Burgesski’s Legacy


“Oh, the shark has pretty teeth dear
And he shows ’em, pearly white………………” (Mack the Knife)

So farewell then Wirral Council Chief Executive Graham Burgess aka Comrade Burgesski – The Man Who Tarted Up The Town Hall. And that is your lasting legacy …… a local government vampire with veneers as shiny and bright as soap opera starlet and just as false. However you will always be remembered at Leaky Towers for this pseudo-profound shallow soundbite :

” Having won the war, we must win the peace….”

Meanwhile we’re wondering whether George phoned Rob to tell him you were a “safe pair of hands” enabling you take up “a new challenge” with another shedload of cash – possibly after you’ve had the luxury of spending the dark months of January and February in the Algarve whilst in your wake the staff you left behind face redundancies and local services are slashed? We understand that Rob likes the Algarve too doesn’t he? (although not as much as himself ).

A parting message from Wirral Leaks: You didn’t win the war – you were just a collaborator and your weapons of choice were PR and BS.

– this one’s for you – put this on your i-Pod as you walk along the beach:

“I’ll give you anything,
anything to shut you up”

The Legacy ?


RPT : Redacted ,Protracted & Traduced

“We wanted justice but you wouldn’t give it to us” – Nigel “Highbrow” Hobro
Now we’ve made no secret of the fact that at times we have found the BIG/ISUS/Working Neighbourhoods whistleblowing case hard to fathom (and 600 + page Committee reports don’t help) However we do know that when we hear Wirral Council using the dreaded phrase “lessons have been learned” we know that something has gone badly awry.
Therefore when Her Ladyship told me that history was repeating itself and tied me to the wingback chair in the library I first thought we were re-enacting our wedding night. However she was just ensuring that I sat through a recording of the finale of the long drawn out saga fronted by indomitable whistleblower Nigel “Highbrow” Hobro and his Aussie mate James Griffiths by showing me a recording of Wednesday’s Audit and Risk Mendacity Committee (we’re not saying that ARMC are mendacious but we are claiming that this committee has experienced enough “misleading statements” in it’s time).
We’re grateful for the fact that the recording and incisive commentary by John Brace on his blog saved us the trouble of looking at the back of  Burgesski’s head ( fashion tip from Her Ladyship: Comrade needs a haircut)……..
 So from his usual observation point on the front row the ever perceptive Mr.Brace drew parallels with the infamous Morton whistleblowing case which still casts a long,dark shadow over council proceedings. This suggests that once again that the “lessons learned” by Wirral Council warrant an F for Fail.
Certainly the redacted reports and protracted investigations reminded us of past misdemeanours although such was the welter of evidence produced by Hobro that the “No Case To Answer” stamp failed to materialise for once.The meeting itself seemed to be a bit of a fractious affair overseen by a charming new council officer/councillor double act : Tetchy Tour and Crabby Crabtree
Indicative of  the opposing viewpoints on display was the matter of a particularly contentious Internal Audit report which according to Burgesski “needed further work” whilst Hobro described it as a “pathetic piece of work” ( although we’re not sure whether he meant the report or the author !)………However we must refrain from such honestly held opinions as Burgesski doesn’t take kindly to council staff (past or present) being “traduced on social media” (!)  – funny how Burgesski doesn’t seem quite so animated on council officers being “traduced” by councillors ( but let’s not go there for the time being)  or council officers traducing whistleblowers.Perhaps he was concerned he’d have to whip out the cheque book again if someone’s feelings were hurt.” If only that cheque book could talk ! ….” sniped Her Ladyship , to which I retorted ” If that cheque book could talk it would be bound to be gagged”.
The general conclusion was that , yes ,mistakes were made ,nobody’s perfect,we’re moving forward etc;etc;etc when it came to dubious business practices and lax accounting and auditing processes which were supposed to be overseen by Wirral Council.
The people who ended up in hospital,losing their business and getting County Court judgements made against them – were forgotten about in a buck-passing masterclass – from Wirral Council to auditors Grant Thornton to Merseyside Police to North West Development Agency (with whom there are some interesting past associations) and back again.” It was before my time….” was a familiar refrain heard during the meeting.
The £46,000 payment to the former Chief Internal Auditor wasn’t before your time though was it Comrade?
As we’ve already reported the day after this meeting Burgesski announced his retirement so it seems that having once declared  : “We’ve won the war now it’s time to win the peace” it would appear that he no longer has the stomach for the fight.
And who can blame him?………there’s a H-bomb on the horizon.
H is for Hubris.


