Parklife

Park 010

As a diversion from our sarcasm and irreverence and as part of our public interest / public service remit we publish correspondence concerned  with  the ‘re-imagining’ of Wirral Council’s Leisure and Cultural Services. I think we all know what ‘re-imagining’ is Council-speak for don’t we folks?

As far as we’re concerned it is the manifestation of former Tory  PM David Cameron’s ‘Big Society ‘ (remember that?) . This so-called big idea was nothing more than the further rolling back of the state and the jeopardising of philanthropic bequests of open spaces and buildings for the benefit of all under the guise of ’empowerment’ and ‘community involvement’ and ‘localism’.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jul/09/the-end-of-park-life-as-we-know-it-the-battle-for-britains-green-spaces-rowan-moore

Wirral Council appear to be doing their pretend ‘consultation’ schtick again as the grandiloquently titled Strategic Commisionner – Environment , Mark Smith sends out details of surveys and workshops . It’s fair to say there’s a great of deal of concern about developments among Friend’s groups and volunteers .

This is an extract from an initial response from Wirral Parks Forum :

  • There has been inadequate consultation with key stakeholders by the London based consultants, Bates, Wells, Brathwaite (BWB) in the preparation of their report “Wirral BC – Re-imagining Leisure and Cultural Services.”
  • Numerous Friends Groups, volunteer organisations, Trade Unions, Parks Friends Forum and Friends of the Libraries have all expressed significant concerns over the contents and accuracy of this report not least because the key stakeholders, who know our Leisure and Cultural Assets best, have not been involved or consulted over the production of this report.
  • We believe it is expensive folly to have spent £284,000 of Taxpayers money on a report without recourse to such important stakeholders as their knowledge and experience is vital in bringing out key issues in developing future options for our Leisure and Cultural Assets.
  • By disenfranchising these key stakeholders at this stage of the process the Council risks missing out on significant benefits and therefore this process should be paused to allow a period of consultation and engagement, which is missing from the BWB report, prior to moving to options appraisal and development of the full business case.
Ultimately the committee voted to proceed to Phase II – i.e a Business Case with the proviso there would be a period for consultation.  This was to take place in a 5 week period.  The Business case was to be prepared for September 2017.
 
The Wirral Parks Forum Committee was in the process of organising our diaries with the intention of meeting with all Friends groups regarding the forthcoming consultation, when we received the following email regarding the consultation.  
 
I urge you to get as many Friends group members to apply for a place on a workshop and to encourage every member and their friends to complete the on line survey. Perhaps put the links up on your Facebook pages?   I have applied for a place and will have to wait 5 days to have it confirmed or rejected.   I will write to Mark Smith Strategic Commissioner – Environment, to express my concern regarding the process as it maybe that Friends Groups committees may not get a chance to get someone on a workshop. There are only 4 workshops of 2 hours each and they are clearly space limited.  I will ask if there can be deeper consultation with Friends of Parks groups over the summer period.  I feel this is an important issue, as Friends Groups provide many volunteer man hours and raise a lot of money to keep their local parks functioning and running events. 
 

Dear Resident,

As you are aware we are considering how leisure, libraries and cultural services could be delivered in the future in Wirral. These services play a vital role in the lives of not only residents but also those visiting our borough. They are crucial for the health, wellbeing and development of residents but also contribute to our local economy.

We want sustainable services that meet the needs of users and visitors, now and in the future and remain committed to the Pledges we made as part of the Wirral Plan, most notably:

“we will encourage more people to enjoy a wide range of leisure, cultural and sporting opportunities on offer across Wirral. We will listen to resident’s ideas and requests, and by 2020, we will have increased access to events and activities to all our residents, regardless of age and income”

To achieve this aim, we need to think about the way that we deliver services and consider innovations that will continue to provide the right outcomes for the community whilst responding to the budget pressures that the council faces

We do not want to ask people for input once a decision has been made. Instead, we have the opportunity to work on ideas together, to get a better understanding of what people want and need, and to feed this into the design and decision making process.

To do this, we are inviting key stakeholders to attend workshops that will focus on each service area. Workshops will run between 17th July and 26th July.  We would be delighted if you could join us. Spaces are limited so please apply for a space via our online booking system (link to booking) indicating which session you would like to attend. Spaces will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

The intention for each session is to have an introduction by either Andrew Elkington, Interim Director for Community Services, or Mark Smith, Strategic Commissioners for Environment, followed by facilitated round table discussions where we will consider:

  • your opinions about the existing services
  • your views on priorities for the evaluation of future options
  • your ideas and innovations
  • your concerns

 

In addition, we are asking the general public to join the conversation by participating in an online survey which you can access via this link. Staff will also be invited to contribute through the same survey and their own workshops. Please feel free to contribute to the survey if you’re unable to make it to a workshop session.

