Dirty Work

Norman PE 009.JPG

Once again we have the opportunity to report on the travels and travails of Wirral Council’s former Head of Law Bill Norman. The reason we take such an interest in this particular ‘public servant’ is because, for us, he is something of a town hall totem. Symbolising  everything that is wrong with the local government gravy train. Serenely sailing from Torbay to Wirral to Hereford and now to Cheshire East Council (CEC), Norman has picked up a sizeable cheque at each port of call whilst leaving waves of controversy in his wake.

Norman Wisdom

Now we hear that ‘concerns’ have been raised about  his conduct in his latest role as Head of Legal Services and Montoring Officer at CEC  as we learn that a special committee has recently considered potential disciplinary matters concerning CEO Mike Suarez, Monitoring Officer Bill Norman and Chief Finance Officer Peter Bates.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-39495102

According to a further reports in the latest edition of Private Eye Norman has been caught up in the scandal which they dubbed ‘Physiogate’ which has startling similarities to our very own ongoing ‘Wirralgate’ scandal – of which Norman was an early casualty . Indeed he is apparently keen to explain to anyone who’ll listen that he was ‘stabbed in the back’ by Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies. However we’re sure the £146k he received (+ £10k legal fees) must’ve eased the pain somewhat.

Private Eye had exposed that valuable contracts had been awarded to CoreFit a firm owned by one Amanda Morris. Morris just happened to be the ‘close friend’ and the personal physio of CEC leader Mike Jones . However these contracts somehow bypassed usual tendering processes – oops! – and  consequently ‘Physiogate’ led to the resignation of Cllr Jones in 2015. The disciplinary hearing mentioned above summoned Norman to give evidence but it is not clear as to whether he faced disciplinary measures. However we do know that CEC CEO Suarez has been suspended.

According to Private Eye Norman could be implicated in ‘Physiogate’ because of his alleged treatment of CEC’s Head of Internal Audit, Andrew North. Apparently North had reported his concerns about the CoreFit contract to Suarez and Norman . Needless to say in true local authority fashion the person wanting to do things properly was treated as the villain of the piece consequently wanted to bring a grievance against Suarez and Norman.

Private Eye understands that Norman approached the CEC Head of Communications Beverley Walkden to ‘dig the dirt’ on North  – like you do. Usually in these cases senior managers close ranks but miraculously in this case  ,Walkden refused and , yes you guessed it, was suspended. Even more predictably North went off sick , left CEC in February 2017 and now claims to have been ‘bullied’ and forced out of CEC.  So far, so familiar – there is even a missing audio recording of the disciplinary committee meeting (more parallels with Wirralgate!).

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

Somehow in this crazy , mixed up world of local government we are led to believe that the people doing such ‘dirty work’ should be valued and paid silly money . To add insult to injury these are the same people who value themselves so much that think they’re better than the ‘little people’ who pay them the silly money!

We’re here to remind them that they’re not.

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DOLLAR-BILL

The Man in the Mirror

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Portrait courtesy of Leaky Towers resident artist Tolose Letruth

Now we know there’s a call for Wirral Council ‘leader’ Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies (and others) to resign in the light of the corporate failure to adequately safeguard vulnerable children.

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50037017/Conservative%20NoM.pdf

But of course it won’t happen. Not only is it a case of Tory grandstanding it’s also a truism that no-one takes responsibility for failure in public life these days – least of all at woebegone Wirral  Council.

However we do begin to wonder what Power Boy Pip sees when he looks in the mirror. If as they say “there is nothing worse for the lying soul than the mirror of reality”  we thought we’d hold up that mirror so he could take a close look at his ‘strong’ leadership.

