Wirral – Where Public Service Went To Die …

Human Nature

This week we were quite happy taking a sentimental journey round the septic isle until Dr Robert diagnosed us with ‘Sandie Shaw Syndrome’ . No , we’re not in the words of the barefoot singer’s Eurovision winner ‘Puppets On A String’ (we leave that to others). As fellow sufferers of the syndrome know  : “There’s Always Something There To Remind Me” and it messes with your head.

So whilst it’s vaguely concerning/amusing/appalling that other local authorities are equally inept and corrupt, let’s be reminded of Wirral Council’s rap sheet courtesy of ‘The Good Doctor’. Although as we replied to our esteemed commentator the sleaze (there is no other word) that lies behind the bare reported facts doesn’t bear thinking about!


It is 2011, and Wirral Council is in serious trouble. It is on the brink of Government intervention and has received a damning report1 from consultant Anna Klonowski (AKA Associates). The report paints a graphic picture of Wirral Council’s corrosive and bullying corporate culture, failures in corporate governance, and of Wirral as ‘the insular peninsula’. The Council is vividly described as an inward-looking organisation where the abnormal had become normal. The Council Leader and Chief Executive unreservedly accept the devastating assessment, and all the consultant’s findings.

In April 2012 the ‘window dressing’ started. A politically-expedient decision reportedly taken by Frank Field MP and Eric Pickles (then-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government), established a Local Government Association (LGA) Wirral Council ‘Improvement Board’. Called ‘sector-led improvement’ by the LGA, a review of Wirral Council’s corporate governance was undertaken by an ‘expert’ (peer review) panel. Its role was to identify the embedded detrimental issues and agree a corporate improvement programme.

In November 2013 the ‘Improvement Board’ produced a 63-page draft report congratulating themselves for enabling ‘the fastest turnaround2 in local government history’. Its job deemed complete, Wirral Council was unleashed from supervision.

Once unleashed, Council Leader Phil Davies guaranteed the casting vote on all Council committees. Replacing all opposition-councillor committee Chairs with ruling group councillors was in direct contravention of the Improvement Board agreement. The Council and Cabinet has had no effective political opposition since.

November 2014 saw a presentation given by Cllr Phil Davies and Graham Burgess, who appeared to have moved seamlessly3 in 2013 from Improvement Board member to Wirral Council CEO. The judging panel for this presentation, comprising primarily LGA members, judged for the first and only time, the Local Government Chronicle’s (LGC) ‘Most Improved Council in Great Britain’ award. Never awarded before, never awarded since. Without warning, Mr Burgess, described as a ‘leading light’ of the LGA, ‘retired’ from Wirral Council at the end of 2014.

It was March 2015 when Wirral residents awoke to media headlines announcing “From ‘abnormal to inspirational’ – Wirral wins ‘Most Improved Council in Great Britain’ award4.” In Wirral the question on everyone’s lips… is it April 1st?

A new Wirral CEO5, Eric Robinson, a former social worker from Staffordshire CC, was appointed in April 2015. Cllr Phil Davies stated… “Eric is the ideal appointment to take us forward towards my ambition for Wirral to become an outstanding council.”

In 2012 Wirral Council had agreed with findings that it was an ‘inward-looking organisation’ where ‘the abnormal had become accepted as normal’. In November 2015 it still was, as a very low-key peer review revealed. That was, if you could find it.

Also in November 2015, almost absolute power lay in the hands of the Council Leader when Wirral Council Cabinet agreed constitutional changes6. Coupled with the ruling group en-bloc voting7 and abstention regime, any decision could be bulldozed through. This change effectively negated any political opposition and scrutiny, Ward, community8, or resident9 representation.

Political, individual and council organisational survival were now the priorities. Residents were paid lip-service with endless ‘consultations’, as infrastructure deteriorated10, and public services reduced dramatically.

As local criticism grew, Wirral Council Leader took to ‘reputation management’. Described in the media as ‘cronyism’, in February 2016 Martin Liptrot, a self-proclaimed ‘reputation manager’, was appointed. This elicited headlines such as “Emails give extraordinary insight into Wirral Council’s controversial hiring11 of former Labour spin doctor”.

