Whistling in the Wind

Whistleblower

A senior Wirral Councillor writes :

I have been reading your recent postings with considerable interest.Your commentary on ‘life’ at the Town Hall has always been useful both as a background and a signpost, often well informed.You must have had well placed sources. I hope your successor rises to the occasion. I hope that your move to sunnier climes provides you with the retirement living you have looked forward to.

His Lordship replies :

Just to let you know we’re as probing of our sources as we are of our subjects. Unfortunately we have so many more stories that we haven’t published because our sources get frightened or they want to use us for personal grievances. We’d rather not know. The shame of it is though – we didn’t make a blind bit of difference,did we?

We shall observe local developments from afar and hope that the people of Wirral realise they deserve better representation. 

It’s rather endearing that Wirral Council have blocked us from accessing their website as if it was our main source of information . Bless! Of course our sources were always well placed and often surprisingly well placed to the throne of lies.

However we have to say we think the heady days of whistleblowing are about to become a distant memory. And that’s not to say that Wirral Council have changed their ways – it’s just that potential whistleblowers have learned the lessons from history and now seem either want to simply keep schtum, use what they know as an opportunity for career advancement /financial gain or to armourplate their arse against potential retribution. The public interest doesn’t come into it !

Jericho

But who can blame them ?  Whereas we can provide a long list of the dishonest,the incompetent and corrupt who went on to be Chief Executives,Directors, Trustees elsewhere we can’t find one example of a Wirral Council whistleblower who’s career and livelihood wasn’t destroyed.

Will scandals such as the financial abuse of disabled people, Wirral Council doing business with an Organised Crime Group, the illegal 4 week delay in care packages in the Department of Adult Social Services , the illegal implementation of the Discretionary Housing Benefit scheme , Misconduct in Public Office,the sexual indiscretions of senior management , the misuse and abuse of grant monies , theft, fraud,racism, gross mismanagement and waste of public money etc; etc; ever see the light of day again?

Let’s consider a couple of examples – firstly the Wirralgate complainants. They have been called many things but ‘whistleblowers’ they ain’t. We were always being told by others that they’d send us their tawdry tapes. They never did – as they knew we’d publish in the public interest in a heartbeat. They’re quite happy for Liverpool Echo and Wirral Globe to have the incriminating recording as they know that they’d never publish the contents in a million years. And what’s more it makes a great bargaining tool doesn’t it?

Which brings us to the latest incarnation of a Wirral Council ‘whistleblower’. This time it’s someone emanating from the department with perhaps knows the most about Wirral Council’s wicked ways  – the Department of Legal Services.

We understand that a solicitor in this department has suddenly remembered her Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) Code of Conduct and has cried she can’t go along with the cover ups anymore , dropped out of a highly contentious case and engaged a solicitor of her very own to make sure she doesn’t suffer any detriment for doing so . Is it any wonder Wirral Council can’t recruit a new head for this department following the departure of the utterly appalling Surjit Tour who succeeded the absolutely appalling Bill Norman and have had to resort to what they call a ‘market supplement’ and what we’d call a ‘hush money premium’ to recruit an Assistant Director – Law and Governance?

The Employment and Appointments Committee held on 18 December 2017 were asked to consider the following :

In June 2017, Employment and Appointments Committee agreed to proceed
with recruitment of Assistant Director Law and Governance. This is currently an
Assistant Director/Director 2 post with a salary range (£79,259 – £92,854)
The Council advertised this post in August 2017 but did not appoint at this time.
As set out in the 27 June 2017 report this remains a competitive market across
the Country. This is a statutory post and a critical role within the Senior
Leadership Team. It is therefore proposed to re-advertise at Director 2 level with a market supplement of up to 5% for the right candidate (£83,568-– £92,854(+5%)

We’re sure we all know what they mean by ‘ the right candidate’  to take this poisoned chalice don’t we boys and girls? The sad fact is that they’ll undoubtedly find someone!

