Defend Our NHS : fight-back time!


DONHS : action meeting 2 March 

With all the bad news emanating from our local NHS we are pleased to post the latest missive from local people who are trying to defend our  great institution rather than see its demise as a career opportunity!

Dear friends of the NHS

Defend Our NHS: action meeting!

The public meeting on Friday (March 2) was a big success. There was a good turn-out despite the awful weather, our speakers were excellent, and the meeting joined in enthusiastically to shape our strategy for forthcoming weeks and months,

We asked – and attendees answered – three questions:

  1. What is your main concern about the NHS?
  2. What should WE ALL do about our concerns?
  3. Will YOU actively join our campaign?

Now it’s YOUR chance to join in the fight to stop the awful local and national damaging changes to our NHS as it is ‘slashed, trashed and privatised’.

How? Come to our next PUBLIC MEETING: Friday 16TH March from 7.00pm at The Welcome Centre, 43 Hamilton Street, CH41 5AA, Birkenhead.

Meanwhile THIS THURSDAY Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group is holding a ‘public engagement’ event at Heswall Hall, Heswall (8th March 2018 from6.30pm).

You might want to ask them: 1) why they are supporting a ‘pop-up’ maternity centre in Seacombe when so much medical evidence is against the idea; 2) why are they continuing to implement local changes to the NHS when WIRRAL COUNCIL HAS VOTED TO OPPOSE THEM.

Is it right that, in 2018 in one of the richest countries in the world, we have headlines like this one in the Liverpool Echo last week about Arrowe Park?

“Nurses ‘forced to wear COATS’ and patients left ‘freezing’ as hospital heating breaks. Staff gave out blankets – fears pregnant mums and young children were also affected.”

YOU can join us to fight to restore a decent NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE.

Best wishes on behalf of Defend Our NHS



Marmalizing the Bullies : St Frank or Sir Diddy ?


Let the marmalization commence.

The previously eaked report written by ‘experienced independent investigator’ Carole Taylor Browne that prompted the departure of Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH) chair Michael Carr was officially published today. Read full report here : NHSI WUTH Final report

Ms Taylor-Brown has her own consultancy specialising in ‘Executive and Group coaching, Workplace Investigation and Mediation’ called Tamarix People which sounds like a John Wyndham novel or interplanetary baddies in an episode of Dr Who. Read more here: Tamarix People

However it would appear that essentially Taylor-Brown is your classic ex-NHS poacher turned gamekeeper.  We’re not sure her report tells us anything we didn’t already know about the bullying culture (particularly at Arrowe Park Hospital). Read more here : WUTH – Carr Crash OUT, Sir Diddy IN

However our interest in the story was reignited with the inevitable sneering soundbites from Birkenhead MP Frank Field on the appointment by NHS Improvement of new troubleshooting chair Sir ‘Diddy’ David Henshaw.

“At last we have a proper soul-searching report on Arrowe Park which has been many a year coming. I’ve been campaigning for years for root and branch reform at Arrowe Park. Had MPs been consulted on a new interim Chair, we would not have advised in favour of Sir David Henshaw. We badly need an interim Chair who has a track record of opposing and dealing effectively with bullying and poor behaviour.I will be asking the Secretary of State to appoint such a Chair. How will the hospital now deal with the bullies? I have been given a list of names, who maybe account for only some of the bullies, but we need a Chair in whom those members of staff who have been bullied can trust. I call again for one of the companies dealing with this all the time to come in as an independent body to kick-start a recovery in standards”.

Whilst we agree with Frankenfield on one thing ( that’s a first !) – and that is Sir Diddy is definitely not the man for this particular job – we had to laugh at his whining that if he (and presumably other Wirral MPs ) had been ‘consulted’ on the Sir Diddy appointment that it would not have got their seal of approval. Sorry to have to tell you sweetheart this ain’t Wirral Council – not everything gets run past you first!