All of the information gathered across these different forums will be used to:

  • Inform how services could be delivered in the future – this will form part of a Full Business Case which will outline options and will go to Cabinet in October
  • Generate ideas for innovation in specific services – this will also influence the Business Case but will be of most value once a decision has been made and services are looking at the detail of delivery for their area
  • Help us to understand what’s important to people, what works well and not so well – again this will inform the Business Case but will create added insight and intelligence about what local people and groups value.

 

To be clear, we are not considering any fundamental changes to the services received across Libraries, Leisure and Culture Services. We are considering how these services could be delivered in the future and who is best placed to deliver them to ensure that they are sustainable; this could be by continuing to provide services directly by the council or through an alternative delivery model such as a council owned company or charitable trust 

I appreciate that many of you may have already contributed to a recent review of library services but we wanted to make sure that people were invited to participate across all service areas. We will do our best to avoid duplicating any of this with you during the workshop.

Kind regards

Mark Smith
Strategic Commissioner – Environment

An LRJ Reaction

Internal Audit frontsheet

Apparently Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ) is appealing. Well , we suppose there’s a first for everything!

However in this particular case when we say appealing we mean that yet another disgraced Wirral councillor is proving once again that taking responsibility for their actions is an alien concept.

As ,yes indeed, according to Liverpool Echo  LRJ  is appealing against the recent sanctions imposed against her by a Wirral Council Standards Panel.

Sanction Distinction

We note that Wirral Leaks gets its first mention in the Liverpool Echo as a ‘local news site’ courtesy of Liam Mk II (Liam Thorp) . Of course Liam Mk I (Liam Murphy) wouldn’t give us the oxygen of publicity as he was too busy dancing to Wirral Council’s ruling administration’s tune despite apparently being ‘outraged’ by how they carried on. So outraged was he , he made a covert recording of a covert recording , played it to his oppo in Wirral Council, later claimed he couldn’t take part in an investigation exposing corruption as he was protecting the confidentiality of his sources and thus allowed a corrupt regime to carry on abusing their power. Thereby proving once and for all that Liam Murphy was to investigative journalism what Larry Grayson was to Rugby League!

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/councillor-sent-texts-saying-could-13292419

Among the damning evidence made against LRJ are texts released during a Code of Conduct investigation include : “They don’t seem to realise I’m at the top of the pecking order ” and referring to the investigator : “She doesn’t scare me and a little councillor involved might just shut her up.”

Listen folks , all we can say is that we know we’re all in big trouble if LRJ considers herself  ‘top of the pecking order’ . However what can we expect when local Labour politicians consider themselves to be untouchable and have been acting with impunity and without consequence for years? Let’s remember the only reason that LRJ’s adversary and convicted criminal Cllr Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree was suspended by North West Labour was down to Wirral Leaks ! So we’d  like to know what their Regional Director , Anna Hutchinson, is going to do about this latest disgrace. It’s all a bit embarrassing (yet again), isn’t it Anna ?

As you can see from the extracts from the leaked Wirral Council Internal Audit report the evidence against LRJ was ‘compelling’. And again you know you’re in really big trouble when even the complicit and compliant Internal Audit come to this conclusion (and yes we’re particularly looking at the Chief Internal Auditor – googly-eyed brown-noser Mark Niblock) . The information we have in our possession (and have had for some time ) is eyewatering and leaves us wondering why it takes 2 years for it to reach the public domain.

Internal Audit 2
Internal Audit 1
We understand the reason that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) didn’t proceed with prosecution because the money was ‘recoverable’  and it was not possible to prove who had fabricated the invoices.  Moreover we understand that Wirral Council have been trying for over a year to retrieve sums relating to this case amounting to £16.5 K (out of the infamous £19K that Crabtree referred to in his malicious phone call to LRJ) .
CPS
Strangely it would appear Wirral Council have been unsuccessful in retrieving the money to date. Can you imagine if any of us owed them £16.5K? We’d be hauled right down Wirral Magistrate’s Court.
But then we’re sure Wirral Council (and particularly the ruling Labour administration) wouldn’t want any of this heard in open court.
Which is why Wirral Leaks will continue to publish – in the public interest – the continuing developments in this case two years after we first gave the heads up on this increasingly complex and particularly sordid story.

LRJ Confidential

FOI

It was so dispiriting and yet so predictable that roving reporter John Brace was hastily chucked out of yet another Wirral Council meeting yesterday. This time it was the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee. Oh the irony!

