her old boss Surjit Tour who we know she admired immensely. As we’ve previously reported Tour is now fitting in nicely at Sandwell Council . We know this because we have been sent details of a threatening missive he sent last week to the magnificent local blog The Sandwell Skidder . Tour’s full hilarious rant including the immortal phrase ‘ excitable language’ can be read below, but we have to say that we’re a tad disappointed that we never received such a threat of legal action from Tour when he was at Wirral . Hmmmmm- why was that we wonder? He certainly wasn’t averse to issuing such threats as local blogger John Brace can testify. If he would have had the gonads to send such a threat to us we guarantee he would have got the same response from this Julian as he did from The Sandwell Skidder‘s very own Julian Saunders  :  

Dear Mr Saunders

Sandwell Skidder (“the Blog”)

Allegation of Harassment

I am writing to you on behalf of the Council.

The Council considers that your behaviour and conduct over the past few years cannot be left unchallenged any longer. Whilst it had hoped that your activities would die down over time it is clear that that has not happened and instead they have only increased. In addition to using your blog to attack Councillors and employees you are targeting the same individuals on Twitter and other social media sites. You are regularly seen outside of the Council offices seeking to obtain information.

The Council fully accepts that, as a body, it must be subject to criticism but as an employer it has a duty to its staff to ensure that they can work in peace and are not harassed and targeted, and a duty to Council tax-payers to ensure that their needs are not neglected whilst having to expend considerable time and effort trying to dealing with a persistent and vexatious individual such as yourself.

Whilst the Council has carefully considered whether there would be any merit in trying to engage in dialogue with you again unfortunately it does not seem to be possible or be likely to achieve any measure of success. Only today, 25th January 2018, you have posted a witness statement in a blog entitled “The Statement Sandwell don’t want you to see!” that was produced for a quasi-judicial standards hearing that was held on 24th January 2018. You were put on notice that the Council objected to the content of this statement yesterday. You have nonetheless gone ahead and not only published your statement but presented a skewed account of what took place.

The excitable language you use on your website is indicative of a motive to do damage. Unlike newspapers or news websites you fling out with abandon accusations of corruption and criminality against individuals. Nor do you appear to verify your accusations. Your persistent publication of a photograph of the Council leader with the captions on it, is designed to harass him. That is why you are doing it.

We would ask you to go through your blog and consider carefully the appropriateness of the accusations you are making and the language you are using.  The council requests that you remove all unfounded abusive/offensive remarks and images immediately.

We consider that when you do you should recognise that the language is excessive and much of the content inappropriate and together it is harassing of individuals and is unacceptable.

To that end, we are engaging specialist Counsel to assist us with this matter but would hope that you will take steps to ensure that no further action is in fact necessary.

For the avoidance of doubt, if action is taken by the Council, we will comply with the relevant pre-action protocols. At this stage, we hope you will act to ensure that there is no need to proceed any further.

If necessary, we reserve the right to show this letter to the court.

Yours sincerely

AND HERE IS MY REPLY:

To: Surjit Tour <Surjit_Tour@sandwell.gov.uk>
THIS IS NOT A PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATION

My reply is – you are well out of order and can fuck off.

For the full response : An Exchange of Correspondence with Surjit Tour

 

18 thoughts on “Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #1

  1. Mr NUNN will need persist in his FOI.

    The fruit of Mrs Lyons truculent will be more time of Wirral officers defending this defiance. she is only harming herself and her colleagues.

    Mr NUNN is on the short end of the lever. A little pull on his side produces a long movement on their side.

    • I have now requested an internal review of my Freedom of Information Request re. Stewart Halliday.
      Ms.Lyon has taken exception to my use of the term “that man” in referring to Halliday. Would she have been equally upset and distressed if I had referred to “that lady” had my enquiry been about a female?

      Sensitive souls lurking in Wirral Council.

      So ,Halliday could well have had yet anothe extension of his contract costing the Wirral Council Tax payers circa £15,000 a month!

  2. Local government officers must be held to account. It is vital.

    Foi reveals so much of their incompetence and this revelation does give pause to their former arrogance
    .
    Keep going Mr NUNN for you may reveal as much towering arrogance and sheer unfitness to purpose as did my series of foi re Wirralbiz and Big.

    A recent foi to Europe revealed how the Rochdale businesspark secured £5 m of Erdf money but only managed to achieve one of multiple objectives in its first 4 years…worth your laughter..ten cyclists to go to work!!

  3. As to never having received a legal threat from Surjit Tour that may be because:-

    a) impossible for Surjit Tour to sue an anonymous blogger he doesn’t know the name and address of or

    b) he was never asked to do so or

    c) it would’ve backfired.

