Comings and Goings

Pit 011

If you want to play the Wirral Council  corporate game be prepared to get down and dirty!

Last night’s Employment and Appointments Committee officially confirmed our previous reports that Wirral Council’s Head of Law / Monitoring Officer Surjit Tour is leaving Wirral Council.

There were no glowing eulogies from committee members at the announcement that Wirral Council was engaging a recruitment agency to find his replacement. Furthermore Wirral Council CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson ran through further proposals for senior management personnel changes to implement his New Operating Model – or should that be Non -Operating Model?  This included the appointment of a Director of Children’s Services on an increased salary of £115,000. This was justified with the usual excuse that we have to pay top whack to get the very best. To which we can say it hasn’t worked in the past so why will it work now? What has clearly been demonstrated by previous CEO Graham Burgess’s appointment of Super Directors which has been an abject and costly failure. And let’s not get on to Stressed Eric himself!

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=197&MId=6003&Ver=4

Of course we know that Tour was on his merry way  but curiously there was (inevitably) an exempt item on the agenda which we understand involved discussions about yet another high profile departure who has been allowed to slip the net (if you get our drift).  Suffice to say there’ll be more on that particular catch of the day at a later date.

As Surjit didn’t exit to rapturous appreciation for all he’s done for the people of Wirral we thought we’d do the decent thing and give him the eulogy he deserves.

However we’ll leave it to a clearly well placed source to provide a fitting tribute to Tour which consists of a comment from ‘ Whatever’ that is far too good to languish in our replies section. For those who may have missed it we reproduce that comment in full  below. What it demonstrates to us yet again is that Wallasey Town Hall is the absolute pits. Whilst we’ve known about the infamous ‘Sex List’ for sometime and referenced it previously it stands as the epitome of how low senior managers will go to get their man (or woman). As we commented :

So it would seem that the ‘dig the dirt’ tactic is a favourite approach of senior council officers when faced with a pesky employee who won’t play the corporate game, have served their purpose or they just want shut of. We’re wondering whether it was a trick that Norman picked it up at Wirral Council or it was part of his legacy that he left behind? We say this as we are reliably informed that two acting very senior officers at Wirral Council went digging for dirt from staff in an infamous case from 2015 .The dirt concerned allegations of sexual impropriety involving a now departed senior council officer . So far, so sordid. However, for us , what is even more sleazy is that the approach came with the  inducement that it would be beneficial to staff member’s careers if they dished the dirt. Nice work if you can get it and you can get it if you have absolutely no morals,ethics or integrity. What did we say in yesterday’s post about Wallasey Town Hall being a cesspit?

Dirty Work

We can only hope that the next victim of the ‘Curse of Leaky Towers’ is slimy Deputy CEO David Armstrong ( and we know how upset he gets being badmouthed on social media). He can boo-hoo all the way the bank as as far as we’re concerned as in his own way, he’s absolutely everything that’s wrong with Wirral Council. In another time and another place and where the get out was ‘ I was only following orders’ he’d be a very dangerous man indeed.

Meanwhile courtesy of ‘Whatever’ here’s ‘Surjit’s Eulogy’ :

I hope we can send to Mr Tour’s new employer a list of Wirral tax payers issues as the tax payers of York did with Mr Halliday.

Mr Tour’s replacement will have a long list of “things to do” which he/she should read asap –

For example perhaps, whatever happened to the letter signed by Mr Foulkes (probably written by labour policy adviser and Labour scrutiny support) sent to Mr Wilkie outlining in a way not appropriate for public office ( yet more training needs) just what Mr Foulkes et al thought about Mr Wilkies staff structure which included the promotion of none other than Ms Degg to deputy CEO ?

Indeed what happened to those 2 people (Adviser and Scrutiny) from Leeds way *  (* Hebden Bridge actually) ?- well whatever you say about Norman, he was the only one who at least tried to tackle them. Norman left and Mr Tour picks up the rotten dirty baton and title. Did Mr Tour prevent the “not in line with guidelines” payments made to one of those women – er, no and has he closed this case or as he let it drift into obscurity, a key feature of Tour is drift, drift long enough and it will be forgotten.

