Wirral Council and Cheshire East Council have far more in common than anyone realises, so its little wonder that whistle blowing staff and residents are in fear of speaking out. Bill Norman left his mark at both Councils, but the blame lies with those that allowed his appointment…..and they are the ones which always keep their jobs. When Councils appoint people like Bill Norman they know exactly what they are getting. Cheshire East and Wirral Council are not alone in appointing expendable people to take the flack when wrongdoing is exposed.Corporate organisations like to appoint people who share the values of the company, but what happens when the people at the top of an organisation not only tolerate wrongdoing but potentially reward employees via promotion for allowing it to happen. With these type of organisation all employees are seen as expendable. In fact to the people at the very top of many public sector organisations the sacrificing of employees is little more than a snake sacrificing its own skin – it means nothing because its still a snake.In fact looking at Bill Normans work history at other councils I would be amazed if Cheshire East Councils didn’t provide details of the payoff and compromise agreement as part of the employment contract for new starters. Most organisations want honest consciousness employees, but Cheshire East Council see these employees as potential whistle blowers and manage (bully) them out.Sticky Change…….
I feel Cheshire East Council spending over £150,000 to bring in a consultancy firm called Sticky Change in order to help the authority tackle its ‘bullying’ culture is more about creating good PR to fool the public into believing that the leopard really wants to change its spots. It was reported that Sticky Change worked with Everton Football club and this might help explain my point.Football is a results based business, and even when the decision was made by Everton FC to bring in Sticky Change the directors knew that the manager would still be the one picking the team to play a 442 system. It wont be any different at Cheshire East Council.As Cheshire East Council seem committed to at least appear to be drag their reputation from out of the sewers then perhaps they would answer the question I made a week ago:
The real question is when did Sticky Change work with Torbay Council – before, during, or after Bill Normans employment with Torbay Council?This is very important because Cheshire East Council need to be aware that the decision to choose Sticky Change as external consultants should be open to public scrutiny.
- Sticky Change previously worked at Torbay Council and it is important to know if this was before, during, or after Bill Normans time with the council? If it was during or after Bill Normans time with Torbay Council then Bill Norman and Sticky Change may have a connection.
- The fact that CEC didn’t mention Torbay Council in their press release when naming who else Sticky Change had previously worked with seemed strange, so was it a deliberate omission to avoid drawing attention to any potential link?
- Just months after the departure of Bill Norman from Cheshire East Council it was announced that Sticky Change would be brought in to tackle the bullying culture. So how and when did CEC first look at using the services of Sticky Change and did his overlap with Bill Normans time at CEC?
- Sticky Change are based on the Wirral and whilst working at Wirral Council its believed that Bill Norman also lived on the Wirral (Bill might have continued to live on the Wirral whilst working at CEC). Given the points above and Bill Normans very close geographical relationship to Sticky Change on the Wirral there is a possibility that there is a connection/relationship between Bill Norman and Sticky Change. What steps have CEC taken to ensure that the decision to use Sticky Change (and their independence) will stand up to public scrutiny?I cant speak on behalf of other people but I don’t think I would be comfortable discussing the bullying culture at CEC with consultants from Sticky Change if the above points remain unanswered. The fact that CEC didn’t seem to carry out any due diligence when appointing Bill Norman means how can anyone be sure that it wasn’t Bill Norman that recommended CEC to bring in Sticky Change?Sticky Change (Consultants) LtdSticky Change (Partners) Ltd
It is with great pleasure we bring the news that karma seems to be a fully functioning phenomena as we understand the serial highly paid local government diva La Klonowski – infamous on Wirral for her highly remunerated (if ineffectual) reports has suddenly resigned her Chief Executive post at Bristol City Council .
We reported earlier this year that, staggeringly, Anna was appointed to the above post in January of this year.
It is no surprise to us that she didn’t last the year out . We’ve been keeping up with our local equivalent in Bristol The Bristolian and it’s clear they held her in the same contempt that we do #cashcow
The Bristol City Council website declares that Anna Klonowski has resigned in order to focus on her role as primary carer for her parents.
All very laudable and dare we say unusual for such a serial careerist to put her family first. Might we suggest that her decision was influenced by her experience on Wirral? For would any respectable public servant want their parent’s dying days to be in the hands of drugs money launderer’s ?
After yesterday’s blog post we had a most curious reply sent very early today.
