Case Dismissed : The Truth Will NOT Out

Wirralgate -Anatomy of A Cover Up

We understand that a most extraordinary court case involving veteran whistleblower and self-styled public accountability campaigner Martin Morton against Wirral Council and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has ended with Morton’s case being dismissed. Wirral Council have known about the ruling for a month but there has been no public announcement and the judgment is strangely not publicly available – cover up much? But then the course of this legal challenge has been very strange indeed. A hearing was originally supposed to be held in Liverpool in November 2017 only for the case to be mysteriously transferred to London – far from the prying eyes of the people of Wirral.The case was transferred by Justice Peter Lane who was the then President of the General Regulatory Chamber.

A hearing was eventually held in April 2018 and nearly 5 MONTHS LATER we haven’t had official notice of the Upper Tribunal’s decision.

So what was the case about and what was Morton after? Apparently he was after a report written by close Frank Field associate , Nick Warren, that was supposed to be the final word on the long running Wirral Council highways whistleblowing case dating all the way back to 2008 (!) Please note Nick Warren was the President of the General Regulatory Chamber prior to Justice Peter Lane , to which we can only add are you people beginning to realise how this shit works yet? – establishment cover up much?

Although the Warren Report was completed in 2015 it has never been published. Well that’s not strictly true Morton managed to get the ICO to force Wirral Council to publish part of the Warren Report which we reviewed at the time. We think the technical term for what we read was ‘pisspoor’ .  Read full story here : ‘Ask not what the whistleblowers have done for themselves – ask what they have done for Wirral…’

We haven’t as yet read the ruling but we are led to believe that the reason that the Wirral public are not allowed to see the Warren Report is that it would  cause ‘damage and distress’ to those named in the report. We think the technical term for this is ‘bollocks’.

Isn’t it funny how people are happy to take public money but not happy to subject to public accountability? What’s more it must be the first time in the history of whistleblowing that the so-called ‘whistleblowers’ didn’t want a report about what they’d reported and what they’d been through as a result to be published. Surely genuine whistleblowers would want to act in the public interest and DEMAND the Warren Report was published.

Anyway we don’t think the judgment has anything to do with preventing damage or distress to whistleblowers or former Wirral Council senior officers trekking around India and enjoying their retirement funded by Wirral council taxpayers. It’s all about preventing damage and distress to Nicholas Warren who appears to have been prepared to sacrifice his esteemed standing in the legal profession to help out his old mucker Frank Field by agreeing to play a dubious role in the utterly corrupt clusterfuck known as ‘Wirralgate’.

We have to be uncharacteristically circumspect from here on in as a)  we don’t know whether Morton intends to appeal this seemingly ridiculous decision and b) we haven’t yet read the ruling in full. However from our perspective it would seem an approach to the Court of Appeal would be highly unlikely as ,unlike Wirral Council, Morton doesn’t have a bottomless pit of public money to hire top notch barristers to help get the most senior politicians on Wirral out of a hole of their own making. If Morton were to lose an appeal he would have to pick up the tab for a legal bill that would run into tens of thousands.  Equity before the law? Don’t make us laugh!

However perhaps all is not lost. Could Morton draw upon the support of Frank Field?, who should be equally disappointed in the judgment as all of us who are interested in public accountability . As we have previously reported Field stated in his blog dated 23 June 2018 :

The next stage in establishing that truth will come, I guess, with the publication of the Nick Warren report. The whistle-blowers agreed with the council that this stunning lawyer should carry out an inquiry into their case. The report will be made public, I’m sure, as a freedom of information claim has been lodged.

Slowly but surely the truth will out. The citizens of Wirral owe the whistle-blowers, including X, such a debt for shifting officers that were found wanting in respect of the public good.

Read full story here : Frank Field – ‘The Truth Will Out’

Perhaps ‘stunning lawyer’ Nick Warren can pull a few strings like he appears to have done already and finally get the report he allegedly wrote published in the public interest? Indeed if he doesn’t questions will continue to be asked as to what he was doing getting involved in the biggest scandal in Wirral’s political history whilst he was still a Judge.

Currently it would appear the only way the  truth ,the whole truth and nothing but the truth will ever be revealed about ‘Wirralgate’ will be via Wirral Leaks  – the collusion, the corruption the conspiracy of silence and the cover up (other c words are available) -involving an MP, councillors, council officers past and present , Merseyside Police , the Judiciary and the local press has yet to be told. One day we hope to dissect in forensic detail the ‘Anatomy of A Cover Up’. Until then we’d like to applaud all those involved so far…

Joker applaud

 

Frank Field – ‘ The Truth Will Out’…

FRANKY-KNOWS

First of all – thanks to our stand ins who I’m sure you’ll agree did a sterling job in our absence. A few editorial points and one-liners from us and they got the house – or Leaky Towers – style down to a tee. Thankfully some of the more contentious and controversial matters have been left for our return. This included a tip-off to check out a particular post from June 2018 on Frank Field’s Westminster blog which ,if you wish,you can find on his website…

Out of respect for the dead we won’t provide a link to the post especially as it names someone who’s anonymity had been carefully preserved for the best part of a decade. Field’s strange tribute seems to us to be less a eulogy and more a rewriting of history. We reproduce the post omitting the initial naming of the deceased and adding the bold type :

…the power that he put into trying to ensure that the truth that underpinned the case for the group that I call ‘the whistle-blowers’ should be made known.

