Today we thought we’d revisit a post from December 2011 which concerned itself with the then leader of Wirral Council Cllr Steve Foulkes’ big idea – ‘ Destination Excellence’ which was parodied in the ‘Destination Effluence’ video which we published earlier this week. This was Foulkesy’s ‘Christmas Message’ to council staff following the damning ‘Refresh & Renew’ corporate governance report which was published prior to the even more damning Independent Review which was to be published the following month. Foulkesy went all out for a utterly inane and patronising driving analogy that much like ‘ Destination Excellence’ itself was destined to crash and burn. We think the post serves as a timely reminder of how very little has changed at Wirral Council – replace ‘Destination Excellence’ for Wirral Council’s ’20/20 Vision’ and you have the same BS package ( ‘dream’ ‘journey’ , ‘vision’ , ‘bigger picture’ etc;) but in glossier,shinier wrapping paper.
Although it must be said that one aspect of ‘Destination Excellence’ that can be said to have impacted on Wirral Council is Foulkesy’s pledge “to make sure we dynamite any obstacles out of the way” – yes, and usually in the form of public money to shut people up.
We asked the following question when we first published the leaked message :
What WBC Council leader sent to staff this Christmas… beyond parody really, and you have to ask the the question , what the hell have they been doing the last ten years ???????
Six years have since passed and under new leader Cllr Phil ‘ Power Boy Pip’ Davies the question is just as pertinent.
Conversations with Steve Foulkes
Hi everyone! I know it’s getting close to Christmas and we’ve all got our minds on other things, but I did promise that I would be back to talk to you in more detail about changes that are happening in the Council, so this is the latest update.
On Monday night the Council agreed to send the Council’s revised Corporate Plan to Scrutiny Committees for debate. I want all of you to be involved as well because this is about making a real difference together to the place where we live and work but we need to sign up to making it happen, and I need to know you’re all on board with me.
Money is in short supply. There are fewer of us to meet the ever growing demands for services and sometimes it feels as if we’re just running to stand still. It’s important not to feel totally overwhelmed, so we need to have a very clear idea of where we are going, how we are going to get there and why that journey matters. And we need to understand how each one of us fits into the bigger picture.
The Corporate Plan sets out our destination, in a clear Vision for Wirral. It maps out how we are going to get there. It looks at ways in which we can travel safely (and cost effectively), it lays down the values that we all share, and then it sets out in more detail what that means in practice for all of us. The foreword I’ve written to the Corporate Plan explains this. You can find the Corporate Plan on the Council website. I would very much like you to find time to read it if you can. (It isn’t very long).
One of the things I really want you to understand, because it took me some time to get my head round this, is this phrase “Corporate Governance” which you’ll keep hearing because Wirral is undergoing a “Corporate Governance Review” at the moment. Frankly, it sounds pretty bureaucratic and boring and “nothing to do with us” as we struggle to meet the daily demands of our job. But it isn’t.
To me it’s like going back to the basics of learning to drive again.Remember studying the Highway Code? Learning how to change gears? Remember that moment when you thought you would never get the hang of it and that there were just too many things to think about all at once, and now, when you drive, you don’t think about it all and it all just happens automatically? Well, that’s what we’re aiming for – doing the right thing automatically all the time so we can get to where we want to go without any disasters, without unnecessary stress, and without paying more than we need to because we have made avoidable mistakes.
So here’s what we’ve decided to do to make sure we’re all working together.
§ We will have a couple of big “Meet the Staff” events where my deputy Phil Davies and I will be sharing with you what the Vision is and what we need to do together to achieve it.
§ We will be setting up a number of smaller focus groups in different areas where there’s space to discuss where we are going and hear what you have to say about it.
§ We will be contacting you individually with a short questionnaire to give you the opportunity to tell us what you think about the Council now, and where you think we should be going.
§ We will be setting up a confidential e-mail line where you can contact us with any fears you may have, or details of anything you think might be getting in the way of achieving our Vision, or behaviour which contradicts the values we are signing up to together.
§ We will be setting up special meetings with Cabinet members, so you can make an individual appointment to talk directly, in confidence, to the appropriate Cabinet member and raise anything that may be bothering you.
Basically, we’re doing two things. The first is to make sure we all know and agree where we are going and understand the way there and how to get there safely. The second is to make sure we dynamite any obstacles out of the way so we have a real, fighting chance of making a difference to Wirral we can all be proud of.
Just think, if we could really create a healthy and prosperous society, where people feel good and where the place you live and the amount you earn no longer effects how long you live, wouldn’t that be something? If we could wipe out the stark possibility that exists now of dying ten years earlier if you’re poor than someone who lives in a wealthy part of the borough?
Now that is something worth working for, something worth changing for.
It doesn’t have to be just a dream.
Councillor Steve Foulkes
Leader of Wirral Council