Is There Anything Wrong With This Page?

Is there anything wrong 009.JPG

We notice that the Taxpayer’s Alliance have published their annual list of the highest paid, so called, public servants . You know , the ones we pay through the nose so they can keep their noses in the trough – purely because they can speak BS and do a powerpoint presentation AT THE SAME TIME! Glory be! we need to grovel in admiration!

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15216874.Wirral_Council_bosses_back_on_the_Town_Hall_Rich_List___and_one_earns_more_than_the_PM/

Needless to say Wirral Council features on the list.

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/taxpayersalliance/pages/6911/attachments/original/1491491587/Town_Hall_Rich_List_Master.pdf?1491491587

To which a couple of our commentators responded as follows :

‘Good to know town hall fat cats across the country are doing their bit in the face of savage guvmint cuts by awarding themselves massive pay rises. 
Funny that Wirral Council is cutting adult social care at the same time it’s introducing an adult social care precept. 
Not hard to guess which adults it is providing care for…..Step forward Blotto and Feeble.’
As they stole ‘Blotto’ and ‘Feeble’ from us . We’re stealing ‘guvmint’ . Genius!
Meanwhile someone who seems to have spent some time at the newly opened, glorified ‘yoof club’ that is ‘The Hive’ says :
‘Forget ASBOs – it’s these MOFOs that have caused downfall of society. 4 real! ‘
Who are we to disagree?

Meanwhile an exasperated Wirral Council officer shakes their head and with hands on their hips says:

“This information is published by the Taxpayers’ Alliance every year, and every year is inaccurate.

In this particular case, the salary quoted for the chief executive is wrong – and there are no council officers earning more than £300,000.”

Might we humbly suggest that the £371,848 remuneration to an ‘unknown strategic director’ best known for smoking, shagging and fighting included a £250,000 bung for him to slither off to the Wirral Chamber of Commerce?  We may be wrong, but let’s face it, we very rarely are!

The deeply aggrieved Wirral Council mouthpiece helpfully points us towards the Wirral Council website for clarification:

http://www.wirral.gov.uk/about-council/performance-and-spending/chief-officer-pay

It is interesting to note that at the end of the page it asks the pertinent question:

IS THERE ANYTHING WRONG WITH WITH THIS PAGE?

To which we at Leaky Towers can only reply : ‘Hell, yes!, where do we begin?’

For starters – Eric ‘ Feeble’ Robinson is on £178K ? – everything that is wrong with the world right there when that elusive mediocrity is on that kind of money.

As for Blott/Armstrong/Hassall – they were put on God’s green earth to be despised by us. They have succeeded. They now need to take their pensions and disappear.

We reserve judgement on Fish as apparently she had a bit of beef with Emma Degg and the former unexpectedly won. Go Clare!

Paul Satoor as Transformation Director is a new one on us. Jeezus his Department must be bigger than Dr Jekyll’s laboratory. But with the same results – full of havoc-wreaking, cash guzzling monsters like Mr Halliday, sorry Mr Hyde.

The rest of the list is a dispiriting roll call of overpaid nonentities but we were particularly drawn to the name Nicola Butterworth. Any relation to ‘Stressed Eric’ acolyte Stephen Butterworth? Or shall we just rejoice in the influx of Butterworths to Wirral that make all our lives just so much better?

Is there anything wrong 010

The Liptrot Mystery

Evans

Opposition councillors seem unusually curious about the recent controversial appointment of Council leader Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’Davies political ally , Martin Liptrot(sky) to the post of  ‘Interim’ Investment Lead .

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15173137.Special_meeting_heats_up_as_Wirral_councillors_clash_over_controversial_new_job_for_Labour_s_policy_chief/

And so they might be! The ongoing saga is worthy of an Agatha Christie murder mystery ….. but who knows where the bodies are buried !?

Of course we anticipated such an appointment long ago The Uncanny and the Corrupt

That’s not because we have second sight, it’s simply because, by now, we know all Wirral Council’s plot devices.

So before we get to the heart of the mystery, let us set out the story so far. Are you sitting comfortably? – because we guarantee you won’t be for much longer!

Remember when we exclusively announced Liptrot’s arrival at Wirral Council and questioned how his ‘Policy Advisor’ post came about?