These 2 women were loyal supporters of Foulkes, (nothing wrong with that other than inconsequent personal opinions on bad judgement) when Mr Foulkes was told to get legal advice after his letter writing. Cllr Foulkes stood down as forever leader and up popped Mr Davies, who was told to drop the supporters or no leadership role for him. Mr Davies did as he was told for the sake of group or himself and his awaiting career of leadership.

Can’t quite remember the figure of toxic debt written off, in the high millions, these 2 women summoned the Council directors separately to go to Leeds (or wherever it is up that way) where they would “tell” the directors what their budgets were. Everyone knew it was these 2 women running WMBC for years Foulkes was the willing puppet and the Directors racking up excessive mileage claims for Wirral Tax payers to pay.

Mr Davies had to be trained in fist clenching and smoke screens, up pops Mr Field with some tale of whistleblowers and Hespe contracts (Labour group hated with a passion anyone who was perceived to work too closely with Cllr Green .. Ms Degg and Mr Green to name 2). Did Mr Tour ever write a letter to Frank Field telling him that WMBC is not his private purse to pursue his smoke screens with payments to non whistleblowers ?

So back to Ms Degg, well we have all read and heard enough about Ms Degg and what we consider to be un sound judgement on the men in her life but that is of no concern to us unless it prevented her from carrying out her paid function, whatever that was. However when it does become our business is when 2 members of staff are paid off one via the ever helpful EVR (normally given to failed directors without spine and employee jumpers) and the other a recent settlement. These 2 members of staff were hauled in by Mr Armstrong Ms Hyams and of course the ever present in the shadows “it wasn’t me” Tour, this trio on our behalf felt compelled to get to the bottom of £48k payment made to Ms Degg by one of the too many ex chief execs as an apology again on our behalf for not becoming the deputy chief exec and for the hurt feelings caused by the school ground tactics of certain Labour councillors and senior officers (including the Trio). If only they wouldn’t but again on our behalf this highly paid Trio (with the knowledge of Cllr Phil Davies) asked, no demanded to know the ins and outs of Ms Degg’s sex life, asked for rumours anything these 2 members had on Ms Degg.
Thank the lord these 2 members of staff stuck two fingers up to the bullying trio .

“list of things to do”; clearly through actions Mr Tour thought this payment made to Ms Degg (although he must of agreed it in the first place) was unlawful in some way.

The 2 well liked members of staff wouldn’t play ball and you didn’t get your own underhand way, Tour, Hyams (who really didn’t like Degg and the feeling was mutual) and Armstrong (who once was a nice bloke I hear) even though 2 of the trio pulled out the appalling and should be left for the movies, tactic ” signing the statements would / would not help their careers”

The poor person going round asking for money for Tour’s leaving present probably stopped saying “awww he’s a nice man its a shame” pdq. I don’t think it was his match made in heaven (how many grievances !!) PA who accepted her redeployment to Tour’s PA role with “I’m not working for him” but soon shut up when she realised she was onto a good thing, the amount she read and helped shred would, like her boss keep her in a job as long as she wanted it.”

 

Green ‘N’ Gone

 

Jeff Green

So farewell then Cllr Jeff Green as leader of the local Conservative group.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15272929.Wirral_Council_Conservative_group_has_a_new_leader___Jeff_Green_ousted_after_15_year_reign/

We won’t be shedding a tear as we were never a fan. We regularly made the observation that he was someone who seemed more comfortable being in impotent opposition than being in a position of power.

As we know Green briefly reaped the rewards of the Martin Morton whistleblowing scandal by getting the backing of the Lib Dems to oust Labour leader Steve Foulkes and to subsequently become the leader of Wirral Council.

However his tenure as leader was short lived and he seemed relieved to resume the position of a perpetual purveyor of “‘faux outrage” (to quote Labour councillor Matthew ‘Matty Patty’ Patrick) . Meanwhile the returning Labour administration, this time under Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies, went back to their bad old ways – cover ups, secrecy and cronyism – all in the name of rampant reputation management.

