Birkenhead First (Among Equals)

Paula NWT 009

Paula Basnett : Primus inter pares in action

 

In the aftermath of the New Ferry explosion over the weekend it was reassuring to see the emergency services, the local community and indeed Wirral Council working together to help the stricken people affected by the devastating event.
Also helping out were the Wirral Chamber of Commerce in the shape of their CEO Paula Basnett  who ‘popped up’ on last night’s edition of North West Tonight to tell us that the Chamber was looking for ‘pop up spaces’ for displaced local traders.
All we can say is that with all the properties the Chamber of Horrors have at their disposal ,which they’ve been gifted or are paying peppercorn rent for, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem!
However it would seem that this charitable largesse on the part of  the Basnett clan doesn’t extend to charities themselves. We’ve been contacted by Jim Barrington from local charity Wiser Solutions Ltd
Jim not only provides us with a fascinating update on a story we covered earlier in the year concerning a local business initative  co-ordinated by Wirral Chamber of Commerce known as the Birkenhead Improvement District (BID) aka ‘Birkenhead First’ , but also with a frightening insight into ‘how things work’ round here.
Here we witness the increasingly unhealthy symbiotic relationship between Wirral Council and Wirral Chamber of Commerce and the political manoeuvrings of local politicians  and powerbrokers that we don’t see on TV :
Wirral Chamber of Commerce is taking charities and not for profit companies to a criminal court after introducing a BID Levy in Birkenhead then rejected appeals to exempt those affected who exist for the benefit of the community. Affected businesses are told they have to pay 1.5% of the rateable value of their property.
 