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/all-hail-the-new-king-of-spin/

Remember when we questioned his apolitical credentials when he was appointed to a politically restricted post despite declaring his long held Labour Party affiliations all over social media ?

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/a-political-mr-liptrot/

Who can forget when Wirral Globe disclosed that leaked toecurling early morning email exchange between Liptrot and Pip?  Where the former, in full on diva mode, appears to be calling the shots – complaining about his pay and bemoaning the fact that he has to hand in time sheets to Super Duper Director  Joe Blott  – oh the shame!

“Apparently I’m supposed to work for 24 quid an hour and hand time sheets to Joe Blott [strategic director].Clearly that is both insulting and wildly unrealistic for the scope of the role we are discussing.There is no way I’m going to earn even less than I am now. We need to work out what we need to agree and you will probably have to just step up and tell everyone what you want doing in the end. Let’s talk tomorrow.’

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14306240.Emails_give_extraordinary_insight_into_Wirral_Council_s_controversial_hiring_of_former_Labour_spin_doctor/

And so having set the scene we move on to the latest chapter in the charmed life of Mr Liptrot and his latest ‘transformation'(!) as ‘Interim’ Investment Lead at Wirral Council.

An extraordinary series of extracts from leaked emails details the ‘bureaucratic machinations’ behind this latest appointment and provides us with even more plot twists……..

Firstly , we might recall that  24 councillors  issued  a ‘Notice of Motion’ in respect of, what was at the time, the creation of ‘a senior post of Investor Development Manager’ in response to the Labour Cabinet meeting held on 16 January .  This meeting was chaired by Power Boy Pip and included a report calling for the removal of ‘Call – in’ , thus denying opposition councillors the opportunity to ask any awkward questions about the post. The report stated :

‘Although this was not a key decision, in the light of the time critical nature of these activities, it was considered necessary to request that call-in be waived. This would enable the activities to progress at once and, therefore, ensure that work was completed in time to meet deadlines for key events such as MIPIM. Due to the absence of the Chief Executive, and on his behalf, the Assistant Chief Executive had recommended that call-in be waived’.

Head of Law Surjit Tour clarified the situation : ‘Cabinet agreed to waive ‘call-in’ in accordance with the Constitution and the decision is therefore implementable immediately notwithstanding the request for an extraordinary council having been made and agreed. Council at the extraordinary council meeting is being invited to scrutinise the creation of the post and decide whether it is justified – but council would only be expressing its opinion/view in respect of the post and its justification. The decision maker remains the Executive and the decision in question remains implementable.’

The post was advertised via  Wirral Council’s temporary worker system (Matrix) . Matrix passed on the job specification to recruitment agencies at an equivalent day rate of £195.

Initially six applications were received. However according to Wirral Council’s HR  : ‘none of the applicants met the specification. We  have received feedback from the agencies that the remuneration is not sufficient to attract calibre candidates.Given the urgent requirement for the additional capacity and limited budget we are sourcing an Interim role – Interim Investment Lead on an interim rate, but for a shorter period of time’

HR went on to later add :‘The agencies feedback that they could potentially source some applicants at £350 day , but the calibre we required is likely to be £500 day. Given the urgent requirement for the additional capacity and limited budget we need to increase the day rate .’

Frankly it is simply an astonishing state of affairs when so-called committed, and no doubt ‘passionate’ public servants, don’t consider it worthwhile getting out of bed for less than £350 a day!  And of course the recruitment agencies are going to advocate such a hike in the daily rate because presumably it means more money for them! All of which means that public authorities are held a hostage to fortune!

Needless to say when the post was advertised at the higher rate, 13 further applications were received !

5 candidates were shortlisted. One of the candidates was unable to make the interview date and one candidate withdrew. And in true Agatha Christie fashion :  ‘And then there were 3’. These interviews took place on 15 February 2017.

Initially we understand that Asif Hamid was due to be on the interview panel but he mysteriously withdrew to be replaced , inevitably, by Wirral Chamber of Commerce chum Paula Basnett. Clare Fish , Wirral Council’s Executive Director for Strategy was also a late absentee. This left :

  • Alan Evans, Strategic Commissioner for Growth (Chair of the Panel)
  • Stephen Butterworth, Interim Strategic Project Support
  • Sally Shah, Lead Commissioner: Place and Investment
  • Paula Basnett, Chief Executive, Wirral Chamber of Commerce
  • Ellen Cutler, Director Inward Investment, Liverpool Vision

Now as we know the successful candidate was our leading suspect Martin Liptrot who was awarded an an initial 4 month contract  @ £350 a day.

