C and Unbelieve

Image

It’s an unwelcome return to Wirral Leaks to our old fiends Change! Grow! Live! , Wirral Ways To Recovery, Money,Money,Money or whatever they’re calling themselves these days!

We’re unhappy to report just how they’re earning their £7 million + from the Wirral Council Public Health budget from a thoroughly disillusioned insider:

Just when you thought Change Grow Live Wirral integrated drug and alcohol system couldn’t get any worse ‘‘just’ in keeping people alive they’ve botched it up again.

For over 4 years they have been testing people for Hep C and HIV with ‘faulty kits’ and gave some  people their hep C results as being “not positive/negative”. When in fact the tests they used were faulty and some of the people they told were negative have in fact  been positive! public health  issue I think you’ll agree? 

Everyone has to be re: tested and guess who is picking up the bill?…well its not the ‘charity’ commissioned to carry screenings out who’s income grew to £193 million last year -(which is what they’ve disclosed in their report so who knows what the actually amount is!)  but the NHS via Arrowe Park Hospital. 

How long did they know about this before acting on it… 6 months! 

Up for tender too following an increase of 29% in drug related deaths nationally. Which they conveniently relate to “an aging population”. Well indeed but coincidentally those in the brackets of ‘aging population’ when treated by professionals in the past didn’t die at such ludicrous numbers.  

Come on commissioners wake up. 

Its not working on our doorsteps. Get it right surely people’s lives are worth more?

But hey! CGL have at least got a Hepatitis C strategy. Surely it’s gotta be worth millions of pounds of public money for consistently failing their patients and the public purse?…

Consultations and Cover Ups

We’ve been concentrating on a series of special reports but couldn’t let a few recent local news stories pass without comment.

Consultations

Tomorrow’s Wirral Council Cabinet meeting will feature announcements about two upcoming consultations which have been heralded in the local press. First up we have a press release in Wirral Globe where Cllr Angela Davies tells us she’s excited. However the former short lived Change Grow Live employee is not excited that Christmas is coming. Oh no! she’s excited because there’s exciting plans and she has an artist’s impression to prove it. Generously she wants to share her excitement with us :

Wirral Growth Company's artists impression of what some of the Birkenhead town centre redevelopment could look like

Only by listening and engaging with local residents and deliver thousands of new jobs. We will be asking the question: ‘What sort of place do you want Birkenhead to be?’ and soliciting ideas about improving the public realm, establishing more residential opportunities in and around the town centre and expanding the leisure, retail and cultural offers available.After too many false dawns, Wirral residents are now looking forward to being asked to shape real plans and a concrete set of proposals to regenerate Birkenhead as the commercial and retail heart of Wirral.Wirral Growth Company is an ambitious partnership between Wirral Council and a private sector regeneration specialist, but it needs to be informed by the views of local residents and businesses across the town. This consultation will provide the qualitative and quantitative regeneration evidence base which has been missing.Wirral Growth Company has established some provisional ideas for what a rejuvenated Birkenhead could look like – a new market, improved retail and leisure offers and up to 300,000sq.ft of Grade A office space.The Council is excited by these initial ideas and feedback already received has been positive, but it’s now the turn of local residents to say what they aspire to see. Rebuilding work in Birkenhead could start as early as Spring 2019, so over the coming weeks and months I am proposing the Council and its partners conduct this wide ranging consultation, outreach and engagement to gather the views of local residents.

Full press release here : Birkenhead regeneration consultation

It’s not just the dawns that are false Angie. Are you really telling us that Wirral Growth Company was set up with NO qualitative/quantitative at evidence base ? This consultation is beginning to look like “The people who get paid huge amounts of public money to think up new ideas haven’t got any – so can you lot come up with some for us ?” So here’s one from us – how about turning Birkenhead into Dubai on the Mersey and build a skyscraper hanging from the sky as let’s face it all of these consultations and artist’s impressions are already pie in the sky anyway.

 

Next up on the consultation front is keen royalist Cllr Janette ‘Milly Tant’ Williamson who is introducing  a consultation on how Wirral Council should  spend the few quid that Wirral Council have left in the coffers with her Budget saving plan . If the Cabinet meeting wasn’t so early we’d suggest organising a drinking game for every time Williamson uses the phrase ‘Tory cuts’. Perhaps she’ll regale us with tales from her time working for the Insolvency Service. Or perhaps not …

Cover Ups

The other story we couldn’t help commenting on was  ‘Embarrassing’ council slammed after failing in 90% of complaints – with some taking YEARS to complete where we find Conservative councillors Tony Cox ( ’embarrassing’) and Chris Blakeley  (absolutely appalling’) commenting on the abject failure of ALL councillors to properly police complaints against themselves but failing to acknowledge that it was Wirral Councillors who agreed to the utterly woeful ‘Standards’ regime that is currently in place. Even Wirral Council’s leading apologist/lawyer Philip McCourt concurred the Council had ‘failed’. Inevitably Labour councillor Chris Jones chipped in that she was ‘happy’ with a 90% failure rate.Which let’s face it is a 10% improvement on most aspects of the ruling administration’s achievements.

