An UnSatoorsfactory Appointment

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Needless to say we were given the heads up about Paul Satoor being made Interim CEO of Wirral Council before the last Employment and Appointments Committee confirmed the appointment

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Also needless to say we understand that the current Wirral Council CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson now isn’t working his 3 month notice and is hastily taking up his new appointment as CEO of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) on July 16th. It’s all very much a case of : ” I’m a nonentity – get me out of here”

How ironic that someone who repeatedly turned a blind eye to the abuse of power at Wirral Council is the now head of the national organisation who are meant to be protecting the vulnerable from abuse.  It doesn’t augur well does it? But hey! that’s how things work in backward Britain these days . The bland leading the blind.

Meanwhile we thought we’d check out Stressed Eric’s successor…or more accurately his Wirral Leaks rap sheet and see what Satoor is bringing to the party. And it’s not a lot if you ask us. It’s the usual case of :  “Use what you know to get what you want” (see also – Burgess, Adderley, Degg, Downey, Green, Armstrong, Blott etc;etc;)

For starters he was up to his neck in the Halliday debacle . No wonder Stressed Eric stressed that no-one was going to take the rap for this particular dereliction of due diligence. No doubt the rubicund public servant was too busy lining up his successor whilst standing behind the shredder and preparing  his press statement about how it all happened before he was appointed when the proverbial hits the fan. And it will dear reader. Oh, believe us, it will…

 

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A Fear of Green

Green

This is not a subliminal political message

Certain factions at Wirral Council appear to be suffering from a form of chromophobia (fear of colour) and a particular form known as prasinophobia which is fear of the colour green.

From the Green Party to the Green Belt to Dave Green (remember him? – if not we’ll be reminding you soon) to er, bowling greens

I am a member a member of a Crown Green bowling club in West Wirral which pays a fee to the Council for use of a Clubhouse and the Bowling Green. The maintenance of the Green is the responsibility of WBC Parks and Gardens. Over the last 3 years the maintenance of the Green I play on has diminished due to cuts in Parks and Gardens maintenance staff. This has affected not just my Green but about 8 other Greens in the District. The deterioration of our Green means that this year it has become unplayable. Promises by the Council to improve the playing surface has not materialised, but the cost of the hire has risen in this financial year to over £1000. As a Club we arrange fixtures with other local clubs and we also have internal club competitions. None of this is now possible for this season. Within our club we have at least one experienced bowler who has been bowling for over 60 years as well as being a knowledgeable green keeper in his earlier years. He has categorically stated that the Green is an utter disgrace and is ‘unplayable’.

The Wirral Health Strategy imposes a responsibility on the Council to encourage older people to not only keep exercising but to also socialise to alleviate loneliness and isolation. Our Club cannot now meet and play on our Green this season due to it’s condition. We are still expected to pay the fee? For over a 2 months we have been asking those responsible to get the Green into a playable condition, but we have received is promises…

Meanwhile on a slighter bigger scale we have been alerted to this particular item which is to be found on  Defend Wirral’s Green Spaces  Facebook page :

Wirral Council have REFUSED to publish their instructions / brief to the University of Liverpool who, we believe, have been contracted to review Wirral Council’s Housing need calculations.

They have also REFUSED to publish the Council’s brief to a top Planning QC who they are employing at a cost of £135,000 to advise on the Local Plan and Green Belt Review. The Council state that this QC has advised that the Council must meet the Governments Housing Target despite the Secretary of State for Housing writing to the Council Leader stating that the housing “target” of 12000 homes is NOT MANDATORY.

We wonder why, if the Council are supposedly doing everything they can to reduce the housing “target” number and are supposedly wanting to save the Green Belt they would not want to publish these briefs? In the interest of Transparency and Openness, surely the Council would want the people of Wirral to see exactly just what the University and this QC have been tasked with doing on our behalf and what they are spending our money on?

For further information read on……..

The Wirral Green Space Alliance submitted the following Freedom of Information Request on 1st March 2019:

“Nature of contact: This FoIR is lodged by ITPAS at the request of WGSA .