All of which meant that the seismic shockwaves that were supposed to result from a series of whistleblowing cases ended up being no more than mere tremors.

Of course Green should have read the writing on the wall ( or more accurately the writing in the first Patricia Thynne investigation into the Wirralgate scandal ) when Foulkesy described him as ‘kindred’.  As both are now ousted party leaders their bond can only be closer.

As far as we were concerned his apparent complicity with the Wirralgate scandal revealed in the second Thynne report is his biggest failure when it comes to trying to hold the Labour administration to account. His compliance resulted in the biggest scandal in Wirral Council’s history to be all neatly wrapped up in an unwarranted apology from Foulkesy to Green.

WIRRALGATE! – A Portrait in Green and Yellow

We shall wait and see as to whether Green’s successor as Tory leader , Cllr, Ian Lewis adopts the same collusive approach as Green and takes to winking at his oppo, Power Boy Pip, after declaring how ‘outraged’ he is about the latest Wirral Council cock up.

The Crafty Foxes

Crafty Foxes

We’re grateful for those people who send us interesting pictures of Leaks favourites that they come across on social media. Although it has to be said that when it comes to Cllr Steve Foulkes we have a gift that just keeps on giving.

Here is our least favourite Wirral Council fucker -upper after apparently having a drink in a pub called ‘The Poachers’ (!) . As you can see , a relaxed and casually-attired Foulkesy poses next to a barge called ‘The Crafty Foxes’ . Now we can’t work out if this picture means Foulkesy is all-knowing or knows nothing at all.  But what we do know that if Frank Field, Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies and Cllr George Davies were in the picture it would make perfect sense. In fact it would be so self-referential it could be called ‘meta’.

We say this as we have recently discovered yet more about the ‘Wirralgate’ scandal and in particular the involvement of pathological liar Foulkesy. So having lied incessantly in the first Wirralgate investigation conducted by a seemingly gullible and negligent consultant Patricia Thynne, Thynne was called back in to earn another £17K wedge for cleaning up her own mess. This is astonishing when you consider the world and her husband knew Foulkesy had transparently lied during her first investigation. Although those who could actually do something about it just sat on their hands, shut their mouths, and/or kept cashing the cheques.

Thynne put it more diplomatically than we would by stating in her 2nd report: “I am not persuaded by the evidence of Cllr Foulkes ……..I found it difficult to get Cllr Foulkes to be precise or detailed . His responses were vague,inclined to be evasive and I found them ‘economical with the truth’ and unconvincing”

WIRRALGATE! – ‘Foulkesy the Fibber’

Or as we’d say – he’s a big fat fucking liar.

Let’s rewind : If you remember Wirralgate concerns a cover up involving all of ‘The Crafty Foxes’ named above.  It all started off with Frankenfield telling some wingebag wanting to scam some money off the Council because him and his mates claim to be ‘whistleblowers’  (yeah right!) to stop causing trouble and threatening staff at Wallasey Town Hall and to expect a call from his political agent  Cllr George Davies .

Davies duly calls ( unawares that he is being recorded) and goes on to tell the bogus ‘whistleblower’ that Foulkesy is still having grief for being a monumental failure and in the game of whistleblowing political football they need an equalizer to get at (equally appalling) Tory leader Jeff Green and he needs to  forget about due legal process and calls Wirral Council’s Head of Law Surjit Tour  ‘a bloody useless Chink’ (like you do!)  and promises to sort him and his guys out if they provide him with a document that Foulkesy remembered reading years before in former Head of Law Bill Norman’s files.  The ‘whistleblowers’ obligingly hand over the document and subsequently Foulkesy hands over the document to the former political editor of Liverpool Echo Liam Murphy (like you do!). As we know from Thynne ‘s second report Murphy went on to make a covert recording of the Wirralgate covert recording and played it to Wirral Council’s Head of Communications (like you do!). Liam Murphy is no longer the political editor of Liverpool Echo (go figure!)