In September 2016, CEO Eric Robinson described Wirral Council’s ‘improvement journey’ as moving from “from the brink of intervention to the pinnacle12 of local government”. With his background in Children’s Services, was all well at the pinnacle of all pinnacles?

‘Most Improved’ Wirral Council’s Children’s Services were rated ‘Inadequate’ by Ofsted in September 2016. Hidden away was a Serious Case Review into the grooming of teenage girls13 in Wirral Council care over a 5-year period. In a desperate attempt to deflect criticism and accountability, the oft-quoted ‘austerity-hit, cash-strapped’ Leader initially promised £2m additional funding. Then a promise of £10m. Then a promise of £20m, to ‘demonstrate Council commitment’.

With ‘Most Improved’ Wirral Council’s reputation in tatters, Martin Liptrot was then fast-tracked to ‘Investor Development Manager’ with ‘no questions asked’14, and immediately sent to Cannes to attend MIPIM, a ‘property market’, with the Council Leader, Council CEO and others.

…and it goes on…in November 2017 following the 2016 Serious Case Review, two brothers were jailed for a combined 40 years after being convicted of 27 sexual offences against girls as young as 14. The Children’s Services Improvement Board Chair, Eleanor Brazil, resigned15 citing Wirral Council’s “shoddy treatment” of Julia Hassall, the then Director of Children’s Services, and “…some significant corporate issues…”

… and on…Jim Crabtree, a (now ex-) Councillor and Chair of Audit & Risk committee was convicted in January 2017 of making death threats16 towards fellow Councillor Louise Reecejones, regarding an unidentified sum of £19,000. In March 2018 the threatened Councillor resigned to free herself from “the noose”17.

Without Local Government Commissioners’ intervention, ‘Most Improved’ Wirral Council is the graveyard of the 7 ‘Nolan Principles’18 of public life, viz.  Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty & Leadership.

In Wirral you won’t hear the ghosts of the Nolan Principles wailing and roaming the streets at night. They left long ago.


Weblinks 1-18





















Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #2

Spot the deliberate mistake ! After this week’s prolific output a further Wirral Leaks post may seem like too much of a bad thing . It’s barely a month into 2018 and we’ve already had to concede that the announcement of our retirement was somewhat premature. But then as Wilde said : “To be premature is to be perfect” !

The thought of our departure to foreign shores has obviously stirred many Wirralians into action as we’ve been sent stories simply too good to pass up on (and what’s even better – where much of the work has already been done) .What’s more we have already noticed that campaigning for the May 2018 local elections has already started in earnest. But perhaps more than anything that explains our renewed impetus is further shocking information which has come our way and which needs exposing . Furthermore we guarantee the mainstream media will not touch it – but we’re keeping our powder dry on that one for now. However we’re left shaking our head in disbelief at the claims that are being made (and more importantly the damning evidence to back it up) . Meanwhile with the agreement with Her Ladyship  and support from Eldritch and Verity let’s all together plough on into oblivion ……….

Holiday Hypocrisy

Whilst we’re grateful that someone sent us the John Brace video posting of this week’s Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Transport Committee meeting we faced a dilemma as we didn’t know who’s face deserved a slap more as they gazed over to Brace to make sure he captured their reactions to Cllr Steve Foulkes’ contribution to the Mersey tunnel toll debate – Cllr Jerry ‘The Mouse’ Williams , Cllr Ron ‘ Rude’ Abbey or Foulkesy himself . Truth be told (an alien concept for some of the parties concerned) but it was no contest really – Foulkesy every time .

Watch in disgust from 12 :00 as Foulkesy turns to our beloved Mr Brace , tries to take the moral high ground and resorts to his non existent ‘conscience’ .Whilst professing to respect Tory Cllr Les Rowlands he then proceeds to slag him off for planning a holiday to coincide with this particular meeting. Now we might know his political allegiances but we don’t profess to know Cllr Rowland’s personal proclivities but we’d like to think his holiday won’t result in allegations of  racist abuse.Just sayin’

Sorrento Shame : Holidaymakers claim they faced ‘racist abuse’ from ex – Wirral Mayoress

Self Serve 

We understand that internal vacancies at Wirral Council are accessed by ‘Self Serve’. You really couldn’t make this shit up! Why do they bother with such bureaucratic machinations when it would appear that cronyism/nepotism/favouritism is still the main route to promotion we can only hazard a guess. Unfortunately we can’t report on this particular aspect further as it would appear that another feature of Wirral Council’s modus operandi – the culture of fear – is still very much in operation.

