Tales From The Chamber : Chapter 1 – ‘The Elephant in the Lift’

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We understand that Wirral Council’s ‘Witchfinder General’ and Deputy CEO David Armstrong has been making less than discreet enquiries about who has leaking information to us .  So let’s help him with his enquiries and let him know it’s ‘Spartacus’. The thing he (and other local powerbrokers) need to understand is that when toxic and dysfunctional organisations treat people badly then those people who have inside knowledge as to what goes on within these organisations will sometimes seek an outlet to bear witness to what they’ve seen and heard . It was how Wirral Leaks came to be and we are honoured and privileged that people come to us ,  as where else would they go?

Whilst we have been receiving information about the Wirral Chamber of Commerce  (WCoC) from various sources for some time often people are reluctant for us to publish their compelling stories merely because they recognise the power of the local connections that WCoC have (and particularly with Wirral Council). That in itself is a damning indictment of the corrosive, insular culture’ that has been created on Wirral.  So as an antidote to last night’s meeting of the Birkenhead Constituency Committee and the anodyne news in the Constituency Manager’s report about litterpicks and skip hire we provide an insight into what lies behind jargon such as this :

3.4 Birkenhead First Activity Update: 2018 Since May 2018, we have had two of our Town Hosts leave the team, this has opened up an opportunity for us to re-evaluate the strengths of the team and review where our strategic focus needs to be aligned in terms of moving the BID forward

Read full report here : Birkenhead Constituency report

Whilst the information should be of particular interest to Birkenhead Improvement District (BID) levy payers we also think that there is a significant public interest element to the first anthology of Chamber tales we’ve compiled below :

I will offer you some interesting facts. Why isn’t the expenditure of the levy money made public ? Why aren’t the accounts available to be scrutinised? Simply because it’s mis- managed. Ask the question – why was Mark Barrow ( Campaign Manager) paid his salary out of the levy money? Why have the Chamber paid £25,000 to The Hive to be a Patron ? Who paid for the lights within the gardens of Hamilton Square?  Who is behind the creation of the CIC Food village at Woodside ? Who are the board members and associates? – I’m sure you can guess! There is only ONE host remaining at Birkenhead – considering there was 4 – ask the question about a public document that was put out by the BID after their first year – in it states about extra cops in the town – think from memory it said 37 extra cops – a simple question where’s the paper trail of how those cops were paid for? How was it accounted for? Simple answer is ,  it’s a number plucked from the air . PP (‘Princess’ Paula Basnett – WCoC CEO) took it to (Wirral Council) cabinet and stood up and quoted it as fact.

The BID  money is about £370,000 per year. The first two years nothing was spent on the town other than planters and some money for alley gates near Sally Army. So where did the money go?  It went to prop up and pay for the Chamber – and its staff

Quite funny you should mention about PPs salary-  at some point PP and her chums salaries details were given out by mistake to staff. I think PP was on a substantial salary . Big red faces and emails directing people not to disclose.

Around mid 2017 the BID produced its annual report. Within that report was mentioned what the BID had done over the last 12 months – by and large most of it is inaccurate and misleading. This document was taken by PP to (Wirral Council)  Cabinet – who painted a picture of how great things were. Like all things official – it’s about showing to the public and in this case more appropriately the businesses in the BID area that there is credibility in the BID.

A system was believed to be in use to record Town Host activities. It was a system used by (Wirral) Council to track maintenance but it was used as a way by the BID to record activity. It would have been useful for councillors to ask the question as to which areas were subject of the 70 clean ups as stated in the published yearly report and ask WCoC to   produce the records of those clean ups.Who was involved? What was cleaned up? Where was cleaned up?