The BID Levy was introduced following a vote by firms in Birkenhead after they were told it would listen to their needs and campaign on their behalf to improve the area. In reality however it has refused to listen and change their decision not to exempt charitable firms, despite the BID Regulations allowing it and precedent already being set to by HMRC, Customs and Excise and even Wirral Council who all exempt or reduce the financial obligations of charities and not for profits regarding levies and taxes.
The BID Levy is being collected on behalf of Wirral Chamber of Commerce by Wirral Council. However this contradicts Wirral Council’s own policies and commitments to support not for profits. The small business rates relief ensures the majority of rates are paid by a contribution from the Government and Wirral Council provide a discretionary exemption for qualifying charitable firms which takes care of the rest. However Wirral Chamber of Commerce insist no exemption applies to charities and not for profits, even where they cannot afford to pay. Instead they have insisted on pursuing them through the Magistrates Court in order to obtain a liability order so they can gain access to charitable funds. The use of Magistrates Court is particularly troubling since they are predominantly used for criminal matters and even Wirral Council have admitted this is a civil matter which are usually dealt with in County Court.
Even more troubling is the fact Wirral Council and Wirral Chamber of Commerce are adding £95.00 in court fees before liability has even been established in court, yet cannot provide a full and proper breakdown of how these costs have been arrived at. It is unlawful for any council to make a profit from court fees so one would expect them to be able to say exactly what it costs to take an individual or business to court. Instead however they appear to have been obstructive by providing a spreadsheet which lists the annual costs to run the entire council tax and revenues department. When asked for a per capita breakdown which takes into account economies of scale (i.e. they are taking a lot of people to court for not paying council tax and non-domestic rates on the same day and they batch process them all, plus the BID Levy collection is tagged onto the end of these), they sent the same annual totals for running their entire department. When asked again and told the costs breakdown must be BID specific they refused to send any further information.
An example of these costs would be the cost of filing fees (circa £3.00 per summons) and say an allocation of £2.00 towards staff time and other costs. An explanation therefore of what the remaining £90 costs is for has not been forthcoming. Requests to move things to the County Court, which is the proper setting for civil matters, have been ignored by Council Officers. 
Frank Field was contacted for help at least three weeks for the summons date. He responded at 5:00pm the evening before the court appearance to say his office had contacted Phil Davies who in turn had contacted Wirral Chamber of Commerce and they had refused to change their decision, despite his personal feelings and views to the contrary. So the MP for Birkenhead and the leader of Wirral Council are both being dictated to by officers at Wirral Chamber of Commerce. 
Clearly this suggests Paula Basnett, Kevin Adderley and Asif Hamid who run Wirral Chamber of Commerce are also in charge of Wirral Council. Worse still is the fact Wirral Chamber have stated they and Birkenhead BID Company (Birkenhead First) are not subject to Freedom of Information legislation so can claim everything they do is commercially sensitive and confidential. No transparency there then.
Even the officers at Wirral Council who are collecting the BID Levy do not seem to agree with the decision to criminalise charitable firms. They contacted Wirral Chamber of Commerce asking them to change their position but they were also told the it would not be changed. The attitude appears to be it is only 1.5% of the rateable value of a property so Wirral Chamber cannot understand what the fuss is about. It seems to have escaped their attention charitable firms, by definition of what they do, may have large properties on peppercorn rents and very little money, most of which is from funding or donations and some modest earned income. Which is why they have taxes reduced or are exempted entirely. But Wirral Chamber of Commerce insists everyone must pay.
The Birkenhead BID Levy purports to be there to help support firms in the Birkenhead BID district but some have argued it is instead a way to pay the high salaries of staff who, until recently had worked for Wirral Council. It claims to be there to listen to and represent business owners in the Birkenhead BID Levy District, however there is no formal complaints procedure and minutes of meetings are confidential. Clearly they are not doing a very good job of listening since they are insisting on dragging charitable firms into Magistrates Court to pay for a Levy which did not exist until recently.
To be fair, Birkenhead has been declining for years and business owners are struggling to stay afloat. But cleaning up Birkenhead is the job of the council. 
This is why people pay business rates. The BID appears to be a stealth tax method of increasing business rates without actually increasing the business rates which is the same argument successfully used by Esther McVey when the council attempted to place a levy on wheelie bins and which forced them to hastily back away and reconsider their position.
Wirral Chamber have recently released a wonderful glossy document which makes bold claims about the achievements of the Birkenhead Bid company (also known as Birkenhead First). However the majority of these are things Wirral Council would do anyway as part of their obligations to Business Rates Payers. So it seems the suggestion the BID Levy is supporting the over bloated salaries of former council employees may have some foundation.
Also since this is clearly a civil matter, why is there such a reluctance to transfer proceedings to the County Court? Clearly civil matters fall under contract law and County Court is the proper setting. The costs are similar and certainly can be itemised easier. This suggests a worrying symbiotic relationship between Wirral Council and Wirral Magistrates Court where proceedings are being led by Wirral Council and not the local Magistrates.
The subject of costs and lack of transparency surrounding these certainly raises more questions than answers and this spills over to affect every council tax payer, business rates payer and now BID Levy payer who has ever been summonsed to Magistrates Court and had liability order costs imposed. Whilst clearly Council Tax is a criminal matter, the BID Levy certainly is not and belongs in County Court not the criminal courts.
It has also been suggested the BID Levy and demands for payment would not stand up to scrutiny under contract law. This has never been tested but would certainly be in the public interest. Taking charities and not for profit firms to court in an attempt to access charitable funds is not. It does not matter if the BID Levy is a small token amount. It is still immoral. It is also grossly unfair. For example there is no way to spread the cost monthly, no refund mechanism if firms move out of the area part way through the year, no contract and no control or input on how money is spent. In short it represents an unfair contract under civil law and threats of heavy penalties and costs, bailiffs and similar from Wirral Council are tactics which could be viewed as extortion and threats in public office. Whilst we are not suggesting this is the case, it certainly could be viewed as such. All the more reason for the matter to be placed in its proper setting in the County Court and not the Magistrates Court.
Even more worrying is the notion if Wirral Chamber is not challenged, this could be the first of many BID Levy districts in Wirral and more struggling business owners and charitable firms will find themselves subject to this new stealth tax with no opt out clause, no appeal and no transparency over how their money is spent.
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When I Get Older

Toilet door

Pity the poor rank and file staff at Wirral Council who have to encounter these utterly bizarre posters in the Wallasey Town Hall toilets after they’ve attempted to relieve themselves (by whatever means) from the endless bullshit they have to endure on a daily basis.

The first thing to say is we don’t understand the graphics ( we’d like to think that the IQ of  Wirral Council staff reaches double figures but we may be wrong if they’re quite happy to be patronised by these cartoon figures); and the second thing to say is we don’t understand the demographics. Who exactly is this poster supposed to appeal to ? – a turban -wearing, kiss-curled, impressively bearded individual wearing a lime green double breasted jacket?

Clearly any attempt to address the main public health issue on Wirral – the huge disparity in the mortality rates between east and west Wirral – is studiously avoided. Presumably because there’s a not a cartoon character who can make inequality, poverty and deprivation seem such multi-coloured FUN!!!