In the spirit of openness and ‘transparent’ local government, we request the following information, records and other relevant documents be made available to us in normal electronic format(s):

1.  The Appointment Documents, Terms of Reference (ToRs), Briefing(s), Instructions and the like of (i) Liverpool University and (ii) the Council’s QC (Chris Katkowski ?) for services in connection with Wirral Council’s emerging Local Plan.

 

2.  The Minutes and Notes of all meetings between the above two parties and Wirral Council Officers, Councillors, Consultants and other relevant parties, together with all other related correspondence and communications (including advice, reports, etc. to and from each party) in connection with services related to Wirral Council’s emerging Local Plan and the Case in support of and/or against it, whether prior to actual appointment(s), at appointment(s) or since appointment(s).
Any other information:  This information is requested in order to provide what the Groups within the WGSA consider to be missing, unclear, conflicting or essential information, and to facilitate a proper response to Wirral Council’s proposals and actions to be made in an informed, robust and timely manner.

 

‘ITPAS’ refers to ‘Irby, Thurstaston & Pensby Amenity Society’ and

‘WGSA’ refers to ‘Wirral Green Space Alliance’: a grouping of 20 local community, environmental and wildlife groups and specialists.”

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Wirral Council should have responded within 20 days. The Council failed to give a response by the deadline, so again on 16th April the Council were contacted to provide a response. Finally on 25th April the Council responded as follows:

“We refer to your request for Information which has been processed in accordance with the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs) as the information requested is considered to be ‘environmental information’ under Regulation 2(1) (c) of the EIRs; being information on planes, activities, measures etc. affecting or likely to affect the elements of the environment.’

 

Please accept our apologies for the delay in providing a response.  As previously advised we have been dealing with a high volume of requests with limited resources, resulting in a backlog in enquiries.  We do endeavour where possible to respond within 20 working days but acknowledge we were unable to do so on this occasion.  We are now in a position to respond to your request as follows.

 

Your request stated:

 

In the spirit of openness and ‘transparent’ local government, we request the following information, records and other relevant documents be made available to us in normal electronic format(s):

1.  The Appointment Documents, Terms of Reference (ToRs), Briefing(s), Instructions and the like of

(i) Liverpool University and (ii) the Council’s QC (Chris Katkowski ?) for services in connection with Wirral Council’s emerging Local Plan.

 

2.  The Minutes and Notes of all meetings between the above two parties and Wirral Council Officers, Councillors, Consultants and other relevant parties, together with all other related correspondence and communications (including advice, reports, etc. to and from each party) in connection with services related to Wirral Council’s emerging Local Plan and the Case in support of and/or against it, whether prior to actual appointment(s), at appointment(s) or since appointment(s).

 

In response the Council can advise the following.

 

Request 1

The Council is of the opinion that the documents requested relating to the appointment of, and work undertaken by, Liverpool University  are exempted from disclosure.  Regulation 12 (4) of the EIRs states that a public authority may refuse to disclose information where the request relates to material which is still in the course of completion; being unfinished documents or incomplete data. The work of Liverpool University in this instance relates to the formulation and preparation of the Local Plan, which is in the course of completion. Further, the Local Plan is a document which will be published in any event at a stage in the future.

 

The aims of the Regulation 12 (4) (d) exception include the protection of work in progress by delaying disclosure until a final or completed version can be made available.

 

With regards to the appointment of Counsel, the qualified exemption relating to legal privilege applies to Counsels advice. Advice privilege applies where no litigation is in progress or contemplated. It covers confidential communications between the client and lawyer, made for the dominant (main) purpose of seeking or giving legal advice. Further as these documents relate to material that is still being completed, unfinished documents including drafts, or incomplete data, the Council also refuse to provide the information under regulation 12 (4) (d).

 

The Council considers that at this stage in the Local Plan preparation the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosure. Whilst there is a presumption in favour of disclosure under the Regulations the Council has taken into account the fact that the draft Local Plan will be subject to further public consultation in the near future.  The Council has also taken account of the fact that under the Regulations, when more than one exception applies to the information, the Council may combine the public interest arguments in maintaining the exceptions against the public interest in disclosure. This is different from the approach required under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

Request 2

As stated above Regulation 12 (4) (d) of the EIRs states that a public authority may refuse to disclose information where the request relates to material which is still in the course of completion; being unfinished documents or incomplete data. In this instance the documents requested  relate  to the formulation and preparation  of the Local Plan, which is in the course of completion. Further, the Local Plan is a document which will be published in any event at a stage in the future.

