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

 

 

Parking Perks

parking-reserved

 

By popular demand we’re back to an unpopular proposal. Yes , we’re talking car parking charges again. Isn’t it a shame the local electorate don’t get quite so agitated about the power,corruption and lies within Wirral Council that have been going on for years?

However some of our correspondents have suggested alternative proposals to the £1 million car parking charging proposals. They are all eminently sensible – such as the under siege and ineffectual council ‘leader’ Power Boy Pip Davies dispensing with a personal hand holder at our expense . Yes,  that’s you Martin Liptrot (aka Liptrotsky) !

It has also been suggested to us that if the proposed car parking charges are approved that Wirral Council staff should stump up to park their car outside Wirral Council premises.

Whilst some of Wirral Council staff already pay heavily for the privilege and honour of having a monthly pay cheque we have to accept that the downtrodden rank and file staff of Wirral Council are just happy to have a job and are never going to question the excesses of their political paymasters which has let them enjoy the easy ride they’ve had all these years.

So let’s turn our attention to the people who make the decisions (or rather the people that make the proposals) – the ‘poor’ saps who head up Wirral Council departments who have to suggest ways to save money whilst trousering a big fat cheque.

Who can forget where this leads ? – the proposal from numbskull Rick O’Brien – whatever happened to him? , answers on a postcard please – that vulnerable people should have to wait 4 weeks before they receive a service to which they are legally entitled in the hope that they die and therefore save Wirral Council money. I’m sure we’re all agreed what an absolute hero that appalling piece of work was for coming up with that money saving scheme!

So here’s our suggestion (and let’s face it as they’re so bloody clueless we all know they’ll be taking notes)  – how about those ‘designated’ parking spaces right outside the town hall side entrance for CEO, Leader of Conservative Party, Leader of Labour Party, and same for Lib Dems (if there are any left)  painted in large white paint so nobody else  is allowed to park there!! Are they willing to lead by example and offer to ease the burden of the local Council taxpayer , freely relinquish their privilege and pay for their parking space?

No thought not!

So how about those overpaid Council officers who come up with these madcap fundraising schemes ? As most of them don’t live round here , how about they contribute to the place they said they cared so ‘passionately ‘ about in their interview and pay for the privilege of a personal tax free parking space ?  Perhaps we should ask the current Director of Law what he thinks about the suggestion – that’s if he isn’t too busy trying to arrange meetings in a car park  with his solicitor and the scammers in possession of an incriminating tape recording. Just sayin’

Frank Field – The Biter Bit

TORY FRANK
” Things just ain’t the same, any time the hunter gets captured by the game….”

I’m sure we can recall the feigned outrage that accompanied Frankenfield’s recent fall from grace at a public meeting in Rock Ferry.

SEE HERE

To the dismay of local Green Party members acres of newsprint were wasted reporting the sheer brutality meted out to our revered local MP as – SHOCK HORROR PROBE! – local people exercised their democratic right trying to make public servants accountable.

Seemingly unable to cope with such an unprecedented challenge Frankenfield was soon carted off sniffing into a scented hanky and then proceeded to moan like Mavis Riley having a hissy fit to any old rag who’d listen to him including the Mail on Sunday where Frankenfield was perfectly at home amid the prissy curtain-twitchers from the home counties.

He also wrote to Green Party leader Natalie Bennett demanding that local nasty Green party members be publicly flogged for being perfectly frightful to him
But whaddayaknow? , the mung bean munching brigade bit back as an investigation carried out by the Green Party found that allegations made by Mr Field and Labour councillors present at the meeting were “clear attempts to smear both Green Party members and some local residents” and therefore in that time-honoured local tradition it was found there was ” no case to answer”!

SEE HERE

Freda David and Mike Shone, the Green Party members who conducted the investigation have now called on the Labour Party leader Ed Militant to investigate Frankenfield’s smears! As well as those Labour councillors present at the meeting, for making “ unfounded allegations” and have asked for a public apology.

Can we suggest to Freda and Mike that breath-holding would be ill-advised when it comes to getting an apology from that lot!

Frankenfield did his usual pursed lipped response saying: “I am grateful that this inquiry was conducted. But I’m equally astounded that the Green Party has produced such a whitewash…..”

My how we laughed here at Leaky Towers to hear Frankenfield complain about a “whitewash” when in the words of Kafka ( who else):

“His weariness is that of the gladiator after the combat; his work was the whitewashing of a corner in a state official’s office”

Might we remind him of his role in a series of cover-ups involving Wirral Council – like the time he wrote to a constituent :” I am a bit miffed with you ” because the person who had whistleblown about the unlawful 4 week delay dared complain to him that Wirral Council were still (and are still) covering up that shameful episode.

And although he obviously hopes we will – we mustn’t forget his starring role in the ongoing and utterly corrupt Wirralgate whitewash…..