Consultant Insults


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The steps are:

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

Wirralgate ! – A History Lesson

So there we were yesterday enjoying a leisurely Sunday morning in the Leaky Towers boudoir flicking through the  newspapers when Her Ladyship suddenly shrieked  :” Oh my word “Wirralgate” is in The Sunday Times!…..”

I snatched the article from her trembling hands and quickly scanned an article written by journalist Lynn Barber.  I then handed Her Ladyship her bifocals and pointed to the title of the book that was being reviewed and which read : “Watergate: The Hidden History”.

However as I read on I fully understand as to how Her Ladyship might have been mistaken :

Watergate was more then 40 years ago,but it remains journalism’s finest hour – the moment when tireless digging by two investigative reporters brought down a president……..Watergate was by far the most enjoyable political scandal ……because it went on so long and,as in all the best soap operas ,built remorselessly week after week from one jaw-dropping revelation to another……..Thus the great unravelling began……It turned out that all Nixon’s conversations in the Oval Office and in his private office had been recorded…and after a long legal battle,Nixon was forced to release them.This was when “expletive deleted” became part of the language because it cropped up so many times in the transcripts….”  

All we need to add is that we can certainly think of 1 “expletive deleted” that will need to made when the transcript of the Wirralgate tape finally emerges from “the hidden history”.

Having said that we’re not sure as to whether “bloody” counts as an expletive these days.However we are sure that the rest of the sentence containing this word will fully warrant both censoring and censuring. 

Tomorrows Headlines Today !


In time honoured Wirral Council tradition the following headline has been redacted….

We invite our readers to indulge in some summer time fun and fill in the redactions!

Please mark your entries : Restorative Justice



Lessons Learned


“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”

As Wirral Council merrily continues to dismantle public services we note ruefully at Leaky Towers how quickly the “organisation” has returned to its bad old ways.

Firstly the libraries closure volte-face debacle of 2010 is seemingly making a comeback with Burgesski taking his turn to face the flak and issue a statement claiming there’s nothing untoward going on by reviewing the library service once again.
Of course such is the lack of trust and confidence in Wirral Council  that anything emanating from Wallasey Town Hall is instantly met with hostility and suspicion.

It seems to us that Super -Duper Director meetings must mainly consist of them drawing straws to see who is going to front the latest controversial Council press release. Funny we never seem to hear from bullet-dodger Clare Fish whose surname seems most appropriate , as considering her prominent role ,she seems to be about as elusive and vocal as Stringray’s Aqua Marina.

So having been spared the indignity of being overtaken by commissioners (thanks to Frankenfield’s intervention) and having hoodwinked the blinkered Improvement Board it would seem Wirral Council feels secure in returning to the familiar power bases and personalities. There’s Foulkesy ensconced as Wirral’s first citizen with sidekick George Davies still acting as his middle man and Matron McLaughlin back chairing a Council Committee. It’s like the Independent Review never happened – but then this is what happens when an investigator like Anna Klonowski only does half a job and there is no accountability ,no consequences and a politically apathetic public (witness the shockingly low turnout in McLaughlin’s Rock Ferry ward).

Inevitably we now have the return of all the issues which brought Wirral Council into such disrepute – the corrosive culture,the obsessive secrecy,the abuse of power.

There are only so many times the Department of Spin can rely on golf tournaments and Stella Shiu and artists impressions of Wirral Waters and pictures of the Mayor and Mayoress before the spin spirals out of control into sheer delirium

However the Department of Spin does contain at least one person who has learned the lessons of the past. They can certainly show those naive whistleblowers how it should be done. They have learned that knowledge is power – so use it to your advantage.