This is the man who as far back as 2009 and as chair of a so-called disciplinary hearing allowed incompetent,bullying liars from social services off the hook and sent them back to the department to wreak further havoc  – only for the truth to be revealed 3 years later, resulting in Wirral Council having to pick up a £220,000 tab for their sly and deceitful departure ; This is the man who lamely declared “there’s nothing we can do” to hold senior officers to account after they’d landed Wirral Council with £31 million of toxic debt as ” they’d all left”. No , get it right Pip- you’d  paid them off to make all that unpleasantness go away; This is the man who got Michael Frater to do his dirty work when sending Director of Law Bill Norman off site ; This is the man who didn’t have the backbone to stay in the same room when whistleblower Martin Morton stood up to speak at the final meeting of the  LGA Improvement Board in 2013; This is the man who doesn’t seek answers to difficult questions (see below) and does not suspend nor subsequently condemn the behaviour of dishonest councillors Steve Foulkes and George Davies; This is the man who doesn’t take action but hides behind action plans; This is the man who more recently failed to hold errant senior officers to account for behaviour that should have seen them sacked and instead reaches for the chequebook ;This is a man who when the going gets tough jets off to China ; This is a man who appoints a personal policy adviser/control freak to create that illusory image in the mirror; This is the man who believes the strong leader model is a sign of strength when in fact the need to control everything from council committees to the local media is indicative of a lack of confidence and an insecurity about scrutiny ; This is not a strong leader. This is a flushed and fidgeting failure.

To reflect back even more we are grateful to a disillusioned local Labour Party member who has sent us a copy of an email asking :

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We’ve  copied the most pertinent parts of the email below underlining points of interest and added our comments (in red of course) . And again we must reiterate we aren’t anti-Labour we just want them to be better than they are or more specifically the small number of party members who abuse their power . But ultimately it’s up to local Labour Party members to decide whether they want to save the soul of their party and not impertinent blogs , opposition councillors or indeed the people of Wirral.

The Wirral Labour Party is in the process of selecting candidates to stand for election in May 2018.
                    Applications are now open until Monday 31st October 2016.

Halloween – how appropriate for this horrorshow!, no more killer clowns need apply! 

Winning the LGA award for Most Improved Council in Britain 2015 is testament to the hard work which has gone into improving Wirral Council by Labour, Council staff and partners.

Talk about Freudian slip !  – this discredited and increasingly ridiculous looking award was given by the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) and NOT the Local Government Association (LGA) . Although we are convinced it was the LGA who twisted LGC’s arm to invent this bogus endorsement and  enable Wirral Council to keep up the charade until further failures showed up what a sham the award was in the first place!. 

We must not become complacent though. It is a challenging time for Wirral and to be a Wirral Labour councillor. Wirral faces unprecedented budget challenges that will require Labour Councillors and candidates to be real community champions, seeking answers to difficult questions and engaging in the transformation process of the authority.

Not so much complacent as controlling . And as above demonstrates the difficult questions are never asked never mind answered!.  

Many of our Labour priorities can only be delivered through local action, and Labour’s core band of Councillors is the party’s front line and strong link with residents and local agencies.

The decisions made by councillors in Wirral affect people’s quality of life in countless ways, from education to housing and regeneration, community safety, environment, roads, care for older people, sport and culture, and helping local businesses to thrive.

This is what worries us ! – Labour appoint a councillor with a track record of dishonesty to the Planning Committee , a councillor who doesn’t acknowledge never mind address problems in Children’s Services as their Cabinet lead and the scrutiny of his area of responsibility is undertaken by a Chair who previously failed to safeguard vulnerable adults – what could possibly go wrong?. 

We need Labour councillors to reflect the communities they serve, empathise with local residents and communicate effectively with them. Only by ensuring there is a good range of councillors can we hope to do this.

Whilst we wholly endorse this approach – the end of fishing for councillors in the shallow end of the gene pool is only part of the solution. The other part is by throwing some unpalatable politicians over board. 

We want dynamic, committed members who welcome a challenge to stand for election to Wirral Council. You will need experience of party and community activity, campaigning, a commitment to Labour’s aims, values and policies, as well as enthusiasm to be part of effective service delivery and relationship building in Wirral.

We’d really love to know locally what are Labour’s aims values and policies – and please don’t point to the bloody 20 pledges. If someone was given a list of Labour’s actions – NOT words – the closure of services for vulnerable people, the lurch to privatisation, creating the illusion that Wirral Council is a business – a business that does not include public service , the courting of big business and private enterprise , the pursuit of mirages –  be it golf courses or international trade centres and ending up with foodbanks and call centres  ,selling off swathes of green belt  to property developers, a harsh approach to Council Tax reductions for the unemployed ,  they would all point to a Tory regime in all but name.

It’s all about finding people who are ordinary enough to be representative, but extraordinary enough to be representatives.

