Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #3

We’ve got stories backing up like a blocked up bog during the plague – and believe us they all stink to high heaven.

However let’s get on with this week’s Wirral snippets :

Rock the Boat 

There has been an interesting development with regards to New Brighton Lifeboat story which we have reported on from time to time. Apparently Wallasey MP Angela Eagle has belatedly intervened to rock the boat and ask some pertinent questions as to what exactly is going on in this long running saga . The Royal National Lifeboat Institution ( RNLI) has rejected Eagle’s claim that a ‘restricted service’ at New Brighton Lifeboat station has had an impact on its life-saving work and patronisingly invited her over for a cup of tea and a chat.  Read here : New Brighton Lifeboat
As ever there is much more to this than meets the eye and one of our long standing sources on the story has written to us to say :

Someone makes a fairly astute ‘comment’ after the end of the (Wirral Globe) article ….yes, why doesn’t Angela Eagle have a word with the Chairman of New Brighton Lifeboat, LABOUR Councillor Tony Jones. As we all know he is the bloke who fucked over the sacked crew in the first place.  And while she is at it maybe she could get Phil Davies to take a bit of interest…..

And so it would appear -and not for the first time – that the Eagle has landed without fully knowing the local background and finds herself out of her depth . Once she finds out we guarantee she’ll retreat to her eyrie
A Direct Approach to Saving Money
After an inglorious history of  DASS -tardly plots to saving money and denying vulnerable services the to which they are legally entitled – unlawful charging, 4 week delays in care packages etc; – we bring you  Wirral Council’s Health & Social Care Service (formerly Wirral Council’s Department of Adult Social Services ) latest cruel wheeze which has been forwarded to us from Facebook.
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Toxic Twins

Evil Twins

We’ve long bemoaned that Wirral’s pre-eminent institutions are virtually indivisible in terms of their toxic cultures. Further confirmation arrived this week :

You may want to ask some questions of senior management at Wirral University Teaching Hospital where I understand that there is an systemic culture of bullying and arse covering at the expense of both patient and staff welfare.
(This week) – management refused …..to classify a matter as a serious incident, preferring instead to downgrade the matter and protect their reputations……… 
the coroner’s findings will be very interesting to all who of us who are obliged to use this failing establishment for their medical needs.
Wirral Leaks asked : But is this a failing establishment or is it being deliberately run down? Your thoughts please. 
My belief is that it’s a failing institution. I don’t believe there is any intention or ulterior motive – certainly not on a regional or national level, it is simply managed by an incompetent team of senior managers, deeply worried by their failings, and consequently under-reporting, buck-passing, and blaming others in a desperate attempt to protect their own positions.
With Wirral University Teaching Hospital and Wirral Council being run in such a similar way are you still surprised that we scarpered? Especially , when coincidentally , we received this ‘ Where Are They Now’ update featuring failed WUTH CEO Len Richards :

Your old mate who I think last featured in your organ in 2012 has rocked up here in deepest darkest Wales as CEO of Cardiff and Vale UHB.

He’s already embarked on a fact finding trip to Canterbury with a small team. (No not Chaucer’s Canterbury, the other one in New Zealand) on behalf of his cash-strapped employer.Thought you might like to be kept informed of how one of your old boys is progressing
This is the problem – bullshitters everywhere. Surely there must be a meme for that somewhere?
Billionaire’s Breakfast Club

WIRRAL ‘SET FOR £1BN INVESTMENT BOOST’

That was the headline in this PR job published this week on the Insider Media Ltd blog  – which was no doubt set up by Wirral Council leader Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies right hand/left wing man Martin Liptrot. The plans were apparently detailed at Insider‘s ‘Invest in Wirral’ breakfast event held on Tuesday, 6 February 2018. No doubt this was followed by a ‘powerlunch’. Unfortunately the headline was far removed from the reality of the situation as what Pip actually said was :

“We are looking at £1bn development opportunities across five areas in Wirral from Birkenhead town centre right through to Bromborough. We’ve never done anything of this scale and it’s a new way of working.The attraction of this model is that we share in profits going forward. It’s important, not only for new jobs and investment, but in bringing in an ongoing revenue scheme for the council….” Full story here :  £Billion Investment Boost

Forgive us but Pip’s ‘Wirral Growth Company’ comes across as a kind of malignant local authority tumour spreading across the peninsula as Wirral Council hawks its tawdry wares dressed up as ‘development opportunities ‘ for  private investors – and all for the sake of a good news story.
Wirral’s disabled : A thorn in the side?

