Protection Racket

80574135

We warned you in this post – HERE  written before the Open golf championships to keep a look-out for this FOI request : HERE

We anticipated it would be the usual obfuscation and delay and sure enough true to form the requester had to wrestle some of the information out of Wirral Council before they started invoking the usual legal KO and invoke exemptions to deny full access to the information requested.

The exemptions mean that although we find out exactly who were the 43 Councillors who availed themselves of Wirral Council’s generous hospitality we do not get a “definitive” list of guests enjoying a pleasant day out on the public purse.

However there are some interesting revelations – the first of course being the fact that 43 Councillors had their entry to the Open paid for by the Council and not the 2 that Comrade Burgesski originally claimed (no wonder there’s  financial problems at Wirral Council when the Chief Executive seems to have trouble with figures).

Secondly we note the presence of “Weightmans Lawyers” on the Thursday and Friday sessions – would that be ex- Wirral Council employees Morris Hill and Simon Goacher perchance?

Although this information is somehow allowed to leak out we don’t get a full list of business associates who were the beneficiaries of Council freebies “due to on-going commercial negotiations between the Council and the organisations in question”
Which begs the question that if there are “ongoing commercial negotiations” with certain organisations should Wirral Council be offering what might be seen as inducements or favours?

However the exemption which had us blowing our turret off Leaky Towers was the non-disclosure of the Wirral Council staff who were on the golf course rather than sitting behind a desk.

The Council refused this request “due to the seniority of the officers in question and the fact that they do not hold public facing jobs. There is therefore an expectation that their privacy would be upheld.”

“Public facing jobs?” – that’s a new one on us. How about ” Public serving jobs?” Wirral Council – have you ever heard of them? No,thought not!  Especially in the light of the harrowing news coming out of Rotherham  this week we simply cannot fathom the motive behind the obsessive zeal with which PUBLIC bodies consistently seek to protect their staff at the expense of vulnerable people and the public purse.

It’s the same modus operandi which is demonstrated time and time again here on Wirral where readacted reports afford anonymity to abusers and those guilty of malpractice.

It’s a protection racket for the powerful – and it is the public who have to pay.

IF THE HEADLINE IS BIG ENOUGH, IT MAKES THE NEWS BIG ENOUGH

PISS

BIG TOP

There has been local consternation that a circus has recently set up camp on Wirral which features live animals.

SEE HERE

There appears to be some dismay that the council should have intervened and put a stop to it. To which we can only say that considering that Wirral Council have a chequered past when it comes to the treatment and welfare of vulnerable people that it was highly unlikely that the treatment and welfare of animals should concern them.

Moreover we think circuses and Wirral Council have a natural affinity as jugglers,illusionists and clowns appear to be responsible for running the show.

BIG REPORT/BIG DELAY

As our follow up to our Lessons Have Been Adjourned story just to let you know that the Audit & Risk Management meeting has gone from being reconvened for this week to tba (to be arranged) / cba ( can’t be arsed) to now being held October.
“Yes but did they specify October of which year ” sniped Her Ladyship.

This decision was taken backstage by Councillors and carefully concealed from public scrutiny after what a number  of sources describe as “bullying”.
“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…” sighed Her Ladyship.

Now we know it’s a big report but are Councillors hoping that they can pull the traditional  “Star Wars Card” out of the pack and claim the shenanigans all happened  “a long time ago in a galaxy far,far away” ?.

As a public service to assist Councillors with their deliberations Miss Snoop has applied her forensic skills to the report and we will be publishing ” BIG/ISUS For Dummies” shortly.

BIG OVERSPEND

We understand that Lib Dem Councillor Stuart Kelly has called in a Council decision concerning cuts to funding of projects in other departments as a result of yet another Department of Social Services (DASS) projected big overspend.

Although it must be said that the Council cabinet minutes are an absolute masterclass in obfusaction so it becomes a case of when is a £3 million projected overspend not a £3 million projected overspend?.

The minutes record that DASS Director Graham “Son of Bill” Hodgkinson “set out that there was a projected potential budget variance reported on behalf of Adult Social care in the finance report of £3M .
The figure of £3M that had been reported was not as yet an overspend. It was derived primarily from a financial perspective that all of the benefits of the projects may not be deliverable in year”.

Meanwhile the Cabinet resolution states:  ” it be noted that at Month 2 (May 2014), the full year forecast projects a gross General Fund overspend of £3,137,000…”

SEE HERE

And so it’s a case of robbing Peter to pay DASS to reduce the projected overspend which Cllr.Kelly (and other Councillors) have objected to.
At least DASS should be congratulated in ‘fessing up and not rolling over the toxic debt into the next financial year and the one after that and the one after that etc; etc; as low friends in high places allowed them to do for many years.

Talking of which and finally ……….

BIG HITTERS

News filters through of a recent incident involving a high ranking civic dignitary and their companion who were involved in a very public “difference of opinion” when seemingly “tired and emotional” after a civic reception.  We understand that conduct unbecoming of people of such high standing has been the talk of Hurst’s Bakery and Houlihans…….