Allegedly it was sent by Joe Blott – Wirral Council’s Managing Director for Delivery aka ‘The Man Who Never Gets Angry’ and read as follows :
So here is that fulsome and considered response. Firstly, can we say that after the Wirral Council’s Head of Communications Kevin MacCallum had a Friday night entanglement with yours truly we’d’ve thought that senior managers from Wirral Council would exercise some caution when contacting us.Communicating with Kev-Continued.
However the curious aspect of the ‘Blotto’ response is that it seems so very out of character. Say what you want about this non-entity but he does know how to play the local government game. So we’re led to conclude that either we’ve really got under his skin or he didn’t send that email.
A dot can make a lot of difference and you have to get up very early to get anything past us and 4.56 am just isn’t early enough!
So we can only conclude that Blotto has a) acquired a new email address (along with a scrotum) or b) someone is masquerading as him using a wirral.gov.uk address
Curiouser and curiouser!
So let’s break down the response from whoever it is as follows :
Get the facts right before spouting off about how Wirral does business
So tell us the facts ; We understand that ‘facts’ is an abstract concept as far as Wirral Council goes – but give it a go!
you can write all you like on here about past & present employees but take a second to think about how much harm this does to the families of these people and how this may impact them about dis tasteful comments about how people go about making a living
Yes, we can write what we like on here. And Wirral Council hate that don’t they? ,because they have absolutely no control over it . We could write Liptrot – approved puff -pieces but that would make us Wirral View – and ain’t nobody got time for that. Oh ,and when you talk about ‘past employees’ do you mean those currently taking a particular interest in our blog from their holiday home in Portugal? The stats don’t lie!
As for ‘dis tasteful’ – all we can say is that it must be a curse to be burdened with a delicate middle class sensibility! Just be thankful you don’t work for Bristol City Council under the leadership of Anna ‘Big Wedge’ Klonowski . Our equivalent there –‘ The Bristolian’ has a few choice words for your equivalents including the wonderful Anglo -Saxon expression ‘Whiny T**t’ and as for the Mayor of Bristol – let’s not go there!
We’ve got news for you – that deferential nonsense died a horrible death for many us a long time ago. Oh and don’t do that ‘think about the kiddiewinks’ malarkey. We’re totally immune to such manipulative shit , especially when the likes of you are earning a very good living for doing what exactly? We’d be happy to publish a list of your achievements so the people of Wirral know exactly what they’re getting for their £123K pa.
Your blog is a joke
Which is why you get up at silly o’clock to respond to our joke of a blog when you could just be checking your bank statements and who’s arse you need to kiss today!
you hide behind your keyboard due to the fact you probably haven’t got a real job and you vent your frustrations out due to being turned down for a role here at Wirral
We love the way you kept the best ’til last. Nothing , but nothing would compel us and our increasing number of aggrieved ex-Wirral Council employees to subjugate ourselves like a brain dead wage slave before the likes of you and your ilk for a ‘role here at Wirral’ . Delusional doesn’t come close. Wirral Council is a sick organisation. Keep taking the tablets (or cashing the cheque),whatever works for you (if not for us).
If you feel the need to respond – whoever you are – you know where we are : email@example.com – that’s wirralleaks and not wirral.leaks obviously.
We return to one of our occasional series. This particular one brings you news of the great and the good who have graced our blog with their presence. Sadly for us that has not hindered their progress towards high office and more importantly for them, the bank.
This blog post features the relentless progress of consultant Anna Klonowski . As we mentioned last month it is 5 years since the Independent Review of Allegations Made by Martin Morton & Others report landed with a bang in a blaze of bad publicity for Wirral Council and ended in November 2013 with a whimper that was the damp squib of a final meeting of the so-called ‘Improvement Board’ which purportedly was set up to address Wirral Council’s failings identified in the report.
We now hear that Ms Klonowski has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of Bristol City Council on £160K a pop.
As we know Klonowski started her investigations at Wirral Council in August 2010 and when scheduled to meet the then Chief Executive Steve Maddox he promptly announced he was retiring to spend more time with his long suffering golf clubs. Three years on and with cowardly circularity Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies similarly made a swift exit at the aforementioned Improvement Board when whistleblower Martin Morton stood up to speak .
Although it must be said Davies had every reason to have the squirts. Morton tells us he regrets not specifically mentioning that the misconduct of Labour councillors Steve Foulkes and George Davies was one of the main reasons why he could not return to work for Wirral Council as it might have saved him 3 years of stonewalling and cover up. Sorry Mart, but we have to disagree with you on this one – stonewalling and cover up is like breathing to these people.