Extraordinary is the word – extraordinary that you’ve been getting away with what you have been up to  for years.

We want our candidates and councillors to be representative of the community they serve. Therefore, we are particularly keen to hear from women, young people and members of ethnic minorities who want to stand.

Are you sure ?- some of your leading politicians don’t seem keen on ethnic minorities in particular

Don’t worry if you feel you don’t know enough about how the council works – we will provide training for all candidates and potential candidates.

Don’t worry if you don’t know enough about how the council works (!) – neither do we , we’ve been winging it for years !

What is expected of a Labour councillor?

The ability to abuse your power and if you don’t yet have power or influence – unquestioning compliance – in the hope that one day , you too can abuse your power?.

Support regular campaign and communications of the Labour Group
Raising the profile of Labour and its work for local residents
To be an ambassador for the Labour Party
To attend branch meetings and report and consult on all council activity
To campaign with Labour members on local issues
To recruit new members and mobilise existing ones into action
To build a healthy party locally to do this you first have to get rid of the poison and that really does need some strong medicine . Sadly this is something  this ‘strong leader’ is seemingly not prepared to administer !

 

 

Three Is The Magic Number

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Our thanks go out to one of our keen readers who pointed out it is three years to the day that the chain of events that led to Wirralgate were shamelessly instigated.

Put out the flags! pop the corks! and the celebrate the most successful cover up in Wirral Council history !!. Yay !!!

Three bloody years !. If only they were as good at running the Council as they were in covering their arses perhaps His Lord and Ladyship could finally retire.

Here captured for posterity is the Council meeting held three years ago that the then Deputy Mayor Cllr Steve Foulkes unleashed a series of events that have potentially cost the people of Wirral hundreds of thousands of pounds. Because obviously like a L’Oreal supermodel he’s worth it (that’s a joke obviously).

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/silly-season-opens-at-leaky-towers/

DatsLibel

Whether he was relying on his own arrogance and being safe in the knowledge he was protected by some of the most powerful (and corrupt) political figures  on Wirral or the docility of the other elected members in Council chambers who think this kind of conduct is acceptable because according to Foulkes they’re “kindred” we’ll leave to our readers to decide.

What we do know is that following this unbecoming outburst in the aftermath of the appearance of whistleblowers Hobro and Morton (who we can ecstatically report are still very much on the case – bless ’em ) and which so irked Foulkes that he then resorted to these kamikaze tactics and tried to ensnare a Liverpool Echo journalist sitting in the public gallery into an amateurish smear campaign against political opportunist  Cllr Jeff Green – seen standing in the above picture and pretending to be aggrieved.

Town hall foulkes 2 008 Town hall foulkes 2 013Town hall foulkes 2 016

As you can see from the above pictures this is how some politicians think is the control they should have over local journalists.They’re there to do as they’re told and if they don’t they’re  threatened with legal action. But imagine being told what to do by Steve Foulkes ! – it’s enough to make a grown man’s scrotum retreat into his pelvic cavity at the speed of Usain Bolt.

What has intrigued us these past three years -other than the fact as to how the hell do they get away with it -is did no-one (and we’re talking Power Boy Pip here) say : So what were you doing leaving the Council chambers to hand an incriminating document stolen from the ex-Director of Law’s files in contravention of the Data Protection Act in an attempt to get back at your old rival Jeff Green?

What did Foulkes say ?. I was having a wazz?

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=wazz

Probably – as let’s face it he and his ilk have been taking the piss for years….

 

 

Norman Wisdom

DOLLAR-BILL

We have to doff our cap to ex  -Wirral Council legal head Bill Norman.This guy knows how to work the local government gravy train!.He is the very model of the modern public servant.

For those wanting to forge a lucrative career in local government this the man to follow – all around the country!.

There have been torrid times in Torbay, woeful moments in Wirral and horrible happenings in Hereford  and he’s picked up sizeable lumps of public money every single time he’s ,ahem, “left” each of these councils.Now we hear he’s gone and landed on his feet again and picked a plum job in leafy Cheshire East.