There is this small group of whistle-blowers who were concerned over the Colas highways contract in Wirral. Wrongdoings were alleged by the whistle-blowers and their case resulted in a clutch of cheating officers leaving the council. Cleverly drawn contracts and powerful legal representation resulted in Wirral having to pay compensation monies to these individuals over the contract – tens of thousands of pounds or more that each of them have had to walk the plank.

What an injustice that Wirral ratepayers had to pay these sums by law to people whose position was untenable in the council once the whistle-blowers had completed their work.

Contrast that with the treatment of the whistle-blowers. These were the agents by which less than proper doing was unmasked. The package of compensation for them, of their careers being blighted, and one of their names being published “by accident” on the council website, was around £5,000.

The injustice to these noble citizens has still to be countered. X died before that day arrived but that day assuredly will come as truth is on their side.

It often takes so long in this country which I love to get this elemental truth established. The inquiry, for example, to establish full the truth about BHS goes on and on, and Parliament won’t give up until it has that truth.

Likewise in the Wirral. Now diminished by X’’s death, the whistle-blowers will go on and on, with my support, until truth is established.

The next stage in establishing that truth will come, I guess, with the publication of the Nick Warren report. The whistle-blowers agreed with the council that this stunning lawyer should carry out an inquiry into their case. The report will be made public, I’m sure, as a freedom of information claim has been lodged.

Slowly but surely the truth will out. The citizens of Wirral owe the whistle-blowers, including X, such a debt for shifting officers that were found wanting in respect of the public good.

We really don’t know where to start with this one. But perhaps we’ll concentrate on the tortuous language and why Field feels the need to use the word ‘truth’ 8 times (count’em). It’s as if he’s trying to convince himself of his version of the ‘truth’.

Furthermore the reference to the publication of the Nick Warren report as a means of establishing ‘truth’ is both puzzling and intriguing . Is this the same report that Wirral Council have kept secret for nearly 3 years and is the subject on ongoing legal proceedings which have lasted 2 years? You’d think that Field and the ‘stunning lawyer’ behind the report would have the power,influence and legal knowledge to have the report published before now wouldn’t you? How does Field know that the Warren Report will be made public? Does he know something that we don’t or is he interfering with ongoing legal proceedings ? What’s more can Field tell us who lodged the ‘freedom of information claim’? So many questions and all of them seemingly so far,far away from the truth.

Wouldn’t it be ironic, when we understand Field’s broken arm was a result of tripping over a pavement stone in Hamilton Square ,that it could be the guys from highways who might be responsible for his ultimate downfall.

However on reflection we don’t think that it will be these ‘noble citizens’ or even the Birkenhead CLP  that will be his undoing . It will be Frank Field’s own hubris.

The truth will out …

Bamboo- zled – The Future of Social Housing?

We received a cryptic reply to our House of Bamboo post from someone called ‘Frank’ ( ha! ha! ) who asked :

Are you bored? 

And to which we replied :

More weltschmerz than ennui.

Why do you ask?

We used the word weltschmerz because it is a feeling that emerges from the realisation that things could be and should be better. This feeling is particularly aroused when it comes to  housing ,and specifically social housing on Wirral . For the moment we’ll  resist commenting on Wirral Waters and the Hoylake Golf Resort when it comes to Wirral Council’s approach to affordable housing and return to the worrying story of Bamboo Lettings.

Fortunately we’re not the only ones who regard the annexing of social housing for profit and personal gain to be deeply concerning. What makes it worse for us is that it involves some Wirral Leaks old timers who would no doubt justify their actions when it comes to social responsibility and just like Wirral Council blame ” Tory cuts”. Once again ,if only it were as simple as that…………….

Firstly our thanks go to Chelsea Guy who reveals on her Facebook page :

Bamboo Chelsea

Magenta Living’s attempt to “explain” Bamboo in their Spring 2018 magazine.

“In order to help fund existing services and build new affordable housing we looked at other ways to bring income in to meet the shortfall” – so essentially, denying people suitable housing when they’re in need of it, in order to build new “affordable” housing, to then pass it on to Bamboo and charge twice the rent in comparison to AFFORDABLE SOCIAL HOUSING.“Properties are spread across Wirral”.. but they fail to mention it’s only the more affluent areas, three properties in Eastham alone in the last 4 weeks. Along side the fact they take what should be SOCIAL HOUSING and make it; no housing benefit, working tenants only, and slap on all the fees like admin fees, application fees.Let’s just remember that Magenta own 50% of Bamboo and bring in 50% of all profits, yet fail to tend to issues their own tenants are having such as the mould in my property.Seems like a bit of a coincidence that a fuss was kicked up about Bamboo and now it’s featured in their magazine.

