With news filtering through that Wirral Council may have gotten themselves in yet another procurement pickle we thought it would be timely to catch up with our friends in the north – and it would seem that the procurement scandal that highly remunerated Wirral Council officer Stewart Halliday left behind at his former local authority, City of York Council (CYC), refuses to go away! It would seem that Halliday whilst long gone from York Council is most certainly not forgotten!
Last week saw yet another attempt by CYC councillors to see a report into the scandal which has been withheld and then censored. Although as we know council officials all over the land like to use the term ‘redacted’ to make the act of censorship sound bureaucratically palatable. The report concerns the conduct of officers and members at the infamous 22 February 2017 Audit and Governance Committee meeting which we reported here
As we commented at the time : “That’s decided – we’re moving to York”. OK it must be said we subsequently moved in the complete opposite direction but in spirit we are at one with the Yorkists. Not necessarily CYC – but the eloquent, knowledgeable,challenging , citizens of York who are concerned about the not insignificant matters of openness, transparency, integrity, accountability, honesty and democracy. We do recommend Wirralians watch the highly instructive video of the Audit & Governance Committee held on 30 April 2018 and ponder on how they too can at least attempt to hold public servants to account.
Firstly note how CYC film their own meetings. Unfortunately they preface comments from the public with a reminder about making defamatory comments , which to us looks like nothing more than bureaucratic bullying. As we’ve long maintained – those who want to control the public discourse want to control everything .
Note particularly the robust challenge of a CYC councillor and 4 ( count’em) members of the public and note also it is the independent member of the Audit & Governance Committee who picks up the mistakes in the minutes . There’s also incidental pleasure to be had from the CYC councillor sporting a A Flock of Seagulls hair don’t!
From what we can gather from the video the latest twist in that scandal involves the continuing refusal of senior CYC staff to release a report into the conduct of a meeting on the 22 February 2017 in which a report into Halliday’s actions in handing over £000s of public money to a ‘communications consultant’ without following correct procurement procedures was, following an attempted cover up made public and discussed at that meeting, leading to ‘conduct issues’ when officers clashed with members. So a report into the conduct at a meeting that degenerated into little more than an unseemly slanging match between CYC officers and elected members over an attempted cover up is now the subject of a cover up attempt by senior CYC officers!
This cover up over a cover up scenario ( #Wirralgate) is very familiar to Wirral Leaks readers if not to the Wirral public at large mainly due to the power of local politicians and a complicit local press.
We think it’s time for the people of Wirral to start channelling our friends from York who have paved the way when it comes to demanding public accountability!