All of this will be familiar to regular Leaks readers but here’s the thing :

THAT DOCUMENT THAT FOULKESY CLAIMED TO HAVE SEEN IN BILL NORMAN’S FILES WAS NEVER THERE – IT WAS WRITTEN ON DEMAND BY ONE OF THE ‘WHISTLEBLOWERS’

So more lies from Foulkesy and more evidence that the ‘Wirralgate’ complainants are no more than opportunistic scam merchants and an explanation of why they will never do the right thing and expose REAL Wirral Council corruption – because they’re up to their necks in it and only interested in the money. And yet the two most prominent politicians on Wirral – Pip and Frankenfield – are willing to indulge them with bespoke inquiries into their overblown claims for compensation. Even Pip said they were using the recording of Cllr George Davies to extract money out of Wirral Council and yet is seemingly willing to go along with it!

Funny that isn’t it?

Unfortunately the joke’s on us – as it’s us who has to pay highly paid public servants to protect a corrupt political elite. Shame on them all but particularly ‘The Crafty Foxes’ !

 

 

Where Are They Now? Part 2 – Update

Tarby

Steve Maddox – out of sight and into Mind

As you will know our recent ‘Where Are They Know?’  post concerning public money magnet Anna Klonowski mentioned former Wirral Council CEO Steve Maddox.

Where Are They Now? Part 3 – Anna Klonowski

Wirral Leaks readers will appreciate that it was Maddox who personally set the tone for Wirral Council prior to the catalogue of governance and cultural failures that were later to be revealed , if not fully exposed , by Ms Klonowski in her two reports for Wirral Council which pocketed her a cool quarter of a million.

Apparently Maddox was willing to accept that being bullied by politicians was the norm and instead of resisting this, looked at his pay cheque and subjected his underlings to the same treatment and so did their subordinates and the cycle of abuse continued throughout the organisation…. with disastrous results for all of us.

Coincidentally it was Maddox who was the subject of the previous ‘Where Are They Know’ post where we asked whether anyone knew what Maddox was up to, other than playing golf , after his handsomely rewarded ‘retirement’.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/wirral-leaks-advent-calendar-16-where-are-they-now-part-2/

Well , prompted by our previous posts and our references to how local government failures later find themselves being beneficiaries of lucrative board appointments (see also Maddox’s successor Jim ‘ Wee Willie’ Wilkie and his Non -Executive Director post at the Countess of Chester hospital where he scrupulously and hilariously fails to mention he worked for Wirral Council) http://www.coch.nhs.uk/corporate-information/board-of-directors/non-executive-directors.aspx ) – one of our sources has contacted to tell us that Maddox has been ‘hidden in plain sight’ all along.

As after a short period of laying low after the publication of a series damning reports questioning his ‘leadership’ and , apparently without any shame , he subsequently popped up as a Director at mental health organisation Wirral Mind and remains as ‘a person of significant control’ to this day!

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/officers/11pyLG4lH-iPYRY0l59SdJ3JDWA/appointments

We’re left wondering whether Maddox was involved in the unlawful awarding of Wirral Mind, and their deeply ambitious CEO Sandra Gilbert , a contract to manage a learning disabilities service as a reward for keeping a lid on the overcharging scandal that rocked Wirral Council?

All we will say is that unfortunately for us having Maddox , as a former Wirral Council CEO with an OBE and a Freedom of the Borough as a Director , won’t hinder Wirral Mind’s chances of getting future lucrative contracts with Wirral Council – especially if they link up with WIRED and others muscling in on infrastructure monies. And that , once again unfortunately for us, is the compliant, non-threatening voluntary sector on Wirral boxed off nicely.

Remember – as ever – you read it here first.

Year of the Chicken

foghorn-leghorn

A special Chinese New Year of the Chicken message to Power Boy Pip from Looney Tunes legend Foghorn Leghorn

Chinese New Year isn’t until February but you won’t be surprised to hear that Stella Shiu won’t be around to wish Wirral Council leader Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies : ‘Kung Hei Fat Choi’  as we enter the Year of the Chicken.