Meanwhile under yet another misleading headline:

Staffing issues force temporary closure of Wirral care home

We have the news that NHS respite service for people with learning disabilities at Thorn Heys  in Oxton is to close temporarily because of difficulties over staffing levels. Yeah right –  as Wirral Leaks readers will know this has been on the cards for some time.

The decision was made by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group so this is something more than just a ‘Wirral care home’. In fact it is another slap in the face to Wirral Council’s pledge to protect vulnerable people following on the closure of respite services at Girtrell Court.

As we reported in our Good Health In Bad Hands post from September 2017 :

However more concerning for us was an issue that received  zero press coverage and caused considerably less outrage among councillors and that was the closure of  Thorn Heys, an NHS respite service for people with learning disabilities and mental health needs.  Somebody remind us what was that Wirral Plan ‘pledge’ about ‘protecting the most vulnerable’ again?

 And finally ……as a follow up to this week’s pothole story The Hole Truth we’d like to leave you with this from The Daily Mash which proves the Freudian dictum that there is no such thing as ‘just a joke’ and some things are just beyond parody :  Pothole confident it will survive latest council tax increase

#Nofilter

EMAIL

We’ve let the dust settle (geddit?) before we commented on the story that filters are being used on Councillor’s emails to ensure that members of the public who are perhaps deemed to be vexatious,annoying,persistent or whose spelling is absolutely dreadful are prevented from contacting their democratically elected public servants known as Wirral Councillors. The official version from Comrade Burgesski is that it’s to ensure that the sweet little lambkins are protected from receiving emails that might cause “offence”.

SEE HERE

We first got wind of this when we were kindly copied into an email sent from Lib Dem leader Phil Gilchrist to whistleblower Nigel “Highbrow” Hobro which read:

Dear Mr Hobro

It is very useful to have this chronology.I would welcome details of the contact officer in the DCLG.

On 11th April I had sent this note to Mr Burgess…

Members have received an almost daily e mail from Mr Griffiths.

What is the current information on the police’ progress?

What information has been given to the DCLG and who in the DCLG has been looking into the series of assertions?

Have the DCLG come back with any advice on the poor systems, alleged inadequacies of staff, alleged poor quality of advice to customers?

I have not, as far as I know, received the DCLG contact details via Wirral.

Mr Burgess did send a message to Cllr Pat Williams and Party Leaders on 23rd April referring to the police and DCLG matters.

I am continuing to read Mr Griffiths observations but these are now, I understand, only forwarded to Councillors who wish to receive them.

Phil Gilchrist

Now not having seen the email which caused so much offence we can’t comment on the need for such a drastic measure other than to say that if we send an email to a Councillor we expect it to be read by the intended recipient and not some Council Officer control freak whose dead hand grips tightly round the neck of democracy and slowly throttles it to death.

We presume that the person responsible for co-ordinating this subversion of openness and transparency is particularly concerned about “hurt feelings”.

It’s strikes us here at Leaky Towers that they seem to be a bunch of wilting flowers in that there Wallasey Town Hall. They seem quite happy to dish it out but not so keen when it comes flying back! It is for this reason that Wirral Leaks will continue it’s proud tradition of taking a satirical swipe at the vanity, pomposity and hypocrisy of particular Councillors and Council Officers.

A case in point is the publication of an investigation report (costing at least £1,800 of public money ) where Foulksey had complained that his good name had been impugned (stop laughing at the back) when old adversary Cllr.Chris Blakeley had had the temerity to question his fitness to be mayor.

SEE HERE

Of course good ole Foulksey is a past master of playing the victim. Firstly when ousted as Leader of the Council in a vote of no confidence and then bemoaning that he was having to step down as Labour group leader because of “poisonous” style of personalised political attacks.

SEE HERE

Not that Foulksey would ever indulge in such unbecoming behaviour – well not when he can draw on his faithful followers and a particularly loyal lieutenant to do it for him!………

For example  (and without even bringing up the vexed question of #Wirralgate) one of our correspondents was aghast to witness Cllr.Harry “Crisp Packet” Smith going back to his old ways and haranguing a local journalist prior to a recent Council meeting by calling him by that heinous name: ” Tory” It’s a shame local cinematographer John Brace didn’t catch this exchange with his all-seeing eye. Therefore in consideration of this incident and his past history might we suggest that if Council Officers do insist on installing filters that they attach one to Cllr Smith’s gargantuan gob whilst they’re at it!

Finally we’d like to bring to everyone’s attention that this peaking at emails malarkey is old news to us at Leaky Towers. Indeed we are well aware of a case where a senior Officer made a staff team aware that they read some of their subordinates “interesting” emails as part of their late night recreation.

A case of Big Bad Brother not only watching but bragging about it!