This all comes after the recent case brought against Cllr Paul Hayes by Professor Maggie Atkinson ,the touchy Chair of the Wirral Safeguarding Board which we reported here. If somebody had just explained to Atkinson that commenting on the public perception of a cover up is a legitimate course of action for a councillor and is not the same as being accused of being part of a cover up perhaps Wirral Council could have saved a lot of time and money on this particular (non)-case.

Just a shame no-one from the Tory group (or any councillor) has seen fit to make a public comment on a notorious long running cover up involving Wirral Council . We suppose it will be down to us ,once again ,to dissect this particular one in a future ‘Special Report’ :

Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 22.20.45

 

Notes & Observations

We’ve had a couple of notes and observations from Wirral Leaks readers that we hope some of our other followers can help,  especially when His Lordship and Her Ladyship are still away and we’re been having a lazy Sunday back at Leaky Towers …sssssh- don’t tell anyone!

First of all we received this note about our old friends Change,Grow,Live (still the lamest company name we’ve ever come across) :

I note that the council Scrutiny committee has just extended a three year contract into six for Kingdom, the litter fascists, as reported in The Globe.
Has the committee also ‘scrutinised’ the drug treatment contract for CGL, awarded in Feb 2015 for three years, time is up and nothing has been announced about whether it is to be extended…probably…or re-tendered. The contract is huge and comes to £7.5million annually. Surely this should be scrutinised as to exactly what we have bought and what CGL are doing.
As you know CGL replaced the excellent NHS service, Wirral Drug Service, presumably on monetary grounds. Drug related deaths are now at a national high and Wirral CGL has been taken to task about this as you also know. 78 deaths in their first 18 months of operation. Crime is up, street begging and drinking is up, street drug crime itself is increasing, all of which is obvious to anyone living in Birkenhead. Street prostitutes are increasing around the Cleveland road area and CGL provide no service to them such as condoms or needles or advice. The old service tackled all of these issues CGL do not. Even the provision of clean needles from pharmacies has deteriorated, again a matter of pride for the old service.
What have we gained from CGLs arrival, nothing in my view, treatment and support for Wirrals addicts is appalling. All I can see is the so called Spider Project in Hamilton Street providing addicts a place to write poetry and draw pictures.
£7.5 million pounds for a poorly run and poorly delivered service is a bit rich!

Now, we thought a new £7million + Public Health contract was waived through ,no bother,by Wirral Council  in April , but we’d be delighted to be proved wrong. In fact , we’d be delighted. As you all know we’ve long held concerns about this particular organisation.  Read here : Public Health England brought into investigate concerns first raised by Wirral Leaks

All we could do at this point was to advise that the Chair of the People Overview and Scrutiny Committee was Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin so any chance of any proper scrutiny was out the window!

Meanwhile we have also received this intriguing observation on the issue of Wirral Council’s proposals for the potential use of  ‘brownfield’ sites which we covered earlier this week :

Just an observation about Wirral Council’s extensive list of brownfield sites in Birkenhead that may be suitable for housing and commercial development. One of these sites is Duncan Street car park, near Hamilton Square.

But if anyone tries to build here, they’ll be in for a shock when they dig the foundations – because the Mersey Tunnel runs just a few feet under the ground at this spot. That’s why it has never been built on since the tunnel was constructed in the 1930s. Perhaps someone should tell the council.

Great website, by the way.

I’m no engineer or expert, just someone who’s interested in local history.

However, I’m sure what I’ve said about the Duncan Street car park is correct – the tunnel is just too near the surface for any building to be feasible above it. You can see from the attached map the route of the tunnel.