But to finish on a more optimistic note here’s to all the leakers, whistleblowers , mavericks, outsiders, truth tellers, truth seekers and good people of Wirral . May 2018 be our year!

MM

 

 

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Wirral Life – But Not As We Know It!

 

 

Press release

No dissent and no discussion. Press releases and publicity shots only please.  

Before we go we’d like to comment on the local media scene of which we were a very minor part. All we can say is that we fear for the future availability of alternative views or political commentary (now matter how ‘caustic’ or ‘mischievous’).

With Wirral News having thankfully committed hari-kari (or happy dispatch) shortly after the launch of Wirral Council’s very own Wirral View other local news sources seem to have been well and truly annexed.

Of course the appalling Liverpool Echo has never been properly attuned to Wirral politics or indeed Wirral itself despite their half-arsed attempt at lamely calling the local edition Wirral Echo. It’s always been a mouthpiece for the gobshites at Wirral Council. And it surely won’t come as any surprise to anyone that we understand Liam Murphy , the former political editor of Liverpool Echo, is now working for the local Labour group and has been for some time. Murphy was welcomed into the local corrupt Labour fold a) despite refusing to publish the dodgy document given to him by Cllr Steve Foulkes aka Foulkesy intending to ‘smear’ former Tory group leader Jeff Green b) grassing Foulkesy and Cllr George Davies up to Jeff Green about the ‘Wirralgate’ conspiracy and then  c) playing  a covert recording of the ‘Wirralgate’ recording to Wirral Council communications czarina, Emma Degg! And to think this fine exemplar of journalistic integrity refused to take part in the Patricia Thynne ‘Wirralgate’ investigations citing the need to protect his sources!

However never did we think that Wirral Globe would succumb to the undoubted pressures exerted on them by Wirral Council and we’d be experiencing the dark side of the Globe – and it’s not just us who’ve noticed the puff pieces, press releases, avoidance of high profile controversial stories ( the Cllr Reecejones case, the resignation of WUTH  CEO David Allison etc; ) and advertorials for private healthcare – Varicose Veins and retail outlets –  Beds

All we will say is that the Wirralgate tape must be the most valuable recording since Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’  – what better way to fend off threats to your career or advertising revenue than being in possession of the recording (or more accurately Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘ Power Boy Pip’ Davies listening to a recording of the ‘Wirralgate’ tape ).

Talking of advertorials we have seen the future of ‘journalism’ on Wirral and it would seem to be Wirral Life. The latest edition is here

Happy , shiny, Wirral Chamber of Commerce seemingly on every page, the same Botoxed, permatanned faces of Wirral’s business and ‘cultural’ (ha! ha!) elite in every edition . It looks lovely in their world but we wouldn’t want to live there – which may explain why we’re leaving you all to it!

One curious reader of Wirral Life brought our attention the picture of  a restaurant manager by the name of ‘Michael’ featured in the latest edition. Not only does his restaurant get a launch feature ,it also gets a glowing review courtesy of Nicky & Si who’s job seems to be going around gobbling grub and giving glowing reviews. Nice work if you can get it and you can get it if you’ve got the right connections- although needless to say we won’t be giving ‘Michael’ and his restaurant any free publicity even for a free kebab . However we would like to ask in this publication of publicity seekers why ‘Michael’ seems to be so modest ? Perhaps because he’s got a lot to be modest about ? Anyone able to provide the surname of this cheery chappy – as we understand he has a particularly interesting back story?

Mike Traynor 011

All we will say is always question how certain people get to where they are and exactly why they’re featured in the local media  – but exactly who’s going to do that questioning when we’ve gone?

Boxing Day Blues

Sad sack Santa

It’s Boxing Day and this sad sack Santa is all washed up!

Q : But where’s Elaine Foulkes aka Lainey?

A : She’s gone for a bite!

Advent Farewell 25 – A Christmas Message

We made it!

To all our friends and enemies – many thanks for joining us on our Advent adventure. Have yourselves a Merry Little Christmas and a less austere New Year!