Having said all that, our explanation as to why the people on the wrong side of the M53 die early is very simple – it’s because they want to!

Moreover it is incredibly dispiriting to read the low expectations that Wirral Council have of Wirral’s older people. The self same people who have been the backbone of the community on Wirral for many years , paying their Council Tax and sustaining the unworthy in power are seemingly reduced to the following aspirations:

‘I still want to be able to do my own garden’

‘I still want to be able to walk my dog’

‘ I still want to be able to play with my grandkids’

‘I still want to be able to use the stairs’

Might we suggest that based on the older people (and their carers) that contact us that they’re more concerned about being left languishing in hospital as a result of intermediary care services not being available whilst at the same time they’re regarded as a drain on resources –  despite the fact they established, supported and paid for those resources over many years in the first place!

Moreover the emphasis on the potential physical frailty of Wirral ‘s older people is a complete cop-out. What they want is what we all want – to be treated with dignity and respect, be afforded the services which they deserve, to hold the public officers who’s wages they pay to account and not to be subject to condescending bullshit!

For the record, as far as His Lord and Ladyship is concerned, when we get older we want to be far,far away from Wirral. We we’re thinking about retiring to the South of France but based on last week’s events we’ve decided to can the Cannes. Instead we’ve signed a living will which includes a mutual agreement to be on standby with a smothering pillow.

 

Floating In The Air

foulkesy-lrj-008

Thanks to all our readers and commentators who have been very patient about our court ruling on not publishing comments during the Employment Tribunal involving Wirral Council which has been held over the last couple of weeks.

Court Out

Fortunately we’ve had regular updates and contemporaneous notes on proceedings from interested attendees.

We were asked yesterday what our thoughts on the verdict would be and our response was:

Whatever the verdict there’s a story to be told here.
A very sad one – for all of us…..
So having found out that after a costly 10 day hearing Alison Mountney had failed to establish that she had suffered any detriment as a result of her whistleblowing we stick by that assessment. It comes to something when Wirral Council staff feel that the only way their concerns will be taken seriously if they take their complaints to an Employment Tribunal – even when it is unlikely to succeed.
Whatever the outcome it was very clear from the eyewitness accounts that we a still dealing with a toxic and dysfunctional organisation.
Management failings were described by Wirral Council’s solicitor Andrew Moore (Eversheds) as ‘learning points’ – a phrase that will most certainly  enter the Wirral Leaks lexicon of shame.
What Wirral resident and Tribunal chair Judge Robinson must have thought about how his Council Tax was being spent we can only imagine.  As he had no jurisdiction to rule on the whistleblowing allegations he apparently made reference in his summing up to them ‘floating in the air’. Yes, like a fart in a lift they stink to high heaven and there’s no escape from them.
This is a shame as no disrespect to respective parties but what interests us most are the  whistleblowing issues. It is very dispiriting to hear that the usual suspects –  senior management ,HR, Occupational Health , internal and external audit and Unison either don’t or won’t deal with the inconvenient ‘unpleasantness’ that comes with whistleblowing and they are left as Judge Robinson states – ‘floating in the air’.
Indeed we’d particularly like to advise Unison members to withdraw their membership and spend their subscription on alcohol, cake or whatever gets them through the working week as Unison will .

One interested spectator was Wirral Council whistleblower  Martin Morton who apparently made an inexplicable  blink-and you’ll-miss-it appearance on the witness stand . He has contacted us to say :

‘I’ve made some bad decisions in my life. Such as working for Wirral Council in the first place. However listening to the testimony at the Tribunal reassured me  that I made the right decision in not returning to that wretched organisation. The poisonous atmosphere of covert recordings, suspicion, long term sickness, mistrust, mutual disrespect and a culture of fear and loathing is not something I would want to endure again’

However , we at Leaky Towers think the final word (or should we say final submission) should go to Wirral Council’s solicitor – the aforementioned Andrew Moore who by all accounts was professional , respectful and measured. Clearly Wirral Council needed to buy these qualities in – and I’m sure someone, somewhere will be doing an FOI request to find out exactly how much it cost us.

Mr Moore is absolutely right in his Tweet above that (some) people are c’s and they can be horrible to each other. Luckily for him it keeps him in very well remunerated work!