Screen Shot 2018-07-21 at 12.19.09

Are there any structural engineers who can advise our reader ? We know we’re good at digging for dirt but we draw the line at digging for information on tunnels ! Oh and please,no comments on the  ‘Square Entrance’ illustration at the bottom of the map. After all, this is a family blog…

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #4

WW1

WW1 : Artist’s impression # 256

                                                                   WW1

As far as ‘Wirral Waters’ press releases goes this really is the best one yet. You can almost smell the desperation.  Note how the quietly abandoned ‘Wirral Waters’ scheme has suddenly and mysteriously been ‘transformed’ into ‘Wirral Waters One’ . Whoever thought of that new branding needs shooting – say it out loud , it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue does it? Can we also point out that when it comes to acronyms WW1 has already been taken? Just sayin’

Apparently Wirral Council’s Cabinet will announce tomorrow that a massive (! )£100,000 will ‘kick start’ a £90,000,000 residential development in ‘Wirral Waters One’ !

The proposal is a joint venture between the council and landowners Peel Holdings, and includes the Legacy Foundation – an investment fund established by former Tranmere Rovers player Aaron Cresswell………..The Legacy Foundation will provide £100,000 of funding in the first year to be invested in community activities. Full story : Wirral Waters One

We don’t get a breakdown of the total investment between Peel Holdings/ Wirral Council/Legacy Foundation but you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be Wirral Council (or more accurately Wirral council taxpayers) who will be putting their hands the deepest into their pockets when it comes to ‘kick starting’ this proposal. Nor do we get an explanation as to what is meant by ‘community activities’

Instead stepping up to take credit for the momentous investment was Birkenhead MP Frank Field  (huh?)

“An idea bringing the largest programme of new housing to Wirral in living memory, announced today, is the brainchild of Andrew Forsey who is the head of my Parliamentary office.Through his work in making contact with footballers interested in making long term investments from their pensions. Andrew helped to persuade a crop of current and former Premier League players – including Aaron Cresswell, who was a Tranmere Rovers player and now plays for West Ham – to see whether it would be possible for his investment fund to begin work in Wirral Waters.”

Is it just us ? – or is is there something vaguely nauseating about poverty tourist Frank Field’s parliamentary office brainstorming about the ‘loadsamonies’ who they can approach with the begging bowl without considering whether it’s morally right that footballers and the like can earn such huge sums of money or question as to whether as a society we’ve got our values all wrong? Nevertheless it is interesting to discover that Wirral’s ‘largest programme of new housing’ is somehow the responsibility of Frank Field’s Parliamentary office isn’t it?!

NUMBER – CRUNCHING   – Aaron Cresswell’s  current fortnightly salary at West Ham Utd  = £100,000 ! (well fancy that!)  See here : West Ham Utd Salaries 2018

So what we’d like tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting to do is finally come clean and announce that ‘Wirral Waters One’ and indeed the ‘ Hoylake Golf Resort’ proposal are merely opportunistic housing developments and quit the soft soap.

 

                                                              Vexatious , Moi?

Wirral Council seemed to have backed off the desperate claim that Wirral Council taxpayer Charles Nunn is ‘vexatious’ for asking pertinent questions about the continuing employment of highly paid consultant Stewart Halliday . See their latest response here : Halliday FOI

Mr Nunn comments :

At last a part reply to my F.of Information request.
Halliday has had his contract extended for a further SIX MONTHS from 1st. January, 2018.
Another £90,000 odd from the Wirral Council Tax payer.
It may be worth a mention in your esteemed publication.
Charles

                           

                                           CGL:  “……and nobody seemed to care “

Many thanks to those who keep us appraised of national charity Change,Grow Live who are the grateful recipient of Wirral’s largest ( £7 million +) Public Health contract. Their latest mishap involves them in a massive data breach involving abandoned files found in an empty Tameside office  containing highly personal details about the lives of vulnerable young people – including abuse survivors. Once again we fear we have seen the future of health and social care. Be afraid, be very afraid.

CGL- Tameside

 

                                                     Posted Truth

A source writes :

By way of obscure and tenuous response to you excellent ‘Post Truth’ contribution/blog

… I am sending you this ‘Posted Truth’ image… I reckon you could say it is both a statement of fact…. and a protest. (Which I obviously feel to be a good thing).

Posted Truth

 

 

                                                       De-Stressed Eric 

A local barfly informs us :

Eric (Robinson) was recently seen in a pub in Liverpool when he should have been working – the pub being ‘Brew Dog’ dressed in casuals.
The council is no better than when we had the other 3 – it’s probably worse.

Now we can’t confirm whether Stressed Eric was on council duty or not whilst allegedly quaffing the craft ale – but we have to ask as to whether anyone would notice the difference ? Plus we simply don’t want to think about him dressed in his ‘casuals’.

Having said that we don’t need convincing that Wirral Council is worse than ever under his , ahem, ‘leadership’  As for ‘the other 3’ – whoever could they mean?!