 

Further, Regulation 12 (4) (e) exempts disclosure of internal communications, and the documents requested include such communications.

 

The Council considers that at this stage in the Local Plan preparation, the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosure. Whilst there is a presumption in favour of disclosure under the Regulations, the Council has taken into account the fact that a the draft Local Plan will be subject to further public consultation in the near future.  The Council has also taken account of the fact that under the Regulations, when more than one exception applies to the information, the Council may combine the public interest arguments in maintaining the exceptions against the public interest in disclosure. This is different from the approach required under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

The Council is aware that, in addition to the public interest in transparency and accountability, there is a further public interest in disclosing environmental information because it supports the right of everyone to live in an adequate environment, and ultimately contributes to a better environment. Normally, public interest arguments in favour of the exception have to be specifically related to what that exception is protecting, but this is a general public interest argument for disclosure, and it does not have to be related to the specific exception. However, given the fact that the Local Plan is in the course of preparation and will be subject to further rounds of public consultation and to public examination prior to being finally adopted by the Council, the Council is of the opinion that the right to live in an adequate environment will be protected by this process and that this right does not therefore outweigh the public interest in non-disclosure of the requested information at this stage.

 

You have the right to make representations under Regulation 11 of the EIRs if you are unhappy with how the Council has dealt with your enquiry informationmanager@wirral@gov.uk.  If you were to remain dissatisfied, you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner, but would normally be expected to make representations before doing so. Contact details for the Information Commissioner’s Office can be found at https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/

Yours sincerely

Lynette Paterson

Principal Information Management Officer

Business Management “

Wirral Green Space Alliance have responded as follows:

“Dear Lynette Paterson,

The belated responses to our Requests for Information are sadly much as expected but are nevertheless disappointing and unacceptable to us.  We ask you to reconsider your decision to refuse to release anything as this seems unreasonable to us.

 

We can understand that supplying information of a fluid situation, where hypothetical and unresolved matters which are being discussed and examined could be counterproductive, even misleading and would have the potential to distract key personnel from catching up on woefully late delivery.  However, all the items under ‘1.  The Appointment Documents, etc.’ and some of the items under ‘2.  The Minutes and Notes, etc.’ are finished documents and not fluid.  The Appointment process regarding the referenced parties is also concluded.  Therefore, to the extent that our Requests relate to the actual work being undertaken pursuant to these finished documents and process, we are prepared to wait.  However, we are advised and of the opinion that Information and Documentation relating to the completed documents and process could safely and reasonably be released (albeit redacted where commercially sensitive) and would be in the Public Interest.

 

Groups within the ‘Wirral Green Space Alliance’ (WGSA) have been advised to share with the Council instances where we consider that the Council’s approach and/or actions related to the production of its belated legal Local Plan to be flawed or not sufficiently reasonable/appropriate or could be improved, in order that the Council has the opportunity to change and so that the Planning Inspector at the Inquiry stage will not dismiss/set aside such evidence and suggestions, citing the Council’s lack of opportunity to take it into account at an appropriate stage.

 

Conversely, WGSA Groups would presumably have the opportunity to show the Planning Inspector that the Council had opportunity to change but did not do so and was requested of Information to assist us in our own public duty but were denied such useful Information.

 

May we have your further consideration and Information as soon as possible, please.  Many thanks.”

We will keep you posted when a response is received!…

 

 

The Twelve Days of Christmas : Day Seven – The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future

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PAST : It was with breathtaking cynicism that on Christmas Eve 6 years ago Wirral Council shut up shop and published a report by Richard Penn which investigated a minor case of alleged ‘whistleblowing’ which nevertheless managed to get some airtime on Radio Merseyside on Christmas Day 2012. We won’t go into the details as apparently to do so could potentially cause ‘damage and distress ‘ to those named in the report. As you can see from our report The Penn Is Mightier Than The Sword  such was the secrecy and subterfuge it was a week later (and six years to the day) before we  got around to  covering the story –  and let’s face it like most of you probably under the influence of a hangover.