It should come as no surprise to Wirral Leaks watchers and anyone with an IQ that reaches double figures that Shiu will not be appearing on the shores of the River Mersey laden with fortune cookies – not this year, Chinese New Year or any other year.

And so after all the photo-ops , press statements, Liverpool Echo exclusives, artist’s impressions , false promises , foreign delegations and the portrait of Stella hanging up in the waiting room next to the Wirral Council Chief Executive’s office it’s finally time to put this seemingly elaborate – if not particularly convincing – hoax to (the river) bed.

You may remember that after the failure to secure investors for the International Trade Centre at Wirral Waters  that Shiu was invited to move operations down river to some Godforsaken wasteland  (attractively described as former Ministry of Defence land situated on ‘a surburban industrial estate behind Port Sunlight Tennis Club’ ). We exclusively reported this locally in November 2015 after a story appeared in the Financial Times and presciently asked the question   : So we’d like to know whether this is a suitable site for an International Trade Centre or merely a very expensive and financially risky way to save face over the Stella Shiu affair?”

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/chinese-takeaway-1st-dibs-2nd-course/

Now it would appear we finally have the answer courtesy of yet another question , this time asked at the Wirral Council meeting on 19th December by Cllr Phil Gilchrist:

pg-question-014

We wonder whether we’ll see the news that ‘ The International Trade Centre is not progressing because the project sponsor cannot confirm funding for the project at this time’ on the front page of Wirral View or with a centre spread in the Liverpool Echo under the headline  ‘ Shiu’d off ! – Stella Dupes Wirral Fellas’ or ‘ Due Diligence? – Don’t Make Us Laugh!’ accompanied by a picture of Power Boy Pip looking like a sad-faced emoji ?

Don’t hold your breath people of Wirral – this is the kind of ‘information deficit’ that Wirral Council have no intention of ever addressing because it doesn’t fit with their bogus ,happy-clappy narrative. Especially when Power Boy Pip and his political ilk of all parties are chicken – with an inability to say they’d been had, never admit when they are wrong or acknowledge that they’re big on promises and short on delivery .

And before we finish let’s remember it wasn’t just Pip that Shiu strung along. Here’s Stella  with Lindsey Ashworth from the Peel Group and Wirral Council Tory group leader Jeff Green wishing us a suitable Looney Tunes farewell:

green-shiu-ashworth

That’s all folks!

The Morton ‘Incident’ – Revisited

overcharging-008

Whilst our focus was on the Nigel “Highbrow” Hobro question raised at the Wirral Council meeting on 19th December – and to which we presume he is still awaiting an answer from council leader Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies – we missed this seemingly innocuous little question from Tory leader  Cllr Jeff Green.

As you can see he , all other councillors and the Strategic Leadership Team  were given an answer to his question about ‘overcharging for care services’ which was directed at the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care Cllr Chris Jones earlier today.

Now we don’t know – yet anyway – what was behind Cllr Green’s question but we suspect he’ll be making a media statement shortly about how ‘outraged’ he is about a case of ‘overcharging for care services’ that has been brought to his attention.

We know he certainly knows of one already – as do many councillors and council officers who have chosen to cover up a quite scandalous case of overcharging.

We know this because we forwarded this email to Wirral Council whistleblower Martin Morton himself (and we were quite amused to hear he’d already received a copy !)

Morton must be so relieved that as he rots on the dole unable to find a job and with very little prospect of ever getting another job again his experience has now been redefined as an ‘incident’. That’s if you can call systemic bullying and harassment , cover ups , lies , £1 million pay offs,  £31 million toxic debts, the council  doing business with drugs money launderers, turning a blind eye to the abuse of vulnerable people , covering up of a death and the paying back of £736,000 to disabled people as an ‘incident’.