As for Field’s ‘Bully List’ – perhaps we should start one up with names of bullies ,both officers and councillors , past and present  ,  who have  been responsible for destroying people’s lives and careers at Wirral Council.  Then we can send it to him and wait for him to tell us with an innocent face that he doesn’t interfere in Wirral Council business!

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #6

Hey! people of Wirral – we’re supposed to be semi-retired here! But in the mean time keep ’em comin’……


This is a postscript to our Intimidation and the Hypocrisies of Public Life post where earlier this week we witnessed Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin desperately querying whether a particular website was intimidatory. Hey , Matron – we pay for your taxis , it would appear you now want us to pay for your phone. As Her Ladyship said : ” It’ll be bad dye jobs and manicures next !” Can we just pitch in that we agree with a recent Guardian report (that’s a first for us) where ex- Tory minister Sir Eric ‘Who Ate All The Pies’ Pickles gets a deserved kicking (or this being the Guardian – a mild riposte). It was Frank Field’s mate who dismantled the external scrutiny of Councils with the abolishment of the Audit Commission and Standards For England and my goodness haven’t councillors at Wirral Council taken advantage of the fact since? For more read here : Blame Eric Pickles for councillors guzzling high on the hog

It is apparent that electors on Wirral don’t or at least don’t in any coherent way police the conduct of councillors. So we try to instead – and if that’s ‘intimidatory’ Matron we make no apologies! Just sayin’



Her Ladyship turned to me the other day and said :

What the world needs now
Is hubs, more hubs
It’s the only thing
That there’s just too little of
What the world needs now
Is hubs, more hubs
No not just for some – but for everyone

Lord, we don’t need
Another mountain
There are mountains
And hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans
And rivers enough to cross
Enough to last – ’til the end of time

What the world needs now
Is hubs, more hubs

And who was I to disagree? So in honour of Her Ladyship we are introducing a new Wirral Leaks feature – Hubwatch. This week’s hub is the ‘Maritime Knowledge Hub’ exclusively featured in Wirral Council’s favourite website Insider Media Ltd. 

The ‘Digital Staff Writer’ for this exclusive for this is one Matthew Ord. Now we’re not being rude here Matthew but your profile pic makes you look slightly deranged. We suppose that’s what happens when you have to cut and paste press statements from various interested parties into a vaguely coherent article so that it doesn’t read like complete BS for a living. Just sayin’


The latest contribution from regular Wirral Leaks contributor ‘The Prof ‘ may be a bit controversial but we’re a broad church and we like to encourage debate and dispute

It was good to read in the February Wirral View that according to Cllr. Phil Davies Wirral is now the centre for ‘Offshore Renewable Engineering’! Orsted’s new ‘flagship’ site for windmill maintenance is apparently the best thing since sliced bread ! Phil must have read the piece in Renewable Energy News, etc, which reported that several hundred offshore windmills supplied by Siemens, including those of Orsted, have suffered unexpected problems including severe blade erosion requiring expensive repair or replacement. That should keep Orsted’s base busy in the short term. But, as to the medium term,  did Phil not also read the Financial Times piece (23.02.18) :’Global Renewable Energy Sector Faces Enron Style Collapse’. With the end of cheap money and subsidies and the US shale gas revolution ,the ‘windmill era’ may be ending again just as it did when coal and oil arrived in the 19th century. If Phil wants economic renewal for Wirral he should forget politically correct fantasy, embrace reality and talk to Cuadrilla.                                                                        Professor D P Gregg (retired)


Juergen Maier is Siemens CEO and North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) Chairman

Emma Degg (ex Wirral Council, Wirral Leaks passim) is CEO of NWBLT

Oh and DLA Piper, Grant Thornton, Orsted and Unilever have representatives on the NWBLT board. Have you all worked out how this shit works yet?