Not as ironic as the fact the Committee is chaired by serial failure/ bossy old trout Cllr Matron McLaughlin. Oversight? – don’t make us laugh !

No doubt the reason was the fact they were about to discuss the fallout from last week’s Standards Panel aka as ‘Jeez Louise!’ where Louise Reecejones proved to be, well , your average local Labour councillor , ‘ inconsistent , vague and misleading‘ – and they were her good points!

Sanction Distinction

However we have to say that Wirral Leaks don’t like to kick someone when they’re down . But we’ll make an exception in this case as LRJ is yet another local representative who we feel is clearly unfit for public office. Having said that we do feel she was badly done to in one respect and that was the ruling that she breached confidentiality in contacting us !.

Oh FFS – half of Wirral Council would be before the Standards Panel if that were the case! LRJ did not breach confidentiality by telling us that there was an investigation being undertaken. However by imposing sanctions on a councillor who contacted us in the public interest clearly imposes a ‘chilling effect’ on all those who might be considering it, doesn’t it? Thankfully we can always rely on Wirral Council’s oppressed staff for information and not politically motivated councillors.

LRJ’s position is now being considered by Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies. Once again we have to declare – ‘Oh the irony!’

Power Boy Pip is the last person to pass judgement on councillor conduct and LRJ knows it!

We know this because we had the following exchange with LRJ on the 25 March 2016 :

Dear Wirral leaks,
The Story you have received is not true, I am fully reinstated as a Labour Party Councillor, I am also completely cleared of any wrong doing.
I was treated terribly by most of Wirral Labour group with only a few who were decent.
I have faced abuse by a group of parents who have tried to discredit me and make up false, slanderous statements including one post by a person who is a governor at Kingsway academy, chair of Merseyside Autistic Children’s society were you can only receive support if you agree with her, she is also and more worryingly working with WIRED the Carers charity commissioned by Wirral Council to support Parents in education who have SEND.
I have enclosed a screen shot of her post.
I only want to make a difference, I don’t stand on parade nor do I ask for thanks, I never want another young person go through what mine has. That’s my motivation nothing else.
 

Kind Regards,

Cllr Louise Reecejones
Proud trustee at TLC Network charity

Everything in our story is true. You were reinstated yesterday.

Read it again. Believe us – you got off lightly.We didn’t print all of the email because they couldn’t provide the evidence.
“I was treated terribly by most of Wirral Labour group…”  and ” I never want another person go through what mine has”  
Don’t play the victim –  do something about it!.
I have a right to play the victim after receiving what I have. 
We understand the suspension still stands and suspect the council will be taking matters further as well as dealing with the public spat with outgoing councillor Jim “Crabby” Crabtree.

Yehuda Bauer – the respected authority on the holocaust said : ‘Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.’ The choice is yours

The bold part makes it sound like it still relates to me, I have been fully cleared because I am completely innocent, I gave full accounts and documentation to the police, no money was ever missing but false invoices had been created when I was in hospital very poorly, this was an attempt to discredit me, nothing else and it hasn’t worked because unlike other I am not up to no good.

As for Crabby well he is one vile disgusting bully who goes around picking on women.

His words to me were, ” your a f@@@ing Deaf, Fat Bitch”

This was I front of school children at the holocaust memorial service.

Crabby refuses to answer to the complaint and will slope off as he has been deselected.

There is another one you may be interested in but I will give you her next week after I’ve met with the whip, some interesting times ahead with key people leaving the group at May’s elections, positions are up for grabs and scary times ahead for who will become chair of the group etc.

And I haven’t I have had him suspended and took him to task, I’m not an easy push over I just don’t believe this man should be near politics or vulnerable people.

You need to look higher up. Crabtree is a nonentity.

Oh I have stuff from a high up, all in good time xx
It’s prob worth noting that if I did as I was told over this case Labour would not of took it any further and I would not of been suspended. I was given an ultimatum and they were willing to brush over the accusation. I knew 100% I had done nothing so refused the offer with no hesitation. 
I had no idea what it was over until October when I went to see the CEO so that’s a lot of time to set me up.
First mistake – you put your trust in Burgess.
Oh no I’ve never put my trust in him at all, nor have I in the leadership of the group.

You do surprise me.Actually you don’t.Without being oppressive ,anyone with half a brain cell can see they’re winging it.  