       

                                               A Cautionary Tale

In Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #2 we commented on recent developments where Mayor Joe Anderson was interviewed  by Merseyside Police ‘under caution’ in relation to the ongoing fraud probe involving Liverpool City Council CEO Ged Fitzgerald and others. We now hear of someone closer to home who it is alleged was also interviewed under caution by Merseyside Police in relation to an altogether different matter. However such are the extreme sensitivities surrounding this particular case we are precluded from reporting any further. Nevertheless we will be following developments with interest….

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #1

Following on from last week’s post and with our readers continuing to send us dispatches of despair from dystopia we thought we’d instigate a weekly foreign exchange. Be warned – it might not be weekly. We’ll be treating these titbits like we’re shopping in the local market – keeping it fresh,seasonal and whatever catches our eye.

Tag Hag 

Several of you have been in touch to tell us that Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram plans to fudge a mayoral election pledge to ‘slash’ Mersey Tunnel toll charges . It now transpires he wants to reduce tolls for off-peak fast tag users but to raise charges to £1.80 for everyone else ! We believe the word for this type of manoeuvre is sophistry. However all we can say on the matter is that the £1.70 we paid to get out of Wirral and onward to Liverpool John Lennon Airport for a flight to Nice was the best £1.70 we’ve ever spent. Just sayin’!

What’s in a Name?

We have been sent a very sad story about the death of a young man named Mark Potter –  Wirral Man,32, who died in his sleep was very much loved   

Mr Potter’s family attended the inquest and they repeatedly quizzed mental health workers about how their son would know how to access their services.

Mr Potter’s dad asked Marion Blackburn, from Wirral Ways To Recovery: “Since 2015, how many people have died in your care?

She replied: “We have learnt things and [we’re] to make changes to make things better for people.”

Mr Potter said: “How do we [the public] know you are there?

“People are falling down the cracks. I hope you’re sorting that organisation out because people like Mark might be dying all over the place.”

Needless to say we’ve long raised the same concerns about Wirral Ways To Recovery and particularly the services that operate under the Change Grow Live  (CGL) banner. This of course led to an investigation which concluded the high mortality rate associated with the takeover by CGL of services previously provided by NHS was due to an ageing population. We’re still not convinced.

Public Health england brought in to investigate concerns first raised by Wirral Leaks

Wirral Council are having Nunn of it !

What better way of avoiding scrutiny and accountability by pulling the ‘vexatious’ card from the bottom of the pack. The latest target of this dubious tactic is our old friend Charles Nunn – who has been denied information about consultant Stewart Halliday’s ongoing (?) inflated remuneration because he might say mean things on social media. Wirral Council solicitor Rosemary Lyon , who must be a delicate little flower ,  is also upset by Charles’ ‘tone’ and writes:

I consider that you as a third party are pursuing a legitimate interest.
However I consider that that legitimate interest has been lessened by the
tone of your request in asking the Council to confirm whether “there will
be no further contract extension for this man?”

I have had regard to the guidance issued by the ICO “Dealing with
vexatious requests (Section 14) 20151218 Version 1.3. Paragraph 56 states
that “The context and history in which a request is made will often be a
major factor in determining whether the request is vexatious.” Having
regard to your previous requests about the same individual and also having
regard to comments you have made in the public domain concerning this
individual, I consider that the tone of part of this request for
information is potentially vexatious.

I consider that the processing of personal data ie the release of personal
data in respect of  Mr Halliday is unwarranted  by reason of prejudice to
the rights and freedoms or legitimate interests of him as the data
subject………..I consider that disclosure of the requested information would be
unwarranted having regard to the prejudice that would be caused to the
rights and legitimate interests of Stewart Halliday. 

For full details : Stewart Halliday FOI Request

Ms Lyon appears to have cut and paste her response from various other FOI cases she’s been involved with and one in particular which she suddenly withdrew from. Now that would be a really interesting FOI request for someone to make . The Lyon sleeps tonight? – might we suggest she’ll sleep soundly if she’s got her own solicitor to back her up in case she suffers any detriment for refusing to front a case for Wirral Council that is riddled with corruption. We can only hope the tone of that particular comment doesn’t upset Little Miss Snowflake too much!