NWBLT Members

Just sayin’

Marley's E-cigs
Now you know we don’t judge here at Wirral Leaks and we fully support local businesses and recognise you gotta do what you gotta do to make a living these days. However from time to time who question the appropriateness of some sponsorship deals . We say this as we’ve been sent these pics and comment from a local resident :
Good to see Somerville Medical Centre being sponsored by the cheapest e cig shop on Merseyside……sponsored by Marley’s where (if you zoom in on this photo) you will also see that you can buy ‘spliff boxes’, ‘bongs’, and associated drug taking paraphernalia ……. ha ha
Spliff box
Perhaps Julie Webster Head of Public Health at Wirral Council could comment on the matter and at the same time confirm she has an MSc and therefore has the authority to do so. Just sayin’
We’ve been sent this picture and asked  ” What does this former party political leader and his partner have in common with a Wirral political power couple?”
Henry & Jo
We were stumped – perhaps Wirral Leaks readers can enlighten us………

WUTH – Carr Crash OUT, Sir Diddy IN

Here follows a further couple of more usual leaks from Wirral University Teaching Hospital (aka Arrowe Park & Clatterbridge hospitals) following yesterday’s report of the big water leak at APH:

I thought you would be interested in the fact that Michael Carr has resigned this week as Chairman of Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.It is likely that NHS Improvement advised him to stand down, following the resignation of David Allison, CEO.The Trust can only benefit from the replacement of both.

Henshaw 029

It comes as no surprise that Michael Carr the chair of WUTH hospital has ‘quit’ after a leaked report exposed widespread bullying at APH.

Carr Quits

This leaked report highlighted claims of “totally unacceptable” behaviour, evidence of “tribal divisions” and junior staff “set up to fail”. As we’ve previously reported regulator NHS Improvement is investigating “cultural, behavioural and governance issues” at WUTH .Of course this is all very familiar to Wirral Leaks readers as another source tells us :

It’s hellish in Arrowe (Park Hospital) , same problem as the Council, drone management and bullying….

Read more here :

WUTH : Leaks to Cascade

Advent Farewell 22 : WUTH – less this Christmas

So what does come as a surprise is that the appalling NHS Improvement – the expression ‘physician heal thyself’ comes to mind – has appointed another notorious bully ‘Sir’ Diddy David Henshaw as the interim chair!

Or perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise – have you noticed how the likes of Sir Diddy always find another  highly remunerated ride on the public sector merry go round after they’ve ‘retired’ with a bumper cheque ? Sir Diddy has previously ‘served’ as CEO of Liverpool and Knowsley Councils and left a trail of controversy in his wake.

You can do you own internet searches on this piece of work – but try this for starters : Henshaw’s Evil Cabal

One of the glowing eulogies comes from current Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy : “A man in whom I have no confidence and for whom I have no respect” – and that’s one of the kinder comments.

Inevitably late to the part comes along Frank Field ,wading in where he’s not wanted. Frankenfield wants to “ensure commissioners are sent in both to protect those staff providing an excellent service and with the instructions to root out the thugs and the bullies” : NHS Thugs

The hypocrisy on display here – even for Frankenfield – is absolutely staggering. This is the man who was instrumental in PREVENTING commissioners being sent in to Wirral Council in 2012 when a widespread and corrosive bullying culture was exposed. No consideration of the need to protect council staff or attempts to root out the thugs and bullies then was there ? Could it have been that Frankenfield  knew that some of the most prominent  ‘thugs’ and ‘bullies’ were in the local Labour group -and are still in positions of power?

Is it any wonder the inglorious legacy of this duplicity is that we now discover mental health sick days among Wirral Council staff is at an  eight year high. An ‘Absence Management’ report to be discussed at next weeks Employment and Appointments Committee states:

“A range of initiatives including a focus on mental health support are in place.These activities include targeted approaches for specific areas and universal programmes for all staff with an ethos to support all employees across the organisation.Monitoring and oversight has been further developed to ensure accountability at all organisational levels is in place.”

As you can tell from this anodyne management speak Wirral Council remains in denial it has a bullying culture. Until it does – it will remain a sick organisation.  Wirral University Teaching Hospital bosses and regulators take heed.