Isn’t it just Chelsea?

For an even more in depth analysis of what’s going on we once again guide you towards Joe Halewood’s peerless SPeye blog . The title of his latest post is  No DSS in council housing and social cleansing approved by Labour councils     where he writes :

In summary Labour councillors in Wirral – which includes the constituencies of Frank Field as the chair of the all party parliamentary working group on DWP matters and the new Labour Shadow DWP Minister in Margaret Greenwood – have voted for a policy of No DSS and a policy of social cleansing to take place by Magenta who have around 70% of all social housing in Wirral.

Even Tories in Wirral voted against this and even Tory voters would be ashamed of this social cleansing that the Labour council voted to allow.

In housing terms we see Magenta, Torus and by extension Liverpool Mutual Homes being the antithesis of the social landlords they repeatedly claim to be and then again we can add Liverpool City Council itself to that list as they are too setting up their own private sector landlord company called Foundations which will rent out at affordable rents and full market rent levels and without irony or shame called this an Ethical housing landlord!

It’s an SPeye opener!

So with so many outstanding questions and with Wirral Council’s representatives on Magenta Housing board  – Cllr Steve Foulkes, Cllr Jeff Green and Cllr Stuart Whittingham –  either unwilling or unable to ask them and with the various bodies below being exempt from the provisions of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) we thought we’d publicly pose the following questions :

a) Three years after Golden Gates Housing and Helena Housing formed the Torus group are senior managers planning on collapsing the group and merging with Liverpool Mutual Homes?
b) Will this see the end of local companies Golden Gates and Helena Housing?
c) Will the customers who own Golden Gates and Helena Housing be asked to vote to see if they agree with these changes ?
c) Will the control of Torus pass to the senior managers in Liverpool Mutual Homes?
d) Will the plan be good news for only a small number of people such as Rob Young CEO of Torus (and former Assistant Director of Housing at Wirral Council) who could retire with an enhanced pension package just as the CEO of Golden Gates did when Torus was formed three years ago?
e) Will the plan also be good news for the CEO of Liverpool Mutual Homes (LMH) and his senior team who will take over a much bigger Torus with a huge pay rise just as Mr Young did when Torus was formed three years ago?
f) Will the current CEO of LMH be appointed not because he is the best candidate for the job after a rigorous selection process but because his company was selected by his old friends Rob Young and Graham Burgess?
g) Will it be good news for Graham Burgess Chair of the Torus Board who having ‘retired’ as CEO from Wirral Council once again becomes a big player in the Liverpool City region?
For everyone else – social housing tenants and staff included – the answers to these questions may not be so good . Meanwhile it’s all very reminiscent of that Carl Sagan quote we’ve used before : “One of the saddest lessons of history is this : If we’ve been bamboozled long enough we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth . The bamboozle has captured us…”

 

Advent Farewell 16 – A View of Christmas

Wendy Clements Wirral View (2)

“OK Wendy love, give us your best angry face…”

The bumper Christmas edition of Wirral View has landed .  A bumper edition consisting of 24 particularly pisspoor pages .

We can’t help feeling that articles titled “ Drink Less, Enjoy More”  and ” Tips To Avoid Scammers” should be directed towards a certain Labour councillor and his spouse and the ‘leader’ of Wirral Council respectively.

We have to say that the Wirral Conservatives picture to accompany the posting on their website decrying the Christmas edition of Wirral View is pure comedy gold

The full article reads :

Residents are now being asked to sign for receipt of Wirral Council’s controversial newspaper, ‘Wirral View’, when it is delivered.

As a further sign of the troubled delivery of the newspaper, the Town Hall has also compiled a list of ‘VIPs’ who must receive it and sign for it, including councilors.

One of the Councillors who was told she is on the ‘VIP List’ is Councillor Wendy Clements, in Greasby.

Councillor Clements said: “Wirral View gets more ridiculous as time goes on. To have a ‘VIP List’ of people who the Town Hall think are important and must receive it, whatever the weather, is a sign of how out of touch they have become.

“The only ‘very important people’ as far as this newspaper is concerned are the people who are paying £270,000 a year for it – the residents and taxpayers. Half the Borough doesn’t receive it and many of the rest don’t want it. The best Christmas present that the Labour Council could give us would be to scrap it.” Wirral View Goes VIP

As you can see from the picture above Cllr Wendy Clements has got her glum face on – and who can blame her ? It’s straight out of popular Facebook page Angry People in Local Newspapers  only in this particular case it’s more People Angry About Local Newspapers.