37 extra cops in the area? Ask the question as I’ve mentioned previously – it costs around £600 a day for a Police Officer – you pay not only for the officer but the supporting infrastructure. Ask PP to disclose the costs – I’m sure it would be recorded somewhere. NOT. To produce an Annual Statement that features inaccurate and misleading information surely can’t be right and should be brought into the public domain. As an organisation (WCoC) that advises new and existing business they run their own business in such a shambolic way. Disclosures that over 20 people have left over the last 18 months or more – if it’s that good, why do people leave. Do you know about the elephant in the lift at Pacific Road? More wasted money. Paid for by PP at a charity auction at Oxton cricket club. It’s a huge almost life size model of an elephant made of copper or something similar. But since all the work at Pacific Road it sits in the lift .And has done for some time. Cost of lights in Hamilton Sq gardens was about £50,000. I’m sure BID  levy payers in Oxton Road would see the benefit of that money being spent.

The four original priorities of the BID are falling short. Budget £100,000 – Safety and Security. Budget £75,000 – Marketing and Promotion. Budget £110,000 – Clean and Attractive. Budget £50,000 – Supporting Business. As can be seen in the Annual report this was the budget for each of the BID’s priorities. Once again ask the question – how is the money spent ? Surely as an organisation that advises and supports new and old business they keep ACCURATE records !!!! All this will show that the BID does not have any credibility. It needs to be brought out into the public domain – ie via your website/ social media platforms.

My final comment at the end of this extensive piece is that within the UK there are over 200 BIDs operating. As far as I’m aware there are NO BIDs that are set up like the Wirral BID – most if not all are stand alone companies. They invoice out and record all their expenditure – they are more likely to operate independently without any of the money being diverted to support another organisation. In this case the WCoC. The levy money is there to make a difference to the local business community – above and beyond what is already provided. But it’s clearly not.

I have to say there is a huge amount of good people in the chamber but sadly really, really badly led …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Field Vox Pop – Part 1

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Credit where it’s due it’s a great headline. Bonus points for ‘vile bile’ and ‘troll army’ . Just a shame the Mail on Sunday story is completely manipulative BS!

We’ve said it before but it bears repeating that we think that Frank Field is a consummate politician. However such is our contempt for politicians it’s a case of we are here to bury him, not to praise him. So at the end of this tumultuous week we thought we’d review the EU butter mountain size media coverage that Field’s resignation of the Labour Whip has engendered. At this moment time ,despite the overwhelming support of the right wing MSM we think he seems to be being comprehensively outmanoeuvred by Corbyn supporters. This is not to say, as the Mail on Sunday would have it, that ‘Field reels from the vile bile of Corbyn’s troll army‘ but by the actions of the Labour Whips Office who have the means to scupper his dastardly by-election plans.

As we know Frankenfield has been taking time to consider his position and gauge ‘the word on the street’ of his Birkenhead constituency and decide whether to stand down as an MP to trigger a by-election. So far the vox populi of the usually politically vacant is far from conclusive.  However what is apparent is that Frank’s snivelling assertion that it’s only the Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP) who ‘hates’ him is well wide of the mark. The fact that Field is a particularly divisive politician can be seen from the comments section attached to stories in the The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph where hardcore Tories from the Home Counties are fervently defending their pet Labour MP.  Unfortunately for Frank none of these people actually have a vote in his Birkenhead constituency (and no doubt very few would choose to live in Birkenhead or even know where it is) . Elsewhere , and particularly on social media, things are not quite so cosy and rosy. The Mail on Sunday chose to reproduce some of the comments and Field in his self-penned piece in The Sunday Times referenced yet more. We won’t reproduce the comments here as we don’t want to feed into Frank’s feigned victimhood schtick but suffice to say they’re somewhat ‘earthy’ as we know how he likes his polite euphemisms.