EXCLUSIVE : Ruptured water pipes cause declared major incident at Arrowe Park Hospital

Burst pipe

Our biggest leak yet. A (water) source writes :

I’ve written to them countless times about their lack of maintenance – all they ever do is put sticking plasters over problems – making things a lot worse for others further down the line.

Nothing in the local rag about this.

From: Communications (Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust)
Sent: 01 March 2018 19:45
Subject: WUTH INFORMATION: Ruptured water pipes cause declared major incident at Arrowe Park Hospital

Ruptured water pipes cause declared major incident at Arrowe Park Hospital


Dear Colleagues,

Due to the severe wintry weather, the Trust has this evening (Thursday) been dealing with an extremely severe water leak on the roof of Arrowe Park Hospital.

Two major plant pipes ruptured causing a considerable amount of water to cascade through to the third floor and further into the hospital building. As this could have had a severe impact to electrics, IT equipment and patient safety a decision was made to call a major internal incident.

The Trust would like to take this opportunity to thank all involved colleagues, external partners (including emergency services) for their quick reaction to this incident and to how this was dealt with.

We can confirm that there has been no harm to patients or staff.

Our estates team, hospital coordinators and security teams will now continue to monitor this situation overnight.

An update on this evening’s incident will be given to the public via our social media channels.

Kind regards,

David Jago

Acting Chief Executive

Measure for Leisure


Following on from our Pit of Despair story we first bring you the good news that a contractor has been out measuring up to install much needed safety measures at Woodchurch Leisure Centre . Indeed a letter from Margaret Greenwood to a local resident says : 

Further to your email last month, we have been informed that Wirral Council has made the decision to fit a rail and gates along the wall next to the drop at the side of the small pool. New signage has also been ordered to highlight the drop. 

This action is as a result of yourself and others raising concerns with the HSE and Wirral Council. In taking these steps, you have made the pool safer for other residents. 

Result ! You might saying to yourself. Well , yes and no. Whilst we received a tremendous response to our blog post from pool users who not only commented upon the long term non-compliance they also highlighted further safety issues.
Apparently when swimming sessions come to an end and all swimmers, young and old, move to the changing area shutters are required to be pulled down to stop access back to the pool area to prevent accidents and particularly drowning. Woodchurch Leisure Centre have not got any such measures despite the fact that we understand that this is a legal requirement. Moreover we understand that staff are supposed to stay in the pool area until the building is empty just in case a child or vulnerable person goes back into the pool area. Staff shortages can often mean that this ‘backstop’ safety measure is not possible and so members of the public are left even more unprotected.
We are reliably informed that all other leisure centres have these shutters but because of cost implications it’s not happened at Woodchurch . Once again it is a matter has been raised for a number of years and yet has never been resolved. This must be particularly stressful situation for leisure centre staff.
One can only wonder what were considered to be priorities when there was a 4 week closure of the leisure centre for ‘maintenance work ‘ only last year  . A lick of paint, grout a few tiles and steam clean the bogs and hope nobody notices the deadly drop at the side of the pool and that there are no shutters ?  Maintenance work – Woodchurch Leisure Centre
As one of our many sources said : “Cost of protection a few grand. It’s fine for the people of West Kirby and Bebington. Woodchurch gets no protection. And the council treat the law with contempt” 
We’re further left wondering what knowledge and involvement members of  Wirral Council’s infamous ‘Golf Club’ have had in all of this especially Health, Safety & Resilience(!) Manager , Mark Camborne  and Head of Recreation Damian Walsh ?
What needs questioning even more is the involvement or non-involvement of local councillors Matthew Patrick aka Matty Patty , Stuart ‘Witless’ Whittingham and Tony ‘Don’t mention Ofsted’ Smith  .
You’d think they’d be up in arms to hear about local residents -and especially children – in their ward being put at risk.  But not a peep ! Shame on them that it was left to concerned citizens to raise (and part- resolve) the long-standing issue. Could it be that Wirral Cabinet members , Cllr Patrick and Cllr Whittingham in particular, are less concerned about the safety of the public and causing their own staff stress than promoting the Wirral Growth Company – which was launched yesterday with the usual stage-managed dreary fanfare of backslapping BS – in the hope that this Joint Venture will pick up the tab not just at Woodchurch but at all the other leisure centres at a later date ?
Whilst we’re at it we’d like to raise the complicity of the utterly useless unions in all of this . Seemingly pacified by a small pay-rise for their members whilst oblivious to the gathering shitstorm . With early retirement being denied for some whilst others are told they’re going on less favourable terms there’s a lot of disgruntled Wirral Council staff around at the moment. But as always it’s the lowest paid and least powerful who are in the firing line.
As ever with Wirral Council there’s a bigger story which is not just about shutters and covers – it’s a case of shut ups and cover ups with staff too afraid to open their mouths , managers too busy covering their backsides…….. and politicians turning a blind eye.