PRESENT : So you might be wondering why are we bringing up the matter of on the sixth anniversary of the publication of  ‘The Penn Report’ now? Well ,dear readers  ‘The Penn Report’ featured as evidence this year in a significant legal case which ended up in the Upper Tribunal in London, far from prying eyes and inquisitive ears and which demonstrated what can happen when low friends in high places pull a few strings who want to avoid the publication of ‘The Warren Report’ covering  the same issues as the ‘The Penn Report’ but allegedly penned (no pun intended) by close friend of Frank Field who describes the author of the unpublished report as a ‘stunning lawyer’ . We prefer the term ‘compromised ex-Judge in a conflict of interest clusterfuck’ and we’re confident with all his legal knowledge Nicholas Warren isn’t going to sue us for expressing that reasonably held belief even when Warren himself was indemnified by you, dear readers, to write whatever he wants about whoever he likes even though his report can’t ever be published.

Morton v 1.Information Commissioner 2. Wirral Metropolitan Council : (2018) UKUT 295 (AAC)

FUTURE : We predict – no, we promise – both reports will feature significantly in future 2019 Wirral Leaks posts as we finally put to bed the biggest scandal in Wirral Council history and reveal just how deep the corruption goes in our most revered and venerated UK institutions and which extends far beyond the insular peninsula…

 

Blog Of A Thousand Posts – Our Greatest Hits

 

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Wirral Leaks en vacances. We’ve decided to enjoy our holidays earlier this year to avoid the high season hoi polloi.

As we reach another milestone, after crashing through the million hits barrier earlier this year , we were hoping that our 1,000th blog post would be a Wirral Leaks exclusive finally exposing the biggest scandal in Wirral’s political history. Alas, it would appear that the establishment are closing ranks on this one – for now anyway. However how long before the dam bursts and we’re all showered in the filth that’s been building up behind the wall of silence?

Meanwhile we thought we’d celebrate our latest landmark by recalling our top five greatest hits or to be more precise – our posts with the greatest number of hits. You may have your own favourite but in reverse order we have :

5 – PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT : PARKING FINES (January 2018)

Whilst we think there are far more serious concerns that should preoccupy the people of Wirral than parking fines, dog crap and litter but what we do get is their frustration with authorities abusing their power and screwing every penny out of them.

Public Service Announcement : Parking Fines

4  – THE GREEN SHOOTS OF SPRING (March 2013)

This is a blast from the past (2013 to be precise ) when we wrote about former  Wirral Council highflyer Dave Green who subsequently and inevitably flew the  council coop along with a golden nest egg . Although we have to say we don’t know if the enduring appeal of this particular post is Green (who?) or the picture of the delightful Dita Von Teese.

The Green Shoots of Spring

3 – SORRENTO SHAME : HOLIDAYMAKERS CLAIM THEY FACED ‘RACIST ABUSE’ FROM EX-WIRRAL MAYORESS (October 2017)

With holidays in mind who could forget the ultimate ‘Brits Abroad’ story as  Wirral’s former Mayor and his charming consort aka Foulkesy and Lainey take their particular brand of personal decorum and international race relations to sunny Sorrento. Indeed it is alleged that similar kind of behaviour described in this shocking post carried on back in Blighty.  Which as Cllr Foulkes knows in particular – if there are no consequences or sanctions to your actions then you’ll just carry on just as before.