Road to Hell

If the Merseytravel Committee video was infuriating the John Brace footage of the Audit and Risk Management Committee sent us into paroxysms of rage and fury. Witness how the utterly pathetic ex- Tory leader and Foulkesy’s ‘kindred’ Cllr Jeff Green meekly raises the issue of bringing the £multi-million highways contract back in house like Uriah Heep with a serious Woodbines habit. The Nigel Farage sound-a-like says something along the lines of : ” Bein’ ever so ‘umble . Can we have a bit of case study. I’m not ‘solutioneering’ (!) I just want to know that the decision to bring the highways contract back in house wasn’t written on the ‘back of  a fagpacket’, if you would so please, kind sir”.

Observe and despair from 8:25

Why so coy Cllr Green ? You know that the decision was made behind closed doors using Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies’ special ‘delegated powers’ and with Frank Field’s personal approval. They obviously want to minimise suspicion about unlawful compensation pay-offs to the Wirralgate complainants – so what’s the next best thing ? A token bung and then a cosy job for life for keeping their gobs shut.  But then you knew that didn’t you Cllr Green ?- shame you didn’t have the balls to say it. Incidental dark comedic value is to be had from the ever oleaginous senior officer David Armstrong who promises a short report and ingratiating interim Monitoring Officer Philip McCourt who says that the commissioning of highways contract is a ‘live project’ and that report would be a ‘ partial measure’ – ain’t that the truth ! Then suddenly  Cllr Ron ‘Rude’ Abbey has a “Don’t Mention The War” moment and can’t help himself saying something completely bogus about discussing TUPE ( Transfer of Undertakings – Protection of Employment) regulations . Which ,is of course, as ARMC and us know is what this is all about : ” Listen guys, we can’t give you a massive pay out you wanted without raising serious questions so we’ll give you the next best thing and you can be responsible for Wirral’s highways . Let’s face it you can’t do a worse job than Colas / BAM Nuttall ” 

As this image and comment proves :

image1 (4)

Dear Wirraleaks,

The attached photo shows a stretch of Mere Farm Road which was “repaired” by the Wirral Council contractors 6 months ago.

They clearly did such a magnificent and cost effective job that it needs much more repairing now.

When will they learn that doing a decent job first time round is more cost effective or do they just love throwing public money away to private sector mates ????

In response all we can say is  – buy cheap, pay twice!

All Wrapped Up

In the case of this particular Freedom of Information request all we can say is have Wirralgate tape, pay through the nose.

Full details :Wrap around FOI


All wrapped in cosily in a symbiotic security blanket. Snug as a mug with a bug (that’s a reference to the Wirralgate recording obvs)

Patience is a Virtue 

Dear Mr Robinson

I received this assurance from you on 19th December 2016

On 19 December 2016 at 11:42, Robinson, Eric <ericrobinson@wirral.gov.uk> wrote:

Dear Dr Smith

Thank you for your email below.Officers are considering the matters you have raised in your emails and I will respond to you fully in January.


Eric Robinson

Chief Executive

Wirral Council

Tel : 0151 691 8589

Email : ericrobinson@wirral.gov.uk

You did not specify ‘responding to me fully’, by January 2017. 

However January 2018 has now passed, and I can only surmise that your ‘Officers’ have been completely occupied with Wirral Council’s 2016/2017 ongoing catalogue of disasters.

For your convenience, I attach a reply I sent to Cllr Walter Smith, who contacted me in May 2017 as you hadn’t, with his view of the ‘Most Improved Wirral Council’ (the absolute definition of an oxymoron given the events of 2016/2017)

Patience is a virtue. I look forward to receiving your ‘full response’ as assured.