Intimidation and the Hypocrisies of Public Life

Cox 009

We’ve been forwarded the latest footage from the eye of the lens of our beloved Mr Brace by a number of people who thought it might be of interest.

Although Our Man Brace makes a guest appearance three minutes into Part 1 which was diverting especially when we clocked the facial expressions of Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee  chair Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin who gives a whole new meaning to the expression clockwatching. However there were too many longueurs for our liking (that’s French for ‘boring bits’).

As usual it was a case of  councillors skirting round the most pertinent issues with Matron reminding committee members that they  “can get yourselves into a bit of a mess “ if they don’t follow the Council’s guidance and protocols. You don’t say ! – care to give some examples? There then followed a prolonged session of speaking in tongues about ‘sanctions’ for errant councillors (or rather lack thereof)  with everyone careful not to mention ‘The Councillor That Dare Not Speak It’s Name’ ( that’s Cllr Louise Reecejones aka LRJ ). Although we have to say that LRJ’s violations against the Council’s Code of Conduct are but nothing compared to the likes of Cllr Steve Foulkes and Cllr George Davies we feel as though we’ve done that one to death. 

We were just about to turn off  halfway through Part 2 when the issue of ‘whistleblowing’ was dismissed in the blink of an eye or rather a cold hard stare from the Matron as if to say “nobody better say another bloody word on this subject”

However we pricked up our ears at about 18 minutes as councillors struggled to understand the word ‘intimidation’ (after all it is more than two syllables ). There followed a particularly revealing exchange between Matron and Cllr Ron Abbey . Well when we say exchange poor Ron couldn’t get a word in as Matron seemed particularly agitated about this particular subject :

Matron : There isn’t actually a way of defining what intimidation (is). You might think that particular website in the way that it talks about people and elected members…..

Abbey : I’m not talking about ……

Matron : No… I am , I am. I’m suggesting would that be intimidatory, could that be considered intimidatory if someone is regularly being insulted or allegations made that you can’t contradict……

Ron Abbey : The only way you can test that is in a court of law…..

Matron : Well so far some people have tried to have something done about particular website that might use those sort of tactics and found that it’s not possible to do it.

What particular website could Matron possibly mean? If , for argument’s sake we take it to be Wirral Leaks we need to make ourselves very clear on this particular matter. Firstly ,  let’s us deal with the issue of defining ‘intimidation’ . Perhaps we can assist elected members where their acting head of law and governance Philip ‘Peachy-keen’ McCourt failed them. Might we suggest their discussion could have been better informed if they were aware that the government’s Committee on Standards in Public Office published a report in December 2017 titled :  Intimidation in Public Life : A Review by the Committee on Standards in Public Life 

For elected members information we provide a link to the report here :  Intimidation in Public Life

As ever what was missing from the discussion was a failure to acknowledge the power dynamic between a public institution and a local website. What’s more we totally refute the idea that people are not given the opportunity to contradict any allegations that this particular website makes. All they have to do is contact us at as well Matron knows as a member of her family has done so a couple of times. The trouble is that those who have contacted us usually come off second best ( Kevin MacCallum – Wirral Council’s head of communications springs to mind.)