Of course LRJ will never came up with the goods and Power Boy Pip won’t take her on because it’s mutually assured destruction. Moreover we’re sick to death of being told Crabtree had an incriminating file on the Labour group  if he ‘went down’ or that a file had been passed to the former wife of a former leader of Wirral Council as a negotiating tool during their acrimonious divorce.
And yet these pieces of crap are still allowed to make decisions about our lives and frankly we’ve had enough of it.
But we’ll leave the last word to someone in the know who tells us :
The police investigation had been underway for some time without LRJ’s knowledge and they were ready to arrest her Autumn 2015 when she presented herself at a police station after being tipped about the investigation by none other than the CEO Eric Robinson. We only found out a few weeks ago as they were trying their best to stop us finding out. 
So LRJ was sanctioned for breach of confidentiality and Stressed Eric wasn’t?
How does that work?  Perhaps the Standards and Constitutional Committee can explain?

Anti-Corruption Champion

Corruption

One of the useful websites we recommend our readers to check out if they’re interested to find out what their local MP is up to in Parliament is the appropriately titled TheyWorkForYou. This ranks alongside the Freedom of Information  (FOI) website WhatDoTheyKnow as one of our go-to sources.

TheyWorkForYou tells us that Birkenhead MP  Frank Field in particular is rather prolific when it comes to asking questions of government ministers. Which we can all agree is a good thing! However we can recall that it was Frankenfield who once went on Radio Merseyside to make ridiculous claims that certain sections of the Wirral public were inundating Wirral Council with FOI requests in an attempt to bring certain parts of the council to a standstill . This was proven to be statistically and factually incorrect as even Wirral Council admits it does not receive significantly more FOI requests than comparator local authorities . Accordingly it seems to us that Frankenfield thinks that public accountability is not a pursuit to be encouraged in the hoi polloi !

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/frankly-mr-frankie/

However we did raise an eyebrow at a question Field put to Chris Skidmore Parliamentary Under Secretary in the Cabinet Office as to when he plans to appoint an anti-corruption champion.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2017-06-21.150.h&s=speaker%3A10197#g150.q0

What’s Frankenfield up to? getting the heads up for local council reprobates, sorry ,representatives?  They’d  better get shredding those documents, erasing those tapes and making those pay-offs before the anti-corruption champion comes a callin’ !

 

 

Comings and Goings

Pit 011

If you want to play the Wirral Council  corporate game be prepared to get down and dirty!

Last night’s Employment and Appointments Committee officially confirmed our previous reports that Wirral Council’s Head of Law / Monitoring Officer Surjit Tour is leaving Wirral Council.

There were no glowing eulogies from committee members at the announcement that Wirral Council was engaging a recruitment agency to find his replacement. Furthermore Wirral Council CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson ran through further proposals for senior management personnel changes to implement his New Operating Model – or should that be Non -Operating Model?  This included the appointment of a Director of Children’s Services on an increased salary of £115,000. This was justified with the usual excuse that we have to pay top whack to get the very best. To which we can say it hasn’t worked in the past so why will it work now? What has clearly been demonstrated by previous CEO Graham Burgess’s appointment of Super Directors which has been an abject and costly failure. And let’s not get on to Stressed Eric himself!

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=197&MId=6003&Ver=4

Of course we know that Tour was on his merry way  but curiously there was (inevitably) an exempt item on the agenda which we understand involved discussions about yet another high profile departure who has been allowed to slip the net (if you get our drift).  Suffice to say there’ll be more on that particular catch of the day at a later date.

As Surjit didn’t exit to rapturous appreciation for all he’s done for the people of Wirral we thought we’d do the decent thing and give him the eulogy he deserves.

However we’ll leave it to a clearly well placed source to provide a fitting tribute to Tour which consists of a comment from ‘ Whatever’ that is far too good to languish in our replies section. For those who may have missed it we reproduce that comment in full  below. What it demonstrates to us yet again is that Wallasey Town Hall is the absolute pits. Whilst we’ve known about the infamous ‘Sex List’ for sometime and referenced it previously it stands as the epitome of how low senior managers will go to get their man (or woman). As we commented :

So it would seem that the ‘dig the dirt’ tactic is a favourite approach of senior council officers when faced with a pesky employee who won’t play the corporate game, have served their purpose or they just want shut of. We’re wondering whether it was a trick that Norman picked it up at Wirral Council or it was part of his legacy that he left behind? We say this as we are reliably informed that two acting very senior officers at Wirral Council went digging for dirt from staff in an infamous case from 2015 .The dirt concerned allegations of sexual impropriety involving a now departed senior council officer . So far, so sordid. However, for us , what is even more sleazy is that the approach came with the  inducement that it would be beneficial to staff member’s careers if they dished the dirt. Nice work if you can get it and you can get it if you have absolutely no morals,ethics or integrity. What did we say in yesterday’s post about Wallasey Town Hall being a cesspit?