Whilst Wirral Leaks views are well known on the subject of the Birkenhead MP it’s true to say that minority of our readers take umbrage at our position on Field.Those who welcome our Wirral Council bashing sometimes baulk at criticism of our favourite poverty tourist. That’s OK – we welcome debate, disagreement and even hostility – we just shrug our shoulders and recall the old adage  ” You can lead a horse to water…”

So we thought we’d turn our attention to some obscure local sources of intelligence and knowing that many of the Labour political cabal are devoted ‘bluenoses’ we were particularly drawn to the comments on an Everton fan website following an enquiry about Field and the following specific references to Cllr George  Davies and Cllr Steve Foulkes. Clearly some people can join the dots to make a vicious circle. Read more here : Everton Forum

All of which we think makes a mockery of the title of the aforementioned piece that The Sunday Times indulged Frankenfield in:

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We all know the local Labour was hijacked years ago by thugs and it was Field who went way beyond looking away but supported and condoned it up until other local party members who weren’t in ‘Frank’s Gang’ decided they’d had enough and consequently in his eyes became the ‘thugs’!

You couldn’t make it up – the only thing is, as Frankenfield has demonstrated this week he just has! –  and what’s more he has an avidly awaiting audience with their own avenging agenda!

 

 

The Cupboard is Bare – The truth behind ‘Feeding Birkenhead’

Social Supermarket 006

Concerned Wirral Leaks readers have been in touch asking us whether we know anything about how Birkenhead MP Frank Field ended up with a cast on his arm.As you can see from the above publicity shot taken at a community cafe and citizen’s supermarket in the Pyramids shopping centre. This picture which has been seen all over the shop including what we understand to be Frankenfield’s first of soon to be many appearances in the glossy and vacuous Wirral Life magazine. One of the queries we received from someone who saw the picture asked : “What happened to Onan the Librarian?”

Last month the Tory’s ex- Brexit Czar David Davis presciently poked fun at Frankenfield’s arm prior to a crucial Brexit vote and quipped   ‘Hope it wasn’t the whips’

Which after this week’s Exclusive : Will Frank Field have the Labour Whip withdrawn?  story may not be so far from the truth. This exclusive has since gone national after being picked up by the Huffington Post in their Labour Members Move To Suspend Brexiteer MP Frank Field For Backing Tories post.

Now thanks to correspondence (see below) from another Tory MP, Esther McVey, we can reveal that Frankenfield has broken his arm. We will make no comment on other people’s misfortune. We just wish that the Birkenhead MP would do the same. As you can read he continues to make emotive references to particularly sad cases in his letter – which let’s face it will be totally wasted on McVey ,who as you can also read, is as policy driven as Field is publicity driven. Although ,as we’ve reported before, McVey is herself no stranger to exploiting others plight for political gain. But then again why should we expect political animals to fight their nature?

However back to our picture at the top which shows Frankenfield  and a.n.other. The woman on the left next to the man on the right (!)  is not even credited in the Wirral Life story as this is strictly The Frank Field Show. But is everything as it seems  ? A source writes to tell us that :

Feeding Birkenhead Social Supermarket that is due to open in Birkenhead has been donated £100 thousand pounds from Cammell Laird and also Labour too – complete with the re fit. No argument from me that more Social Supermarkets are opening BUT it is not open to all…  only 100 people who have been “picked” from Magenta housing will be able to shop there for 6 months…

What’s more (and we’re going to bang on about this  ’til we’re red in the face) is Feeding Birkenhead and this enterprise in particular is funded by WIRRAL COUNCIL or should I say WIRRAL COUNCIL TAX PAYERS and Magenta Living to the tune of £80,000.  The minutes of the Birkenhead Constituency Committee from January 2016 read :

Once established, the Task and Finish Group was also requested to consider a request from the Chair for £80,000 of Your Wirral funding to be used as a block grant towards a new Community Shop in the Pyramids Shopping Centre and should this request be agreed to, a formal request from the Committee be made to Magenta Living.At this point Councillor S Foulkes declared a Personal Interest by virtue of his being a Board Member of Magenta Living. Full minutes here:  Your Wirral

I’m sure you can all see how this works and we don’t need to repeat our concerns about the Magenta Living connections. But it all perpetuates the myth that ‘Feeding Birkenhead’  is a Frank Field and the local Labour Party production. Whilst the Birkenhead MP has been the driving force behind the initiative it would not have happened without public money. ‘Your Wirral’describes itself thus :

Your Wirral is a fund administered by Wirral Council and Wirral Partnership Homes (now Magenta Living)  which offers grants of up to £2,500 for community or voluntary groups right across Wirral to fund one-off projects or events.