However the  mystery here is whether the panel made the appointment or was the final decision made by Power Boy Pip and his supine CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson?

The Extraordinary Council meeting held earlier this week was an attempt by some curious councillors to find the answer to this whodunnit and other mysteries surrounding the case. However the Labour group were anxious to shut this line of enquiry down with Cllr Brian Kenny squeaking up for a ‘guillotine’ thereby reducing the time available for debating the issue.

Perhaps curious opposition councillors should seek clues about the recruitment process from Alan Evans, the Strategic Commissioner for Growth, who chaired the selection panel?

We understand that Evans’ unsung team in Department of Regeneration have been doing some excellent work  behind the scenes  and we can only wonder what they must feel about the influx of Johnny-Come -Lately’s such as Liptrot  who ,under the guise of ‘transformers’ , appear to be muscling in on their act and potentially taking the credit for their work.

We await further plot developments with great interest!

SPECIAL REPORT : Where Your Money Goes

where-your-money-goes

It must be this time of year, as we’ve been musing on money matters (or rather lack thereof). Clearly Wirral Council have been doing the same as they gear up to set their forthcoming budget and pursue a number of punitive charging regimes to offset central government funding cuts.

Yeah,yeah, yeah – we get it when they drone on about how badly they’ve been done to by central government and they have to make tough choices and priorities. But that’s what we take issue with Wirral Council here at Leaky Towers – it’s the choices that they make which indicate to us that their priorities are all wrong. Consequently they lose all moral authority when they start bleating about lack of finances.

So let’s take a quick look at where that money comes from and where it goes :

As we all know Wirral Council’s income stream is increasingly going to be us via Council Tax and any supplementary fund raising scams they can come up with.We look forward to their budget proposals now that they’ve been given the go ahead by central government to put up Council Tax by 3% to pay for the rising costs of social care. Rather frighteningly they also have the the opportunity to raise even more money via this route.Surrey County Council are looking at a total Council Tax rise of 15% but to do so they would have to put it to the local vote. We suggest that this is not something that the ruling group at Wirral Council wouldn’t risk but nothing ,nothing would surprise us about this shower of chancers.

David Hodge, Leader of Surrey County Council, announces proposal to seek a council tax rise of 15%

So , down to business –  we’ve previously discussed the charming operatives from Kingdom Secrurity and their cash for trash extortion agency for the Council. As anyone who has seen a Kingdom Security in action – they go after vulnerable people who don’t have the means to  retaliate . Much like the people they get their contract off.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/11/25/cash-for-trash/

It’s not  about caring for the environment. Neither are other money-making scams devised by an increasingly desperate council. Similarly their car park charging proposals have absolutely nothing to do with maintaining the roads or traffic measures. It’s all about the moolah. Your moolah! – so cash cows out there prepare your teats for action as they’re going to be bled dry.

Park and Get Taken For A Ride

We’ve already reported the squandering of £80,000 on the appointment of an Investor Development Manager – rumoured to be a shoo-in for current leading Wirral Council puppet master Martin Liptrot.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/the-power-abusers/

Which again begs the question as to why there isn’t someone on a humongous salary with the requisite skills at Wirral Council – because well ,apparently there just isn’t ! Let’s not even mention what the likes of David Armstrong, Clare Fish and Joe Blott  get paid  – if you throw in Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson that’s half a million big ones per annum between them.

Never mind the recent ridiculous ‘Are Wirral’s 66 councillors Value For Money?’ exercise conducted by themselves and to which the unsurprising answer was a resounding YES! – how about we have a VFM consultation on the above gang of four/flaw? – especially when we consider the damning Ofsted report into Children’s Services.