Dirty Work

We can only hope that the next victim of the ‘Curse of Leaky Towers’ is slimy Deputy CEO David Armstrong ( and we know how upset he gets being badmouthed on social media). He can boo-hoo all the way the bank as as far as we’re concerned as in his own way, he’s absolutely everything that’s wrong with Wirral Council. In another time and another place and where the get out was ‘ I was only following orders’ he’d be a very dangerous man indeed.

Meanwhile courtesy of ‘Whatever’ here’s ‘Surjit’s Eulogy’ :

I hope we can send to Mr Tour’s new employer a list of Wirral tax payers issues as the tax payers of York did with Mr Halliday.

Mr Tour’s replacement will have a long list of “things to do” which he/she should read asap –

For example perhaps, whatever happened to the letter signed by Mr Foulkes (probably written by labour policy adviser and Labour scrutiny support) sent to Mr Wilkie outlining in a way not appropriate for public office ( yet more training needs) just what Mr Foulkes et al thought about Mr Wilkies staff structure which included the promotion of none other than Ms Degg to deputy CEO ?

Indeed what happened to those 2 people (Adviser and Scrutiny) from Leeds way *  (* Hebden Bridge actually) ?- well whatever you say about Norman, he was the only one who at least tried to tackle them. Norman left and Mr Tour picks up the rotten dirty baton and title. Did Mr Tour prevent the “not in line with guidelines” payments made to one of those women – er, no and has he closed this case or as he let it drift into obscurity, a key feature of Tour is drift, drift long enough and it will be forgotten.

These 2 women were loyal supporters of Foulkes, (nothing wrong with that other than inconsequent personal opinions on bad judgement) when Mr Foulkes was told to get legal advice after his letter writing. Cllr Foulkes stood down as forever leader and up popped Mr Davies, who was told to drop the supporters or no leadership role for him. Mr Davies did as he was told for the sake of group or himself and his awaiting career of leadership.

Can’t quite remember the figure of toxic debt written off, in the high millions, these 2 women summoned the Council directors separately to go to Leeds (or wherever it is up that way) where they would “tell” the directors what their budgets were. Everyone knew it was these 2 women running WMBC for years Foulkes was the willing puppet and the Directors racking up excessive mileage claims for Wirral Tax payers to pay.

Mr Davies had to be trained in fist clenching and smoke screens, up pops Mr Field with some tale of whistleblowers and Hespe contracts (Labour group hated with a passion anyone who was perceived to work too closely with Cllr Green .. Ms Degg and Mr Green to name 2). Did Mr Tour ever write a letter to Frank Field telling him that WMBC is not his private purse to pursue his smoke screens with payments to non whistleblowers ?

So back to Ms Degg, well we have all read and heard enough about Ms Degg and what we consider to be un sound judgement on the men in her life but that is of no concern to us unless it prevented her from carrying out her paid function, whatever that was. However when it does become our business is when 2 members of staff are paid off one via the ever helpful EVR (normally given to failed directors without spine and employee jumpers) and the other a recent settlement. These 2 members of staff were hauled in by Mr Armstrong Ms Hyams and of course the ever present in the shadows “it wasn’t me” Tour, this trio on our behalf felt compelled to get to the bottom of £48k payment made to Ms Degg by one of the too many ex chief execs as an apology again on our behalf for not becoming the deputy chief exec and for the hurt feelings caused by the school ground tactics of certain Labour councillors and senior officers (including the Trio). If only they wouldn’t but again on our behalf this highly paid Trio (with the knowledge of Cllr Phil Davies) asked, no demanded to know the ins and outs of Ms Degg’s sex life, asked for rumours anything these 2 members had on Ms Degg.
Thank the lord these 2 members of staff stuck two fingers up to the bullying trio .

“list of things to do”; clearly through actions Mr Tour thought this payment made to Ms Degg (although he must of agreed it in the first place) was unlawful in some way.

The 2 well liked members of staff wouldn’t play ball and you didn’t get your own underhand way, Tour, Hyams (who really didn’t like Degg and the feeling was mutual) and Armstrong (who once was a nice bloke I hear) even though 2 of the trio pulled out the appalling and should be left for the movies, tactic ” signing the statements would / would not help their careers”

The poor person going round asking for money for Tour’s leaving present probably stopped saying “awww he’s a nice man its a shame” pdq. I don’t think it was his match made in heaven (how many grievances !!) PA who accepted her redeployment to Tour’s PA role with “I’m not working for him” but soon shut up when she realised she was onto a good thing, the amount she read and helped shred would, like her boss keep her in a job as long as she wanted it.”