Let’s be frank about Frank – we think it’s time to exit stage left – or in his case stage right!……..

1-A-FRANK

Consultant Insults

CONSUL

Wirral Leaks has been for some time highlighting the worrying situation of Wirral Council hiring highly paid consultants at exorbitant rates whilst at the same time explaining how services must be cut and staff need to be made redundant and anyway it’s all the governments fault.

Wirral Council’s use of consultants seems to be for 3 reasons :

1) For when they’re in a hole of their own making – “Here’s a shed-load of money if you write any old flannel as long as the conclusion is – “No case to answer” !

2) Absolve the Council of responsibility for decision-making  – ” It was the independent,external consultant who recommended that we cull half of our workforce and lay waste to public services.We didn’t want to really ,honestly…..”

3) Compensate for the sheer ineptitude and negligence of  council officers on megabuck salaries who seem to have absolutely no idea what they’re bloody doing!  – As her Ladyship said ” If I was on a life raft and reliant on a full set of chief officers for survival I think I’d throw myself overboard and take my chances with the sharks”

The latest beneficiaries of the Wirral Council runaway gravy train are a consultancy firm by the name of V4 who have given Wirral Council the V-sign and been paid £260,000 for what was initially a £50,000 job – SEE HERE

Nice work if you can get it and you can get it when Wirral Council officers and councillors are simply not up to the job and where it’s always amateur hour!.

Despite this work being authorised by Labour cabinet member Cllr.Chris Meaden , Power Boy Pip displays  his renowned leadership skills and plays pass the parcel by claiming  that the issue “concerns officers”. We were also interested to read about this case that “delegated powers” to  Wirral Councillors allow payment of monies up to the value of £50,000. That’ll explain the £48,000 for “hurt feelings” then!  – ” Let’s keep it just under £50,000 and we’ll throw in a couple of packets of Benson & Hedges”.

Finally Wirral Leaks would like to offer some advice to Wirral Council staff currently facing redundancy who fancy a piece of the action.

A guide on how to become a Wirral Council consultant is helpfully set out on the ever illuminating Wirral In it Together blog:

SEE HERE
The steps are:

1. Prove yourself “useful” to Wirral Council
2. Nab a 12 month contract
3. Set up a consultancy company
4. Think of a number – treble it and there you have your daily rate (£515 in this case)
5. Get your contract extended (with or without councillor scrutiny).
6. Trebles all round!

How Things Work – Hypocrisy & The Senior Officers “Network”

We are “intrigued” to discover that Wirral Council’s own Rick O’Brien (RO’B) is the End of Life Care Lead for the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services .
 So one-time heir apparent Rick O’Brien (Head of Wirral Social Services Branch Access & Assessment and who apparently until VERY recently was apparently openly touting for consultancy offers* on the Linked in Social Networking site) was seemingly hand-picked to be the Association of Adult Social Services (ADASS) to be  End of Life Care Lead
 
 
 
 
 
 
Yes let us repeat that, the End of Life Care Lead.
The same Rick O’Brien who apparently thought up the 4 week delay in commissioning services as shown HERE. This would be the 4 week delay that they claimed didn’t exist, the four week delay that has been described as “illegal,” the very same four week delay in which there was no risk or impact assessment(see here) on how this effected the elderly or vulnerable and the four week delay Wirral Leader Councillor Jeff Green described on his own blog asyet more evidence of a department that was in disarray and a prime example of why we are appointing an ‘independent ombudsman’ to investigate concerns raised around Council practices, particularly in the Department for Adult Social Services” For residents, this will have meant care that could have been provided quickly, wasn’t.”This is also the four week delay that  has caused such public outrage which can be seen by the Wirral Globe comments HERE ,
Meanwhile we also came across an illuminating NHS document
where Rick O’Brien actually writes the  foreword and states:
Support for people at the end of their lives has great significance in social care. Domiciliary care and residential home staff often play unique and vital roles working alongside people and their families – sometimes over extended periods of uncertainty and decline. Providing this support in the right way, with an emphasis on dignity in care, can have a positive effect.

Social care staff who arrange support services also have a critical role to play.
Our value base, with its strong emphasis on empathy, respect and allowing people to make informed choices, is vital to achieving better end of life care. Mutually supportive working between health and social care is another key ingredient. Training can have a significant impact on both staff confidence and service standards. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services welcomes this report, the innovative initiatives it promotes and the opportunity it provides.
 