This has necessitated the appointment of troubleshooter Eleanor Brazil and former Children’s Commissioner for England Professor Maggie Atkinson as the new ‘independent’ chairwoman of Wirral Safeguarding Children’s Board. The appointment of such big hitters suggests us to that Children’s Services is in an even bigger mess than the Ofsted report indicated. Not that we’ll ever know because the Children’s Services Improvement Board meets behind closed doors. Lessons have obviously been learned from the last Improvement Board – no openness, no transparency, no public accountability suits the powers that be. We’re just asked to stump up the bill.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15032232.Government_troubleshooter_who_dealt_with_aftermath_of_Baby_P_scandal_to_lead_rescue_of_Wirral_children_s_services/

These consultants seem to be mainly tasked with finding out why Wirral Council can’t recruit and retain staff in Children’s Services. We can tell them free of charge : because it’s rammed with poor calibre middle managers who bully their staff on the instructions of passive/aggressive senior managers who earn a nice wedge spouting platitudes and duping councillors.Plus the fact that who in their right mind would want to do Child Protection work in Birkenhead. Think about that for a moment  – beyond grim.

Another drain on resources that we never to get to hear about are the court cases that Wirral Council get ensnared in because they simply don’t know the difference between right and wrong….but they’ve got plenty of well paid people particularly in the HR and Law Departments who are prepared to blur the lines between the two in return for a big fat salary. We understand that there’s a court case coming up at the end of this month that could prove to be the defining moment of how Wirral Council chooses to ‘move forward’.

We’ll keep you posted.

The Pain of Failure

pain

 

Now that we’ve had time to fully absorb Ofsted’s less than flattering  inspection report of Wirral’s Children’s Services we thought we’d wade in with our thoughts.

The horrorshow of a report speaks for itself :

https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/local_authority_reports/wirral/051_Single%20inspection%20of%20LA%20children%27s%20services%20and%20review%20of%20the%20LSCB%20as%20pdf.pdf

So having last week made our position on the latest Wirral Council car crash clear we’d particularly like to concentrate on the debris .

Inevitably Frank Field has melodramatically (if belatedly)  entered the fray saying that the report is “simply devastating” . However for a man who in the past has been quick to condemn he’s treating those responsible for the manifest failings in the report with kid gloves (no pun intended).

“Now is not the time for scapegoating”  he magisterially declares taking time out from calling for public accountability and monstering panto villains like former BHS boss “Sir” Philip Green. Which is a bit of a surprise from someone who makes such a public show of his deep concern about Wirral’s kiddiewinks. Although it’s perhaps not so surprising when you consider that one of the main people who should be driven into the desert is People Overview and Scrutiny Committee chair and long-time  Frankenfield acolyte Cllr Moira “Matron” McLaughlin , who having failed spectacularly when she steered a totally out of control adult social services department has been given the opportunity  to fall asleep at the wheel again and fail to ensure the proper scrutiny of children’s services under the  stewardship of Labour cabinet lead  Cllr Tony Smith . That’s quite a track record – it can only be a matter of time before she’s awarded an OBE.

But then what constantly perplexes us at Leaky Towers is that the people who are responsible for Council failures are given the responsibility to clear it up. We are not re-assured by the fact that Wirral Council Chief Executive Eric “Feeble” Robinson has informed us that will be holding Head of Children’s Services  Julia Hassall’s hand whilst they clear up a mess partially of their own making. Stressed Eric described the Ofsted report as “painful” – but then we’re sure that the  near £300,000 per annum of public money that Eric and Julia earn between them must go some way to easing that pain.

Has anyone noticed that Clare Fish the Strategic Director for Families & Wellbeing has been conspicuous by her absence from the public eye?. Whilst we always considered Fish to be out of her depth we wouldn’t like to think that this particular Super Duper Director has become yet another big fish who’s been let off the hook and been rewarded for their failure.

However it’s not all bad news as we’re particularly gratified, alongside a former Wirral Council head of safeguarding, that the current incumbent of the post – simpering Simon Garner – has been rumbled.

And finally  with reference to the Ofsted report we think that whoever thought up the acronym MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) needs to be put out of their misery.

children-fail

Memo to Frank Field

 

Returning & Non-Returning Officers

peonies 2016 008

We’ve received a couple of further leaks this past week which indicate that Wallasey Town Hall is very much the sleazepit it ever was.

Firstly we hear the news that Super-Duper Director Clare “Wet” Fish has failed to follow the golden rule of Wirral Council – “Use what you know to get what you want” as we’re reliably informed that :

“Cabinet in secret threw out Eric’s restructure proposal which would have allowed Clare Fish to go with big pension and severance payment ahead of pension changes later this year……..”