Recommendation from the Staffing Committee – Appointment of Director of LegalMonitoring Officer

We can’t help asking as to whether there are really that few a pool of local government lawyers  who are prepared to do the bidding of their political paymasters. Bill Norman seems to get recycled more than  a supermarket bag for life.Only Bill’s bag is stuffed with wads of cash and not cut-price food with yellow stickers on!. This guy must be strictly Waitrose home delivery as he approaches the half a million pounds mark in golden handshakes.He makes cash hungry ex Wirral Council Super-Duper Director Kevin “Addled” Adderley look like a rank amateur – well even more of an amateur than he looks already anyway.

However we wouldn’t begrudge him his bungs if he dished the dirt on his sudden departure from Wirral Council .Unfortunately we suspect a confidentiality clause or his solicitor’s code of conduct prohibits him from telling us how spineless Council “leader”  Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies had to get someone else to do the dirty work to get rid of him.

Indeed it must be a welcome change that Bill finds himself working for a council where the leader resigns when he’s involved in dodgy deals involving his mates.On Wirral the leader just gets another one of his mates to write a report to get him off the hook!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-35047198

So don’t laugh at Bill – he’s no fool. A local government joker laughing all the way to the bank and the joke’s on us.

 

 

 

Norman Conquests

DOLLAR-BILL

We like to keep up with Wirral Council alumni who have moved on to pastures new and as we know there has been a steady stream of council officers leaving since Wirral Council’s Annus Horribilis of 2012 .They’ve usually left clutching a large cheque to a) keep them quiet b) reward them for abject failure or c) they’d served their purpose and were becoming a liability – and sometimes all three.

Some have gone on to sit on Trustee Boards or become Directors elsewhere – trying to put all that “unpleasantness” at Wirral Council behind them and pretending it had nothing to do with them.

One of the more fascinating Wirral wanderers who we’ve reported on is former council legal boss Bill Norman.Thankfully the long suffering folk of Hereford were quick to get in touch after they inherited this model of the modern day public servant.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/picking-up-the-bill/

Now it would seem that with “immediate effect” Norman has relinquished his position at Hereford Council asking for and getting a third redundancy package following his lucrative stints at Torbay and Wirral.

http://m.herefordtimes.com/news/13714172.Changes_at_council_department/

The fact that Norman went with indecent haste suggests he either couldn’t wait to get out or Hereford Council couldn’t wait to get rid of him.This is also very reminiscent of his departure from Wirral Council – where there was always the puzzle as as to how a local authority can make someone who holds the statutory post of Monitoring Officer “redundant”.

The answer is that you simply can’t – but that doesn’t stop councils concocting a cover story to prevent the prying eyes of the public wanting to know how their money is being (mis)spent.

Needless to say the full story of Bill Norman’s debacle of a departure from Wirral Council has never been told but from what we know it is a salutary lesson in how leading councillors conduct themselves when it comes to backstabbing.

We’re particularly (though not exclusively) referring to Cllr Phil Davies relying on others to do his dirty work – a modus operandi which continues to this day and which highlights his weakness as a so-called “leader”.

As Bill Norman might have said:

Et tu Power Boy Pip  ?..…….

Of course now that Bill Norman is free of the encumbrances of public office and  – after 3 big pay-offs – we presume financially secure , he could perhaps contact us at wirralleaks@gmail.com and in the public interest divulge exactly what went on behind the scenes at Wallasey Town Hall as we believe that what went on then still influences a massive cover up that is going on now.

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!

You’re Twisting My Melon (Nor)man

BILL NORMAN FIGHT CLUBAs you know from time to time we like to take a trip down memory lane (or more accurately nightmare alley) and keep up with ex-Wirral Council alumni.
Today’s subject is serial cheque-trouserer Bill “Spiny” Norman – who left behind a trail of devastation at Torbay and Wirral Councils and now finds himself suitably ensconced in cider country.

Clearly from reading the reports in the press and blogs in Hereford Mr.Norman is proving to be as popular with the local populace as he was with Foulkesy.
However we’d like to draw our readers attention to what must be one of the finest commentaries ever committed to a local blog (other than our own).

The writer clearly models his writing style on Monty Python characters Doug and Dinsdale Piranha and employed a combination of “violence and sarcasm” but somehow it sums up the frustration and anger felt by many people fed up to the back teeth of town hall tyrants plundering the public purse and imposing their will on local people by means of abusing their power.

http://www.herefordvoice.co.uk/topic/1383-when-is-a-director-of-law-not-a-director-of-law/

Bobby 47 (whoever you are) – we salute you!