    Mind you I did get involved with judicial cases with Wirral Council twice over the years (2012 judicial review and 2016 First-tier Tribunal) and its councillors once (2011-2012 county court).

    Areas of law covered were election law, information rights and data protection.

    Results were:
    High Courts of Justice – permission refused on basis of existing statutory right of appeal
    First-tier Tribunal (information rights) – most of information supplied (including at the hearing itself) but rest refused
    Birkenhead County Court – won case and court order granted

    All the best,

    John

    • John,

      I think there is a 4th reason (D) that Surjit Tour has not issued a legal threat to you……. it is because he is a ‘Sir Git’ and spends a lot of time polishing his big shiny wrist job…..

      • There are plenty of ways Wirral Council can cause trouble for me without issuing any legal threats. As unfortunately they provide services that we use.

        Such as threatening to instruct Biffa not to collect the rubbish from this property, not reprinting road markings when they wear down and generally making the relationship with Wirral Council as problematic as is humanly (or even inhumanly) possible!

  4. The amount of time and mental effort it takes to deal with Wirral Council’s self-inflicted problems is in itself problematic. However, here is the email from 11th September 2017 telling me to “stay away” from a public meeting I have a legal right to be at. Quite when film of it will be posted on their Youtube channel I’m not sure, as 4 months later I’m still waiting!

    Irony of ironies it was about Hillsborough!
    ===========================================================================
    Hi John,

    Just wanted to let you know in advance of Friday that unfortunately the public gallery will be off-limits for the Freedom of the Borough event, as it is being reserved for invited guests of the families.

    We are filming the entire event and will be posting it onto our YouTube channel.

    If you would still like to attend you, along with any other members of the public wishing to view the formal part of the event, will be asked to use one of the Committee Rooms on the ground floor, where sound will be played through from the Chamber.

    Thanks

    Kev

    Kev MacCallum

    Head of Communications

    Communications & Marketing

    T: 0151 691 8388

    M: 07769 674 294

    E: kevinmaccallum@wirral.gov.uk

    W: http://www.wirral.gov.uk & http://www.wirralview.com

    LGC Awards15_Winner_MIP

    **********************************************************************

    This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and

    intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they

    are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify

    the system manager.

    This footnote also confirms that this email message has been swept by

    MIMEsweeper for the presence of computer viruses.

    http://www.clearswift.com

    **********************************************************************

    • Thanks for this John.
      As insightful as it is dispiriting.
      Because of the sensitivities involved we steered clear of commenting on the Hillsborough memorial ceremony at the time but we were distinctly ill at ease with the belatedness.

      • It’s also not lost on me that there were no problems the year before filming the public meeting of Liverpool City Council on 25th May 2016 awarding Freedom of the City to those that died at Hillsborough.

        I know there are sensitivities about the issue. However, part of the criticisms aimed at the media following Hillsborough was that some reporting was inaccurate and some matters weren’t reported on. Hence the Total Eclispse of the S*n campaign.

        As I was still at primary school when the deaths happened, the inaccurate newspaper reporting is not something I had direct or indirect responsibility for.

  5. Re: CGL. Not only are they gradually killing off Birkenheads ageing drug population but recently Liverpool JMU reported that across Merseyside, low level drug related crime was dropping except in Wirral..! JMU report on the Home Office Drug Intervention Program, designed to steer drug using offenders towards treatment as being in treatment negates the need to thieve to feed a habit. CGLs contract is up in February this year, what marvels they have achieved already, deaths up, crime up, no doubt they will get their contract extended. Another Wirral success.

  6. This council is abysmal. I received an email today asking me to comment on their budget plans. None were listed apart from the list of car parks they intend to start charging for. Having just been to one of them, Derby Pool, I noticed data strips have been laid down monitoring cars entering. The strips are already laid out at Leasowe too, another car park listed for charging. What is the point in asking for comments when they obviously intend to do it anyway. The charging for parking seems to be their only budget plan by the way.

    • We feel your pain.
      Makes us wonder what people of Wirral of paying all these highly paid ‘transformers’ for the only big idea they can come up with is car parking charges!

      • I believe that Stewart Halliday was brought in because of his “transforming” skills.
        Try and sell that one to the Council Tax payers of York where, I am reliably informed, he earned circa £90,000 a year
        If I am correct his £188,000 a year – extended by three months and now possibly longer- consultancy salary would need a lot of car parking charges to cover it

        I wonder if Ms.Lyon will also consider this to be a vexatious comment?

      • In their topsy-turvy world imagined ‘vexatious’ comments are deemed more worthy of censure (and censor) than proven ‘racist’ comments.

  7. Pingback: Dear Eric , Now about this Halliday guy… | Wirralleaks

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