Rick O’Brien, End of Life care lead, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Such fine sounding  words…….
Dignity? Empathy? Respect? Informed Choices? Service Standards?Innovative Initiatives? – perhaps Mr.O’Brien can please tell us where did they figure in the thinking that went behind the 4 week delay in commissioning services?.
How did  O’Brien  reconcile these laudable sentiments with  Wirral Council’s “VALUE BASE”  – which is there for all to see at that fateful  “Budget Meeting” held on 23rd October 2008 and which was chaired by O’Brien himself and attended by his faithful “gatekeepers”?.
We wonder if the 4 week delay in commissioning care was cited as a model of good practice at a “Policy Session” attended by O’Brien  as a ” main participant “  which was held on 4 November 2010 to discuss – wait for thisSupporting people to Live and Die Well : social care at the end of life
-NO his Lord and Ladyship are NOT making this up –
check  this out if you don’t believe us:
As you can see chairing this event in his role as a Trustee of the National Council for Palliative Care is none other than the  Mayors special friend and former Wirral Social Services Director…….. Mr.Kevin “ Windy” Miller – ……………………which is why Lord and Lady Wirralleaks are once again “intrigued”!.
 
“Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.
*******************************************************
NB *Councils Conflict Of Interest Guide states

Paragraph 71

“Officers above Scale 6 (now above SCP29) shall devote their whole-time service to the work of their Council and shall not engage in any other business or take up any other additional appointment without the express consent of the Council. “

Video

“Is There Anybody There ?”

Wirrals Not So Hot Line

Why not publicly an announce setting up a hot line (see HERE)  and then not answer it ?  In most places this would be madness, but in Wirral Council, it’s the norm.

Wirral Set Up Delaygate Hotline.

So the 4 week care delay that didn’t actually happen, did happen!

Wirral Council have set up a “hotline” in response to DELAYGATE which opened today and will be available until Friday, April 13.

The number to call is 0151 606 2641.

Complaints can also be registered by emailing leader@wirral.gov.uk or in writing to the Customer Resolution and Information Team, Hamilton Building, Conway Street, Birkenhead, CH41 4FD.

Other questions people may like to ask is,

Why was there a delay especially when the Fair Access to care legislation states “Councils should provide services promptly once they have agreed to do so.”

Who decided on this policy, Elected members ? Or Senior Officers ? 

Why are these people still in post and why was this unofficial policy covered up for so long? 

Who are the specialist team of officers independent of Wirral Council.?

Unofficial Media Statement – Wirral Explain “Delaygate” ?

D.A.S.S Spokesman Richard Dasstardly briefed media today : 
“Well the thing is right , when we said “4 week delay in commissioning care”  what we really meant was that this was to assist service users time to reflect on their needs and er, ensure that the package was bespoke and very good and stuff.
 
It is a gross misrepresentation to call it a delay .The secretary taking the minutes of the Budget Meeting meant to write  “4 week prioritisation process” in the minutes.As a result of her sheer incompetence she’s now been chosen to be the fall person for this “misunderstanding” because she can’t possibly understand how clever,caring and cuddly we really,really are deep,deep down inside…………..
 
Please note: the fact that “prioritisation” does not feature among any of the documentation relating to this case should not lead you to the conclusion that we are making it up as we go along.
Prioritisation is such a long and very important word it should be all we need to convince Councillors that what we were doing was in the best interests of all concerned ( OK not the people of Wirral – but hey they don’t count do they ?- they’re just there to fund my lavish lifestyle in the Cheshire stockbroker belt).   
 
However we must explain that if there was a delay, we have decided it was the service users fault for not agreeing to a piss-poor service, sorry we mean personalised service within a 4 week period of reflection followed by a period of prioritisation by very,very clever Senior managers .
 
Some social workers may have thought there a 4 week delay but that’s because they’re not as clever as us and they get a little confused sometimes but that’s their fault because they just don’t listen sometimes and its nothing to do with our lack of communication skills.
I will not waiver on this point.
 
The commissioning care aspect is again a misnomer as clearly we don’t care.Er, please don’t misinterpret what we’re saying here.We mean we support people to be independent rather than care, as we believe in choice and er,empowerment and other words we can regurgitate on cue but don’t really mean.
 
Finally when we refer to the independent sector we mean a small group of “support” providers who are so independent and free of scrutiny we have absolutely no control over them.
 
I hope this explanation proves that making out we are all DASS-tardly is just not very nice and a little bit upsetting.
 
 
As you know DASS senior managers are held in such high esteem for their honesty and integrity by the people of Wirral and to see their reputations trashed by someone who probably has never had to do something really tricky with an Excel spreadsheet makes us all nostalgic for the days when we could rely on the Cabinet lead for Social Care to get us out of any old shit we landed ourselves in.
 
Therefore  we can only conclude that this is clearly the work of a trouble maker who is probably a bit mad – just like the other one!”

The 4 Week Delay Revisited

Lord and Lady Wirral Leaks were passed these emails some time ago from one whistle-blower which he said proved there was a 4 week delay. 