So not only does Eric “Feeble” Robinson finally find out where he stands in the scheme of things  – basically he does as he’s told and his  reward for fronting the Wirral Council charade is £ 175K + perks. Nice work if you can get it and you can get it if you (don’t) try and change things.

Similarly do we have any sympathy for Ms.Fish ? – absolutely not!. Have you seen what she’s been on these past few years?. And how exactly have the people  of Wirral benefited from her six figure salary?! . What’s more we know she’s threatened to resign in a fit of pique well before now but obviously the lure of filthy lucre proved too much. She could have done so much better financially if she threatened to spill the beans on what she knows – but a well brought up gal like Fish is obviously out of her depth (!) when it comes to dealing the Birkenhead Boot Boys.

Indeed Ms.Fish would be advised to have some regard for our second leak on how things work at Wirral Council :

“First officer – 30 years of unblemished service,professional and respected by staff. Second officer investigated for fraud, assaulted colleague but ex mayors chauffeur and late night control room host for Cllrs. You can only guess who got the job!

Previous ludicrous job descriptions for Control Room (Team Leader and Technical Officer) you posted on your site have been approved with interviews taken place.
Problem being these posts have not been advertised internally or externally and with a 100+ on the redeployment register plus our very popular ex senior officer it makes you wonder why these posts were ringfenced for a few staff whose positions(Community Patrol Officers) are not under threat of redundancy.
The unions have been made fully aware of this situation but up to now absolutely no response to be honest no surprise there.
It seems the old guard has been replaced by the same thinking new guard where policies and procedures only apply to manual workers not suits behind desks.”
So it appears that somewhat incongruously Clare Fish will soon be able to sit in solidarity with the former Control Room staff as having been betrayed and dumped by the powers that be as a non -returning officer.
Perhaps if she’d threatened to tell us what she knows about the thus far hidden “Returning Officer” scandal she might of got herself a better pension deal!.
You know where we are Clare!. Might we suggest that leaking to us might be the most valuable contribution you’ve made to the people who’ve been paying your over inflated wages these past few years!.

Marvellously Meddlesome

 

Mr Meddle 1

And so comes the inevitable U-turn over the Passport for Life debacle as  Cllr  Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies looks less like a leader by the minute and succumbs to a humiliating climbdown after a successful campaign to get the Council long service award reinstated.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14495372.Wirral_Council_backtracks_over__Passport_for_Life__leisure_centre_passes/

Simpering Pip says:

“While I understand the decision to withdraw these passes may have made sense from a purely business perspective, we made a commitment you could use our leisure facilities for life and I believe we should honour that commitment.Therefore it is my view that the council got this one wrong. I am therefore taking the decision to reinstate your passport for life with immediate effect. I have instructed the chief executive to make the necessary arrangements for that to happen.”

Thereby throwing under the bus Chris Meaden, Wirral cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture and Super -Duper Directors Joe Blott and Clare Fish for coming up with and trying to sustain this  mean-spirited and ill-thought out proposal.

As for getting this one wrong  might we suggest that Pip and Co have got more than one thing wrong. Indeed he should have been thinking about throwing some other high ranking public officials under the bus long before now.

However our congratulations must go to Norman Meddle for leading the successful campaign to reinstate the  Passport for Life leisure pass for the 400+ former Council employees.

Once again  it demonstrates the power of public protest particularly via social media. There is now a growing list of such campaigns from car parking charge proposals in New Brighton being scrapped to plans to turn Hamilton Square into a roundabout being halted.

Therefore we implore people of Wirral that if there’s something Wirral Council are doing which you don’t like – organise , protest , complain ,blog  , sue – whatever it takes .

Take  your cue from the Norman conquest – sometimes you have to be Meddle-some to get what you want!

 

 

The Gift That Doesn’t Keep On Giving

 

Wirral Council  sinking

Wirral Council – A fish out of water when it comes to fairness. Consequently also out of the water is everyone who had a ‘Passport for Life’ leisure centre concession !.