Sorrento Shame : Holidaymakers Claim They Faced ‘Racist Abuse’ From Ex-Wirral Mayoress

2  – THE BUNG, THE BAD & THE UGLY : SILENCE IS A GOLDEN HANDSHAKE (July 2015)

The time when the talk of Wallasey Town Hall and beyond was laid bare for all to see. Graham Burgess the man brought in to drain the cesspit ended up wallowing in the dirt and adding to the sleaze. There will come a day when we look back and remember that 2013-15 were the darkest days in Wirral Council’s history. The conduct of particular politicians and council officers throughout this period of time was morally and politically reprehensible and the repercussions are still being felt on Wirral to this day  ………

The Bung, The Bad & The Uggly : Silence is a Golden Handshake

 1 EXCLUSIVE :  WIRRALGATE (September 2013) 

…….talking of which – what could possibly be the enduring appeal of  this particular post ? We must credit where it’s due the power elite at Wirral Council might not be able to organise a bunfight in a bakery but when they want to organise a cover up there are no finer exponents in the land . We believe the reason they’ve managed to keep the Wirralgate scandal  under wraps for nearly 5 years is  parts necessity, part geography and part complicity –  where on earth would such a corrupt cabal have been able to get away with this town hall horrorshow other than on the insular peninsula where the power is concentrated in the wrong hands , where it pays to collude with the abuse of power and where the people are uninformed of the abuses of power being carried out behind closed doors and funded with their hard earned cash!  

And with that thought we’ll leave you. However keep sending in your stories and bulletins ,someone will press the publish button if they think it’s worth a plug and if the ‘big one’ finally breaks we’ll let you know ……….

 

blog en vacance

Sir Slippery v St Slimy

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We’ve been sent a series of press clippings which demonstrate that the unseemly row between former BHS boss and yacht -loving Sir Philip Green ( ‘Sir Slippery’) and Birkenhead MP and ocean-going hypocrite Frank Field ( ‘St Slimy’) continues unabated.

Let’s get one thing clear –  no-one’s hands are clean in this long running  debacle even though Sir Slippery may have acted within the law his conduct remains highly questionable. However our issue is mainly with Frankenfield who , as is his wont, is wanting to take the moral high ground in a sleazy tabloid tit-for-tat between the Daily Mirror and Daily Mail.

The  long running feud was re-ignited in recent Daily Mirror front page where they christened the tawdry tycoon as ‘Sir Slippery’ and continued over the weekend in the Mail on Sunday and again in Monday’s Daily Mirror which picked up on the exclusive Mail interview. Mail readers must’ve been torn as S*n columnist Field is unsurprisngly their pet Labour MP!

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What’s more it all seems very reminiscent of a case closer to home where again the ‘saintly’ Field took issue issue with another man called Green and used the same tactics and with the same result!

So let’s take a look at some selective quotes from the stories and comment on he worrying similarities .

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Sir Slippery maintains that St Slimy is a man who has a personal vendetta against him. However based on what we know we are more inclined to believe Green ‘s claim that Frankenfield is  mainly ‘interested in publicity for himself ‘

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Significantly  ‘Sir’ Philip Green was cleared of any wrongdoing following an investigation by the Insolvency Service  and therefore can continue as a company director and yet Frankenfield continues to pursue and publicly condemn the tycoon. All very similar to his pursuit of former Wirral Council director Dave Green .

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There were inquiries undertaken by the Audit Commission , Wirral Council and investigations instigated by Field undertaken by Serious Fraud Office and Merseyside Police into allegations that EU procurement rules were broken by Dave Green and ‘whistleblowers’ supported by Field suffered detriment as a result of reporting the alleged breach.

 

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This is countered by Sir Slippery’s claim that Field also intimidated/frightened the Pensions Regulator . This must be very familiar to Wirral Council officers at all levels of seniority who have faced the same tactics from the saintly people’s champion. This includes the former Wirral Council CEO Graham Burgess who would not bend to Field’s will when it came to paying off the whistleblowers who he ‘championed’ – mainly because they had the means to incriminate his electoral agent , Cllr George Davies and other political allies , in serious  misconduct . Therefore Burgess had to go – and go he did.

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And yet still Field implores PM Theresa May to strip Sir Slippery of his knighthood much in the same way he wanted Dave Green stripped of his livelihood.  As a fully paid up member of ‘the Establishment’  who never fails to use his contacts  and connections to get what he wants and to crush any opposition to his carefully constructed public persona and to counter criticism of his cronies  Field’s statements below are early contenders for ‘Quote of the Year’ . As ever the hypocrisy is simply breathtaking.  And as for asking the question as to whether May is with ‘the big guy or the little guy’ we think that after this week’s events we all know the answer to that question don’t we?