The Lights Are On But No One Is Home

wallasey-town-hall-at-night

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

Following on from our ‘Where Your Money Goes’ report and anticipating tonight’s planned protests at Wallasey Town Hall about Wirral Council’s proposals to introduce parking charges the length and breadth of the borough we discuss further worrying developments when it comes to the council’s questionable income generating measures.
We have been contacted by a concerned citizen about correspondence they received from the council which they describe as ‘frightening’ :
I have just received a letter from the council asking me to verify that I do live on my own and thus still qualify for the single person allowance.
Fair enough, I have no problem with this, indeed, it even smacks of efficiency. However I note these two bullet points on the letter:
  • We will shortly be performing further and more detailed checks on household residency in order to validate claims for Council Tax Single Person Discount.
  • These residency checks will be performed in collaboration with an external agency.
What the hell does this mean? I notice that alongside the Wirral Council logo is another one for ‘northgate public services’.
Are we to have these civil police marching around our properties sniffing bed sheets and checking for extra shoes under the bed?
I am 60 and very active, but I would not like to open my door to these people if I was a frail 85 year old widower. This is really alarming.
How will these checks be carried out, what right have these people to enter my flat and if I refuse them entry! What then?
It’s like a Stalinist police state..!
Our correspondent should count themselves lucky they don’t own an empty property. There’s no Council Tax Single Person Discount there – owners have to a 100% Council Tax on an empty property if it’s been unoccupied for 6 months.  What if they can’t sell it in these desperate times ? Once again we can’t help thinking this has nothing to do with bringing empty properties back into use or about tackling homelessness. We don’t understand how Wirral Council can charge someone for services they don’t receive as there’s no-one living at the property!
Meanwhile it comes to something when two Labour MPs  ( Alison McGovern and Margaret Greenwood) speak out against the council’s car parking proposals whilst the two most prominent and headline grabbing Wirral MPs ( Angela Eagle and Frank Field) keep schtum.
We can’t help wondering with some of their punitive proposals as to whether the current Labour administration at Wallasey Town Hall have a death wish or they’ve grown so arrogant and complacent that they can impose any draconian measure on the people of Wirral – the people they’re meant to serve! Now we know that Wirral Council have made some wayward moves over recent years but some of their recent decisions are simply inexplicable! –  It really does seem to us to be a case of the lights are on but no one is home !
We have to say , as worthy as they are ,we’re getting a tad frustrated with the protests and petitions . Once again we invoke the words ‘Judicial Review’ to test the legality of Wirral Council’s actions. We think that this is where people need to get organised and direct their energies if the these proposals get the go ahead.
We suggest the grounds for ‘Judicial Review’ are set out succinctly in correspondence sent from regular Wirral Leaks correspondent Dr Robert B Smith to Eric Robinson and Cllr Phil Davies Wirral Council  CEO and ‘leader’ respectively and a response Dr Smith received from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) .

Dear Mr Robinson, Dear Cllr Phil Davies,

Please forward my email to any new councillors.

Nothing has changed since 2015 regarding the legislation prohibiting using parking charges to raise revenue leading to the defeat at Fort Perch Rock in 2015 regarding questionable budget options. From the DCLG: –

Operational Guidance, and legislation, is clear that local authorities should never use parking charges to raise revenue. Where there is surplus income local authorities must ensure that any revenue not used for enforcement is used for legitimate purposes as prescribed in Section 55 (as amended) of the RTRA 1984, and that its main use is to improve, by whatever means, transport provision in the area so that road users benefit.

Another important aspect of the function of the Monitoring Officer related to legal compliance is clearly stated by the DCLG viz.,

All local authorities have a Monitoring Officer, and it is their role to ensure that the authority complies with legislation in its operation.

I paste the reply I received from the DCLG in full, below, for those with short memories.

Dr Robert B Smith

Dear Dr Smith

Thank you for your email dated 20 July to Greg Clark concerning proposed pay and display parking in New Brighton. I work in the team in DCLG working on high streets and town centres and have been asked to reply on his behalf.

Parking is vital to modern high streets and town centres, which is why we are encouraging all local authorities to consider the impact of parking policies on the health of town centres and to adjust their policies accordingly. We want to make sure local authorities operate fair and reasonable parking strategies that are not an unnecessary disincentive to motorists who visit our high streets and town centres.

Operational Guidance, and legislation, is clear that local authorities should never use parking charges to raise revenue. Where there is surplus income local authorities must ensure that any revenue not used for enforcement is used for legitimate purposes as prescribed in Section 55 (as amended) of the RTRA 1984, and that its main use is to improve, by whatever means, transport provision in the area so that road users benefit.