All’s not well in Sandwell  

If Rosie Snowflake thinks she’s got it bad she needs to spare a thought for her old boss Surjit Tour who we know she admired immensely. As we’ve previously reported Tour is now fitting in nicely at Sandwell Council . We know this because we have been sent details of a threatening missive he sent last week to the magnificent local blog The Sandwell Skidder . Tour’s full hilarious rant including the immortal phrase ‘ excitable language’ can be read below, but we have to say that we’re a tad disappointed that we never received such a threat of legal action from Tour when he was at Wirral . Hmmmmm- why was that we wonder? He certainly wasn’t averse to issuing such threats as local blogger John Brace can testify. If he would have had the gonads to send such a threat to us we guarantee he would have got the same response from this Julian as he did from The Sandwell Skidder‘s very own Julian Saunders  :  

Dear Mr Saunders

Sandwell Skidder (“the Blog”)

Allegation of Harassment

I am writing to you on behalf of the Council.

The Council considers that your behaviour and conduct over the past few years cannot be left unchallenged any longer. Whilst it had hoped that your activities would die down over time it is clear that that has not happened and instead they have only increased. In addition to using your blog to attack Councillors and employees you are targeting the same individuals on Twitter and other social media sites. You are regularly seen outside of the Council offices seeking to obtain information.

The Council fully accepts that, as a body, it must be subject to criticism but as an employer it has a duty to its staff to ensure that they can work in peace and are not harassed and targeted, and a duty to Council tax-payers to ensure that their needs are not neglected whilst having to expend considerable time and effort trying to dealing with a persistent and vexatious individual such as yourself.

Whilst the Council has carefully considered whether there would be any merit in trying to engage in dialogue with you again unfortunately it does not seem to be possible or be likely to achieve any measure of success. Only today, 25th January 2018, you have posted a witness statement in a blog entitled “The Statement Sandwell don’t want you to see!” that was produced for a quasi-judicial standards hearing that was held on 24th January 2018. You were put on notice that the Council objected to the content of this statement yesterday. You have nonetheless gone ahead and not only published your statement but presented a skewed account of what took place.

The excitable language you use on your website is indicative of a motive to do damage. Unlike newspapers or news websites you fling out with abandon accusations of corruption and criminality against individuals. Nor do you appear to verify your accusations. Your persistent publication of a photograph of the Council leader with the captions on it, is designed to harass him. That is why you are doing it.

We would ask you to go through your blog and consider carefully the appropriateness of the accusations you are making and the language you are using.  The council requests that you remove all unfounded abusive/offensive remarks and images immediately.

We consider that when you do you should recognise that the language is excessive and much of the content inappropriate and together it is harassing of individuals and is unacceptable.

To that end, we are engaging specialist Counsel to assist us with this matter but would hope that you will take steps to ensure that no further action is in fact necessary.

For the avoidance of doubt, if action is taken by the Council, we will comply with the relevant pre-action protocols. At this stage, we hope you will act to ensure that there is no need to proceed any further.

If necessary, we reserve the right to show this letter to the court.

Yours sincerely

AND HERE IS MY REPLY:

To: Surjit Tour <Surjit_Tour@sandwell.gov.uk>
THIS IS NOT A PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATION

My reply is – you are well out of order and can fuck off.

For the full response : An Exchange of Correspondence with Surjit Tour

 

Public Services – ‘At Risk’

Public sector workers

Public service ‘transformers’ at work.