We’d like to hand over our version of the ‘Queen’s Christmas Message’ to the King of the (Naughty) Elves Frank Field aka Frankenfield,  St Frank, Uncle Frank ,Tank Top Frank etc; – as let’s face it he usually has the last word on everything round here. 

Our message to the rulers of Wirral Council is this :

Xmas Message

Finally just to let you know we have a few more Christmas surprises to pluck out of our stockings we just want to let you know we will be winding down with our annual Leaky Awards including some special Lifetime Achievement Awards. So get your last minute leaks, nominations and categories in quickly before it’s too late !

 

 

Advent Farewell 24 – Feeling the Pinch at Christmas

Pip Grinch

As we await Santa’s arrival at Leaky Towers we have been reflecting on money matters – as most of us do at this time of  the year. But in this instance we’re talking about Wirral Council (just for a change) .

Does anyone think it was a bit Grinch-like of  Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies to announce plans at this week’s Labour Cabinet meeting for Wirral’s promenades and coastal walks to be subject to the same parking charges as our parks . This latest plan is projected to raise £245K per annum . Pip seems to be forever deriving pleasure from spoiling other people’s enjoyment of Wirral’s natural assets doesn’t he? Pip + The Grinch = The Pinch.

But does anyone think it is particularly obscene that at the same meeting (and behind closed doors obviously) the Cabinet made the recommendation to bung failed Super Duper Director Joe Blott £390K to get rid once and for all.  Is it just us who’s making the connection that rewards for failure are increasingly paid by us on a daily basis?

Isn’t it sickening to think that the likes of Blott and consultants like incompetent?/negligent?/corrupt? Stewart Halliday never have to feel the real pinch courtesy of  ‘The Pinch’. For when it comes to Wirral Council there’s always money for pay-offs , for consultants, for Frank Field’s pet projects and somehow income generation is not a concern when it comes to Wirral Chamber of Commerce and their peppercorn rents and gifts of public assets.

Meanwhile these are locations where you are going to have to scramble for change :

  • North Parade, Hoylake / Meols
  • South Parade, West Kirby
  • Derby Pool, Wallasey
  • Kings Parade, Wallasey
  • Gunsite, Wallasey
  • Leasowe Lighthouse

Might we suggest the change that really needs to come is at the local elections in May 2018.

Advent Farewell 23 – Wirral Global

worldmap23rd

Welcome to our very first (and last) interactive post where we invite you to share your thoughts on our global impact and try to win a prize.

Despite the  globetrotting attempts by Wirral Council officials to sell the dubious delights of Wirral to the rest of the world its profile remains resolutely low key. How many of us , when on jaunts abroad , have had people ask : ” Where are you from?” and when you reply ” Wirral”  , they tend to have a quizzical look on their face as if you’ve told them you’ve just come from Narnia via a wardrobe.

As we’ve commented before never have so many air miles been flown to achieve so very little. So we’re just grateful for the World Wide Web which has enabled us to spread the word about Wirral Council from the comfort of a wingback chair.

As you can see from above we have a very impressive reach . However we would like your observations on the top ten nations that have tuned their aerial to Leaky Towers mast ( forgive us but we still don’t know how this interweb thingy works) .

We’ll kick off by providing a Top Ten chart rundown and offering some suggestions for further enquiry.

top1023rd

We note that after the UK and US  ( no doubt courtesy of Reno) we have at No. 3 in the charts   , Malta ! – is this an internet flag of convenience thing? Whatever it is it’s a big shout out to our Maltese contingent – whoever you are.

Spain is next at No. 4 – obviously it’s peak Wirral Leaks during the holiday season.

Likewise at No. 5 we have Portugal  – holiday home heaven for bent executives or what?.

At No. 6 and No.7 we have France and Germany respectively shaking their heads and counting the days ’til we leave the EU if Wirral Council is anything to go by.

No. 8 is Australia – that’ll be due to the contributions of the Aussie ,obviously and perhaps our occasional vulgarity.