Which leads us to wonder where the £80,000 for the Feeding Birkenhead  Social Supermarket came from? Is it any wonder that the Wirral Council website reads :

Your Wirral was a community grants programme and a joint initiative between Magenta Living and the council. Your Wirral has now ended in Wirral West, Wirral South and Wallasey constituencies. The Wirral-wide programme, for projects that affected two or more constituencies has also ended.

The Birkenhead Your Wirral fund is currently closed for applications.

Your Wirral funding programme

So it would appear to be the case that for any other community or voluntary groups seeking grants on Wirral that unless you’re part of ‘Feeding Birkenhead’ the cupboard is bare – and much like the ‘citizen’s supermarket ‘ public money is for the few and not the many!

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Summer Shorts : Car Boot Curios

 

The people of Wirral might not get too enthused about local politics unless it hits them in the pocket but they do seem to like their car boot sales. Even local politicians have been known to share this enthusiasm for money-making fun . Indeed we understand that husband and wife team Councillors Adrian and Chris Jones set up stall at the Tranmere Rovers car boot sale this morning.

Our local bargain hunting source told us that among the items for sale were a collection of German (?) bier steins and a green rubber gas mask (kinky!). Now we don’t know whether this could signal that the Jones’ are both on the wagon and considering retirement from local politics – after all we’d have thought that a stiff drink and a gas mask would be essential kit for someone to operate as a councillor in Wallasey Town Hall ,where the stench of corruption can sometimes be all pervading.

Coincidentally we were sent the above picture from the same car boot sale (it’s obviously the place to be of a Sunday morning!) As far as we know this wasn’t the vehicle the Jones’ arrived in – as apparently at the back of their pasting table was a monster gas guzzler.

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The curious aspect about this particular vehicle that has been brought to our attention is the signage indicating those who support the Neo Cafe (part of  Frank Field’s  ‘Feeding Birkenhead’ project).

Now before we go any further we’d better say that the wonderful people associated with this project can get very touchy and Wirral Leaks have had a couple of run-ins in the past  – so let’s establish Neo Cafe is definitely ,definitely NOT a foodbank.

Car boot 002

However the issue that was brought to our attention was the list of supporters credited on the side of the van. Whilst particular prominence is given to ‘Cheshire Freemasons’ it was the mention of Wirral Labour Group amongst the list of supporters that aroused the interest of  our source who asked whether ‘support’ included funding from  Labour Group or from Wirral Council (via all party  Birkenhead Constituency Committee and /or ‘Your Wirral’ grant funding ?) We’re sure somebody can clarify – after all we’re sure that ‘Feeding Birkenhead’ initiative wouldn’t want to be thought of as making political capital out of poverty and hunger now would they?

Birkenhead CLP leak adds to Labour Party anti-Semitism controversy

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Above is an extraordinary leak from Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP). No,not to us. But to The Times!

Times journalist Sam Coates posted this extract of the minutes from recent Birkenhead CLP meeting on Twitter @SamCoatesTimes . The journalist was discussing the results of a Times/YouGov poll of Labour members on how leader Jeremy Corbyn was addressing allegations of anti-semitism within the Labour Party and referenced the leaked minutes adding :

Before we reveal the poll results – news of a new upset. In Frank Field’s Birkenhead Consituency Party, The Times has been passed minutes showing why it turned down diversity training. I understand Labour has launched an investigation

This is a most curious ‘controlled’ leak don’t you think?