Yours sincerely

Dr Robert B Smith FCMI

Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson is increasingly making Howard Hughes seem outgoing and gregarious. A local government patsy drowning in a mire of his own incompetence and other people’s corruption.  Hey, Stressed Eric! – you really should have spoken to your predecessor before you took up post. Oh – but wait a minute your political paymasters didn’t allow it did they? Protecting themselves and setting you up to fail as you didn’t know what you were letting yourself in for. Oh but you know now don’t you? And you chose the side of the people who pay your obscene salary. We sincerely hope and pray that one day you will regret that choice. In fact we’re working on it day and night – you may have noticed.

Meet the Talent

Without any fanfare – we wonder why? – Dave Fergus is the man who has taken over running Wirral Evolutions from Chris Beyga the disgraced former Managing Director of this arms-length Wirral Council experiment that went horribly wrong mainly because Beyga (aka Rosa Klebb) thought she was running her own personal fiefdom.

Meet the Talent

You will note from his profile above (can somebody please provide a translation of local government BS? ) that there is absolutely no mention of disability rights. Just the person you want running a service where apparently the thick as mince managers think that somehow they’re doing a favour to the people who actually pay their wages. We’re wondering whether we’ll  get a comment on this latest appointment from Wirral Evolutions ‘ Independent’ Chair and professional disability rights ‘champion’ Carey Bamber or ‘Non -Executive Director’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy’ Pip’ Davies? We’re not holding our breath.

Crime Report

We note that this week Mayor Joe Anderson was taken in for questioning ‘under caution’ by Merseyside Police in relation to the fraud probe concerning Liverpool City Council CEO Ged Fitzgerald and others . Power Boy Pip, Stressed Eric and others will no doubt be observing developments with interest – as will we !

Proceed with caution

Holiday Hypocrisy Part 2

And finally we understand that someone is taking a particular interest in Wirral Leaks from their undeserved winter break in the Dominican Republic. Answers on a postcard please…….


Eulogy for Jimbo



Jimbo gets a cuddly companion to help him through those sleepless nights.


Readers will recall a story we published last month which concerned outgoing Wirral Councillor Jim “Crabby” Crabtree where we reported that in the wee small hours the clearly troubled former Chair of Wirral Council’s Audit & Risk Management Committee implored Dr Robert Smith – an intrepid local champion of public accountability –  to make some enquiries about recent refurbishment costs at Wallasey Town Hall.


After being cast to the wilderness by his Labour Party colleagues and cast aside for a newer and posher interloper in the shape of PR upstart Martin Liptrot(sky)  , Crabtree seemingly saw fit to (belatedly) dish the dirt and describe the refurbishment costs as “absolutely disgusting”.

The postscript to this sorry story is that Dr. Robert did indeed make the enquiries requested by Crabtree .This enables us to learn that the refurbishment costs for Liptrotsky’s office amount to £5,666. Not a princely sum in the scheme of things but the significance for us lies in what it symbolises – that despite pleading poverty the powers that be will always find money for their cronies.

Dr.Robert extends the courtesy of replying to Jimbo (and indeed all Wirral Councillors) with his findings – something that Wirral Council often fail to reciprocate. We think his response printed below serves as a fitting farewell to Crabtree as he slinks off to well deserved political obscurity. We can only hope that he spends some time reflecting on some of the things he was happy to go along with when he was part of a poisonous political cabal and whether it’s hypocritical that he should only start complaining about questionable practices when he’s no longer in a privileged , protected position of power now occupied by the likes of Liptrotsky.       