Today we return to a sadly familiar tale. The destruction of public services and those public servants making a killing making it happen and enabling private sector vultures to gorge on the corpse.
Let’s start appropriately enough with one of our respondents by the name of ‘P45’ who told us in a reply to an earlier post :
Won’t be reported in the glorious Wirral View how hundreds of (Wirral) council workers have just this week received ‘at risk’ letters.
Average wage of these manual workers 18k a year – the normal cuts start at the bottom.
Compare that with the obscene rates paid to fly by night municipal mercenaries in the form of external consultants and  particularly so called ‘transformers’ who seem particularly adept at transforming their bank balance if nothing else. These are dark days for public services – not just in terms of central government funding but also because of those who seek financial and /or career advantage from its demise.
No doubt the latest round  of redundancy threats will be done in the name of short term savings when we all know its more about the Council divesting themselves of direct responsibility for staff and services.  Then watch as in the long term the council wage bill rises to pay for agency workers and temporary staff on insecure short term contracts.
But then what hope do rank and file staff have when they are not only at the mercy of self serving senior managers but are also ill served by supine unions and betrayed by amoral councillors – the most sickening example being serial failure Cllr Steve Foulkes recently voting himself a rise in expenses/allowances for sitting on outside bodies alongside his day job and his council duties when council staff are at risk of losing their livelihoods.
Of course this  “I’m Alright Jack” mentality shows up the support for the likes of foodbanks and the homeless to be the phony political posturing and cynical virtue signalling that it is.  ” Oh these foodbanks are a damning indictment of modern society  ….. I know !  let’s open another foodbank so I can get my picture in the paper”.
As we know there’s not only political capital to be had at the expense of the vulnerable there is ,more pertinently,  financial capital to be gained.
Indeed we have been provided with a telling example by a well placed source who notes that we have written extensively about Change, Grow, Live  (CGL).  As we know CGL are the grateful recipients of the biggest slice of Public Health monies ( £7 million +) to provide drug and alcohol services that were previously provided by the NHS. Our source has been reliably informed that David Biddle the Chief Executive of  CGL ( formerly Crime Reduction Initiatives) will be in line for a £1 million golden handshake when he retires next year .  David Biddle – ‘stepping down’
In an interview published last year in The Guardian Mr Biddle claimed ‘what pissed people off’ was that CGL were ‘very businesslike’. Read the full story here : What pisses people off
Believe us Mr Biddle the CGL operation on Wirral has been described to us in many ways but ‘very businesslike’ certainly isn’t one of them! What’s more what we think really pisses us off is people making obscene amounts of public money that can be made out of other people’s misery . As our source says :
Surely this is public money, squeezed from LA drug budgets as CGL undercut by some way existing NHS services, like Wirral, and set up inferior and less effective services. Remember the 72 dead here in their first eighteen months? Talk about blood money.
It is because of the increasing prevalence of scenarios such as this that we applaud the work of campaign groups such as Defend Our NHS Wirral who campaign to support public services for the benefit of ALL and not just the gilded elite ‘transforming’ public services mainly for the benefit of themselves.
“Will you defend our NHS?”
Wirral campaign group Defend Our NHS has written to all councillors to find out where they stand on the destruction of the National Health Service.
The group, alongside others in Cheshire & Merseyside, is asking councillors to do more than express their admiration for the NHS and its staff.
Rather than simply share patients’ and widespread public concerns at the harm being done to our health service by cuts and closures Wirral councillors have the statutory power to STOP the damage in its tracks.
Wirral shares the same problems as other parts of the country. But the closure of the Eastham Walk-In Clinic (without adequate notice or indeed any consultation), the pressures on Arrowe Park Hospital, and the ongoing appointment difficulties are just some of the specific local concerns.
All of this, and the accelerating pace at which problems are mounting, are the inevitable result of £22 billions cut from the NHS budget. And now the so-called ‘sustainability and transformation partnership’ (STP) would produce a permanent regime of cuts (almost a further £1 billion in our region) and threats to a free national health service.
Wirral Council voted last December to oppose the STP for Cheshire & Merseyside which would inevitably (unless stopped) lead to an American-style ‘accountable care system’ (ACS).
The STP and ACS scandal is now the subject of two legal challenges.
Defend Our NHS is asking all councillors three simple questions to discover where they stand on all this.
Along with other campaign groups in the STP ‘footprint’ Defend Our NHS will be publishing the results and inviting councillors to briefing sessions to learn more about the destruction of our NHS – and how to defend and reinstate it.
1. Do you support our campaign to stop the STP and oppose the further cuts? YES/NO
2. Do you support the reinstatement of our NHS? YES/NO
3. Will you tell Wirral voters what your responses are in any forthcoming communication? YES/NO

MAT Carpeted

MAT 010

Before we move on to education from health can we just comment on today’s Wirral Cabinet ‘good news’ item?

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15403266.Councillors_approve___20m_boost_for_Wirral_health_services/

And can we just say there is no £20 million ‘boost’. It’s not an ‘investment’. It’s ‘Public Health’ money which appears to have been unimaginatively allocated to the usual suspects. This includes £7 million + to  Change,Grow,Live (CGL) for their services – about which we still get a torrent of complaints about.

 The ‘investment plan’ is as follows :

  • Drug and alcohol services:  £7,332,674
  • Smoking cessation:            £697,878
  • Sexual health:                   £2,939,729
  • Children (0-19):                £6,909,800
  • Weight management:        £200,000
  • Health checks:                  £306,029
  • Mental health:                   £40,000
  • Miscellaneous:                   £1,614,027
  • Infection control:               £223,578

Total = £20,263,715

Yes , you read that correctly . £40,000 for mental health.

Perhaps if Wirral Council invested money in mental health services from the get go perhaps they wouldn’t need to pick up the tab further down the line for the sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll casualties. Just sayin’ !