Keep your job and get a nice big cheque.Win-Win.

That now makes 2 people in the Wirral Council “Job for Life” Club.

Cowboys and Indians


We would like to thank the delightfully, if implausibly named Scarlett Impernell  for copying us into correspondence sent to Wirral Council Chief Executive Comrade Burgesski which reads:

” To : Mr Burgess Chief Exec

At a recent meeting of Community Patrol I was also deeply offended by Manager X’s racist references to Indians identyfying them as the bad guys. He made comments such as

“we need to keep the Indians at bay”
” The Indians are circling”
” The Indians are out there, over the hill waiting !”

This is not acceptable from anyone, let alone a man in his position. Strangely the council Hate Crime manager was sat next to him. He may think its just a harmless saying but if you were a Native American, from India, or genuinely believed in equality you would find these sort of comments extremely offensive.

You will not be surprised that I am sending this anonysmously. The reasons for this are obvious. You will not take it seriously and then I will be hunted down like others who don’t toe the party line.”

Obviously it’s not our place to comment on allegations of casual racism and/or toe-curlingly crass  management speak that belongs to another period in time ….the Neanderthal period to be precise.

However our particular interest lies in the fact that Manager X  features in our extensive archive. And therefore we think Scarlett is very wise to remain anonymous as based on what we know   –  a) they won’t be taken seriously and b) they will be hunted down.

We know this from the case where Manager X  failed to properly address allegations about serial bullies targeting staff raising genuine concerns.This series of events inevitably followed the Wirral Council time honored tradition where someone’s career is destroyed and the bullies and enablers carry on topping up their pension pots.

And so demonstrating once again that Wirral leaks has a better grasp of public service than Wirral Council we proudly present a Wirral Leaks special cut out and keep “Lessons to be Learned” for Wirral Council ( the latest in a seemingly never ending series….).

* If staff operate in a culture of fear they will seek alternative outlets for their complaints/grievances/concerns
* If staff have no trust and confidence in managers listening to them they will seek alternative outlets for their complaints/grievances/concerns
* If staff have no trust in internal processes or investigations they will seek alternative outlets for their complaints/grievances/concerns

It’s just occurred to us here that if you add in casual racial slurs we could be talking about Wirralgate!

Happy Easter

The Comrade “Braveheart” Burgesski Kiss Off


After we reported last July that Wirral had signed a ” Concordat” with Cheshire West And Chester Council to explore sharing services – SEE HERE

It now appears that Wirral Council has, according to it’s Chief Executive Comrade Burgesski, made a ” brave” decision and decided to give the engagement ring back.

Clearly the thought of jumping into bed with a Tory-run Council proved too much when there is a much more compatible match over the River Mersey. And what’s more we’re sure that jumping into a bed with a Tory can lead to ,ahem, compromising positions!!!

Burgesski’s statement  “It is right to thoroughly investigate an opportunity and have the bravery to say it isn’t right for us at the moment” is spin taken to the point of delirium. Do they truly believe this bollocks or has the Department Of Spin completely given up ?


We’re amazed he didn’t add some classic kiss-off lines such as :

  • we were getting seriously too quickly let’s see other Councils for a while
  • we need some time
  • we need some space
  • it’s us. It really is. It’s not you
  • you’re too good for us and you’ll only end up getting hurt/embarrassed/bankrupt
  • we don’t deserve you. You deserve better
  • we’re no good for anyone right now
  • you’re the right Council but at the wrong time of our “improvement journey”

However we must say the reference to “bravery” had us all guffawing loudly.

” What do they mean?….” I implored.

Verity sidled over and whispered in my ear : ” If you don’t mind me saying so your Lordship they don’t know what they’re doing…. or to purloin a phrase from Eldritch – they don’t know their arse from their elbow”

Meanwhile we’re left wondering whether it’s only a matter of time before Warrington Council is lured into HKLSHSW Combined Authority ” Super Council” and Wirral Council’s ” special relationship” with that authority is formalised.