For starters it is simply astonishing that Birkenhead CLP see fit to reject Diversity and Equality training by the Jewish LABOUR Group on the  grounds of “possible” links with ISIS (!?) and the Israeli government . Apparently Birkenhead CLP are now going to organise their own training. Who’s facilitating that training session we wonder ? – Cllr George  Davies and former Wirral Council Mayoral consort and Birkenhead CLP  ‘Teller Girl’ Elaine Foulkes  – both of whom have had allegations of racism made against them that have never been publicly acknowledged or adequately addressed? Where will that training session be held? – the Wirral Deen centre?

However what we can’t get our heads round is how these minutes ended up in the hands of The Times journalist who just so happens to be preparing an in depth look at allegations of anti-semitism within the Labour Party for this week’s edition of The Sunday Times. Could it be that after Frank Field’s humiliation at the last Birkenhead CLP meeting where he was censured for continuing to write for The S*n , which we reported here : Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #9   , that the  local Labour ‘old guard’ have sought retribution on the Birkenhead CLP Corbynistas? A ‘controlled leak’ to The S*n’s more stateswomanlike elder sister is certainly one way of  rubbing salt in the wound of the current anti-semitism controversy engulfing the Labour Party and which is undermining their glorious leader isn’t it ?  No wonder younger people are put off attending Birkenhead CLP meetings ! Just sayin’!

Celebration!!!

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Get the party started :  Committee Chair Cllr George “Good Times” Davies brings Public Health approved party  food and a Wirralgate mixtape to the celebration!

The Birkenhead Constituency Committee have gone all Kool & The Gang on us. Although it must be said it’s more Gang than Kool. For tonight ladies and gentlemen wave your hands in the air, like you just don’t care (and let’s face it some of our local politicians clearly don’t)  : YAHOO! THIS IS YOUR CELEBRATION.

Although the Wirral Council website still maintains that Frank Field is still the chair of this particular Committee when he’s not,  his influence can still be seen in the the agenda for tonight’s meeting which reads like there’s a party going on right here, a celebration to last throughout the year.

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=691&MId=5604&Ver=4

As you can see we have :

A Celebration of Birkenhead in Bloom

A Celebration of Food Hub and Christmas Hampers Project

A Celebration of Keeping Birkenhead Clean

Now don’t get us wrong we like flowers , we like food and we prefer not to be knee deep in food wrappers and dog crap but spare us the glitterball hyperbole . Furthermore whilst we applaud people who want to make a contribution to the community and well-being of others , knowing what we know about some of the politicians on the Committee we question the motives behind the party political party poppers .

What’s more and what doesn’t particularly sit right with us is ‘A Celebration of  Food Hub’.

For a start – enough already with the word hub . We plan to set up an Anti-Hub Hub at Leaky Towers . The Anti-Hub Hub Sub will be a ‘task and finish’ group establishing synergies and developing strategies to eradicate the use of the word ‘hub’ . Perhaps by introducing fines for the gratuitous use of the word. All proceeds will be spent on our personal agendas ( i.e copious amounts  of booze).

Call us contrary but should we really be celebrating ‘food hubs’ in 21st century Britain? – especially when no-one , absolutely no-one thinks ‘starving mites’ are a good idea. Shouldn’t we be channelling our energies into why there’s an apparent need for them and exactly who’s agendas are being met by their existence?

But we think what makes us want to be a party pooper  is the fact  that isn’t it a tad hypocritical to be celebrating food hubs when Wirral Council is withdrawing funding from older people’s lunch clubs?

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15028328.Council_grants_to_help_fund_pensioner_lunch_clubs_in_Wirral_are_to_be_scrapped/

What’s worse they are now asking those luncheon clubs to approach the likes of Birkenhead Constituency Committee for funding to enable them to continue knowing full well that their finances are either already committed or frozen !