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For a change we’ll leave the last word to ‘Sir’ Philip Green rather than ‘St’ Frank. Whilst Green keeps it as classy as his ‘hot-felon’ dating daughter we find it hard to disagree with his description of the current incumbents (of all parties) in the House of Commons .Sir Slippery 041

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Field : Fearless or Shameless ?

Now we’ve imagined that we would meet a grisly end courtesy of either a failed brakes incident as Her Ladyship and I cruised La Grande Corniche or a like a deadlier version of the opening scene to the film ‘Sexy Beast’ as we lounged in the Mediterranean sun.

However it would seem our readers have other ideas. Are you really trying to induce a coronary? We say this as we’ve received pictures from a Mail On Sunday reader – we’re a broad church and we don’t judge – yeah right! we hear you cry- but that particular publication isn’t usually part of our reading matter , especially when it regularly features their ‘pet’ Labour politician Frank Field.

Last Sunday’s edition exceeded itself as it features a full page spread of our beloved MP for Birkenhead under the headline – ” Fearless Frank : How I brought TWO Philip Greens down to size” and where we find Frankenfield adopting a macho stance (or as close an approximation as he can manage).

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The TWO Philip Greens involved are the former boss of BHS , ‘Sir’ Philip Green and the Carillion CEO of the same name who isn’t a knight of the realm . Frankenfield is wringing every last ounce of self-aggrandizing publicity out of this isn’t he?  How ‘fearless’ do you have to be when you’re the chair of Work and Pensions Select Committee and what is it with Frankenfield and Greens? – beit Dave, Philip or the Green Party? Perhaps ‘Dear Papa’ forced him to eat his greens and he’s held a grudge ever since. And if there’s one thing we know about Foodbank Frank is that he ‘bears more grudges than lonely high court judges’  .

The hagiographic article written by the clearly impressionable William Turvill is jampacked with early entries for the Leaky Awards ‘ “Quote of the Year”.

Now if questions  A) and B) were posed to Wirral Council, Grant Thornton etc; instead of untouchable ,distant but headline-grabbing multi-millionaires we might have more respect for him*

nb – let’s be honest it’ll be a cold day in hell when we have any respect for Frank Field 

A) 

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B)

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But our absolute favourite quote was this :

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To which we would like to respond and say : Be careful what you wish for Frankie-baby! Although it must be great when Wirral Council (or rather their council taxpayers) are picking up the bill as a result of your scheming ways!

Advent Farewell 22 : WUTH – less this Christmas

There’s been a strangely muted response in the local press to the ‘stepping down’  of Wirral University Teaching Hospital Foundation (WUTH) Foundation Trust CEO David Allison . Allison doesn’t even get a namecheck in the Wirral Globe headline about his sudden departure. The story is somehow spun that it’s ‘All About Frank’ and the Birkenhead MP’s support for the Globe’s petition to get the current car parking charges for nurses changed – which is much like his ‘starving mites’ schtick. No right thinking person thinks nurses should be paying such high car parking charges just as they wouldn’t want children to go hungry. Here’s the Globe’s take : Tank Top Frank

We were given the heads up that Allison was heading for the exit with indecent haste by the following message :

David Allison – taken the money now running

Along with his useless Director of Workforce (replaced the useless Sue Green – yes – married to the useless David Green) James Mawrey – same job just a different title so her role could be made redundant and she could a massive pay-off…..

I dread to think what incompetent fiickwitts will follow in their steads

BTW – don’t give up – please!