Morton maintains there is an outstanding case of over charging and that money was not paid back ‘as soon as possible’ as Cllr Jones claims or indeed at all. This allegation   follows the publication of the ‘Independent Review of Allegations Made by Martin Morton ( & Others)’ cobbled together by compromised consultant Anna Klonowski in 2012. Now we don’t know whether this is what Cllr Green is hinting at (and frankly we’re not that interested in his political point scoring) but we do have a mountain of material from Morton evidencing this further allegation of overcharging and which was not reported on his now sadly defunct blog.

We are currently working through this simply astonishing archive and will be bringing you all the tawdry details of this long running and ongoing cover up and the names of all those involved. From what we’ve seen already it makes a monumental lie of the claim that ‘lessons following the Martin Morton incident were learned and implemented’.

We will also be reflecting on the fact that almost exactly 5 years after its publication that the  so-called shockwave of Klonowski’s Independent Review can now be more accurately described as a slight tremor and failed miserably to drain the poison from the body politic on Wirral.

Words of the Week #3

wotw2

This is the place where words collide.

The first word being ‘Gaming’ :

Manipulating a set of rules, a system, an infrastructure in a manner not intended by its creators to derive (or contrive) a tangible benefit, i.e. “using an exploit” or “hacking” a system.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Gaming&defid=5116053

Apply this definition to New Concept Gaming Ltd and Wirral Council and all bets are off.

Or are they ? What exactly is “The Reno Connection”  in this sordid scenario?.

Only time will tell – but rest assured Wirral Leaks will be the first to report it.

The second word is ‘Chutzpah’

1. unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall.
2. audacity; nerve.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=chutzpah

Apply this definition (and indeed ‘Gaming’) to Birkenhead MP Frank Field who gets a letter published in this weeks Wirral Globe under the title ‘Taxpayers’ money wasted’ :

Frank field taxpayer.jpg

Seriously? – this ultimate game player talks about wasting tax payers money whilst supporting paying a group of unworthy arseholes after a fat pay cheque who just happened to flick the record button when his political agent Cllr George Davies used racial slurs and offered a ‘smear deal’ to them if they badmouthed Tory Councillor Jeff Green.

Which brings us finally to our third definition :  Bunging public money to protect your ‘dunderhead’ political agent is surely the definition of ‘Taxpayers money wasted’

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Dunderhead

 

Communicating with Kev-Continued.

Kev etc 011.JPG
Now we know this won’t go down well with some of our readers but we’re warming to Kev……. a bit like an arsonist gathering tindersticks for a great conflagration.
Oh come on give the guy his due –  he’s the only one other than his predecessor who has enough spunk to answer us back.
Unlike the ‘King of the Victims’ Foulkesy who whinges about being harassed by us to Patricia Thynne. Or  Birkenhead MP Frank Field who bitches about us at a public meeting , or council leader Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies who the day after we publish the “Protecting the Defectives” story pointedly and exaggeratedly thanks the Mayor not once, but twice (in case we missed it the first time)  for “protecting” him . Or his oppo Cllr Jeff Green , who as ever, joined in belatedly and opportunistically at the same meeting to thank Foulkesy for his apology referred to in the same  Wirral Leaks story. Yeah, but what was Foulkesy apologising to you for Jeff – care to explain ? – because the people of Wirral have no idea whatsoever!.
Dare we suggest that Davies and Green should form a double act called  The Chuckle Brothers  (minus the chuckles of course ).
And most particularly can we refer to Deputy Chief Executive David Armstrong who never misses an opportunity to gripe about how unfair we are to people like him who want to sail serenely to their pension pot on a wave of mediocrity after having facilitated some of the worst abuses of power in Wirral Council history.
Finally – talking of mediocrity we all to need to understand that we most definitely didn’t ruin Kev’s weekend because this is someone who earns EIGHTY GRAND PLUS for apparently spending most of his time reading Wirral Leaks. Dream job or what?
Dear ‘Julian’
I’ve often pictured you as the type of bloke who spends his evenings typing furiously on his laptop, from his mums spare room wearing Superman pyjamas. 
The name ‘Julian Justice’ is not doing much to dispel that image, so thanks for that. 
Anyway, I assumed getting into contact with you would result in a kicking off your blog, so well done for delivering. 
Obviously feel free to post this email too. 