So forgive us for suggesting where Wirral Council and Birkenhead Constituency Committee can stick their party blower :

 

Public Accountability Wirral-Style

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We were looking forward to reporting from tonight’s Birkenhead Constituency Committee but we understand it’s been cancelled again – although we should be grateful that they’ve set up a meeting in November as originally they were due to meet next in  January 2017 – meaning  that would have been more cancellations than meetings this past year. We can only guess that they call it a  ‘Special  Meeting’ because it’s a special occasion when they actually meet!.

Now we don’t want to be seen to be singling out Birkenhead Constituency Committee but we really would like to know what these mockeries of  local democracy actually achieve?. Wallasey seem to be the only one of the 4 constituency committees that actually meets regularly and achieves anything.

However we do have a particular interest in Birkenhead Constituency Committee because let’s face it that’s where most of the absolute worst local politicians -and it has to be said a couple of the best- Cllrs Kelly and Cleary take a bow – who besmirch our blog can be seen up close and personal. The council “leader”  Power Boy Pip can be found there with both of his deputies  Cllr Ann “Going Forward” McLachlan and Cllr George “Combing Forward” Davies  along with Cllr  Angela “CGL who?” Davies , Cllr Matron McLaughlin and of course who could forget ex-council leader Foulkesy ?. Although we have to say we owe an apology to Foulkesy as we claimed in a previous post that he was not renowned for anything. That’s simply not true. He’s renowned for being a LIAR!.

Now that Birkenhead MP Frankenfield has given up the chair to spend more of his valuable time backstabbing Jezza Corbyn and badmouthing “Sir” Philip Green  he’s handed over the reins of the committee to his political agent and bumbling , mumbling go -between –  Cllr George Davies. And we think that in the light of the Thynne 2 report and the Ofsted report that those who were due to attend the Birkenhead Constituency Committee and who were implicated in various failings and misconduct have decided to keep a low profile and which may explain why tonight’s meeting was cancelled.

We’re particularly disappointed  that tonight’s meeting is off as we’d advised one of disgruntled sources to show up and shame them after they’d written to us in desperation to say  : “Why are they allowed to mismanage things so consistently.  As for my local councillor S Foulkes all I’ve received from him (and this was after two requests for acknowledgement of my emails) was an email telling me that council would resume on 1st September, useless is the kindest word I can use.  That said that is more of a reply than I got from Coun Davies, I never even got that from him…..”

That’s why we advise our readers to attend these meetings if only to hold these no-marks to account and remind them they are ACCOUNTABLE TO US.

This is something to which most councillors and the officer class of Wirral Council seem to be oblivious to. This is demonstrated once again by the fact that council sources inform us that :

A Spotlight session has been arranged at which Julia Hassall will lead a briefing for members regarding the outcomes of the recent Ofsted inspection of children’s services in Wirral. The purpose of the session will be to outline the key findings of the Ofsted inspection and the Council’s planned response. There will then be the opportunity for a question and answer session. All members of the Council are invited to attend the session, which will not be open to the public.

The session will be held on Tuesday 11th October, commencing at 6:00pm in Committee Room 1 at Wallasey Town Hall. 

Under the circumstances all we can do is advise our readers to contact their local councillors and ask them to ask pertinent questions on their behalf . http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1

It maybe not the way that public accountability should work but at least we can point to an example as to how it should work :

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/data_protection_breach_4

As following our exposure of a serious data protection breach by Wirral Council they were compelled to report their failing to the Information Commissioner’s Office . It’s just a shame that the person who picked up the documents from the pavement had already beaten them to it!.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/09/13/environmental-disaster/

NOW THAT IS HOW PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY SHOULD WORK!

Spewing News ( Regurgitated)

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As ever we get a sense of deja vu when it comes to Wirral Council and following yesterday’s story about their plans for a monthly publication we recall a story we ran in March 2014 .

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/the-devil-reads-pravda/

As you can see the story recounted the Birkenhead Constituency Committee’s plan to publish a quarterly newsletter. We can recall they subsequently published a really woeful effort but the interesting aspect was at the time the Council’s Head of Legal Surjit Poor, sorry Tour  was a bit jittery about the proposal to publish 4 newsletters.