No. 9 is Ireland – need we say more?  You can accuse us of cultural stereotyping but they seem to like a drink or three and have spawned some of the greatest wits that have graced our pages . Oh and they’re a Republic

The Netherlands sneaks in at No.10 –  apparently we have quite a following in Rotterdam.

However to win a prize you need to reference the map above and name as many countries as you can who haven’t yet been able to access Wirral Leaks.  We know ! – somebody needs to alert our roving United Nations ambassadors  The Foulkes’ !

The winner will be announced at a special awards ceremony hosted by Chief Executive of the Wirral Chamber of Commerce , Ms Paula Basnett .  The promise of a new frock and pair of sparkly shoes was all it took to take to the podium.

Advent Farewell 22 : WUTH – less this Christmas

There’s been a strangely muted response in the local press to the ‘stepping down’  of Wirral University Teaching Hospital Foundation (WUTH) Foundation Trust CEO David Allison . Allison doesn’t even get a namecheck in the Wirral Globe headline about his sudden departure. The story is somehow spun that it’s ‘All About Frank’ and the Birkenhead MP’s support for the Globe’s petition to get the current car parking charges for nurses changed – which is much like his ‘starving mites’ schtick. No right thinking person thinks nurses should be paying such high car parking charges just as they wouldn’t want children to go hungry. Here’s the Globe’s take : Tank Top Frank

We were given the heads up that Allison was heading for the exit with indecent haste by the following message :

David Allison – taken the money now running

Along with his useless Director of Workforce (replaced the useless Sue Green – yes – married to the useless David Green) James Mawrey – same job just a different title so her role could be made redundant and she could a massive pay-off…..

I dread to think what incompetent fiickwitts will follow in their steads

BTW – don’t give up – please!

However for us to get a fuller picture of what’s been going on we had to go to campaigning journalist Shaun Lintern who writes in the Health Service Journal :

WUTH

The concerns recorded in the document include:

  • NHSI was told the board “was not functioning as a unitary board . Pre-meets are carefully managed and concerns suppressed . It is felt that the CEO has a lack of grip on the issues facing the organisation and was not paying attention to quality indicators . The CEO responds to quality concerns with dismay and aggression. There is a concern that some key data and supportive narrative may be being carefully managed
  • NHSI was told executives have been instructed not to involve non-executive directors in any initiatives or issues in their portfolios without going through the chair
  • The executives ” felt the organisation had a culture that prohibits raising concerns as there was a lack of transparency and honesty when difficult issues were raised. this translated into a lack of visibility of quality and safety and reluctance to escalate concerns”
  • NHSI was told ” senior colleagues were moved out of the organisation very quickly with no obvious explanation .. They felt that this was related to a reluctance to escalate concerns and inability to accept appropriate challenge”
  • Consultants at the trust were said to be ” reluctant to take on senior leadership roles as history showed that they may (be) subject to investigations (and/or) intimidation if things did not work out”

Well fancy that! Were WUTH and Wirral Council separated at birth?

None of these allegations come as a surprise to us as we’ve long received similar allegations (see below), often sadly from whistleblowers who were subject to a culture of fear even more virulent than Wirral Council and therefore less willing to go public. We think it is significant that it was senior managers who blew the whistle because we’d like to suggest that there are WUTH staff further down the pecking order (and with considerably less influence and power) who have tales to tell about the trust’s toxic culture.

Indeed here we have some scary stats courtesy of NHS whistleblower and campaigner Minh Alexander which details whistleblowing contacts 2015-17 with useless health and social care regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) 

MINH whistleblowing

Home

Talking of useless regulators who are seemingly unwilling to accept that there was an increasingly worrying governance and culture problem brewing at WUTH we are also aware that Monitor were involved in a complaint about the highly questionable removal of a WUTH Governor in 2014 which had the hallmarks of a ‘kangaroo court’. They lamely concluded “…….we expect the Trust to explain departure from the Code of Governance in its annual report. However in the absence of further or new information , we will not be taking any further action over the above matters”  

The history of this case is worthy of a post of its own but might we suggest it would be more instructive for this particular former Governor to contact NHS Improvement to tell them of their experience.