And finally (as once again they say on the telly) to follow up last week’s Wirral View story here’s a response from our regular commentator ‘ The Prof’ which was not published by the Wirral Globe following the letter from a certain Chris Noble asking for suggestions for alternative uses for the wretched rag.  Deja View

I agree with Mr. Noble in the last Globe: we should find positive usesfor ‘Wirral View’. I have found two. Firstly it is fun to spot and test all the false performance claims made by the council. The October / November issue claimed that ‘closer working [Safer Wirral initiative] has already led to an 11% reduction in anti-social behaviour across Wirral’. Using a Freedom of Information Act request I obtained the ASB incident data from 2012 to 2017.

The improved ‘working together’ period covered 2016 onwards. ASB fell during
this period but it had been falling steadily since 2013.’Working together’ did not
affect the rate of fall. This is not surprising since the list of  12 ‘actions’ provided
is purely administrative not street focused.
Wirral View also claimed a £50,000 saving on emergency services in 2017 from
these anti-ASB actions. Surely a good result? But the savings related to stopping
high numbers of emergency calls from just TWO people. One was demented and
put in a care home! The other was mentally ill and they changed his medicine!
This was about sick, vulnerable, people seeking help, not ASB and crime reduction.
Wirral View is full of such amusing alternative facts …it is surely a treasure.
Secondly Mr. Noble suggests using Wirral View to wrap fish and chips. Here is another thought. When I was a kid in Liverpool we could not afford toilet paper and used the Echo.The paper quality of Wirral View is far superior to the Echo and in these days of austerity it can be pressed into use instead. Thank you Wirral Council and keep up the crap work.
                                                                                    Professor D P Gregg (retired)
P.S. On 04.09.17 the Globe reported a 38% fall in ASB ‘across Wirral’ due to the above  activities. My FOI request answer was that this was ‘incorrect data’ in the press release you quoted. Apparently the note implies, the Globe should have realised this so it was  your fault really for publishing false information! By the way the 38% applied to Frank Field’s (Beirut) Birkenhead but it is also based on flawed statistical data.

 

 

Advent Farewell 10 – Question Everything

question-everything

As we’ve commented earlier in this Advent adventure we’re lovin’ the emergence of a seemingly increasingly questioning Wirral public. It would seem that Wirral politicians relying on the supine,docile and uninformed seem to be over……and they don’t like it! Witness yesterday’s public meeting organised by Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood about the Hoylake Golf Resort proposals. An increasingly exasperated Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘ Power Boy Pip’ Davies was told to ‘stop sulking’ by a member of the public when he was repeatedly forced to halt his oft-repeated stream of BS. It’s called public accountability Pip – get used to it and quit with the titty-lip!

And we don’t know what superannuated Cllr Gerry Ellis is putting in his Horlicks – but can we have some? We couldn’t have done better than describe the dodgy housing development on the Green Belt masquerading as a ‘golf resort’ as ‘Phil’s Folly’

And apparently there’s more to come as tomorrow’s full Council meeting at Wallasey Town Hall which features more pesky members of the public wanting answers to various questions . We anticipate the BS quotient from Pip & Co will be through the Wallasey Town Hall roof. We’d like suggest that people might be better off making Freedom of Information requests  but let’s face it , they probably wouldn’t be – life’s too short.

We are also breathless with anticipation as to whether Cllr Louise Reecejones actually turns up and offers a grovelling apology to rest of the council chamber and the public gallery for previously failing to make an acceptable apology for conduct unbecoming an elected member as well as being , well  Cllr Louise Reecejones and therefore not  one of the protected Labour Party  cabal. Fortunately there are a number of attendees in the public gallery who’ve promised us some feedback on events as they unfold – so we look forward to reporting all the gory details.

Until then we’ll leave you with the petition organised  by the Hoylake & West Kirby Campaign Group which has forwarded to us. And finally remember – when it comes to Wirral Council – question everything!

A few days ago the petition, below, was delivered to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council, signed by 600+ people. The Council will now go through its ‘validation process’ which means excluding any signature which was not accompanied by a full address.

People are still waiting for Margaret Greenwood, the Wirral West MP, to oppose Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council’s plan to devastate the NW England Greenbelt at Hoylake and West Kirby.

SAVE WIRRAL’S COUNTRYSIDE.
STOP THE HOYLAKE GOLF RESORT.
STOP THE URBANISATION OF WIRRAL’S GREENBELT.
To – PHIL DAVIES, Council Leader, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council, Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Wallasey, Wirral, CH44 8ED.