However for us to get a fuller picture of what’s been going on we had to go to campaigning journalist Shaun Lintern who writes in the Health Service Journal :

WUTH

The concerns recorded in the document include:

  • NHSI was told the board “was not functioning as a unitary board . Pre-meets are carefully managed and concerns suppressed . It is felt that the CEO has a lack of grip on the issues facing the organisation and was not paying attention to quality indicators . The CEO responds to quality concerns with dismay and aggression. There is a concern that some key data and supportive narrative may be being carefully managed
  • NHSI was told executives have been instructed not to involve non-executive directors in any initiatives or issues in their portfolios without going through the chair
  • The executives ” felt the organisation had a culture that prohibits raising concerns as there was a lack of transparency and honesty when difficult issues were raised. this translated into a lack of visibility of quality and safety and reluctance to escalate concerns”
  • NHSI was told ” senior colleagues were moved out of the organisation very quickly with no obvious explanation .. They felt that this was related to a reluctance to escalate concerns and inability to accept appropriate challenge”
  • Consultants at the trust were said to be ” reluctant to take on senior leadership roles as history showed that they may (be) subject to investigations (and/or) intimidation if things did not work out”

Well fancy that! Were WUTH and Wirral Council separated at birth?

None of these allegations come as a surprise to us as we’ve long received similar allegations (see below), often sadly from whistleblowers who were subject to a culture of fear even more virulent than Wirral Council and therefore less willing to go public. We think it is significant that it was senior managers who blew the whistle because we’d like to suggest that there are WUTH staff further down the pecking order (and with considerably less influence and power) who have tales to tell about the trust’s toxic culture.

Indeed here we have some scary stats courtesy of NHS whistleblower and campaigner Minh Alexander which details whistleblowing contacts 2015-17 with useless health and social care regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) 

MINH whistleblowing

Home

Talking of useless regulators who are seemingly unwilling to accept that there was an increasingly worrying governance and culture problem brewing at WUTH we are also aware that Monitor were involved in a complaint about the highly questionable removal of a WUTH Governor in 2014 which had the hallmarks of a ‘kangaroo court’. They lamely concluded “…….we expect the Trust to explain departure from the Code of Governance in its annual report. However in the absence of further or new information , we will not be taking any further action over the above matters”  

The history of this case is worthy of a post of its own but might we suggest it would be more instructive for this particular former Governor to contact NHS Improvement to tell them of their experience.

We’ve trawled our other leaks to discover similar allegations to those mentioned above about WUTH . The first of which we publish in the interest of balance to the comment made above :

For the record, Sue Green, HR Director, left the Trust a few months after my removal. Wirralleaks reported on the circumstances of her leaving at the time. She had been suspended for disciplinary reasons but later cleared. During her suspension, the post of HR Director was dispensed with and she was made redundant. My experience of her was that she was an honest, conscientious and efficient professional who got on well with those she had contact with and was a loss to the Trust. Apparently, she did not fit in with the new culture of the Trust since the recent appointment of the new CEO, David Allison. 

And here’s another:

Michael Carr is the CEO’s puppet and has been given two extensions to his contract by governors for exceptional reasons (don’t know what reasons are but they will have been invented by Allison) after he had completed two periods of three years, which is the norm for an NHS FT Chairman. Allison wants him in post because he does not cause any problems for him. He is very compliant!

Suddenly doesn’t the chaos , disarray, low morale and lack of beds that we frequently hear about Arrowe Park Hospital make tragic sense when we get a peak at what goes on behind the scenes and how the place is seemingly (mis)managed?

However just to finish on a lighter , reassuring note like they do on News at Ten isn’t Orlando Agrippa simply the best name ever ?!

Comings and Goings

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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.”

 

The Ugly Truth

ugly-sisters

 

Do you think Frank Field was forced to eat sprouts as a child ?

We ask this as he seems to have a deep aversion to greens. First it was Wirral Council Chief Officer Dave Green ,then it was the local Green Party which brought on a funny turn and now dragging every last ounce out of the ‘Sir’ Philip Green BHS scandal Fairy Godfather Frankenfield does what he does best –  being a world class hypocrite and asking for big fines for people who – legally if not morally – have done nothing wrong.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14979464.Frank_Field_urges_billion_pound_fines_to_prevent_repeat_of_BHS_pensions__disaster_/

He’s big on morality is Frankenfield – as long it’s not his own and those he’s protecting. If we didn’t dislike the ugly face of capitalism ‘Sir’ Phil  so much we’d be straight on to his solicitor Schillings with the ugly truth about what Frankenfield has been up to round here.