Minutes of the meeting state:

“The Constituency Manager updated the Committee on the latest position in relation to the newsletter for Birkenhead and indicated that there may be some legal implications that needed to be further explored prior to publication and circulation. 

The Head of Legal and Member Services advised the Committee that there was a need to ensure that the newsletter would not breech (sic) any aspects of the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity (the Code) and suggested that the decision on this be deferred and brought back to the next meeting of the Committee”

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=26264

The position seems to be that originally, Tour questioned such a publication from a legal standpoint, but has since come over to backing it (hmmm …..  we wonder why?) and not just a quarterly publication but one which comes out every month.We understand that he was just one of a number of council officers who knew they were on dodgy ground on this one but as ever caved in to “he who must be obeyed” – Frank Field, the Chair of the Birkenhead Constituency Committee.

The Code that Tour refer to permits 4 publications per year.  So has Tour now signed off on a report going to Cabinet on Monday that is either unlawful or at the very least against government policy?. If 4 publications was a bit dodgy how does 12 publications a year stack up?.

Under the circumstances might we suggest there’s another Code that Tour should be re-acquainting himself with. Just sayin’.

Further confirmation that Wirral Council (and particularly Tour) know they’re on dodgy ground is confirmed in the Cabinet report fronted by Councillor Matthew Patrick (who’s picture at the front of the report makes Labour’s teen sensation Councillor Warren Ward look positively aged and decrepit) . Here you can read how councillors and council officers tie themselves in legal knots trying  to define the newsletter/newspaper/newssheet they are calling “Wirral Life”– yes, that’s the genius title that they want to call it – and of course we’re already calling it “Wirral Lies” so it suits us fine.

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50034625/CABINET%20REPORT%20-%20Keeping%20Residents%20Informed%2027%20June%202016%20FINAL.pdf

Their justification for the publication is as follows :

What that review indicates is that having regard to a code or guidance does not mean that it has to be followed, but if an authority is to depart from it, then it needs to recognise that that is what it is doing, and to have formulated reasons for doing so. The extent to which those reasons need merely be ones that are Wednesbury reasonable on the one hand, or must attain a certain standard of cogency or convincingness on the other, depends in part upon how fundamental is the departure from the guidance, and in part upon the statutory context (e.g. whether the subject-matter of the guidance deals with fundamental matters such as personal liberty, and whether its content has the approval of Parliament). 

Whilst we laughed out loud at the line “must attain a certain standard  of cogency or convincingness” – seriously how much do they get paid to write this bilge?- we think the reference to Wednesbury is particularly telling. As we suggested in yesterday’s post Wirral Council could be heading for a legal challenge in the form of a  Judicial Review as the test for the Wednesbury Principle is that “the decision -maker came to a conclusion so unreasonable that no reasonable authority could ever have come to it” .

And if that isn’t a desccription of Wirral Council’s modus operandi we don’t know what is!. Having said all that local media insiders aren’t sweating on this one and think the proposal could well be following in the footsteps of Wirral Council’s  Manager for Communications and Marketing  Kevin MacCallum by performing a disappearing act.

 

 

Getting The Hump

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We’ve been contacted by a local Wirral resident who’s got the hump with Wirral Council .

So what ? – join the queue we hear you cry !. No  , bear with us ,  it would appear this person may be getting the hump whether they like it or not. Road humps to be precise.

We are told that in his election leaflets that George Davies Deputy Leader of Labour Group ,  Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety and Labour Councillor for Claughton Ward made reference to road improvements and a consultation concerning the problems caused to local residents by the parents of St. Anselms and Birkenhead High School afflicted with school run psychosis.