I am sorry that you feel that the Wirral Borough Council is not supporting the recovery of New Brighton, Wallasey. Parking is ultimately the responsibility of local authorities; it is for them to determine what is best for their own area. You are correct therefore, to raise this issue with your MP, as Ministers have no remit to intervene in a local authorities day to day affairs, except where specific provision has been made in an Act of Parliament. All local authorities have a Monitoring Officer, and it is their role to ensure that the authority complies with legislation in its operation.

You will be interested to know that the Department for Communities and Local Government has published new statutory guidance that ensures local residents and firms can petition to initiate a formal review of parking policies in their area from the council, with Councillors then voting on the action to be taken. This guidance describes in more detail a new mechanism to use petitions to give local residents, community groups and businesses the ability to challenge parking policies, and advises local authorities on best practice. The full guidance can be found at http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-challenge-parking-policies

Yours sincerely,

Kathryn Clarke

Town Centres, High Streets and Coastal Team

Treena’s Misdemeanour

treena

 

Private Eye magazine have compiled an interactive map  (see below) which is the result of Freedom of Information Act (FoI) requests to the 377 local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales that process council tax payments.

They requested data relating to council tax payments due in the 2015-16 tax year and specifically asked how many councillors received reminder letters, how many were summonsed to court, how many of those cases went ahead and how many councillors were subsequently banned from voting on their council’s budget.

As you can see if you click on the map there is one Wirral Councillor who is named and shamed.

http://www.private-eye.co.uk/councillors

That is Labour councillor Treena Johnson. Yes ,  we have a councillor called Treena.

As Her Ladyship said : “Treena? – sounds as though one of Barbie’s best mates has thrown off the shackles of female oppression and run off to join the Wallasey Constituency Labour Party to fight for equality!”

Apparently Cllr Treena was summonsed after a Council Tax payment of £332.99 was not made . Interestingly we also learned that the “Local Government Finance Act forbids councillors from voting on the council’s budget – and determining the council tax – if they themselves have missed payments for two consecutive months and have not taken action to remedy the problem. The act states that such councillors either have to stay away from the meetings or, if they want to show up, they must stand up before their peers and explain why they cannot vote. Failure to take those steps is a criminal offence and can result in a maximum fine of £1,000 at a magistrates’ court.”

However Cllr Treena wasn’t barred from voting as she paid the money that was due to Wirral Council before she got to court. No doubt this was an oversight , a misunderstanding  or an unfortunate mistake on her part and in the scheme of things nothing approaching the misconduct of some of her Labour councillor comrades. However it is still a bit of an embarrassment isn’t it ?.

No Concessions

Council Tax flyer 006

 

You may have read in the local papers about Wirral Council retiree Mike Garbutt railing against his “morally bankrupt” former employer for  asking him to return the gift of a lifetime gym pass because of council cuts.

Sadly it took  34 years of loyal service before Mr. Garbutt realised that the people who run Wirral Council are “morally bankrupt” and that unless you’re one of the gilded elite  you ain’t nothin’ but a (payroll) number.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14389679.Former_council_worker__let_down_and_angry__after_losing_retirement_gift_because_of_budget_cuts/

Meanwhile some town hall drone admits that this may be  “disappointing for those people affected” oblivious to the fact that they’ll be next to be screwed over whilst rejoicing in the fact that such a callous move may make £500,000 worth of savings – hurrah! .However let’s face it these days half a million is a mere bagatelle  – the cost of a Town Hall executive love tryst.

There are other stories such as this – Mr. D told us  :

As part of the councils cuts to save money they are implementing the stopping of some free concessions. In 2009 I was given a long service award by the council for over 30 years service and out of the three choices I elected a life pass to the gyms.  As from April this has now been removed so in effect had my long service award removed with no offers of anything in it’s place.  I’m sure this may effect others across the borough.