 

Architecture and Morality

SDA 012

Verity  has been doing a bit research following the viewing of John Brace’s coverage of last week’s Planning Committee meeting. The poor saps who turned up expecting a debate about proposals about Saughall Massie fire station were blindsided by bureaucracy and politely asked to leave by committee chair Cllr Anita Leech (and if ever there was an archetypal Wirral councillor name Anita has got it!)

 

Forgive us for ignoring (for now) the plans to build a fire station on the green belt. We’re more interested in plans to turn Birkenhead ‘s Charing Cross into even more of a vagrant destination than it already is.

The architects behind the latest plan to degrade Birkenhead town centre even further (if that were possible) is SDA Architecture on behalf of their client Dr Ahmed. SDA Architecture have an ignoble history of making such applications. This is even more surprising when you consider that one of their former directors is Cllr Paul ‘ Danceaway’ Doughty.

However Cllr Doughty appears to have to have passed the baton on his son as a conduit  for  landlords who want to turn properties into houses of multiple occupation and maximum profit . These are the current directors of SDA Architecture ( Doughty Jnr  is the one on the left ).
SDA davidsda-barrie-300x300alex-300x300

It comes to something when even Birkenhead MP Frank Field rocks up to object about plans to turn a building on Charing Cross into a ‘dosshouse’. But then Frankenfield and his long -standing acolyte Cllr Jean Stapleton were only gegging in on Birkenhead & Tranmere councillor Pat Cleary’s call in on this particular planning application. It is frightening to think that if he hadn’t council officers under their delegated powers would have approved a 12 bedded hellhole ( but then they don’t have to live there – so why should they care?)

Doughty trio

Happier days when Jean and Frank didn’t have to ask awkward questions about yet another  lamentable Labour councillor who they’ve repeatedly turned a blind eye to.

Criticism was made during the Planning Committee meeting of a previous SDA Architecture application on behalf of Dr Ahmed to convert a former police station on Laird Street

Laird St - 12 bedsits

12 bedsits in this space? – would Cllr Doughty live in one of them? Just sayin’

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/laird-street-police-station-birkenhead-12113869

Frankenfield’s intervention in his lightweight seersucker (not a euphemism) is even more surprising when you consider that Cllr Paul Doughty tried to ingratiate himself with the local political powerbroker by nominating him for an award from the Mormons for upholding ‘family values’ . Once again, you really couldn’t make this shit up!

However what we’d really like to know is exactly what is Cllr Paul ‘Danceaway’ Doughty’s relationship with notorious flytipping facilitator Arthur Morgan?

http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/11862308.INTOLERABLE__Businessman_who_helped_create____plague_of_flies____admits_letting_illegal_waste_be_dumped_on_his_land/

Surely it can’t be the same Arthur Morgan who has business interests with Pensions Committee chair Cllr Doughty ?

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/09898216/officers

We think we should be told!

Archiecture and Morality

 

 

 

 

Gutter Press

Media 017

Wirral News Goes AWOL ,Wirral Life Goes Warhol

So farewell then Wirral News. As reported in the press trade papers it now finds itself in the gutter :

http://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/2017/news/publisher-cites-crowded-market-for-bi-weekly-closure-after-council-newsletter-launch/

http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/trinity-mirror-to-close-wirral-news-in-july-in-the-wake-of-council-newspaper-launch/

As we predicted a while ago , the writing was on the wall for this woeful rag a long time ago. Never more so than when Wirral Council launched the print edition of Wirral View. Whilst it won’t be missed , mainly because it appeared to have given up being a credible news outlet a loooooong time ago , it is a worrying development for Wirral’s independent press when publishers Trinity Mirror consider :

 “The Wirral marketplace has become increasingly crowded with free print products with now even Wirral Borough Council producing a monthly free print publication themselves.

“We believe that there is no longer a viable, scalable or long-term future for free/giveaway print products within the Wirral marketplace….. “

What made us want to snort with derision and shake our head in disbelief was the quote in the Press Gazette article from Wirral Council’s head of communications Kev ‘Lost Boy’ MacCallum :