As for the fact that some people have apparently  ‘tried to have something done about a particular website’ for exercising its right to freedom of expression tells us everything we need to know about Wirral Council.  Now if that isn’t a definition of ‘intimidation’ we don’t know what is!

Intimidation is all about power and control and getting people to do what you want by threatening them .Those people who try to control the public discourse are those who want to control everything.Wirral Council’s control freakery is out of control and they hate the fact they have no control over this particular website. We’re in no mood to apologise for our irreverent tone or our sarcasm or our satire or our cynicism or our expletives and certainly not our lack of deference for people for whom we have absolutely no respect – deference died a horrible death for us a long, long time a go. We are not Wirral View!

The Brendan Cox quote taken from the report that we reference above highlights the hypocrisies that surround the subject of intimidation. For those who don’t know , Cox is  a former highflyer in the charity sector and the husband of murdered MP Jo Cox. Mr Cox, was forced to quit two charities he set up in her memory earlier this month after allegations of sexual assault were made public. This is the second time Mr Cox was forced to quit after similar allegations were made when he resigned from the Save the Children charity in 2015.  If you read the lurid allegations made against Cox it would appear he himself was an expert in intimidation. The Intimidation in Public Life report is littered (and we use the term advisedly) with quotes from Mr Cox. A hypocrite pontificating about hypocrisy is something we do not need.

Similarly might we suggest that no representative of Wirral Council (Matron or otherwise) is any position to to accuse a particular website of intimidation when it actually REWARDS such conduct :

Thynne1 011

Add to holding an incriminating recording over the heads of Wirral’s top politicians like the Sword of Damocles , threatening councillors and council officers over the phone and in person , participating in a smear campaign and even ordering pizzas from Pizza Magic and sending them to a former councillor.

And what did the Wirralgate ‘Group’ get for such ‘intimidation’ ? – the most senior politicians and council officers on Wirral conspiring to enable them to receive ‘compensation’.

All those involved will be forever tainted with the accusation of hypocrisy (and worse) by a particular website and that is most definitely NOT intimidation.

Birth Rights and Wrongs

Paddling Pool

Is this what they mean by a pop-up birthing pool? 

News reaches us of an interesting meeting held in Wallasey last week.

Apparently there were speakers on the night, but very early on, just after the initial apologies, etc. someone (it’s been suggested a plant) asked a question about the new “UK-FIRST” birthing unit in Seacombe Children’s Centre.  Cllr Bernie ‘The Bruiser’ Mooney’s hand spontaneously shot up (we suspect a few people may have flinched) and said authoritatively  :  “I’ll answer that!!”
It is alleged that she then went into a rambling, Trump style : “Let’s Make Seacombe Great Again” sermon about what a wonderful idea they were…
o the women of Seacombe keep telling her how desperate they are to have it 
o the women of Seacombe are over the moon and so happy they now have ENHANCED CHOICE
o Blah, blah, jargon,  “community-focused birthing options”, blah, blah, more jargon….
Also there and speaking even more authoritatively , because they were a retired consultant with 40 years service in the local NHS and so actually knew what they were talking about , informed the assembled throng  about these “pop-up non-medicalised birthing units” and how this one just popped up in Seacombe and there was NEVER any consultation with Seacombe residents.
They eloquently put across their knowledge and expertise re: childbirth, birthing units and the potential dangers involved for both mother and baby and how the safe option is to have your baby in hospital where the full range of expert staff are on hand, no matter how handy or convenient these units are (or how more cost effective it was for NHS managers).Read more here : Pop Up Pool
There’s another one planned for Kirby apparently – whaddyaknow, another economically deprived area.We wonder why if it’s such a wonderful idea why isn’t it being ‘pioneered’ in council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies very own WEST Kirby, where they live an extra 12 years compared to people who live in Seacombe, and where life is obviously far more precious. And another thing why aren’t people up in arms about the lack of consultation –  could it be that unlike the proposed Eastham Walk-In Centre closure there wasn’t any political mileage to be had out of the issue?
However back to the meeting and Mooney having got the first blow in was equally eager to get the first round in and ‘wet the baby’s head’ so to speak at her usual Friday night rendezvous .
After she’d gone and during his speech, the NHS veteran politely said, “I was hoping Councillor Mooney would stay and answer some questions”…..
However a source tells us :  “She f*cked off just before the retired consultant stood up to talk, vanishing in the same way Pip did (to Martin Morton) at that hallowed “Improvement Board Meeting” all those years ago.”
This can only lead us to wonder as to exactly what questions are being avoided and why a story about the birthing unit which appeared in the Wirral Globe, has been strangely DELETED. See  here :  Deleted story


Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #5

More Money, More Troubles

This week’s Cabinet announcement concerning a council tax of 5.99% came as no surprise to anyone. Nor did Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies inevitably blaming ‘Tory cuts’ for such a hike. However where Pip outdid himself in his budget proposals was suddenly finding £20 million down the back of the metaphorical Town Hall settee  “to prevent Wirral’s young people becoming victims of Tory policies.”

Now whilst we readily acknowledge that cutting off funding streams to local authorities is very much part of a shameful central government strategy to dismantle public services – and which the Labour administration at Wirral Council seem more than happy to go along with – we baulked at the rewriting history that was going on here . The playing of party politics with children’s lives and taking no responsibility whatsoever for the dire state of Children’s Services on Wirral was a new low even for Pip . But then it’s so much easier for a Council leader, who is in a permanent state of denial, to lay bad management,  poor decision making , laziness, and incompetence on the part of public servants and poor governance on the part of local councillors at the door of  ‘Tory cuts’. It was all very reminiscent of the first edition of the Town Hall propaganda sheet Wirral View turning the damning Ofsted report into Children’s Services into a good news item. We had the foresight to write : “The article on the damning Ofsted Inspection report is given more spin than Rapunzel on speed and has the title ” Children’s services to get major investment” ! Which we suspect will be the distorted shape of things to come. Full article here : First Glance at Wirral View

The October 2016 announcement of this ‘investment’ to recruit additional social workers ,improve training and management and provide more experienced, long-term leadership for children’s social care amounted to £2 million . Could it be a measure of just how much trouble Children’s Services are really in is that the required investment has increased TENFOLD ? ! 

The Emperor’s New Impose

However we do have a good news item to report and that is the retirement of Birkenhead MP Frank Field.  Well, that got your attention didn’t it! Unfortunately it’s not imminent , which is a shame – as anyone who witnessed his tetchy performance discussing Brexit on today’s Sunday Politics TV programme will testify . There he was all flush-faced and flapping hands as Stella Creasy the Labour MP for Walthamstow accused Frankenfield of “driving the Boris bus” . Which we can only hope wasn’t a lewd euphemism. Stella stood her ground and wasn’t having any of Frank’s passive aggressive nonsense telling him ” You can talk over me all you like Frank” . Full coverage here :  Frank v Stella

During the clash of handbags Frankenfield maintained that the public should have ” the right to every bit of information going”. Which is a change of tune from someone who once objected on Radio Merseyside about the Wirral public making Freedom of Information requests to Wirral Council . We just wonder whether this new found fondness for openness and transparency extends to persuading Wirral Council to finally publish a much heralded report dating back to 2015 which was written by Frank’s mate , Nick Warren. Frankenfield was whining to the local press as far back as July 2015 as to why the report hadn’t yet been published.  Now everyone involved -including Field – apparently wants to bury the report. What’s that all about?