Then there’s the case of a pensioner with severe mobility problems who being  50+  was able to buy a leisure passport every year for £5 that entitled him to swim free between 11am & 12 noon Monday to  Friday. He was recently told by the staff at West Kirby Concourse that from 1st April this facility will be withdrawn. From then on he will have to pay £4 every time he uses the pool. Apparently there are a number of people including this gentleman who need this exercise and depend on this therapy !.
We’re wondering whether it will only kick off  when the retired golfing chums of the Wirral council powerbrokers realise it will affect their use of the municipal golf courses.
Just to rub it in we’ve all just had our Council Tax bills through the door haven’t we ? – along with a glossy leaflet with those bloody 20 pledges pie charts . There on the “people” pie chart we have “older people live well” and on the environment pie chart we have “leisure and cultural opportunities for all” .
So how do Wirral council reconcile the rhetoric with these mean spirited and short -sighted measures we describe above ?. More importantly  how do they reconcile the banner headline  “Council Tax – where your money goes”  without reference to CEO Eric “Feeble” Robinson’s £35,000 value for money pay hike  or Martin Liptrot (sky) ‘s £45,000 political appointment or the millions spent on consultants or the countless amounts spent on cover ups and pay offs ? .
Strange  how money can always be found to make “our betters” lives a little bit easier isn’t it  ?- but can never be found for the “little people”  – you know the ones like you and me who pay the over-inflated wages of these so called public servants. The modern day mandarins on the make and on the take.
Consequently they’ll be “no concessions” at Leaky Towers when it comes to exposing the hypocrisy , the stupidity , the waste , the incompetence and the dishonesty  that still lies at the heart (if it had one) of Wirral Council .

 

Tax, Cuts & Fat Cats

FRIAR-FUCK
As a follow up to our “That’s A Bit Rich…” story we thought we’d like to report on how on how the other half live – the little people who fund the lavish lifestyles and inflated wages of the so-called public servants in Wallasey Town Hall. The people who are hounded for their Council Tax and Bedroom Tax so that this golden shower can indulge in Mayor-making jamborees and golf beanos and far east junkets and lavish refurbishments.

Their creative funding of such indulgences includes the curious tale that Wirral Council has received what is known as a discretionary housing payment of over £900 from a ridiculously named housing association with whom “associations” with the Council go back a long way . The amount paid to the housing association on behalf of a tenant allegedly paid in error has been compliantly handed over to the Council although it is believed that the latter have no legal right to the money as it rightfully belongs to the tenant.

We suspect that this payment has something to do with the dreaded Bedroom Tax – upon which Wirral Council’s stance is simply reprehensible. They may like to blame central government for introducing the tax ( no we won’t call it a spare room subsidy) but fail to emphasise that it is a local government decision on how – or even if – it’s implemented.

Could it be that Wirral’s Labour Council want to play the blame game for political ends and are using vulnerable people as a means to do that?

Thankfully we hail Joe Halewood and his highly informative blog SPeye Joe for keeping us informed on Wirral’s shameful implementation of this Robin Hood in Reverse tax – robbing the poor to pay the rich.

His recent post titled “Wirral’s Labour Council and bedroom tax sophistry” tells you everything you need to know about the Town Hall bedroom tax spin and which strangely doesn’t appear in certain sections of the local press  – SEE HERE

WIRRAL COUNCIL – THE KLONOWSKI REPORT: A BIT OF A KERFUFFL

Her worship-fulness, the mayor of the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral and Rock Ferry patron saint of the disabled, and defender of of human rights, Councillor Moira McLaughlin (above) has seen it. So has our much loved Council leader, the rubicund, puce hued Steve “Foulksey” Foulkes….  but we haven’t and we paid for the bugger!!!

THE KLONOWSKI REPORT: A BIT OF A KERFUFFLE
  
For those council tax payers on The Wirral who have been following the Leveson and Mid-Staffordshire inquiries it must seem like they’re living in the past  “- a foreign country -they do things differently there” .
  
News reports of bullying cultures, gagging clauses,unlawful practices and cover ups seems to be oh so familiar to people on the Wirral.The only difference is that the Leveson/Mid-Staffs inquiries are being conducted in public and  powerful individuals are finally being subject to scrutiny and accountability.
  
Meanwhile the Wirral people having forked out £250K for a report into what exactly has been going on in Wirral Council are denied the opportunity to find out what all the fuss is about.Apparently this is because those who have been criticised or face allegations have a “right to reply”.

Excuse us but didn’t they have a “right of reply” during the investigation?
Lets face it this publicly funded pantomime has been going on long enough! So what exactly is happening now? – Are the not so great and not so good busily comparing notes and consulting lawyers with the intention of watering down the reports findings  so that it all becomes  “a bit of a kerfuffle”? .

I think we should be told !

Ooops! There we go again! This is The Wirral –  Motto: Nos Operor Res Diversus Hic ( “We do things differently here”)