“It’s bloody desperate isn’t it! How the bloody hell do ‘we’ ever deflate this ballon of wealth and rid ourselves of these bottom feeding tics who feast upon our public funds. There’s no bloody end to it. One pile of rubbish falls and another springs up in its place. It’s bloody relentless.

Why can’t the Council elected leaders say, ‘No’. Why? I’d have no problem in telling them all to clear off, be gone, on your way and you’ll get no gagging money from me because I couldn’t care less who you tell. Go tell the world for all I care. I couldn’t care bloody less.

Why has it got to be this way? Bloody hell! I bloody hate them. I do. Bloody intensely. I hate them more than any of you. Oh, you might think you hate them but compared to me, you simply dislike them. I bloody hate them.

I’d love to fix up a fight with Bill bloody Norman. Just him and me. I’d tip up outside Plough bloody Lane, park me handcart and its load of rancid melons and I’d fight him. I would. And he could arm himself with any offensive weapon of his choice, it would be of no concern to me and of little use to him.

I’d bloody hurtle toward him screaming and gibbering in biblical tongues and frighten the life out of him howling, ‘Bill. I bloody hate you and today I’m going to punch you once for every pound you’ve managed to take from the public purse’. That’d make him think, ‘Good Lord that’s a lot of punching’.

If Bill bloody Norman is reading this, and lets face it, its highly unlikely I want him to agree to fight me so that I can deliver Hereford from his controlling grip that sees him and his colleagues getting wealthier and us getting bloody poorer. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, not that its worth repeating, Council staff have got to start leaving their work stations, knocking on the doors of the high and the bloody mighty and asking them out for a fight. That’d sort them all out. Imagine going to work everyday knowing that you had to fight the staff. They’d soon get tired of that. I know I would!

If I had to fight the staff daily I’d be looking to work elsewhere at some place where I didn’t have to fight the staff. Before I agreed to take up the position of Head of Legal Services on a salary of an eye watering sum of money I’d ask, ‘do I have to fight the staff’.

Mind, I’ve fought them all in my dreams you know. The theme of the dream is pretty much the same every time. I tip up, women scream, ‘we can’t keep our hands off him. Lets clap our hands, stamp our feet and jump up and down bra less all over his fat face’ and then I fight them. It doesn’t last long. Basically I dance about avoiding the punches, bobbing and weaving until the opponent gets exasperated and then I belt them over the head with a large wooden mallet and the crowd cry, ‘that’s a bit out of order. Hitting someone over the head with a mallet’. Then I wake up, have a cigarette, another can of ale and hope I can get back to sleep to continue beating these Council Leaders to a pulp and be cheered on by women who faint with pleasure because I am the most desirable man they’ve ever seen with a handcart selling rancid melons.”

Rotten Boroughs AGAIN !

…..And Wirral makes another of it’s regular appearances in Private Eye’s infamous Rotten Boroughs column – How much do they spend on “Reputation Management” and “spin”… hardly money well spent surely? And we all know how it ended for Malcolm Tucker 😉

Doubtless Mr Norman will appear over in Weightman’s or another solicitors firm or LA very soon

Tricked or Treat ? Where the Abnorman is Normal

DIRTY TRICKS AND TASTY TREATS
 
Lord and Lady Wirralleaks and all at Leaky Towers have been casting an increasingly jaundiced eye over recent comings and goings at Wirral Council.However if you’ll excuse the mixed metaphor we have been keeping our powder dry and waiting for the dust to settle before we decided to put in our twopenneth worth with regard to the recent departure of Bill Norman Esq – ex Director of Law & Whatnot at the aforementioned esteemed institution (and we use the term advisedly).
 
New Chief Exec Graham Burgess seemed awfully keen to state that following the fallout from a recent investigation concerned with some decidedly dodgy dealings that there was “no case to answer” after all –  and so with a cry of “William ,it was really nothing”  Wirral Council’s Monitoring Officer was bade a fond farewell with a big wodge of Council Tax payers cash.
 