Oops! DASS Did It Again!

OOOOOPS

With the Lord and Ladyship away on their summer sojourn, it is I,Verity who has been left to hold the fort or more accurately the Towers! And no sooner had I bid a fond farewell to our esteemed entourage than another exclusive lands in the Wirral Leaks inbox.

Remember when Wirral Leaks exclusively revealed that unfortunate incident when a gullible Wirral Council employee was duped into parting with £45,000 to a fraudster claiming to be a care home owner?

Well in time honoured Wirral Council fashion lessons have been learned when it comes to security and data protection as it would appear that like a dodgy curry history repeats causing a bit of a stink…

I say this as it would appear the Department of Adult Social Services (DASS) are not unlike Britney Spears with OCD.
“Oops! I Did it Again …..and again and again and again”

A “Doctor” writes:

“Imagine if someone from WBC had accidentally emailed a breakdown of every care home and vacancy.  Imagine if this spreadsheet was disclosing sensitive commercial information including confidential information about homes which there are issues with and not placing with etc.

Imagine if this information was accidentally emailed to EVERY care home.

Imagine that WBC had previously refused to part with this information due to its commercially sensitive nature and providing a market statement.

Imagine if providers look at their own information – its not even accurate.

Imagine if the officer had just tried to recall the email.. ”

Well  at Leaky Towers I don’t have to imagine as I have the evidence of the malpractice right here before me.

(By the way can somebody tell me what is meant by “top ups” and why this applies to some care homes and not others – it’s all very confusing! )

Meanwhile all I am left to do is paraphrase a famous quote:

“To lose £45,000 may be regarded as a misfortune; to email a spreadsheet containing confidential information looks like carelessness…..”

Wirral Leaks Advent Calendar 17 – Private Tapes,Public Interest

WIRRALGATETAPE
Well,well,well we wondered when the Wirralgate! story would start to unravel……

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/10882395.Senior_Wirral_councillor_demands_answers_over_alleged_smear_conspiracy_tape/?ref=var_0

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/wirral-council-pledge-investigation-secret-6411776

We understand that Burgesski is asking for copies of alleged tapes so that an investigation can take place whilst Power Boy Pip (who claims not to have heard said tape) is seeking legal advice on the matter – now that does sound interesting…………………..

However might we suggest that we dispense with the usual compromised investigations and just publish any alleged  tapes on the Council website and let the Wirral public decide as to whether they do contain any slurs, smears or shenanigans which are worthy of concern………

From our observation tower we can only comment that if anything can be learned from history is that it’s not the original alleged (mis) deed that causes the major problems it’s how they are subsequently handled………

We shall be watching any further unravelling with interest.

Wirral Leaks Advent Calendar 14 – Merry Dass-mess

We are grateful for a couple of crackers from Wirral Council Leakers which indicates that the Department of Adult Social Services (DASS) may be the gift that keeps on giving to Wirral Leaks but seems more adept at taking away services from vulnerable people !
DASS-XMAS-JOKE
Cracker 1 : Why not investigate the 3 million pound underspend in the disabled facilities grant section that has got managers switching staff in a desperate attempt to spend the allocated money?

The first leak we have already posted as a reply on Day 13 but it bears highlighting as it alleges that there is a £3 million pound underspend  in the Disabled Facilities Grant Section. This section administers grants of up to £30,000 that can assist towards the cost of adapting the home so that disabled people can continue to live independently. Or not as the case may be………..

If this is the case we do hope that Councillors are asking some searching questions about how there’s a large pot of money lying around whilst disabled people on Wirral are going without essential adaptations.

Cracker 2 :

WBCJoke2

“Your Care, Your Choice” – you may have had the same carers for the last ten years but tough, the agency is changing whether you like it or not!   Might be worth speaking to an agency who didn’t win the tender as there are going to be some unhappy / bankrupt businesses out there!    ..

The second leak concerns an email which was Sent of behalf of Amanda Kelly, Senior Lead – Market Transformation & Contracts.

Clearly with a job title like that Ms.Kelly is now too important to send her own emails about how DASS has  undertaken a re-tendering of the domiciliary care and reablement services. This affects approximately 1500 people who receive Domiciliary care services on the Wirral. The email reads :All these people have been contacted  to inform them of the change. To allay anxiety and ensure all staff are able to direct any concerned customers to the right place please read the two letters attached and note the content of this e-mail below –

Implications for Service Users

As a consequence of the re tender process there will be a number of service users for whom their care provider agency will change. As part of this process service users will be offered a review of their needs and access to support and guidance through the process. Many service users may transfer to a new provider and some may opt for a direct payment to allow them to remain with their current provider………

We understand that Direct Payments should be used to empower service users by allowing them control and choice over the services they use to meet their needs…..Is imposing Direct Payments on a vulnerable person so they can maintain continuity of care how this is supposed to work?…..

Of course not! …..It appears to us to be an illusion of choice and a travesty of empowerment.

If you are so inclined check out American psychologist Barry Schwartz’s take on this phenomenon in his “Paradox of Choice” presentation. Especially between 3.49 – 4.40