Keep up the good work!

Kev MacCallum

Head of Communications

Sussed.

It’s like you’ve peered into our soul.
Haha. 
Have a good weekend. 
You genuinely didn’t ruin mine – I was actually quite looking forward to my ‘Wirral Leaks kicking’. 
Kev. 

You must admit – ‘bring it on’ is an open invitation.

But at at the end of the day – you’re a minor diversion.
You know as well as us who deserves a real kicking – but you choose to earn a very good living sustaining their positions of power.
It might also explain why it is considered necessary that you bring your considerable expertise to the Children’s Services Improvement Board.
It was absolutely an open invitation, and you didn’t disappoint! 
‘Minor diversion’ & ‘considerable expertise.’ I’m both offended and flattered in one paragraph – impressive! 
I’ll close it down now, but well done and I’ll keep an eye out on the blog for the updated ‘communication with Kev’ piece. 
Cheers,

Kev. 

Kev MacCallum

Head of Communications

WIRRALGATE! – Protecting the Defectives

defective-by-design

This is the last instalment of our deconstruction of Patricia Thynne’s  Code of Conduct investigations.That is not to say that this will be the last you will hear about the Wirralgate scandal as our sources promise to keep spouting leaks.

This particular post concerns itself with the role of councillors. Not the specific councillors implicated in Wirralgate but the role of all councillors in protecting their own regardless of political affiliation.

It is infuriating to recount that in the light of the Independent Review published in 2012 that investigator Anna “BIG WEDGE” * Klonowski was instructed to keep any criticism of councillors out of her investigation and tried to get around this by publishing the cheerily titled ‘Refresh and Renew’ report prior to the publication of the Independent Review . This report told Wirral’s councillors , amongst other tedious procedural matters , that they’d created a ‘corrosive culture’ where the ‘abnormal was normal’.

However as a result Klonowski took her eye of her original brief which was to investigate the whistleblowing allegations of Martin Morton (and various unnamed others) . This meant that many of the issues brought to her attention have up until today neither been reported nor resolved. Consequently Wirral ‘s councillors received a metaphorical gentle slap on the wrist when what they required was a punch in the face.

And so with the abolition of Standards for  England and the introduction of the Localism Act 2011 councils were allowed to police themselves when it came to conduct issues involving elected members.

Wirral Council took full advantage of this void in accountability and almost the first thing they did after the publication of the Independent Review  was to ensure that councillors were protected no matter how many of The Seven Principles of Public Life they violated.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-7-principles-of-public-life/the-7-principles-of-public-life–2

We think it is instructive to examine how Wirral Council’s Code of Conduct complaints procedure works in practice. Cllr Steve Foulkes  and  Cllr George Davies  were originally subject to an investigation following concerns raised as a result of rumours swirling around Wallasey Town Hall and which were ignited by Wirral Leaks . It is significant to recall Cllr Jeff Green , the so-called complainant , chose specifically not to pursue a Code of Conduct complaint. Which surely begs the question as to why not?.

However as we know Thynne’s first deeply flawed investigative report was completed on 20th June 2014 and published the following month by Wirral Council , as it was seemingly a classic  case “no  case to answer” . And that would have been that if it wasn’t for the fact that Foulkesy and Georgie Boy had lied and lied and lied to Thynne. It took an email sent to all 66 councillors in December 2104 from key witness  Martin Morton – the man who had initiated the Independent Review  – to bring the dishonesty and deceit to their attention.

However councillors just chose to simply ignore him and seemingly their own Code of Conduct too and no further investigation took place.

It wasn’t until May 2015 when former council communications czarina Emma Degg , having heard the Wirralgate tape , belatedly came forward for reasons known only to herself and confirmed Morton’s allegations.