This apparently was agreed after the former Director of Law said he wanted to leave the Council and hired some lawyers to fight his corner ( we know! – there was many a chuckle at the Towers when we realised the irony of that one) We can only conjecture that these fearless legal eagles must have mounted a robust and complex legal challenge which went something like: ” Sweet William has been terribly upset by all this unpleasantness so can you be awfully good chaps and pay our legal bills and give him a nice fat cheque to add to his collection and he’ll go quietly .Please?.Pretty please?” .
 
Because as we know that “Torbay Bill” has a bit of  a track record in not only ”dealing” with whistleblowers but also for “trousering the cheque” courtesy of a troubled Council .
 
 
 
However we couldn’t help feeling that there was something decidedly amiss about this arrangement. As I reminded Lady W when I had that unfortunate misunderstanding over my expenses (some pesky penpusher asking awkward questions about claims for dredging the moat at Leaky Towers, the ornamental duckhouse and the business trip with Miss Snoop to Paris) –  I soon came to realise that perhaps it might be expeditious to “spend more time with my long suffering family ” which I believe is correct expression used these days – although Eldritch puts it rather more prosaically as : ” Leg it quick- we’ve been fucking rumbled” .
 
This ”accounting error” ultimately meant I had to leave my office with a shoebox  full of the loose change out of my desk drawer,some snaps of Verity under the Eiffel Tower and half a box of Earl Grey teabags.However as far as I can remember I did not depart with £150k of public money tucked cosily into my handkerchief pocket.
 
Therefore ,especially as the nights have been drawing in, the Leaky Towers household have been entertaining themselves in front of the log fire with games of Wirral Council Cluedo .
 
After a hearty,warming supper prepared by cook Miss Knowall – believe me there are times when I simply can’t wait to get my teeth into Nigella’s dumplings-  we all hunker down and lay the suspects on the floor, trying to identify what was behind this seemingly “irrational generosity” towards Mr.Norman. 
 
Now the first thing that perceptive Miss Snoop suggested was that we needed to identify was who sent Mr.Norman off site in the first place?.
However matters were confused by the fact that over the past couple of years there had been so many Chief Execs or Acting Chief Execs ( or “Acting the fucking goat” as Eldritch would have it)  – that it was difficult to identify who might have done the dirty deed just as Billyboy was due to go his well-earned summer jollies.
 
Lady W peeked out from behind her  Sudoku puzzle to suggest that perhaps it was Mr.C in the Finance Department as he was Acting Chief Exec at some point. “ No couldn’t be him “ prompted Miss Knowall   “because he was sent off site at the same time”.
And  what’s more I added Mr.Coleman must be a bit miffed that he bagged just over half of what Bill Norman got especially since Norman has been at the Council for 4 years and Coleman had been there for as long as any of us could remember.  
 
It was at this point that Eldritch blurted out “MF”!. Lady W  was rather taken aback by this outburst : “ Really Ernest, must we?, I know you’re frustrated about this situation but the Oedipal expletive is not an acceptable term to be used in a respectable household”  
 
 ” No Ma’m. I meant MF for Michael Frater”.
 
We all scratched our heads and looked at each other quizzically until Miss Snoop helpfully opened the press cuttings file and yes, indeed there he was!  – he was the high flyer who flew in like a particularly opinionated canary saying that “weird” things were going on in Wirral and that the AKA report was “understated” and he was going to chuck out those birds of a feather who had flocked together to feather their own nests or some such birdshit.
 
However it would appear that before anyone noticed that he’d made not a blind bit of difference, he too flew south (while the Council went west) – clutching a big bag of swag in his beak ( £75K for 6 months work – nice work if you can get it).
 
So forthwith off went Miss Snoop to make some enquiries of trusted sources about the mysterious Master Frater and well,well,well it would seem that he may well have been involved in the suspension of Norman,Coleman ,Green and the other one who’s name escapes us – Lady W keeps referring to him as Mr.Taylor -Dane- but I’m sure that can’t be right.   
 
Anyway I digress –  as the crux of the matter lies in the fact that according to official Council sources “there was no case to answer”.However what seems not to have been considered in all this is an obscure Council ruling that Miss Snoop has uncovered in Chief Officers contracts of employment.And it would appear that Wirral Council Chief Officers, as befitting their Godlike status, cannot be suspended until it is first established that : “THERE IS A CASE TO ANSWER”!.
 