We are opposed to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council’s plan to build the exclusive ‘HOYLAKE GOLF RESORT’ on 285 acres of the Birket Valley, which is publicly owned greenbelt land.
The Council’s plan includes: the construction of roads; car parking; a luxury housing estate; a 250 bedroom, exclusive hotel; a spa; and a conference centre. The Hoylake Municipal Golf Course is to be relocated. There are already 17 golf courses in the Wirral Metropolitan Borough. Most Wirral residents do not play golf. Hoylake already has two golf courses, one privately owned and one publicly owned. There is no need for another, private golf course in the Hoylake/West Kirby area.
The Council has failed to act in an open, transparent and fair manner, in connection with the Hoylake Golf Resort project. . A Freedom of Information request (FOI request 827270), of August 2014, revealed that the Council had paid £237,012, of public funds, to consultants, in connection with the Hoylake Golf Resort project.
The Council failed to allow members of the public to participate at an early stage in the planning process, in an effective way, when ALL options were open. There is no evidence that the Council allowed members of the public to propose any alternative plans for the 285 acre area or for the area to remain as it is.
There is no guarantee that the exclusive Hoylake Golf Resort would be an economic success. Golf resorts, all over the world, have gone bankrupt, including several in the USA and one in Northern Ireland. The proposed, private Hoylake Golf Resort would have a detrimental impact on the Hoylake and West Kirby landscape. It would urbanise a rural area.
We, the undersigned, call on Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council to cancel its exclusive ‘Hoylake Golf Resort’ plan. Housing should be built on ‘brown field’ sites, not on valuable, much appreciated, ‘green belt’ land, in the borough.
We believe that the remaining Wirral greenbelt countryside should be protected.
The construction of the Hoylake Golf Resort would not be in the interest of the local community.

NAME SIGNATURE ADDRESS DATE

…………… …………………… ……………….………… ……
Published by: Hoylake and West Kirby Campaign Group.

Comfortably Dumb

This Bitch be Trippin'

Regular Wirral Leaks readers will know that our trans -pennine correspondent Charles Nunn is most definitely on the Stewart Halliday case ( even if our local public servants haven’t been -or more accurately- don’t want to be).

Charlie Boy tells us :

As you probably know Mark Warters submitted a F.of I. request to York to try and establish whether, or not there was a conversation between Robinson and their C.E.O. about Halliday`s contract extension.

You may recall my request to Wirral told me that Robinson was “comfortable” with it.
This is what Cllr Warters sent to City of Council York’s FOI bod Cath Murray:

Dear Cath,

I understand that former CYC employee Mr S. Halliday currently employed by Wirral Council has had his contract/placement recently extended to the end of the year there and a conversation took place between the Wirral Chief Executive and the CYC Chief Executive that led to Wirral Council concluding that “there is no impediment to Stewart Halliday’s continued appointment with Wirral Council”

I would like to submit a FOI act request for the following;

(i) Confirmation that the conversation (s) took place and if emails were exchanged copies of the correspondence.

(ii) Copies of all correspondence between CYC and Wirral Council in relation to Mr Halliday’s employment.

Thank you for your assistance.

Regards,

Cllr. Mark Warters

As you can see from our pic below Cllr Warters perfectly reasonable request met with institutional obstruction and inevitably foundered on the grounds of  ‘ personal data’.
CYC 020
Charles tells us :
As I suspected. Refused on the grounds of “confidentiality” although it may well have cost the Wirral Council Tax payers over £200,000 in total for taking on a shyster.
How frequently we get that response from Councils.
How indeed – but then when we get ‘public servants’  who appear to be prepared to sacrifice their professional integrity for the price of the opportunity to peruse the Boden catalogue at their leisure what are we to expect?
Time to wake up and realise that this is how it works folks – private phone calls between CEOs on the public purse. Massive public expenditure all done on a nod and a wink.
Know your place serfs – you’re just there to pay for the executive lifestyles. Leave our betters to get through Monday to Friday with the least possible effort. Please allow them to have comfortable lives at our expense. It’s the least they deserve.
Although it should be said we all deserve somewhat better.

Anti-Corruption Champion

Corruption

One of the useful websites we recommend our readers to check out if they’re interested to find out what their local MP is up to in Parliament is the appropriately titled TheyWorkForYou. This ranks alongside the Freedom of Information  (FOI) website WhatDoTheyKnow as one of our go-to sources.

TheyWorkForYou tells us that Birkenhead MP  Frank Field in particular is rather prolific when it comes to asking questions of government ministers. Which we can all agree is a good thing! However we can recall that it was Frankenfield who once went on Radio Merseyside to make ridiculous claims that certain sections of the Wirral public were inundating Wirral Council with FOI requests in an attempt to bring certain parts of the council to a standstill . This was proven to be statistically and factually incorrect as even Wirral Council admits it does not receive significantly more FOI requests than comparator local authorities . Accordingly it seems to us that Frankenfield thinks that public accountability is not a pursuit to be encouraged in the hoi polloi !

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/frankly-mr-frankie/

However we did raise an eyebrow at a question Field put to Chris Skidmore Parliamentary Under Secretary in the Cabinet Office as to when he plans to appoint an anti-corruption champion.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2017-06-21.150.h&s=speaker%3A10197#g150.q0

What’s Frankenfield up to? getting the heads up for local council reprobates, sorry ,representatives?  They’d  better get shredding those documents, erasing those tapes and making those pay-offs before the anti-corruption champion comes a callin’ !