However , on to education and the ‘ Multi Academy Trust’  (MAT) consultation involving Woodchurch High School. For those interested everything can be found here:

http://www.woodchurchhigh.com/poll.php

Why we were particularly interested in highlighting this story was because our source gave us a handy summary of the proposals :

Greedy Top Brass (CEO, Directors etc), dishing out scraps to the serfs ( Primary Schools)
Resulting in poor education for children as schools can no longer afford quality teachers ( too expensive )
Thus relying on NQT’s ( Newly Qualified Teachers ) to start our children’s journey through education.
Unfortunately this will sound very familiar to our readers who know that a concentration of power in institutions on Wirral usually leads to abuse of that power.
Just sayin’ (once again)

Election Selection : Week 1

Brickie 2 015.JPG

Wirral has its own NHS – who knew?

After this week’s call for a snap election we thought we’d set up a weekly report on the local political hustings fun , campaign fails and General Election jiggerypokery. Accordingly we’d like to invite our readers to send in any of their electioneering snippets and general observations on the madness of modern politicking.

The Usual Crap

First off – we’ve been forwarded the Prenton edition of the ‘Brickie to stand for Metro Mayor’ campaign leaflet first reported here : Purdah Palaver

It would seem the local Labour group are riding on the coat-tails of the Metro Mayor election and inserting information about their local wards in the middle of the glossy 4 page propaganda piece . The Prenton edition  (see above) is particularly inept featuring as it does a regurgitated press release about the Liverpool City Region by Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies and the compulsory piece about dog crap – because as we know that’s all the Wirral electorate care about according to former Wirral Council CEO Steve Maddox.

However what is most galling is the gurning features of Cllr Angela ‘CGL’ Davies and Cllr Tony ‘Tight-fit” Norbury holding a ‘Care For the NHS’ placard. The doublethink going on here is mindblowing.  Once again these mindless hypocrites are quite happy to campaign to keep the NHS from ending up in private hands – started by the Labour Party under Tony Blair , lest we forget – but are quite happy for Wirral Council services to be farmed out to the lowest bidder. Of course Cllr Angela Davies cares for the NHS so much because not only does it pay her a good wage but when the service she worked for was outsourced to Change! Grow! Live ! (FFS!) she didn’t much like it and bolted back to the warm bosom of public service. Shame she doesn’t afford that opportunity to Wirral Council employees facing redundancy and/or less favourable employment contracts in the private sector. Just sayin’!

May Day

Tip-top local blogger Wirralinittogether (geddit?) clearly doesn’t need to go to Specsavers as he counted not one, not two but three local at Tory leader Theresa May’s election launch in Bolton .

Tory Voters in Wallasey and beyond. You’re being taken for fools

All we can say the Tory councillors must’ve felt at home in Bolton at their Labour led Council is another one that thinks it can do what the bloody hell it likes with public money! Last year Bolton Council were heavily criticised for giving £300,000 of public money to a private law firm – like you do!

http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/14925029.Lawyer_to_report_Asons___300_000_grant_deal_to_national_watchdog/?lp=6

Moonlighting for Margaret ?

These must be trying times for Wirral Council’s renaissance man Martin Liptrotsky. Policy advisor, business guru and political campaigner – is there no beginning to this man’s talents? Having helped Margaret Greenwood win the Wirral West for Labour seat at the the last General Election we have to wonder with Liptrot being appointed to a politically restricted post at Wirral Council who Greenwood is going to get to do her ‘dirty work’ this time round? Now we were no fans of previous Wirral West MP Esther McVey but the Liptrot orchestrated campaign at the last election was perhaps the most vicious and nasty in recent memory. And we’re not talking about the abusive graffiti , we’re talking about “Lord” Prescott’s appearance on West Kirby beach and Labour deputy leader John McDonnell endorsing a comment by a local Labour activist to ‘hang the bitch’ . So much for Labour leader Jezza Corbyn’s call for ‘kinder,gentler politics’ !  Needless to say any reports that Liptrot is moonlighting for Margaret during the latest campaign will be gratefully received!……………..

 

Transformers 2

We need to thank our lucky stars that Wirral Council ‘leader’ ( ha!ha!ha!) Cllr Phil Davies aka Power Boy Pip yesterday authorised a Wirral representative to attend a ‘Transformation’ beano in Manchester today.

Unfortunately that representative was his namesake Cllr Angela Davies.

Although it must be said that whilst ‘Our Ange’ knows all about the ‘public sector transformational journey’, it would appear she didn’t like it much. Whilst working for the NHS she was quite happy to enjoy the transformation of the drug and alcohol services over into the private sector in the guise of ‘Crime Reduction Initiatives/ Change, Grow, Live’ but then it all got a bit messy for the poor lass. And whilst she was quick to criticise her new employer on the QT she soon hotfooted back to secure employment within the  NHS when she realised just exactly how they meant to ‘transform’ services.