 

The transcript below is a letter from Wirral Council Super Duper Director Clare Fish received by one of the retirees who has had their ‘Passport for Life’ leisure centre concession rescinded. An anonymised copy of the letter can be accessed here :

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxrkIjRDgrB-cTFmV0RXNUh2WXhjRkdKUUw1S3hVYTkxcUpV/view?ts=57177f29

As we predicted when we wrote on Monday that we looked forward to receiving a copy of the letter and commenting on the tortuous explanation for this latest debacle it wasn’t long before a copy winged its way over to Leaky Towers.

And indeed there is a tortuous explanation – constrained financial circumstances blah blah blah , financial challenges blah blah  blah, balanced legal budget blah blah blah . However Ms.Fish doesn’t put this in context of Chief Executive  Stressed Eric Robinson’s massive pay rise or fellow ex-Super-Duper Director Kevin Adderley’s golden pension pot or indeed her own six figure salary. Oh no this explanation doesn’t apply to the likes of them it only applies to the “little people” .

The crucial line of the explanation is that  It is the Council’s view that the provision of a long service award did not give rise to a contractual arrangement. It was a gift awarded in recognition of service. 

Here Fish seems to want to have her fishcake and eat it too . Firstly by establishing that there was no contractual obligation to maintain ‘Passport for Life’ although some of the retirees who have contacted us maintain that it is referenced in Wirral Council’s Staff Handbook and therefore reasonable to assume as part of an employment contract. There is also the matter of consideration (essential for a valid contract) – a gift awarded in recognition of service ( 25 bloody years of it!) – would seem to fit the bill . Then if there was no contract and the ‘Passport for Life’ was a gift shouldn’t a gift be irrecoverable?. Isn’t the taking back of a gift simply an act of theft?

What worries us more generally is that Fish is claiming that the matter was consulted on . However this was part of one of those bogus consultation exercises where the entire population of Wirral are encouraged to chip in on – mostly on matters they know absolutely nothing about  ( “ I don’t know what a respite care centre is Derek but shall we say yes to closing that one ?” –  ” I suppose so Mavis as we said no to the last consultation question   and what’s more the socio-economic , political and ideological considerations involved in making a decision which has no impact on my everyday life is giving me a migraine “).

This so called “formal” consultation exercise is being used as a get out for unilaterally withdrawing the ‘Passport for Life’ without  consulting and agreeing with the 414 people who were directly affected by the move.

We’re left wondering whether if a consultation was organised to reduce the pay of Wirral Council senior managers  by 50%  I’m sure we all could all predict the outcome. And we’re doubly sure this would lead Robinson, Blott , Fish et al crying foul and waving their contracts of employment in our face !. But they’re different. These highly paid fly by nights matter .The long -serving and/or long suffering people who keep them in a well paid job seemingly don’t.

Thank you for your email correspondence to Sports and Recreation dated 28 Mach (sic) 2016.

I acknowledge and appreciate that the decision to remove the concessionary access to Leisure Centres is a disappointing one for you.

Unfortunately, given the current and future constrained financial circumstances affecting the Council, it was necessary to consider a number of savings options in order to meet that financial challenge. This included a decision to remove the concessionary access to Leisure Centres which was taken following formal consultation. The effect of this decision removes many of the discounts and free access to the Council’s leisure facilities which we previously offered.  This includes ending free access to the facilities for former council staff, to foster carers and their families, and free swimming for under 18s during school holidays and over 65s between 9am and 12pm.  

The Council has carefully considered its legal positon (sic) in relation to the removal of the concessionary access to Leisure Centres.    It was a gift awarded in recognition of service.

The Council has had to make increasingly difficult decisions to meet its financial challenges.  The Council has had to make savings of more than £150m over the past five years and is required to make further savings of £130m by 2020.  The Council is under a legal obligation to pass a balanced legal budget each year.

The Council’s leisure centre operations currently require financial support of over £4 million every year over and above any income generated in order to meet the operating costs. The Council needed to take steps to help redress this financial position, hence the removal of the concessionary access to Leisure Centres and other discounts and free access.

A number of former employees have asked if it is possible to select one of the alternative Long Service Award options that were available at the time of leaving. Unfortunately, as you had selected the leisure pass and had the benefit of using it for a period of time, the Council is not in a position to retrospectively offer another option.

Should you require any more information regarding leisure passes, please visit our website at www.wirral.gov.uk.