This privilege of course does not extend to the rest of the hoi polloi who work for the Council – but of course what it affords is the opportunity for Chief Officers to head for the shredder ,lean on the underlings to keep schtum and generally get their friends in high places to close ranks, all accompanied by the discordant clamour of the armour plating of backsides.
 
Of course if  Master Frater did indeed send  Bill Norman packing before it was proven “there was a case to answer” then dare we suggest this would have “compromised” Wirral Council somewhat and smoothed legal negotiations towards an amicable settlement on behalf of Mr.Norman?.
 
Of course as we understand that Bill Norman was not subject to a confidentiality clause within his Compromise Contract perhaps he’d like to resolve the mystery and share with the long suffering Wirral public what actually happened.
 
However the reality will be that with Norman,Wilkie and Coleman gone that some very senior Councillors will be resting easier in their beds -seemingly safe in the knowledge that the REALLY BIG DIRTY SECRET will remain forever hidden.
 
Fear not Leakers Miss Snoop has the key to that secret on a chain which she wears round her neck and which nestles ,rather pleasingly and reassuringly on her decolletage.
 
Toodle pip……… for now!……………

More Allegations From “The Boiled Frog” Council

It would appear Local Authority “Trouble-shooter” Michael Frater “gets” what’s been going on at Wirral Council for years, a place in which senior officers have  treated public office like a private gentleman’s club. In a recent interview with the Daily Post Mr Frater said the council was suffering from “Boiled Frog Syndrome” meaning in simple terms-  if you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, he’ll jump out. But if you place a frog into a pot of lukewarm water and slowly turn up the heat, it will boil to death. A nice analogy into how doing what’s right has stopped being the normal as staff and senior officers have become almost brainwashed  and inured to bad practice. Like some sort of mad “cult.” where wrong is right and anybody who dares speak out is left up shit creak without a paddle.

Mr Frater explained  ““What happens is it’s almost a form of institutionalisation. It’s the boiled frog syndrome – people stop noticing things are a bit different to elsewhere and don’t know how to go about changing it.” He also felt that 250-page report by independent consultant Anna Klonowski which took six months to prepare and cost Wirral taxpayers £250,000 report somewhat understated just how abnormally abnormal and freakishly bizarre Wirral BC’s practices are, and that the tag of a place where“the abnormal is normal” will, according to Michael “take the authority years to shake off – but it’s true, weird things were happening here”. 

Weird and also morally wrong as well as downright illegal Michael old son.  You must also wonder what the hell Wirral’s MP’s have been doing all this time ? (watch them jumping on various bandwagons very soon.)  So do we finally have somebody who really does “get” just how corrosive the culture within Wirral MBC has been ? How they have let down the public, abused the vulnerable and wasted tax payers money whilst bullying staff, attempting to silence whistle blowers and ruthlessly pursing their own careerist ambitions like greedy hobgoblins.  When exactly did they lose sight of what it means to be a public servant and how could they have been allowed, for so long, to treat the public with such utter contempt ? [ Full Frater interview HERE]

We suggest any clean up depends on just how deep Mr Frater wants to dig. For example today at Leaky Towers we have received information from a reliable source who tells us about the shambolic way  Personalisation was implemented in Wirral’s woefully inadequate Department Of Adult Social Services (DASS) . They tell of many staff going off with stress, overloaded with cases simply to meet targets, of bullying managers so inept they should have sticky notes with “arse” and “elbow” written on them, lest they forget.  How, when staff question a system, they are told “It is NOT to be questioned, it is what it is We have also had sight of  information which may explain why this was the case.

It has been suggested in a piece of correspondence we have seen that the Reform Grant, which is supposedly a ring fenced revenue grant to be used specifically for the purposes of transforming adult social care and which totalled over £3 million over three years was dipped into by a Head Of Branch, to cover overspends in other areas so as to deceive and also impress elected members.

There is a further allegation that under personalisation the resource allocation system (RAS) which defines each person’s personal budget, was reduced with the approval of a Head(s) Of Service  from 1.88 to 1.62, which would of course make management look super-duper at saving money but would also mean that all those in receipt of the Independent Living Fund would have been disadvantaged.  This can however be disguised at panel. …with some subtle manipulation of figures.  We have more information but at present will not publish it unless we have more corroboration.   

Worth looking into Mr F ?  Good luck, you may well need it. It’s a jungle in there!

Verity Snoop.