Our concerned resident emailed Cllr Davies to seek clarification, and was advised this would be outlined in due course and made reference to a sum of funds allocated to the traffic calming scheme that our source would apparently remember although they inform us that they were unaware of this being publicised at any time.
Our source writes to us :
‘Surprise, surprise the proposals were unveiled a week after the election – given that all the neighbours I have spoken to thus far are vehemently opposed to the proposals, I imagine that the councillor was unwilling to unveil this prior to the election.
For the sake of me I cannot understand why these proposals have been put forward, other than to ensure that the money is spent, since it fundamentally fails to address the problems it is seeking to resolve.’
And writing directly to Cllr Davies they asked :
‘Whilst I am aware that as governor of two schools you may well excuse (or be required to be excused) yourself from many of the formalities,  I trust the interests of the residents, which elected you and whom you represent, will take priority in your decisions, and the considerations of all local councillors.’
We’re not sure whether our source is familiar with how exactly Wirral Councillors operate but the “interests of residents”  are seldom a priority and furthermore we anticipate they may have a hard time  getting answers to the following questions they’ve raised in a formal objection.These questions include :
Whether the consultation is part of a planning condition associated with development of Birkenhead High School Academy  and , was this formally conveyed to residents affected at any time?
Why was this notice not issued prior to recent local election – who decided on timing, and why?
How many traffic accidents have there been in the last four years in the areas affected and how many people were injured?
Are any of the roads covered by the proposals deemed to be amongst the top 5% of roads in the Borough for frequency of accidents?
What is the average speed of vehicles during term time, and in the peak traffic periods associated with school collection / drop off – NB not during the rest of the day – when was the traffic study undertaken?
What is the cost of the construction of the measures?.

How were the location of the humps calculated?

When will the work be undertaken – if approved, and what would be the timescale ?.

Which councillors are members of Birkenhead Constituency Committee, and were appropriate did they excuse themselves from voting if they were governors of any of the schools concerned?

Are the funds allocated for the scheme ring fenced, would they have to be surrendered if the scheme did not proceed?

Unfortunately our source will not be able to raise these issues directly with Cllr George Davies or the Birkenhead Constituency Committee as the meeting planned for May 26th has now been cancelled – just like the one before it – so that Birkenhead constituents won’t have had a meeting in six months and meaning that local democracy and public accountability still don’t seem to be on the agenda!.

 

Frankie Says ..WIRRAL LEAKS…

FRANKLYSAYS

When the latest cinematic masterpiece from John Brace was forwarded to us for our perusal we were very reluctant to view what on previous experience has to be the most tedious meeting on God’s earth (or whatever deity that does it for you) – The Birkenhead Constituency Committee. SEE HERE

However we were helpfully tipped the wink as to what section of the six part magnum opus would be of particular interest to us. Initially we were disappointed to see that Director of Law  Sirgit Tool was missing from his usual place as the meat in the Davies sandwich ( that’s George and Pip) and was replaced by an anonymous person who seemed to be mid-nervous breakdown.

So we then fast forwarded to the bit were Frankenfield was tittering like a naughty schoolgirl at his Freudian slip as he introduced  council officer David ” super -sub” Armstrong  – the David Fairclough of Wirral Council -as the Acting Chief Executive of Wirral Council! Oops! ….seems to us as though someone can’t shove Comrade Burgesski down the Downton Abbey fire escape quick enough! But at least we now know who takes over when Burgesski buzzes off in his beamer!

However nothing but nothing could have prepared us for the final reel when Frankenfield  grabbed a Houses of Parliament bag ( just to remind us he’s an MP and very,very important) to hand over to departing Committee Co-ordinator the beloved Dawnie whilst saying that he hoped that she’d be back after her stint with Sport England.The look in poor Dawnie’s eyes suggests she’d give Usain Bolt a run for his money when it came to running for the hills! He then uttered those immortal words : ” In case Wirral Leaks is actually recording us or anything it’s not cost a penny of public money…..”

An endorsement from Frankenfield – what more could we ask for?
However we can’t help feeling he’s made a schoolboy error by not heeding the words of his heroine Maggie Thatcher and that he should never have  given us “the oxygen of publicity”……..