Yours sincerely

Clare Fish

Strategic Director – Families & Wellbeing

Peer Less

Peer review

Let’s make a declaration of interest from the outset  – we fundamentally object to peer reviews. Local government gurus glad handing  their well-paid peers and telling them that they feel their pain (for a fat fee  minus VAT) .

No thank you.

What we need is someone who has never worked in local government and preferably never had to climb that greasy pole like a pole dancer in a pin stripe suit.

No doubt their report would be somewhat more succinct and read :  ” WTAF!”.

So imagine our cynicism when we learned that the report about the latest Wirral Council peer review co-ordinated by the Local Government Association (LGA) had been not so much released as escaped  under the banner : Council Improvement Continues ( no laughing at the back).

We suspect even the Liverpool Echo weren’t buying that bogus headline.

http://www.wirral.gov.uk/news/10-03-2016/council-improvement-continues

The review  was led by Mark Rogers, Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council. The same council who have hit the headlines because their plans to cut care for disabled was ruled unlawful and is the leading case when it comes to cuts in social care.

Mr.Rogers tells us :

It is important to stress that this was not an inspection. Peer challenges are improvement orientated and tailored to meet individual council’s needs. You asked the peer team to explore:  The council’s capacity to deliver the Wirral Plan 2020  The council’s approach to partnership working  New models for service delivery

So basically Wirral Council controlled the show . But the cracks are there. So let’s a shine a light on them because that’s what we do best.

First of all –   BS bingo fans will be reassured that besides the obligatory pie chart there are the following  favourites:

Interdependencies ✓

Integrated commissioning hub ✓

Transformation agenda ✓

Pledge driven ✓

Personality proof ✓

Holistic ✓

Joined up conversations ✓

We particularly liked that reclusive  Chief Executive  Eric “Feeble” Robinson is described as ‘a breath of fresh air’  as this is basically a bit of bitch-slap for his predecessor Graham Burgess.We liked that. We liked that a lot.

Furthermore we liked the following sly dig :

However, the Senior Leadership Team is not currently giving adequate corporate leadership and this needs to be much stronger if the Plan is to be delivered effectively

Which may explain why Super Duper Directors Clare Fish and Joe Blott are on the way out. Initially we had a degree of sympathy for these two – way out of their depth and caught up in other people’s corruption and then we remembered their six figure salaries and all sympathy evaporated.

They also do a fine line in stating the bleedin’ obvious :

The peer team also had a concern at the current high use of consultants and interims

You don’t say !.

Meanwhile the naivete is staggering :

The delivery of the Wirral Plan and pledges and the role of scrutiny may be enhanced in the longer term by offering opposition members a leadership role on the Policy & Performance Committees.

Scrutiny ?. By opposition members?. Can we have some of what the LGA are on?.

However this was our favourite observation:

The council and its partner agencies recognise that they want to form a different relationship with residents in the future. There is general recognition that relationships with local communities has been negatively impacted by the past challenges the council has had to deal with. The new relationship will be based on a clearer Wirral narrative, a greater ability to listen to resident’s issues, making better use of the data and intelligence the council gathers across the Wirral and greater use of channels use as digital and social media. 

Somebody from the LGA needs to tell Wirral Council  that they simply need to follow Wirral Leaks……but then they already do that !. But unfortunately it is a “new relationship” over which they have no control…….and we all know how they love to be in control!. Therefore we predict that this is one relationship that will continue to be fraught!.

The Final Countdown

Ticking clock

 

To lose one Super – Duper Director is unfortunate .To lose two looks like carelessness but to lose three looks like a clusterfuck (with apologies to Oscar Wilde) .

Today was the day that Wirral Council Cabinet which not having any courage or convictions let alone the courage of its convictions gave the closure of Girtrell Court a so-called “stay of execution” .  This translates as more a case of prolonging the agony for disabled people and their carers in the name of political expedience. Politicking taking precedence over disabled people  – yet again.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14293655.Council_tax_hike_and___28m_of_cuts_for_Wirral___but_Girtrell_Court_s_future_remains_in_the_balance/

This was also the day that it was revealed that a lazy/incompetent/insensitive (take your pick)  Wirral Council social worker described the mother of a young woman with Downs’ Syndrome as Mrs.Downs – like you do.