Lest we forget this involves St. Frank of the Foodbanks trying to get council taxpayers to stump up a bung to protect his Plug ugly* political agent Cllr George Davies (see above) and prevent an highly incriminating recording ending up in the public domain.

Here’s a thought – how about the local Labour group paying the group of complainants with the Wirralgate tapes and not the long suffering local Council Taxpayers ?

We say this as apparently the Wirralgate scandal is ‘live and sensitive’. Ironically we only know this because of a Freedom of Information request on What Do They Know. Needless to say Wirral Council have denied the release of the Nick Warren investigation report that will explain fully and without undue influence what all the fuss has been about all these years – yeah , right!

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/nick_warren_investigation_report#incoming-909829

What could be the possible explanation for the ongoing delay with resolving this case?.

Here’s our guess – current Council Chief Officers Eric Robinson, Joe Blott and especially Surjit Tour and David Armstrong all must know they’ll be tainted forever if they capitulate the immoral demands of the moral crusader Frankenfield. We’ll reluctantly give former Wirral Council CEO Graham Burgess aka Burgesski his due – he wasn’t prepared to be blackmailed by Frankenfield about a £48,000 payment to his ‘special friend’ because allegedly she was bullied and harassed by the other ugly sister in this sordid scenario – Foulkesy.

Have you ever known such a sleazepit in your entire life?

It all makes ‘Sir’ Philip Green look like Mother Theresa ( who as far as we’re concerned was no saint anyway

*The Plug uglies were of course an American street gang who were referred to as a political club. We couldn’t think of a more apt description for local politicians!

Green Leaves?

APH-NO-EVOL

We understand that a certain Sue Green, head of HR has recently left the employment of Wirral’s other most prominent employer after Wirral Council  – Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH) as it now fancifully likes to call itself.  On the Wirral rather like North Korea (which apparently has a better life expectancy than certain parts of the Wirral )  people seem to disappear overnight! Not only is no explanation given, it is frowned upon when people ask perfectly reasonable questions.  Those who do dare raise issues meet a wall of silence or glib corporate fudges about ‘confidentiality.’

This of course completes a notable family double after the departure of Mrs Green’s universally loved and much admired other half – Dave ‘Del Boy’ Green from Wirral Council. It is also somewhat serendipitous given the fact that DG is rumoured to have found ‘gainful’ employment again, beyond the confines of the insular Peninsula. Let’s hope there’s a nice local golf club at hand.

Now we don’t know the full circumstances of really happened, or whether this was about the appalling lack of staffing in the hospital because APH’s Department of spin is essentially as communicative as a brickwall, but without the warmth.  However, we are always suspicious when the Chief Executive of WUTH (David Allison) circulates the following type of message to APH’s inmates on the ocassion Sue Green was first absent from work .

Here are some highlights, which rather than enlighten, one feels would baffle employees at the hospital.

“I am writing to advise you of a situation that is likely to appear in the media in respect of this Trust’s Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development

 As with any employee of our Trust, we would not comment on circumstances related to their employment. We therefore intend to issue a response to this effect.

 My purpose of advising you of this situation is that I felt it would be inappropriate for you to learn about it in the first instance via the media.”

 Clear?  Well actually no !
What is particularly curious is that no such story ever appeared or was followed up , no doubt due to some spectacular stonewalling, and Mrs.Green was eventually allowed to quietly disappear from public view and quite possibly as seems to be the trend in that particular household, clutching a big fat wad of public money ( one for devoted Freedom of Information fans to follow up).

From leaks that have been received about this case we at Leaky Towers can only hope that :

a) The media wasn’t being used in this sorry saga as a  bargaining tool rather than serving the public interest.

b) That Mr.Allison is aware that only last week a group of MPs hit out at “outrageous” examples of public bodies apparently paying employees to keep quiet about problems.The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) highlighted that so called “gagging clauses” have been used to cover up serious failures in organisations such as the NHS….and indeed we understand that some of the recommendations were based on a number of cases in the public sector and a particular case involving Wirral Council!

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news/confidentiality-clauses-por/