 “We are disappointed to see a well-loved local title like the Wirral News close.
“For many years, we have seen its circulation reduce significantly and frequency fluctuate between weekly, monthly and recently bi-weekly.
“It’s been clear throughout this time that the title has been trying and struggling to find an effective place in the market where it could be competitive.
“We must make it clear however, there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest Wirral View had any commercial impact on the Wirral News.
“We have deliberately not sought to compete with the local media for advertising revenue, and we have ensured Wirral View is a completely different product to the existing local free-sheets…..”
Yeah right! – as we have previously reported Wirral View  have actively sought to compete with the local media for advertising revenue and it was an intention that was expressly stated by Wirral Council CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson! It’s just that they have been spectacularly unsuccessful in attracting any advertising. Well the last time we looked anyway, as we have still only received one print copy at Leaky Towers and we can’t muster enough enthusiasm to peruse the online edition.
However even keen Wirral View enthusiasts such as MacCallum and Robinson must know that its commercial viability in a crowded marketplace is under threat when even the Wirral Chamber of Commerce prefer to choose the June edition of Wirral Life for a glossy four page spread in the hilariously aspirational ‘premium lifestyle magazine’. We particularly enjoyed the beyond parody interview with Simon Nixon founder of Moneysupermarket.com ( don’t get us started on those Godawful TV ads) . The permatanned entrepreneur is asked :
Have you ever spent any time on the Wirral, what do you think of it? He replies:
I haven’t spent a lot of time on the Wirral but I think it’s beautiful – especially around Parkgate  and Caldy.
We’re just surprised he didn’t mention the delights of Birkenhead and how he enjoys drinking in Spud Murphy’s on Charing Cross before nipping over to the Pound Bakery for a pasty!
Chamber CEO Paula Basnett obviously feels more at home in this more upmarket publication. All dolled up in white lace we find her promoting this week’s Wirral Chamber Corporate Cup golf tournament ( you too can enter a team for £500+ !) , The Lauries and its recently launched @142 bistro and er , The Sheds at Pacific Road which apparently is the perfect place to ‘dream, dare,create and share’ and has ‘reignited the atmosphere of industrious innovation’ . Oh give over, love ,they’re sheds.
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The dreaded Davies duo scheme rather than dream! But doesn’t Gorgeous George look lovely in lilac?!

Talking of sheds another publication in the crowded media marketplace that has been brought to our attention is Wirral !nspirations .
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The summer edition features the illuminating article titled : ‘We shed some light on the man cave’. Among the helpful tips is the advice to  ‘ PRETTIFY YOUR SPACE’  – Hang some pictures – but before you put up the Playboy calendar up, remember your wife may occasionally venture into the  shed, unless you keep it locked  and ‘BE SIGNAGE SAVVY’  – put a ‘Man Cave’ sign on the door so the rest of the family understand this is your territory, and yours alone’ .
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Whilst mindlessly reading features on former Eastenders actor Larry Lamb , wedding dresses, sun cream, ukeleles, lawns, listed buildings and swollen ankles we felt as though we’d been transported back to 1953 . Nevertheless we still think Wirral !nspirations addressed our ‘information deficit’ more effectively than Wirral View ever could . What’s more it is rammed with advertising and therefore has obviously been more successful in attracting business than Wirral Council. So place your bets now as to which one of the two will go the way of Wirral News and be kicked to the kerb and into the gutter!

Men of Mystery : The Big Reveal Part 2

Speak-NO

Apologies for the delay on this one but there’s been a few glitches on the website this week . As it’s fashionable to do so we blame those pesky Russkies !

All we can say it’s a case of delayed gratification for our readers as we optimistically declare  : So, farewell then, Surjit Tour .

As yes indeed , we’re hoping that it’s the case that Wirral Council’s Head of Law is going back to where he came from. And we don’t mean that in a casual racist way a la  Cllr George Davies.  We mean that we understand that Wirral Council’s Monitoring Officer (no laughing at the back) could be returning to Sandwell Council.  Could it be that Tour goes back to Sandwell and leaves the people of Wirral to go to hell in a handcart?

So what positive things can we say about Surjit as a future send off?

Er, not a lot.

Whilst we acknowledge that being Wirral Council’s legal guru is a tough gig we couldn’t imagine anyone less equipped to fulfil the role. Apologies, no actually we can – his chinless predecessor, Bill Norman!

As far as we’re concerned , during his inglorious tenure Tour steered the difficult terrain that being the pinnacle of local government legal probity involves by prioritising political and personal interests over the public interest.

This was a so called public servant who it seemed to us (and to many of our readers and contributors ) to continually thwart Freedom of Information requests,  somehow didn’t know how electoral expenses worked , circumvented due legal process and natural justice at every turn and yet who prostrated himself before people who held him in complete contempt . He was ‘ bloody useless’ according to Deputy Leader of Wirral Council Cllr George Davies (once again – no laughing at the back) . And yet he was prepared to accept a handshake,a feigned apology,  a promotion (and a cheque for hurt feelings?) to carry on as abnormal .

As for Surjit himself  – he must be counting the days before he finally drives his thoroughly vulgar personalised numberplates out of Wirral and back to the West Midlands for the last time.

But not as much as us.