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/mrs-downs-what-council-called-10925293

So no wonder then that we also learned today that after the departure of Kevin “Addled” Adderley that in the case of the two remaining Super Duper Directors it’s a case of  – if you can’t stand the heat get out of the house that is about to go up in flames. We are led to believe that  Clare “Wet” Fish and Joe “Apology” Blott now also want out . Which means that potentially Wirral Council CEO Eric “Feeble” Robinson will have lost his entire team of Super Duper Directors in less than a year of his appointment.

However we think it would be unfair to lay the whole blame on Stressed Eric !. We can only surmise that for a Super Duper Director the lure of filthy lucre must lose it’s lustre after countless hours spent defending the indefensible , being left exposed and put at risk  of being tainted by the deeply entrenched legal, ethical and moral problems that remain within Wirral Council. Whilst these problems stem mainly from a small number of councillors , historically it has been council officers who usually pay the price – or more accurately council taxpayers .

Therefore could it be that Fish and Blott have seen the writing on the wall of the town hall toilets and they know it’s time’s up on the cover ups ?.

get out

At Your Leisure

HOLY-FUCKING-MOSES-PHIL-DICK
Her Ladyship has always claimed psychic powers but last October we think she nailed it when she talked about how Wirral Council go about compiling their plans.She commented on the Wirral plan:  20/20  vision (aka Liptrot’s List) concocted by Wirral spin king Martin Liptrot-sky :
“…always struck us as typical Wirral Council arse about face planning by which we mean some consultant who’s never worked for the council before thinks up 20 pledges off the top of his head and the poor saps who work for the council then have to go away and make their departmental plans meet the pledges…”
And so it proves once again as we’ve been leaked a draft copy of Wirral Council’s Leisure Strategy – part of the Wirral Plan: 20/20 Vision .We know that Cllr Chris Meaden takes her leisure pursuits/public duties  very seriously  -often combining the two during unsociable hours.Now she enlisted the help enigmatic Super Duper Director  Clare ” Wet” Fish to compare fringes and host a  Chris ‘n’ Clare consultation event next week at Williamson Art Gallery (you know the one that was under threat of closure).

Quite rightly on page 14 of the draft strategy they ask : “How will we measure if we’re getting this right?”

Well first of all (like the 20/20 Vision Plan itself ) it seems it’s a case of pick something you’d like to improve and then try and find a way of measuring it – now we don’t know what the STEAM  report is – but this strategy seems full of it :

• Increase the number of residents who regularly use the boroughs parks and open spaces (Resident’s Survey).

• Increase the value of visitor spend in Wirral to £450 million (STEAM Report).

• Increase the number of visitors to Wirral by xx (STEAM Report).

• Increase the number of events in Wirral’s parks, beaches and open spaces (source TBC).

• Increase the number of national quality awards for Wirral’s parks, coastal sites and open spaces (Green Flag and Blue Flag awards)

LEISURE STRATEGY 180116

The increase in visitor numbers to Wirral has yet to be decided , the measure of how the number of events in Wirral ‘s parks,beaches and open spaces is yet to be confirmed and a survey and an estimate are supposed to do the rest.The only definitive measurable outcome seems to be a case of putting out the Green and Blue flags – but will the ruling Labour group be happy about that?!.

How Wirral Council intend to meet these measures is equally vague and seems reliant on development of yet more plans and strategies.But this is what you get when you get a spin doctor calling the shots.

Plans and strategies are all very well and we wouldn’t be quite so critical (Ok we would) but this is a Council who can’t even get the basics right – like addressing the corrosive culture that still pervades everything they do.

Alternatively we’d like to suggest that a starting point would be  “Wirral Leaks Ten Commandments of Local Government” –

  1. Thou shalt not employ highly  paid consultants
  2. Thou shalt not have any more meaningless pre-determined consultations
  3. Thou shalt not make any more pay-offs for officer failure
  4. Thou shalt not organise more cover ups
  5. Thou shalt not look always look for exemptions to deny Freedom of Information requests
  6. Thou shalt not favour PR/spin over openness and transparency
  7. Thou shalt not favour nepotism over meritocracy ;and finally we couldn’t improve on these originals:
  8. Thou shalt not commit adultery (especially if it leads to pay-offs – see 3)
  9. Thou shalt not steal
  10. Thou shalt not bear false witness