 

 

Question Time

question-everything

Let’s draw a discreet veil over last night’s ‘Question Time’.  All we will say is that if the audience in Wallasey Town Hall is what passes for the politically aware of Wirral it explains an awful lot!

Meanwhile , it’s not like us , but we’ve been a bit ambivalent about the local debate to reduce the number of local councillors. Our take has been that fewer elected members would mean a concentration of power and reduce  opportunities to challenge the powers that be , but then we had to remind ourselves that a) that rarely happens and b) party whips and council procedures can quell all rebellion.

We think that what we ‘d really like is a reduction in the number councillors who think a Nolan Principle is the latest winner of Celebrity Big Brother.

However such discussion is purely academic as councillors decided last month – quelle surprise! – not to suffer , like the rest of us , the consequences of the squeeze on public spending and to retain their numbers.

This decision was trumpeted by Cllr  Foulkesy – of all people! –  at a meeting of Wirral Council’s Labour Cabinet last month.

The conclusion that a reduction from 66 to 44 councillors would lead to the need for ‘full -time councillors’ and would apparently inhibit opportunities for women,ethnic minorities and disabled people to hold public office.  It would also lead to what Foulkesy called ‘a different shade of councillor’ being required as opposed,we presume, to a ‘shady councillor’ like himself. And suddenly we’re sold on the idea !  – in fact let’s go all the way and do away with councillors altogether and all the party political baggage that goes with it . Think about it – wouldn’t it be great to have full time professional public servants who are not compromised by toxic politicking?  So we say less councillors and more council staff ! – we can dream can’t we?

As we’ve been anxious to find out what Cllr Janette ‘Milly Tant’ Williamson called the ‘evidence based analysis’ which led to the decision not to refer the matter to the Local Government Boundary Commission we not only read the Scrutiny Review Panel report but considered a Freedom of Information request made by John H Hutchinson which has been brought to our attention and which reads :

“In his Cabinet report “Number of Councillors Scrutiny Review” November
2016, Cllr Brightmore makes many broad statements the most vague of which
is “significant resources in terms of officer and councillor time” and,
later, to support this statement “significant amount of time and
resources”.

What, please, was the formal and recorded estimate of time and resources
to support these statements?

If no estimate was made, could Council make an estimate to complete this
FoIA request, please?”

The Council can advise that Cllr Brightmore’s statements relate to the
Scrutiny Review Panel’s estimation of the time and resources required for
the Council to prepare a submission document to the Local Government
Boundary Commission for England (the Commission), and to undergo an
electoral review (See page 9 of the report)
[1]http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents…

In reviewing a number of lengthy and detailed submission documents from
other local authorities, the Panel was able to gain an appreciation of the
time and resources likely to be required to compile a submission in
preparation for an electoral review.  Technical guidance from the
Commission, indicating an 18-24 month timescale to complete each stage of
an electoral review also informed the statements. Beyond this, no detailed
assessment or estimation of the time and resources required to make a
submission was undertaken.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/cost_of_reducing_councillor_numb

So it would seem that the  Scrutiny Review Panel Chair and rising Labour star Philip ‘Brightboy’ Brightmore –  who’s previous claim to fame was grassing up former Wirral West MP Esther Mc Vey for using House of Commons stationery and postage for Tory electioneering

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/wirral-leaks-advent-calendar-7-the-stamp-of-disapproval/

– was talking about an ‘estimation of the time and resources required for the Council to prepare a submission document to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (the Commission)’ .

So it would transpire that the Scrutiny Review Panel have basically made some comparisons with some neighbouring councils and councils with a similar profile and decided they are value for money.

It is significant there are no surveys or consultations undertaken canvassing the views of council taxpayers nor an analysis of how much additional council officer time and resources would be needed if the number of councillors were to be reduced. This was firmly put in the ‘too difficult tray’ by the Panel as follows : ‘The impact of a reduction of councillors on back office and support functions was also acknowledged by the Panel. Whilst this is difficult to quantify, it was agreed that that these functions would have to increase in order to fill the gap left by councillors, so any cost savings identified by reducing councillors would have to take account of any increase in officer workloads.’

Meanwhile Panel chair Brightboy says in the introduction :

‘I believe the findings of this investigation speak broadly for themselves. To speculate further upon those findings here risks undermining the analytical, data-led approach I and others have been careful to maintain.’

Which just about sums up some local councillors view of the local electorate.  It’s a case of : ‘We don’t want your views .We know best – even when we don’t ’cause we don’t have the data !’  

Which is why in the light of such a lack of investigative rigour we say to our readers :  keep on making those Freedom of Information requests and most important of all –  QUESTION EVERYTHING.

 

The Power Abusers

secrecy-is-the-linchpin-of-abuse-of-power-its-enabling-force-transparency-is-the-only-real-antidote-quote-1

 

Wirral Leaks regulars Wirral Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive  ‘ Princess’ Paula Basnett and Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies clearly see themselves as local power brokers. Unfortunately we’ve been around too long and seen too much that troubles us  and which leads us to conclude they’re more aptly described as power abusers.