Dear Councillor Crabtree

Further to your 2.35am early-morning enquiry of 2nd March, I am now able to answer your question. 
I paste in your original email here as a little time has passed in the interim.
“You need to ask how much it cost the council tax payer for the building work on the Members Room not just labour party members but tory and liberal members room for lip trots room refurbishing? absolutely disgusting”
I understand that the original estimate for the work was around £3,000, but I have been advised that the final cost for the building work was £5666.00 (roughly 89% over estimate). 
I do share your concern for this (and other) expenditure of Council Taxpayers’ money for an individual still functioning as an ‘activist’ with a number of potential conflicts of interest, whilst employed in a politically-restricted post. In my opinion, if a political party wishes to benefit directly from a very specific individual’s employment, as opposed to the public of the borough benefitting, spending public money on this scheme, and his remuneration (now apparently for 5 years) is entirely inappropriate.
I am sure that you will agree, given your obvious concerns.
It is a worry and obviously troubling enough to keep you awake at night hence the time of your original email; but I have to say I do understand and that this kind of issue, related to Wirral Council, has also caused me some sleepless nights.
Yours sincerely
Dr Robert B Smith

Dark Night of The Soul

dark night of the soul


And so yet another astonishing exchange of emails are leaked which shed further light on the heart of darkness within Wirral Council .

The full tawdry story is set out below but essentially it concerns a possibly tired and emotional soon to be ex- councillor  Jim “Crabby ” Crabtree sharing his views with valued Wirral Leaks contributor Dr. Robert Smith about the alleged refurbishment  of offices at Wallasey Town Hall (including apparently Liptrotsky’s).  As Crabby saw fit  to contact Dr.Robert at 2.35 in the morning to describe costs as “absolutely disgusting ” (like you do) we can only presume that the soon to be ousted councillor was having a “dark night of the soul”.

That’s if  Crabby does indeed have a soul. Which frankly based on what we know about the Faustian pacts that prevail at Wirral Council we rather doubt. Therefore forgive us for questioning the motivation behind the late night rant. As Dr. Robert comments in his eloquent response below that as the Chair of the Audit  & Risk Management Committee if Crabby had any concerns about excessive and unnecessary council expenditure he would’ve been in an ideal position to raise them before now and in a more appropriate way.

Whilst we can understand why Crabby might be bitter at being cast aside like a piece of trash as have been so many before him we are less than sympathetic as to his predicament as a) he brought it upon himself and b) was quite happy to be part of the poisonous culture at Wirral Council when it suited him.

However if you nest with vipers you must expect venom. And that remains the problem with Wirral Council . The opportunity to change the culture of Wirral Council  once and for all when they had their own organisational dark night of the soul  in 2012 was lost. Reputation management triumphed over redemption and with the support of corruptible consultants and the complicity of the Local Government Association seemingly nothing has changed.

For now anyway …… as it says above the dark night of the soul comes just before revelations. We believe those forthcoming revelations will indeed finally bring new life to Wirral Council and it is just what is needed for the good of everyone who lives on Wirral.

And based on the number of people who leaked the following email exchange to us you all know where to come for revelations !………………

On 2 March 2016 at 02:35, Crabtree, James A. (Councillor) <jamesacrabtree@wirral.gov.uk> wrote:

You need to ask how much it cost the council tax payer for the building work on the Members Room not just labour party members but tory and liberal members room for lip trots room refurbishing? absolutely disgusting

Dear Cllr Crabtree

Thank you very much for your email of 2.35am this morning, which I have just picked up. I fully understand the urgency of your request, and apologise for not dealing with it sooner.

The costs of this refurbishment is of great concern, as you say, notwithstanding the serious issues and costs regarding the process of recruiting and employing Mr Liptrot? However, I am willing to act as your Proxy in making this request for information on your behalf, and, as soon as I receive a detailed reply, I will send it on to you.

I am a little perplexed, however, as you are the ex-Chair of the Wirral Council Audit & Risk Committee, I would have thought that you would have that information to hand, or have raised it directly in your capacity as Chair/Councillor? But obviously not.

As a number of Senior Council staff, and the Leader should be suspended/awaiting dismissal for contravening any number of codes of conduct, I will make this request to ‘whoever is left’ ie All (remaining) Wirral Councillors, and whoever is covering the CEX, Strategic Director Joe Blott (Dep Monitoring Officer), Surjit Tour (Monitoring Officer), Tony Williams (HR), Mr Liptrot’s and Cllr Phil Davies’ positions.