And so the moral of this story would appear to be that ‘transformation’ is alright for us plebs but not for those with a secure pension plan – and the opportunity to enjoy free lunch and refreshments at the Manchester Hilton!

Health Cheque

 

Fiona Loves CGL

Fiona loves her £91,935 salary

 

Tonight at Wirral Council’s People Overview and Scrutiny Committee a report will be presented which allegedly reviews the  drug and alcohol service provided by Change,Grow,Live (aka Wirral Ways To Recovery)

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50037772/Enc.%201%20for%20Review%20of%20Services%20provided%20by%20Change%20Grow%20Live%20CGL.pdf

Now we thought Public Health England were being brought in  to investigate concerns about mortality rates first raised by Wirral Leaks .

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/09/08/public-health-england-brought-in-to-investigate-concerns-first-raised-by-wirral-leaks/

But no!  as the introduction to the report on page 2  states : “The number of deaths of people in contact with the service has been increasing; we have been aware of this situation and working with the provider to ensure we have a safe and effective service. However this increase has also given rise to heightened concern and it was this that led to a member of staff from Wirral Ways to Recovery contacting both an elected member and the national BBC news team to highlight this trend. The Public Health team have responded to both expressions of concern, and have linked with the regional Public Health England team, and both the local Wirral Ways to Recovery team and officers from the national parent organisation, to examine and seek a better understanding of the cause of the continuing rise in the number of deaths. This report is focusing on the 72 reported deaths of people in contact with the service over the period, 1 st February 2015 to 31st August 2016. The 72 deaths are the result of a wide range of causes, with a significant percentage being associated with long term health conditions.”

And so it would appear that not only have we been written out of history  it would appear that Wirral Council’s own Public Health team have undertaken the review  and have merely “linked ” with the regional Public Health team and CGL/ Wirral Ways To Recovery. We had our doubts about Public Health England doing this review anyway this makes a complete mockery of external scrutiny and oversight.

As a concerned source writes to us expressing their concern about this situation :

This is PHE review into drug related deaths on the Wirral. The report was authored by Fiona Johnstone, she is Director of Public Health for Wirral I believe and was instrumental in bringing in CGL after the tendering process.

The report is just 12 pages long which shows the level of indifference the council have for this marginalized group, the report doesn’t say anything other than they were old, we don’t know how old because they haven’t said. These are just a few of the crucial questions that need asking.

1.  How many were off their prescription at the time of their deaths?.
2.   How many were on a reducing prescription?.
3.   Were any excluded from services through so called behaviour issues at the time of death?.
4.   Were there any deaths after successful completion or drop out of treatment?.
5.   How many had been released from prison?.
6.   Did any die during changes to medication?
7.   Were they attending the services needle exchange scheme without fear of being challenged?
8. How many had recently been discharged from hospital prior to their death?
9. What are communication/care pathways like between the provider and the hospital?
10. How many were homeless?
11.How many had dual diagnosis?
12.Numbers diagnosed with Hepatitis C?
13. Has the provider spoken to their bereaved relatives?
I could go on Julian I’m just shocked by such a poor report
From what we can make out the report concludes that the rise in deaths is part of a national trend and mainly involves long term drug/alcohol users with underlying health problems . Anecdotal evidence is also used from  CGL/Wirral Ways to Recovery staff comparing the new and previous service provided by NHS which suggests that a number of those that died would probably have been discharged/left the service before the point of death.
We just wonder whether the whistleblower from CGL/Wirral Ways To Recovery is satisfied with this review as there appears to be no analysis or consideration of the numerous practice/service concerns raised on this blog and we very much doubt anyone would raise their concerns about death rates without mentioning concerns they had about how the service operated.
 We also wonder whether they’re reassured by the fact that scheduled contract meetings between Wirral Council’s Public Health team and CGL/Wirral Ways to Recovery will monitor the rather vague actions included in the conclusion of the report?. A further consideration that isn’t mentioned in the report that the  CGL/Wirral Ways to Recovery contract is ,at £7 million + per annum , the largest contract the Public Health team has.
From our perspective we continue to despair that public services and health and social care services in particular are being dismantled and being subject to market forces and profit margins. Unfortunately it seems to us there are many so called public servants  who in exchange for a significantly high salary seem happy to facilitate this dismantling without evidence to suggest that there has been an improvement in services or that these services provide better value for money.
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