This view is reinforced by  a couple of stories that have come our way over the weekend. Firstly the frightening news that Pip ‘urgently’ needs to appoint an ‘Investor Development Manager’ on £80K  – like you do when it appears you can do what the bloody hell you like with public money . Talk about out of the blue and into the red!

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15022687.Wirral_Council_in_rush_to_create_new___80k_management_job___with_no_questions_asked_/

So what’s the problem with this we hear you cry ?  – well , firstly the fact that opposition councillors are being prevented from asking any awkward questions (or in Wirral Council – speak ‘the call in’ procedure should be waived) and more significantly from what we hear that the main name in the frame for this personal appointment is current ‘policy advisor’ Martin Liptrot aka Liptrotsky . This would make sense as Liptrotsky  now needs to supplement his measly £45K for two days ‘work’ at Wirral Council after Mayor Joe Anderson failed to get the Metro Mayor gig . We ‘ll be particularly interested  to see how this ‘politically restricted post’ plays out and whether this insider tip -off actually comes to pass.

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50038434/Delivering%20Growth%20in%2Wirral%20-%20Securing%20Investment.pdf

Meanwhile over at the Wirral Chamber of Commerce – although let’s be honest Wirral Council /Wirral Chamber of Commerce are virtually indivisible – there has been some troubling developments with what are described as ‘Sheriff of Nottingham tax gathering methods’.

A request for not for profit/charitable organisations to be exempt from the ‘Birkenhead Improvement District’ (BID)  levy has hit a brick wall . This is a 1.5% levy on top of business rates for local businesses to fund what we think is an expensive window dressing exercise administered by the Wirral Chamber of Commerce.

However it seems charitable organisations who do not pay the levy face a summons with extra £100 in charges added. The legality and validity of this alleged summons is highly questionable along with the fact that  Wirral Council are acting as the ‘collecting agent’ in this matter using all powers available to them to secure payments . Apparently whilst Wirral Council agree it is a civil matter they are issuing summonses in the Magistrates Court which is a criminal court. These summonses are batch processed and cost an estimated £6 maximum but then they want to charge circa £100 in costs! So it’s win/win for both Wirral Council and Wirral Chamber of Commerce! What is even more bizarre is that  Wirral Council have previously agreed 100% rate relief to qualifying not for profit organisations whilst at the same time they are prepared  to act as collection and enforcing agent for the BID.

Petitions to Wirral Chamber / Birkenhead First to exempt charitable organisations or to access a robust appeal procedure have not been successful. Charitable organisations which should be exempt and very small businesses who should be able to appeal are being denied the opportunity to opt out. Apparently a vote was taken of all affected businesses in the BID area and whilst the majority voted of introducing a BID those who voted against still have to pay the levy.

Attempts to get to the bottom of decision making on the imposition of the BID levy and arrangements between Wirral Chamber of Commerce/ Wirral Council via Freedom of Information requests have faltered on the grounds that Wirral Chamber of Commerce claim to be exempt from FOI legislation.

So whilst Wirral Chamber of Commerce  seem quite happy to take public money and acquire public property they’re not quite so keen on public accountability…… somewhat like Wirral Council !

 

Better to reign in Hell,than to serve in Heaven ……

better-to-reign-in-hell

We are proud to publish the latest instalment of the BIG/ISUS/Working Neighbourhoods saga written by Nigel ” Highbrow” Hobro  which may answer a few questions raised by our readers and explain why we continue to follow this story.

We follow it because it’s everything that’s wrong. The incompetence, the ineptitude, the total disregard of what’s right and wrong.

Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven:

“So spake th’apostate Angel, vaunting aloud

But inward rack’d with pain”

Satan is the Father of Lies whose feeble imitation of God is Gehenna, or Hell. Rather than serve Truth he will concoct a monstrous imitation, rather like Macbeth who preferred to be a false King than a faithful Thane.

We read much vaunting from Councillor P Davies and from his faithless band, that Wirral Borough Council is ever “open and transparent”. We read glossy brochures from Merseyside Special Investment Fund about its manifold successes and yet all are silent on their failures?

