SEND for Help

You know we are always happy to oblige with enquiries such as this:
Could you get any information on Wirral Councils new SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) manager John K Wood
From Huddersfield has he been drafted in on big wages to plug the holes on the sinking ship for the special education needs department as Margaret Morris and Paul Arista have recently departed with a SEND Ofsted inspection on the horizon
The answer to which is  – well, other than we know this particularly expensive consultant named above got the gig in July we haven’t got a lot to go on …which usually means Wirral Council are keen to keep something under wraps .
And sure enough and also happy to oblige are Liverpool Echo – who came up with a recent article with the snappy headline  Wirral becoming safer for vulnerable children as borough takes first steps to addressing chronic failings that left too many at risk of abuse
Yeah – if you say so. Or more accurately if Children’s Services Director  Paul ‘ Boycey’ Boyce and Cllr Bernie ‘The Bruiser’ Mooney say so – ‘Council chiefs believe vulnerable Wirral children are safer ‘ Well that’s alright then ! All we’ll say is that seeing is believing – and whilst it may be true that vulnerable children are safer let’s face it, in the words of the pop philosopher Yazz, ‘The Only Way Is Up’!
For balance the Echo report curiously references the infamous historical episode of financial abuse of disabled people and asks whether the claims of improvement are yet another ‘false dawn’  –  but it should be mentioned that it wasn’t £440,000 that was stolen by Wirral Council – it was about £300,000 more than that but hey, why bother with facts when the article is predominately about allowing ‘Boycey’ and ‘The Bruiser’ to go on at great length about the bad old days and the dawning of a new golden age for the vulnerable children of Wirral :
The department Mr Boyce walked into was “quite scattergun” and “largely non-compliant” with local authority regulations, he said, describing it as “a service that was disorganised, fragmented, that was unclear in terms of what it was trying to do and the sequence in which things needed to be done to improve things.”
Which is all a bit of a bitch-slap for Boycey’s predecessor Julia Hassall isn’t it? The Echo goes on to tell us that Mr Boyce has ‘wrought the changes’.

Efforts to turn the department around have been dramatic – and boosted by £20m of funding.

There have been suspensions and improvement processes launched, the removal of one whole tier of management from the structure and a massive drive to increase the number of permanent staff within the department.

New management appointments have been made to tackle concerns about a lack of direction from senior figures, while more than 400 workers have been moved under one roof to the Cheshire Lines building in Birkenhead.

So in the interests of balance we thought we’d particularly highlight public perception about how some of £20m has helped with SEND . Firstly from the source who raised the question above who goes on to say :
Is Phil Davies going to leave the council on a high of most improved council 2018 ? It’s an absolute sham with social care improvement – it’s worse now than it’s ever been …
Also providing a counter-balance to the relentless positivity is ‘SEND mum’ who can be found on Twitter @mum_send
Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 11.51.38
Therefore might we suggest that even with a rucksack full of public money and regular upbeat travelogue news about the Children’s Services that there is still a long way to go on that ‘Improvement Journey’ before Wirral Council and their partners reach the long -promised land of adequacy…

14 thoughts on “SEND for Help

  1. John K.Wood`s website shows a career at no less than 10 local authorities before coming to the Wirral in June 2018.
    His site has all the usual gobbledygook associated with local authority posts including sustainable. holistic, transition (there it comes up again) stakeholders, integration and strategic spending..
    There are references to John K.Wood Ltd which appears to indicate that his remuneration is paid into a company with possible tax advantages.

    Of course there is no indication of what his presence is costing the Wirral Council Tax payer but the rather dodgy Stewart Halliday was paid £188,000 a year for what would appear to be a lesser role.

    Mr. Wood could be just the man to sort out the many problems in SEND.
    Time will tell.

    • At least Mr Wood will have to earn his money – SEND is a complete mess. As for Mr Halliday – not so much. What exactly are we getting for our money with this BS merchant?

  2. John K.Wood Ltd. is a private company first registered in 2010 with an office in Huddersfield.
    John Wood holds 75% of the shares.

    Company accounts are detailed up to the financial year 2017/18 although those have been filed.
    Anyone with a greater ability to read accounts than myself might be able to work out that companies likely remuneration for their work here on the Wirral

  3. Last I heard some tin pot resource from Transformation was managing this service…. says it all if it’s still not right slap dash from a lack of understanding of end to end project management

  4. So removing safe specialist transport from masses of vulnerable SEN clients is improving the safety of SEN children and adults…..right

  5. Is this £20m a confirmed figure? I have been unofficially led to believe that a place at an Out of Area residential school for my special needs daughter will be funded when she enters year 7. Recently the mood music has changed and for the first time ‘pressure on budgets’ has been mentioned. It sounds like they are preparing to stiff us so I’d be intereted to know more about this 20 mill.

  6. Tenders have just come out for a number of SEN transport contracts. They could be done for about £450 a day but the way they have organised the schedules it will more than likely end up costing £1000 daily. That’s a loss of about £550 per day or £137,500 in a year. What idiot is running the SEN transport department and wasting our valuable council tax money. I just hope someone with authority in the councilwith half a brain cell reads this post and questions the theory behind wasting such sums of money but I won’t hold my breath.

  7. Pingback: SEND In The Clowns | Wirralleaks

  8. Pingback: Special Educational Needs and Disability : ‘The best interests of the children have definitely not been at the forefront of everyone’s thinking…’ | Wirralleaks

  9. Pingback: Wood is out but Wirral Children’s Services are not out of the woods… | Wirralleaks

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