However let’s get back to the matter of who Frankenfield thinks should inherit his kingdom. Apparently Upton councillor Matthew Patrick (aka Matty Patty) is the nice young man that Field would like to succeed him as the MP for one of the safest parliamentary seats in the land. But then we suppose there isn’t a deep pool of talent to draw upon in Birkenhead is there? But what about Foulkesy? Georgie? Crabby?, Doughty? we hear you cry. All we can assume is that Frank would like someone more in keeping with the aspirational artist’s impressions of a future Birkenhead that have been knocking about all over the local press this week.

Matty Patty 002

Artist’s impression of a possible future MP for Birkenhead

Speer’ of Destiny 

Talking of these artist’s impressions …..there were a slew of pretty pictures accompanying such headlines as Stunning new images of how Birkenhead could look in future as billion-pound deal is agreed’  concerning the Wirral Council/Muse Developments Joint Venture which includes potential plans for glossy new Council offices. Somehow a cheeky Wirral Leaks reader was suddenly minded to recall the work of the Third Reich’s architect , Albert Speer. 

We’re sure they’re not making comparisons with a power-crazed, progaganda-obsessed regime but rather just reminding us that the self-aggrandizing plans for a People’s Hall/Great Hall/Hall of Glory were never realized.


Pit of Despair

Pit 1

After all this week’s talk of Wirral Council’s ambitious plans we thought it be a good time to bring them down from their ivory towers/skyscrapers/ drug-fuelled (?)hallucinations and remind them they need to walk before they can run (up a big bill to be paid for by us).

We say this as we publish this salutary tale about what it’s like to try and report safety concerns about a Council run facility and ask the question as to how, as a society, did we reach the point where someone who wants to raise genuine concerns about the health and safety of children is afraid to do so in case there are repercussions for their family and reprisals for Wirral Council staff? Not for the first time – we despair!

The specific concerns are as follows were originally reported to the local press and local MP ( Margaret Greenwood) :

As a concerned parent of a two year old girl I would like to bring to your attention a concern I have had for a number of weeks now.

I use the swimming facility with my family at Woodchurch, have done for many years. I sometimes, like most parents lift my daughter out of the water and on a count of 3 she jumps into my arms.

On the occasion in question, I was stopped by the lifeguard, he came over to me, asked not to allow my daughter to stand on the side, on the grounds of Health and Safety I initially thought he was stopping me , ridiculously having my daughter jump into my arms and I took issue with the person.

He then pointed out a large drop that runs the length of the pool, highlighting that if she fell she would be seriously hurt. My stomach churned and I felt physically sick. I thanked him.On leaving we highlighted the concern to a staff member, who just stated  : ” Yes I know, its terrible isn’t it? Living local we often see staff out and about and we always exchange pleasantries. On this occasion my husband took it upon himself to further discuss the large drop at the back of the pool. The staff member confirmed it’s a problem , further offered up information that staff on duty are terrified of it also and have been complaining about it for years,also that there have been numerous incidents and accidents and still management will not do anything about it. We asked why, the reply was ” They are all D heads” and also that it will get sorted one day, but it will be too late then.Could you please warn the public of this, as it terrible, It’s just a case of finding the right vehicle to channel a public safety concern , whilst protecting yourself and we have done enough now. Hopefully something will get done.

It’s a sobering thought to think that we’re considered a right vehicle for such concerns – but it would appear we are. For obvious reasons we’re not confident that this issue will be resolved as it has now been raised by a third party as a ‘safeguarding’ concern with Wirral Council social services . However we are reassured that the external agency the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are now involved.

When we asked our source how they wanted to cover this story they replied :

It’s up to you.It’s all true and don’t want to get staff in trouble by giving too much information as they have already started asking who said what.However everyone is talking about it know . HSE have been out I am informed and condemned it also. So that’s all I can tell you really. Do it if it helps to get it sorted – run it. It’s cost I am told. Cost to protect people just by a cover. Ridiculous!.

When we asked about about our sources thoughts about how difficult it is to raise genuine concerns in the public interest they replied :

Sad society we live in I am afraid .

And so it would appear that giving a damn about children’s safety remains a problem and especially the case if you live or work on Wirral !

Pit 2