So let’s look at this again. Even though the whistle-blower sent these emails to the press, after exhausting his options via the internal process WBC still denied there was ever a 4 week delay. Even though NOW there are minutes of a Access & Assessment BUDGET meeting to discuss savings detailing the decision taken by managers over implementation of a four week delay, WBC still persist with the line  there was never such a policy !! King Canute could learn a thing off this lot !

 Here are the emails again. You decide if this was a delaying policy or not

*********************************************

From: DASS, CareProcurement
Sent: 04 August 2010 12:17
To: Campbell, Andrew
Cc: Woodcock, Maria A.; Marshall, Jayne
Subject: FW: **************increase in POC needed for well being checks Jayne please can you authorise waver thanks

Importance: High

 Wirral HARTS are unable to assist with this POC as it’s a community based referral it will now be placed on hold for 4 weeks unless we receive a waver from your principal manager

June Ashton

Brokerage

 

June Ashton

Brokerage

 


From: Woodcock, Maria A.
Sent: 03 August 2010 17:59
To: DASS, CareProcurement; Marshall, Jayne
Cc: Campbell, Andrew
Subject: **************increase in POC needed for well being checks Jayne please can you authorise waver thanks
Importance: High

 

******************************************************************************

From: Tomlin, Peter R.
Sent: 23 August 2010 15:00
To: DASS, CareProcurement; Woodcock, Maria A.; Campbell, Andrew
Subject: RE: ************** authorisation for urgent waver for increase to POC from x2 calls to x4 calls

Please waive delay

 

Peter

 

 


From: DASS, CareProcurement
Sent: 13 August 2010 16:22
To: Woodcock, Maria A.; Campbell, Andrew
Cc: Tomlin, Peter R.
Subject: RE: ***************authorisation for urgent waver for increase to POC from x2 calls to x4 calls

 

Wirral HARTS are unable to assist with this POC as it’s a community based referral it will now be placed on hold for 4 weeks unless we receive a waver from your principal manager

Jan McNeill

Brokerage

 

Janice McNeill
Team support officer
@ Brokerage
Department of Adult Social Services

From: McNeill, Janice K.
Sent: 28 July 2010 13:32
To: Campbell, Andrew
Subject: RE:

local solutions can commence 29/7/10 contact them to confirm  

 

Janice McNeill
Team support officer
@ Brokerage
Department of Adult Social Services
Tel:
E-mail : janicemcneill@wirral.gov.uk
Fax:
visit our website :www.wirral.gov.uk
Please save paper and print out only what is necessary


From: Campbell, Andrew
Sent: 28 July 2010 12:13
To: McNeill, Janice K.
Subject: RE:

 Hi

 Did this ever get processed as he’s been on  asking where we are up to ?

 Cheers

 

Andy Campbell

Birkenhead Access Team

********************************************************

From: Tomlin, Peter R.
Sent: 09 July 2010 11:11
To: Woodcock, Maria A.; DASS, CareProcurement
Cc: Campbell, Andrew
Subject: RE: Authorisation
 

 Please waive delay – apologies for delay in getting the waiver back

 Peter

 


From: Woodcock, Maria A.
Sent: 15 June 2010 09:39
To: DASS, CareProcurement; Tomlin, Peter R.
Cc: Campbell, Andrew
Subject: RE: Authorisation

Importance: High

 Peter do we need a waver or should IB cases just be actioned straight away anyway? Please waver if necessary thanks.

 Maria Woodcock

Access Team Manager Birkenhead Locality

DASS

Westminster House

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail. Thank you

 


From: DASS, CareProcurement
Sent: 15 June 2010 08:46
To: Woodcock, Maria A.
Cc: Campbell, Andrew
Subject: RE:

 we already have this


we do need the waver though

 Janice McNeill
Team support officer
@ Brokerage
Department of Adult Social Services

From: DASS, CareProcurement
Sent: 13 October 2009 13:37
To: Campbell, Andrew
Cc: Nicholls, Karen V.; Woodcock, Maria A.
Subject: RE:

 Hart are unable to assist with this care package.  This means that the care package will be on hold for 4 weeks unless you principle manager waivers the 4 weeks.

Trish Iddon

Brokerage team leader

 


From: Campbell, Andrew
Sent: 13 October 2009 11:39
To: DASS, CareProcurement
Subject: RE:

 

Sorry It has not been taken on ?

 

Andy Campbell


From: DASS, CareProcurement
Sent: 13 October 2009 11:35
To: Campbell, Andrew
Cc: Woodcock, Maria A.
Subject:
Importance: High

 Hello Andy, I have to inform you that this request for  ********has not been taken on by Harts and it will now be put on a 4 week hold.

This may be waivered by a 2nd authorisation by your principal manager.

Regards June

 

June Ashton

Brokerage

Team Support Officer

Westminister House