Subsequently Thynne was appointed to revisit her original report soon thereafter . Significantly this was at the behest of  council officers and NOT councillors and as we can see Thynne handed in her second report on 6th  December 2015.

protecting-the-defectives-012

Readers may want to ask themselves why it took until 28th June 2015 before a Standards Panel considered Thynne’s findings. The answer is that councillors can delay with impunity. In Foulkesy’s case this included a right of reply (because his rights are so much more important than us mere mortals) and of course having additional time to brief his free legal representation about his misdemeanours (courtesy of the Association of Labour Councillors ).

protecting-the-defectives-014

And after all this flagrant misconduct , what happens?. Nothing much!. An undeserved apology to an opportunistic councillor who hadn’t pursued a Code of Conduct complaint in the first place!. We note ruefully that Cllr  Jeff “Kindred” Green has failed to make that apology public.

We have to ask  whether it can be right that a public servant in the course of public duties publicly violates the principles of public life and yet is allowed to make a PRIVATE apology.

We did manage to squeeze a comment from a local councillor about this abuse of power and they replied :

“The ‘sanctions’ able to be applied are limited to just a few courses of action.”

To which we replied :

“Yes and who decided that? You guys did!. Utterly feeble. Should be with police and you know it. Thankfully we know people much braver and committed to public accountability than you guys and we’ll be supporting them 100%…………” 

It is sickening to reflect that for a local authority that failed to protect vulnerable adults and now has been found to failed to adequately protect vulnerable children finds the wherewithal to protect themselves from any kind of meaningful and appropriate sanction . In this respect Wirral Council are truly Defective By Design.org

 

And that is the most damning indictment of  Wirral Council’s elected members that we could ever make.

*http://thebristolian.net/tag/anna-klonowski/

WIRRALGATE! – Double Echo

WIRRALGATETAPE

There weren’t many surprises for us in the Thynne 2 report. Except for one……

This was an astonishing revelation involving the person coyly known as Person C.

As John Brace has outed Person C on his blog as being Liverpool Echo journalist Liam Murphy it seems a bit pointless in us maintaining the masquerade, especially as his identity has been known to us for quite some time.

Although being a key witness to the sordid  Wirralgate scandal unfortunately Murphy declined to give a statement to Patricia Thynne during either of her investigations. The reason he gave was the need to keep the confidentiality of his sources. Which would be highly laudable if it wasn’t for the fact that Murphy has a rather curious notion of confidentiality!.

It would appear that Murphy was  quite happy to show Wirral Council’s then Head of Communications Emma Degg the letter that Foulkesy had filched , presumably in the hope that Murphy would run a story in the Liverpool Echo ” smearing” political rival  Cllr Jeff Green  . According to Degg  Murphy was “outraged” by Foulkesy’s  conduct . Although seemingly not outraged enough to actually make a complaint about it – it seems he’d much rather have a sly fag  and a quick bitch behind the back of Wallasey Town Hall.

Murphy was later to hear the infamous recorded conversation between Cllr George Davies and one of The Complainants and some months later then saw fit to tell Cllr Jeff Green all about it . Perhaps Murphy and Green compared notes on how “outraged” they were – especially when the latter seems to be in a permanent state of “outrage”.

However the most damning testimony that Murphy plays fast and loose with the confidentiality of his sources is the fact that at some time he made a (presumably) covert recording of the notorious Wirralgate tape. Not only that he played it back to Emma Degg – of all people. Remember she was Wirral Council’s Head of Communications at the time !.

We can only wonder if this revelation came as much as a surprise to The Complainants – the elusive holders of the original recording – as it did to us. Although we have to say it gives us a vicarious thrill to see the biters getting bit.

As a consequence we’re left speculating on Murphy’s motives behind his actions. Surely it can’t be currying favour to guarantee woeful exclusives like this :

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/a-sobering-story/

If we consider that Thynne mentioned in her 2nd report that if she had heard the recording and it confirmed what witnesses had told her then there could be criminal matters that would need investigating. So if Murphy has a recording that would indeed confirm the testimony of others when does the bogus claim of protecting the confidentiality of sources become perverting the course of justice?

Echo