To Wirral Councillors and Officers

The question I have been asked to pose to Wirral Council as Proxy for Cllr Crabtree is as follows:-

“You need to ask how much it cost the council tax payer for the building work on the Members Room not just labour party members but tory and liberal members room for lip trots room refurbishing? absolutely disgusting” (Cllr Crabtree’s opinion, I act independently, but on this occasion, I have to agree)

I will be pleased to receive a detailed account of the cost to the public purse, in order to satisfy this request, as soon as possible, as I act on behalf of a Councillor. I assume also that due to the timing of the email (2.35am) that this information is required urgently, and is needed prior to the Council meeting tomorrow evening, or any investigation.

I look forward to hearing from somebody/anybody, asap.

Your sincerely

Dr Robert B Smith

Tour De Force

Tour De Force

His Lordship says : remember Surjit  – The “force” is always bigger than the Tour!.

Wirral Leaks proudly presents the latest instalment in the entertaining and informative exchanges between champion of public accountability Dr.Robert Smith and someone who appears to be unfamiliar with the concept – Wirral Council’s CEO Eric Robinson.

We have to say Dr.Smith’s letter is a tour de force or should that be a Surjit Tour de force as  Dr.Smith valiantly tries (and fails) to get a response on a number of  matters from Wirral Council’s Monitoring Officer and Head of Legal & Member Services via Eric Feeble.

We wish him the best of luck with this quest, as based on information received from various sources, Tour only responds when he has to and then it’s last minute and/or dismissive. Believe us pleas for common courtesy are a complete waste of time.

But then Surji-Baby is simply beyond accountability – comfortably cosseted in a warm blanket of complicity and conspiracy.As we’ve said before the only person at Wirral council who’s job is secure.And by the way did anybody notice how he moved seamlessly from Acting Head of Legal & Member Services to , astonishingly , the actual head of Wirral Council’s legal department.Furthermore did anybody notice how this is the only department that has recently gained staff and yet still retains the services of eye-wateringly expensive external legal advisors (all the better to ward -off troublesome Freedom of Information requests!).

How long will Tour’s immunity last we ask ourselves?. There are others that have gone before who considered themselves to be untouchables who, OK,we admit couldn’t stop laying hands one way or the other , but were dispensed with once they’d served their purpose and/or were fatally compromised.

We can only hope for Tour that there isn’t anything that could possibly compromise his position because that would be a tragedy for the people of Wirral……….not!.

Dear Mr Robinson

Re Kevin Adderley’s departure (et al)

I have considered your single sentence reply to me, and in my view therein lies the entire Wirral Council issue regarding genuine accountability, or more accurately, an apparent lack of any public accountability.

I read your lengthy response to my initial query, applied it to the context of my enquiry, and replied to you on that basis. For you to send me one sentence only is a measure of the difficulty you obviously have with my queries regarding Mr Adderley, his £250,000 departure from Wirral Council, and his subsequent employment. His departure is only one of a number of costly departures from Wirral Council that I will raise with you shortly.

If all of the concerns I raised in my response were erroneous, then you would no doubt make a definitive reply, with an appropriate narrative, illustrating to me legislative, procedural, and constitutional compliance. This would allay any doubts and quell any speculation. With the entire resources of Wirral Council at your disposal, you have chosen not to refute my assertions, and by not adding any further comment, or even a partial defence of your position, you confirm that you can find no coherent argument against my assessment. If that is the case you are essentially agreeing with my interpretation of events and circumstances, and confirming that my assessment is correct. Otherwise, why would you remain silent, if compliance was not an issue, and can be adequately demonstrated?

In terms of ‘real-time’ accountability’, Cllr Phil Davies/Martin Liptrot appear to adopt the time-honoured strategy that, ‘if you repeat the same thing often enough, it eventually becomes a truth’ – 2020 Vision pledges and professed accountability, but selective and only in 2020, being the obvious issues in this case. The reality of true accountability, which is what our email exchanges have been about, cannot exist where a robust, evidenced defence will not (or cannot) be mounted, and which will stand up to scrutiny, or be the result of it.