We’ve trawled our other leaks to discover similar allegations to those mentioned above about WUTH . The first of which we publish in the interest of balance to the comment made above :

For the record, Sue Green, HR Director, left the Trust a few months after my removal. Wirralleaks reported on the circumstances of her leaving at the time. She had been suspended for disciplinary reasons but later cleared. During her suspension, the post of HR Director was dispensed with and she was made redundant. My experience of her was that she was an honest, conscientious and efficient professional who got on well with those she had contact with and was a loss to the Trust. Apparently, she did not fit in with the new culture of the Trust since the recent appointment of the new CEO, David Allison. 

And here’s another:

Michael Carr is the CEO’s puppet and has been given two extensions to his contract by governors for exceptional reasons (don’t know what reasons are but they will have been invented by Allison) after he had completed two periods of three years, which is the norm for an NHS FT Chairman. Allison wants him in post because he does not cause any problems for him. He is very compliant!

Suddenly doesn’t the chaos , disarray, low morale and lack of beds that we frequently hear about Arrowe Park Hospital make tragic sense when we get a peak at what goes on behind the scenes and how the place is seemingly (mis)managed?

However just to finish on a lighter , reassuring note like they do on News at Ten isn’t Orlando Agrippa simply the best name ever ?!

Advent Farewell 21 – Blott’s Christmas Bonus

Blott

An Ordinary Joe or A Blott On The Landscape-  We still pick up the bill.

Christmas has traditionally been the time when Wirral Council likes to bury bad news. Christmas 2017 is no exception. If hadn’t been for the perspicacity of pernickety blogger John Brace picking up on the fact that the documents which were denied public scrutiny at Monday’s Wirral Council Cabinet meeting were published on their website. Wirral Leaks is, of course , blocked from accessing the Wirral Council website so we are eternally grateful for John’s revealing article. Which you can read here : Golden Goodbye

As you can see the last of the Super Duper Directors Joe Blott is set for what Brace calls a £390K + ‘golden goodbye’ – although we prefer the term ‘ arse -covering bung’. Why such a significant sum for someone so insignificant we hear you ask ?  Mainly because Blott knows where all the bodies are buried and what’s more he helped bury them !

But before we explore that further let’s just ponder the abject failure of former Wirral Council CEO Graham Burgess and his ‘big idea’ of appointing 3 Super Duper Directors. Where on God’s green earth would Blott, Kevin ‘Addled’ Adderley and Clare ‘Wet’ Fish be in a position to earn six figure salaries for achieving fuck all? Sorry that’s harsh – there was that Ofsted report rating Children’s Services ‘ inadequate’ wasn’t there?

But back to Blott  – there isn’t a recent Wirral Council cover up his itsy, bitsy, dirty little fingers aren’t all over. However we’re saying his involvement in the ‘Wirralgate’ cover up is the main reason for his premium payment – at our expense. His conduct throughout has been utterly reprehensible . From lying to Patricia Thynne during her first investigation report by claiming he didn’t say ‘no comment’ when asked by a Wirralgate complainant as to why they weren’t investigating the Cllr George Davies ‘sweetheart deal’  (and you don’t think they didn’t record you saying that Joe?) to scampering round at Cllr Steve Foulkes Standards Panel hearing following the second Patricia Thynne investigation circumventing public scrutiny at every turn. Arselicking as an art form – but then it pays so well!

In his own way Joe Blott is a microcosm – and boy do we mean micro – of everything that is wrong with local government. The personification of  How To Get Ahead In Local Government . The ultimate exponent of the ‘Kiss Up Kick Down’ management style that reaps rich rewards. The type to butter you up and then go behind your back.

We just wonder where next for the wunderkind and whether , as previously reported, he’ll end up topping up his pension pot by fulfilling his ambition to go into business with totally bona fide Labour councillor Paul ‘ Dance Away’  Doughty  Blott’s Pension Pot

At least those business cards wouldn’t go to waste , eh Joe?