My Lord Leaky in the preface to “The Big Lie” https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/09/16/the-big-lie/ worried about the muteness of regulatory authorities. He did not elaborate but they are worth reciting here. A forensic investigator given access to the Beverley Edwards report signally fails to report of the warnings from that lady about the phoenixing of Lockwood Engineering Ltd’s assets into Harbac UK ltd. Remarkable it is, considering the discussions held with Andrew Walker, the Government Internal Audit Agent, that Grant Thornton can report of no wrong-doing by Council officers. Long before I and James (Griffiths) made our complaints GIAA was investigating the perversion of the tender process for the £3m Business Start up 2 (ISUS) project, and the intimidation by council officers of the most qualified candidate to run it who had an assessment of 88% compared to wirralbiz’s 36%! Yet still the 88% candidate did not secure the contract. Turning to the liquidators of Lockwood Engineering Ltd they found nothing unusual in an engineering company stating on oath that the engineering firm had no machinery whatsoever. When confronted with this anomaly and the starkly clear evidence of the BIG file their response was the liquidation was over. The liquidators of Harbac UK Ltd when presented with same evidence by devilish equivocation asked by what right did I question them, was I a creditor of Harbac UK Ltd? Finally they finished with a “well we have lost a lot of money!” (some £10k on their £395 per hour fees). At this time after a prolonged liquidation, due to there being no accounting records given to them, they propose to close the company in January 2017,without reporting any need for detailed investigation despite having had copious correspondence between myself and themselves (https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/07396044).

I have only started emptying the bucket but the above should be enough to persuade the reader that we should all share Lord Leaky’s concerns.

The Devil rules the world and he does so with coin!

What of Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF) and connexions with the Big Lie article?
I don’t intend to befuddle the Reader but these matters are not a clear as the springs in Paradise. Pandemonium is a phrase well coined.

Unlike Councillor Davies in the press release referred to in the Ministry of Truth article

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/ministry-of-truth/

I will warn the Reader that there is some speculation in what I am going to write. I feel entitled to speculate when my adversaries plainly lie. Councillor P Davies undoubtedly is a clever man ( really? – Wirral Leaks) and with fingers in many pies as can be seen from his personal website :

I represent the Learning Partnership on the Wirral Local Strategic Partnership and the Wirral Waterfront Board. 
I am a non-executive director of the following organisations: The Mersey Partnership; Greater Merseyside Enterprise; the PSL Group (Pentra); The Lauries; Wirral Multi-cultural Organisation; and the Laird Foundation.
I also represent Wirral Borough Council on the Merseyside Objective 1 Programme Monitoring Committee and chair a post-2006 European funding lobbying group as well as the Wirral Pathways (Priority 4) Board .

The key words are THE Mersey Partnership, Wirral Waterfront Board and Merseyside Objective 1 Programme Monitoring Committee and chair a post-2006 European funding lobbying group. I believe these posts extend in substance back to the beginnings of wirralbiz and of the strange case of New Concept Gaming Limited. Speculation coming…Councillor Davies would associate closely with Mark Basnett, Director of the Liverpool Enterprise Partnership, for, after all he had also been a member of the LEP and has many photo opportunities with Mrs Paula Basnett, ex Head of Invest Wirral , and now Head of Wirral Chamber of Commerce. Invest Wirral was in charge of the BIG fund and Mrs Basnett was charged from early 2011 with supervision of the renegade Directors of wirralbiz. If myself, Lord Leaky or Paul Cardin were the three witches on the blasted heath cackling before Macbeth, a picture can be conjured up. These people were and are an elite, an Eurocracy, who run Roman triumphs through the media hailing their achievements with our money, European money, and who would recoil at having their failures equally trumpeted.

New Gaming Concept Ltd

The following is neither lie, nor speculation.

In October 2009 Councillor Jean Stapleton signed off a BIG grant to the company who had already received public funding of £845,000 via Subsidiaries of MSIF and via the NWDA.

In March 2010 the same company filed for Liquidation with an accumulated net loss of £905K. All the European, BIG money and NWDA money was declared lost at the final Liquidators report in (https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/05427776) except for £5,000!

No accounts submitted to Companies House in the lead up to the investment of £845,000 of public money on 30th January 2008 were endorsed by professional accountants. Indeed the 30th April 2008 accounts did not even allude to the floating charge nor the debenture created on 30th January 2008.

Speculation follows:

Shoddy indeed was this for a recipient of £845,000 of public money, even dishonest. I wonder whether the accounts filed for 30th April 2009 on 8th December 2009 were truthful in outlining £461,494 of debtors when three months later the Statement of Assets

At liquidation the Debtors are described as £90,000 of which the liquidator by June 2011 has collected just and precisely £NIL. With Invest Wirral running the show given the revelations in the Grant Thornton BIG investigation one can imagine the BIG panel being duped.

This case has not been followed by any detailed investigation for like wirralbiz it does not suit the Eurocracy, among whom I count Cllr P Davies, to rake over the ashes. Certainly I doubt if Joe Public would ever have heard of this monumental waste if it had not been for the determination of the whistle-blowers to nail the LIE.

I have asked MSIF under FOI for their file on New Concept Gaming Ltd and received the fastest ever response to any FOI, that they were not subject to FOI. I have asked NWDA and its successor, DCLG, and WBC, for their files who of course are subject to FOI.

I conclude that Readers should be aware of just how little protection we are afforded from deception by Councillors or downright robbery by some private companies, by any organ of the state or duly appointed agent of the same. CAVEAT EMPTOR and respect to WIRRAL IN IT TOGETHER and WIRRALLEAKS who do the next best thing which is to put travesties on RECORD.