Many requests for ‘accountability’ regarding Wirral Council are now presented as Freedom of Information requests, as a matter of course. Why should that be the case for a genuinely open and transparent organisation? Wirral Council’s appalling reputation regarding very costly FOI refusals (overseen by Mr Tour?), internal reviews, obstruction, and ICO subsequent overturns and costly redactions, goes before it. It is not the action of a ‘publicly  accountable’ organisation to allow those associated with/employed by it, to attempt to frustrate, ignore or obstruct legitimate enquiries, and one has to question why should that be the case if compliance, transparency and accountability are of paramount importance?

People make mistakes, that is a human foible. The machinations of local authorities are governed by legislation, a constitution, policies and procedures, guidelines, internal & external audit, performance management, various staff reviews, etc. There should be regular monitoring, evaluation and review mechanisms integral to these structures and frameworks. With effective checks and balances in place (currently being eroded), these all form an important part of the (now paid) undertaking of responsibilities by councillors (and also officers), of representative decision-making, relevant service delivery, and upholding the democratic process.

By virtue of these concepts and the application of these mechanisms within prescribed frameworks, the possibility of mistakes, and risks associated with human error, poor judgement and scope for anything approaching criminality, is minimised in the public’s and tax payers’ interests.

With regard to my other comments, I have also contacted Mr Blott as you say. However, my enquiries are not entirely unrelated queries, as my emails to Mr Tour included queries regarding procedural, and legislative compliance issues, related to Mr Adderley’s departure. This was in addition to issues re P&D parking at New Brighton, and Mr Liptrot’s many potential conflicts of interest. Commencing with my query regarding the legality of introducing Pay & Display parking in New Brighton in July 2015, Mr Tour has ignored all of my emails, all of which have remained unacknowledged, and unanswered to date.

It is worthy of mention that my formal complaints have been ignored by you, even after you advised me to use the inappropriate complaints procedure, and then continued to ignore my complaints regarding officer (mis)conduct.

Also all of my previous emails to Cllr Phil Davies, have been studiously ignored, and Mark Smith refusing to communicate with me during enquiries about New Brighton parking, makes me wonder what standard does a local authority have to achieve to be proclaimed ‘Most Improved Council In Great Britain, 2015’ by the LGC. Through personal experience, and using Wirral Council as a datum, one can only assume that the quality of local government, particularly at the Chief and Senior Officer level across Britain, must be in an exceedingly poor state.

Given my comments above, and the behaviour of some of your officers, and presumably consultants who have contributed to/vetted your replies to me, Mr Blott makes an interesting point. With regard to my query relating to the apparent lack of management supervision, discipline, professionalism, common courtesy and capability relating to Mr Tour, Mr Blott states, and I quote, “I can confirm that I manage Mr Tour in line with our current policies and good management practice. Mr Tour is fully aware of his statutory responsibilities as the Council’s Monitoring Officer.”

For anyone, being  aware of responsibilities is a very different matter from discharging them. Legislative and procedural compliance is very important, and that essentially is the basis of my enquiries of Mr Tour regarding council compliance. If Mr Tour is guided by professional and council codes of conduct, policies, procedures and governance, there should be no issue regarding compliance, and that should be easily demonstrated. That being said, with my personal experience, I would suggest that Mr Blott’s ‘good management practice’ appears to be something of a fantasy.

I look forward to receiving your response to this email, and Mr Tour’s, in his role as Monitoring Officer, to my earlier queries.

Yours sincerely

Dr Robert B Smith

On 20 January 2016 at 17:05, Robinson, Eric <ericrobinson@wirral.gov.uk> wrote:

Dear Dr Smith

Further to your recent emails,  I have considered your comments and do not have anything further to add to my previous response concerning the basis upon which Kevin Adderley left the council.

The council was not involved in the appointment of Kevin Adderley to Egerton House Community Interest Company and it is not appropriate for the council to therefore comment any further upon that appointment or his role. If you require further information on this matter, I suggest you raise your enquiry with the company/organisation directly.

As for your comments concerning a lack of response from council officers to your other unrelated queries, I am aware that you have raised matters with Joe Blott by email on 18 January. Mr Blott will respond to you in respect of those matters in due course.


Eric Robinson

Chief Executive

Wirral Council