We understand that during her ‘investigation’ Klonowski bemoaned the fact to Morton that local authority investigative work was drying up. We suggest that this might explain why the investigation took so long. Despite the fact that Klonowski was on the case from August 2010 to January 2012 and handbagged a £250,000 pay cheque and cost Wirral Council another £150,000+ as a result of legal advice and putting up Anna in her own Aparthotel in Liverpool , she summarily failed to complete what she was commissioned to do, and that was to FULLY investigate the whistleblowing allegations brought to her attention.
With a background in CIPFA ( Chartered Institute of Public Finance) it was clear that Klonowski was way out of her depth when it came to tackling the more problematic social care issues that Morton ( & unnamed and redacted others told her about ).
Klonowski was much more at home discussing corporate governance issues which led to the ‘Refresh & Renew’ report which was published in October 2011 . It’s just such a shame that this was not her brief. She returned to the CIPFA comfort zone in the Independent Review report itself were there are pages and pages and pages of endless, tedious observations about Wirral Council’s Internal Audit.
This led to some shameful omissions on Klonowski’s part. Morton tells us his most significant whistleblow concerned the death of a vulnerable young man who died whilst the staff who should have been giving him his medication were allegedly at the bingo.This received a couple of lines in her report!
The staff involved worked for an organisation by the name of Assisted Living Services (ALS). This organisation had links to drugs money laundering and yet were owned by former Merseyside Police CID officers. Strange bedfellows – or perhaps not! It was left to a subsequent investigation to identify these connections so we can only presume Klonowski either couldn’t be arsed or was warned off by ‘interested parties’.
As you can read no serious case review was undertaken into the death – instead Wirral Council saw fit to persecute Morton and respond to false allegations that he was in cahoots with disgruntled staff to bring down ALS. An investigation into the allegations against Morton led the investigator to declare them as ‘a crock of shit’.
Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly) considering her background in finance Klonowski also failed to address further issues of financial mismanagement involving disabled people – claiming she’d run out of time and that despite all evidence to the contrary that Wirral Council could be trusted to sort it out and left them to it ! Needless to say they never did .This is a matter we have previewed but have not got round to publishing. However whilst it is complicated story it is a cautionary tale of how a cover up is coordinated (and supported by other agencies) and something we will get back to at a later date.
Instead Klonowski sought the advice of largest legal firm in the world (DLA Piper)-like you do when someone else is footing the bill!- to come up with a convoluted and frankly ludicrous attempt to deny disabled people a full reimbursement of monies that was unlawfully taken from them on the grounds that to charge disability benefits from disabled people and not from non-disabled people was somehow not disability discrimination ! Even the shameless Wirral Council weren’t prepared to sustain this unsustainable argument and conceded that £736,000 should be repaid , despite DLA Piper giving them a get out.
Is it us? – or it is entirely perplexing that someone so seemingly intent on maximising their own fees wants to minimise the repayment of unlawful charges to disabled people – or are they in any way related? I think we should be told!
You won’t be surprised to hear that Morton wanted to raise these omissions with La Klonowski herself. After an unanswered telephone call and one email Special K set the hounds of law on him . Yes! , you guessed it – DLA Piper!
Isn’t it funny that Klonowski had ‘no on-going obligations to liaise with interested parties’ and yet sat on Wirral Council’s Improvement Board during this time (reputedly for £1,000 a day) . Again we can only presume that ‘interested parties’ is defined by their ability to pay.
Even more damning we understand that she was quite happy to discuss her concerns about Wirral Council with opportunistic ‘complainant’ Gary Downey . Downey alleges that Klonowski disclosed to him during the first Wirral Council vote of no confidence vote in the then current leader Steve Foulkes ( aka Foulkesy ) that she hoped he didn’t lose as she had no trust and confidence that Wirral Council Tory leader Jeff Green would do anything about Wirral Council’s toxic culture. Whilst she may have called that one correct it also means that she subscribes to the Martin Liptrot school of political neutrality. Either that or she was taken in by Foulkesy’s cheeky chappy persona and his ‘bible-like’ devotion to her recommendations for cash-money purposes.
Nevertheless in conclusion it would seem that it all worked out well for Klonowski in the end. For unemployed Morton and the long suffering council tax payers of Wirral – not so much !