Sanction Distinction

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LRJ and Foulkesy – same actions, different sanctions

And so another Labour councillor from Wirral Council is found to be unworthy of holding public office as a damning Standards Panel ‘Decision Notice’ is published. Wirral Leaks readers will know that Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ)  is no stranger to these pages . This time she appears to be the perpetrator rather than the victim of malicious acts.

The Standards Panel , after considering an Investigators Report, “found the actions of  Cllr Reecejones were designed to threaten,intimidate,underine and cause difficulties at work “ for one of the complainants Tamsin Coates . The Standards Panel also noted that LRJ  took a similar approach to the second complainant , Jessica Smyth, where she had made a complaint to the organisation where Ms Jessica Smyth volunteered . Both Ms Coates and Ms Smyth had previously raised legitimate concerns with Wirral Council’s Internal Audit and Merseyside Police. Although no charges were brought against LRJ  because of ‘insufficient evidence’ the complainants were found to be justified in raising their concerns.

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http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50042506/Standards%20Panel%2015%20June%202017%20Decsion%20Notice.pdf

Furthermore the Standards Panel found all the complainants  to be credible ( there were more from the Overchurch Residents Association) and yet LRJ was found to be ‘inconsistent, vague and misleading’   –   we know what they’re trying to say there don’t we boys and girls? Of particular interest to us was this quote from the Decision Notice :

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However it was when we read the ‘Sanctions’ section that apoplexy rapidly set in.

There are 5 sanctions in all  : i ) a formal warning letter from Wirral Council’s Monitoring Officer  Surjit Tour (!) ii) LJR must provide a written apology to all complainants iii)  Labour leader Cllr Phil Davies to consider whether party disciplinary action be taken against LRJ and whether she should be removed from all outside bodies to which she has been appointed iv) Tour will be arranging ‘training’ for LRJ which she must attend v) The Panel’s decision to be considered further by the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee.

These sanctions stand in stark contrast to the mild rebuke that was imposed on Cllr Steve Foulkes last year. Foulkesy got away with an apology to  Tory leader Cllr Jeff Green who wasn’t even the complainant! Foulkesy had lied to Wirral Council, lied to the investigator (necessitating a further investigation costing  Wirral Council taxpayers £17K) and continues to lie about what he and Cllr George Davies had been up to – to this very day.

If we were LRJ we’d be asking some serious questions as to why Foulkesy wasn’t given similar sanctions. Especially in relation to a proven liar being able to represent Wirral Council on outside bodies.If anything he is even more unworthy of public office than LRJ – and it would appear that’s really saying something!

But then again we did advise LRJ she was on a hiding to nothing a long time ago . She’s not and never has been part of  the ‘Inner Ring’ . Unlike Standards  Panel  member Cllr Moira McLaughlin who must have enjoyed sticking the knife in someone who played a part in bringing down disgraced former Labour councillor Jim Crabtree – who was , very much, part of the ‘Inner Ring’ .

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/suspension-suspense/

We have never claimed that all Labour councillors are dishonest,incompetent or corrupt but we have consistently called out the cabal that are. Ultimately  we believe it is this ‘Inner Ring’ which has consistently brought Wirral Council into disrepute and until these people are removed from public office the people of Wirral will continue to be poorly served.

Although currently marked ‘Strictly Private and Confidential ‘ the full ‘Investigators Report’ can be found here

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/g6133/Public%20reports%20pack%2015th-Jun-2017%2017.00%20Standards%20Panel.pdf?T=10

 

 

Men of Mystery : The Big Reveal Part 1

The answer to the first part of our ‘ Men of Mystery’ quiz is that it is indeed the most powerful politician on Wirral who uttered those very words to one of his constituents who he was trying to fob off! Fortunately that constituent had the foresight to realise that Frankenfield was bullshitting him and recorded him doing so !

Who’d a thunk it ?

 

Although we need to say for clarification that Frankenfield didn’t initiate criminal proceedings against the Department of Adult Social Services (DASS) as is alleged , as that would have implicated his hapless groupie Matron McLaughlin in a series of desperate cover-ups.

What he did do is pursue bogus allegations of Wirral Council misconduct with Merseyside Police and the Serious Fraud Office (for his own ends) – and even they couldn’t oblige as there was no misconduct to report. Nevertheless he has relentlessly pursued this matter – once again for his own ends and at our expense #Wirralgate.

The rest of the recording is most revealing when it comes to to considerations of public interest. We believe it demonstrates yet again that the MP for Birkenhead will only support his constituents if it is politically opportune.

Stay tuned for further extracts from ‘Frankgate’. A bit like  ‘Wirralgate’ but without the attempted bung!

And finally a message to Frankenfield – we are not seeking favours from you and never will. You’re here to serve us – not the other way round. Just sayin’ !

THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO JEANETTE STEWART .