 

Advent Farewell 20 – Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?

image001-2

Now we’re with  post -war Labour Prime  Minister Clement Atlee when it comes to charity . We think it is indeed a ‘‘cold grey loveless thing”.

Having said that we are not suggesting be Scrooge-like this yuletide rather that if you can spare some money this Christmas and as we’re talking about the creeping Americanisation of the NHS we perhaps should be asking ” Brother Can You Spare A  Dime” for a campaign to defend the NHS. Details are set out below by Defend Our NHS campaigner Kevin Donovan :

Dear friends

Sorry to bother you… There’s no pressure to contribute and no need to reply , but the value of our NHS really is a cause close to my heart. As many of you know I’ve been involved in a campaign to defend the NHS (DONHS) for almost seven years . There are currently two legal moves planned to contest changes which are damaging our health services. One still needs funds and I’ve just pledged to the case : https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/jr4nhs-round2/.  

DONHS is supporting both challenges. The other is   999 judicial review

There are many calls on your time and money but a contribution to this would make all the difference .

If you need to know more please get in touch or have a look at our campaign’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/defendournhs/

Kind regards – and Happy Christmas!

Kevin   

 

Advent Farewell 19 – Girls On Top

Emma Ugg 019

As you know we don’t do Twitter but we do get alerts telling us about ‘our highlights’ . How former Wirral Council Tory group leader Cllr Jeff Green pops up on there we don’t know – but he does. And for once we’re grateful for his intervention because we are able to feature his old Wallasey Town Hall smoking companion , Ms Emma Degg, who as we’ve previously reported is now CEO of North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) – you and us both, we’ve never heard of them.

Whilst Nigel Farage sound-a-like Green tells us on Twitter that his ” views are strictly my own” – we don’t convincing Jeff as they’re usually dull. Very Dull. So dull in fact that sometimes he precedes his tweet with the introduction ” Interesting stuff….”

One such tweet was this one :

Emma Ugg 016

Isn’t it wonderful to see a former Leader of Wirral Council  – we know, frightening to think that actually happened- supporting the former doyenne of Wirral Council . We’re just surprised that the current leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies and other prominent Labour councillors didn’t want to support their former communications czarina on social media . Oh no sorry we’re not – relations between various parties all got a bit messy in the end didn’t they?

However back to Ms Degg’s rad-fem magnum opus. First thing to say – and call us puerile (guilty as charged) – but we lol’d at the headline. Having suppressed the fit of giggles and resisted the temptation to question the stats that suggest women in business can boost the bottom line and whether this should be known as Kardashian economics, we found we could get with the idea that there should be more representation from women and the LGBT+ in positions of power. Although by missing the + Degg scored a –

Read the full ‘opinion piece’ here: Bottom Line

As you know we’ve long questioned the male dominance within the Liverpool City Region and the lack of diversity in political representation generally. What’s more it’s always struck us that whilst Wirral Council has long been renowned for having a macho bullying culture there has never been one of them wielding power who had a scrotum – always hiding behind lawyers,(in) human resources , Frank Field and any number of arselicking lackeys. Forever the little boys lost in a big girl’s blouse.

What would have been instructive if Degg had told us about the techniques and strategies she used to get to the top and how her plans to be Deputy CEO of Wirral Council were thwarted. But this cautionary tale wouldn’t be just about ‘toxic masculinity’ – it would also be about female rivalry. For example the infamous ‘Ladies of Hebden Bridge’  weren’t exactly renowned for their sisterly feelings towards Degg . Which brings to us to one of the strangest episodes we’ve ever covered on Wirral Leaks –  the fact that council leaders were utterly in thrall to these phony soothsayers that they’d decamp – which is unusual for Hebden Bridge – for spiritual, strategic and political guidance . Now if ever there was a case of girls being on top – this was it – but the bottom line is that it wasn’t necessarily a good thing!

Emma Ugg 024