Futile and Redundant

FUTILESo Wirral Council , how’s that “Future Council”  thingy going for you?.
Or as Wirral Leaks fan “Santa” says in our comments section  : “More like Futile Council ……”
SEE HERE

Well from our metaphorical bulging postbag it would appear that any dreams of a future utopia are turning into the usual Wirral Council nightmare.

Firstly we’ve had many concerns raised about the “Future Council” consultation (aka stitch up) itself – mainly about how on earth are members of the public meant to decide on “options” (aka cuts)  when it’s clear that  proposals are far from an “informed choice”.
It seems to many people that council officials still haven’t completed their jobs when it comes to consultations,reviews,costings and alternative services or indeed whether there should be services at all. Surely there’s a basic understanding and degree of knowledge about services required before anyone could decide where the axe should fall?

Whilst idly flicking through the Future Council consultation document Her Ladyship commented : ” Can somebody tell me what “Youth Zone” is ?…..it sounds like an advertisement for Clearasil.” Similarly we all thought “Girtrell Court” was a stately home until we read that it was a  ‘short break’ respite service for adults with disability with 20 beds. Yes, it sounds like a valuable service but otherwise we’re none the wiser.

If Wirral Council was truly committed to “consulting”  Council Tax payers shouldn’t it be consulting on fundamental principles and leaving the policy decisions to politicians and the implementation of these policies to council officers? Surely that’s what they’re there for?

For example only last week Cllr Chris ” Meany” Meaden decreed that former British Army personnel who had previously had concessionary passes to Wirral’s leisure facilities were to be withdrawn unless the former servicemen and woman could prove they had a disability or condition that had arisen out of their army service. Meaden said that ex-armed forces personnel were to be “punished” (her words) because the scheme had been exploited by scam merchants who had joined the Territorial Army and then received a dishonourable discharge after a week  – supposedly so they could get a free pass to gyms and swimming pools. The question of who was responsible for drawing up such a pathetic eligibility criteria in the first place wasn’t discussed.

Why wasn’t this matter consulted on?

Similarly were the people of Wirral consulted on £35 million worth of loans  at “mates rates” made by Wirral Council to other Labour  Councils.

A keen local eagle-eyed inquisitor has discovered  that “investments” current at 31 March 2014 were :

Doncaster £2m @ 0.8%

Lancashire £6m @ 0.75%

Northumberland £6m @ 0.75%

Newcastle on Tyne £2m @ 1.8%

OR

Current investments at 31 July 2014 i.e. ignoring those that have matured since 31/03/14

Lancashire £6m @ 0.75%

Newcastle on Tyne £2m @ 1.8%

However further investigation by our eagle -eyed investigator discovered that  :

“Lancashire and Newcastle on Tyne lend out money as part of enterprise schemes I have confirmed that Lancashire (borrow from Wirral at 0.75%) lend at 6.2%.I have confirmed that Newcastle on Tyne (borrow from Wirral at 1.8%) lend at 9.9%.
These figures show what Wirral gets in interest from the other authorities, (very low).
I asked ‘what rate of interest did they charge their borrowers’?
Those I mentioned, Lancashire and Newcastle charge their borrowers more than five times the rate they pay back to Wirral. Doesn’t seem a very fair deal for Wirral taxpayers”

Do the people of Wirral know they are seemingly “subbing” other Councils, effectively at a loss – as they would surely get higher interest rates elsewhere – whilst locally services are being cut and jobs are being lost?

Talking of which we’re getting a lot of concerns being raised by Council staff facing redundancy. Seems like it’s the usual horrorshow – incompetent managers making up the redundancy “consultation”process as they go along. Which reminds us haven’t consultancy firm Ernst & Young been paid over £400,000 since April 2014 to assist with the culling, sorry redundancy, process?

Meanwhile the corporate game players are in their element with nepotism and self preservation being , quite literally, the order of the day.
Council staff are telling us the redundancy process is “unfair”,”shocking”,”flawed”,”callous”,”discriminatory”
(and these are the good points!)
All Wirral Leaks can think to say to council staff is that you can’t say you haven’t been warned! And anyway you’ve always got your unions to support you! ……..ha!ha!

Seems to us your choice is known by the Eldritch-like acronym FIFO – ” Fit In or Fuck Off”!!

No Future Council

Vicious and Rotten ? It’s ‘No Fun’

FUTURE COUNCILWhich I’m sure you’ll all agree is a mightily impressive logo!

We don’t know who came up with this masterpiece of graphic design but we’re guessing it was a Friday afternoon job. However whoever is responsible for it we’re sure they had fun putting out the subliminal message that the Future of Council/Wirral is Green. Now we don’t know whether they mean the Green Party or the golf resort or even Jefferson himself but everything’s gone green.

Of course we brought you news some time ago that Future Council was coming our way – so we’ve endeavored to do some further research on your behalf.

After we were treated to a video of Comrade Burgesski on the Wirral Globe website looking about as comfortable as soggy undercrackers and explaining how the budget is as tight as Cllr Tony Norbury’s suits we thought we’d check out the consultation pack where Burgesski helpfully explains  :

“The Council has conducted a comprehensive review into all of its services. Every part of the Council has been scrutinised to ensure every pound is spent effectively and every service is as efficient as it can possibly be.
This project is called ‘Future Council……”

My how we laughed here at Leaky Towers at reading claims of  scrutiny ,effectiveness and efficiency at Wirral Council –  and the portentous tone that goes with it.
” This project is called Future Council …” sounds like something a Dr.Who alien would say just before they pressed a button to blow up a distant planet.

In the consultation document Burgesski front-loads the big scary numbers in his introduction like some kind of megalomaniac bingo caller – £100 million!, £ 70 million!, £57 million ! – but basically he’s asking the people of Wirral to decide upon where the axe should fall in achieving  £2.5 million cuts to public services (out of a total of £18 million worth of budget reductions.)

Although the consultation document explains that 300 Council jobs are going to have to go it doesn’t explain as to why – so we did a bit of number – crunching of our own and came up with this suggestion:

£10 million : “We have also agreed to restructure every Council department to reduce our employee costs by almost £10 million, which is part of a decision (and a saving) agreed last year. While the impact upon residents from these changes will be reduced, saving £10 million in employee costs means, in effect, around 300 Wirral Council jobs will be lost – hopefully mostly on a voluntary redundancy basis…”

£10 million : The amount of toxic debt which Wirral Council had to write off last year as a result of  incompetence and dishonesty of council managers and the negligence and lack of scrutiny by councillors.  We advice council employees to remember this comparison when they receive their redundancy notices   –  SEE HERE

However it’s not all doom and gloom – there’s low comedy to be had throughout the consultation document. For example it’s as if there’s someone digging Burgesski in the ribs and telling him to intermittently include something about how much the Council cares for the vulnerable (despite all evidence to the contrary)

Bullshit Bingo fans will enjoy the use of the words  “outsource” “robustly” and “hub” .

Whilst lovers of Spot the Gobbledygook will cherish this particular example : “Assets  – Delivering the consolidated asset requirements of the services, enabling key service changes through the rationalisation and future proofing of the asset base”

However praise be to the comic genius who came up with this :” The workforce and elected members of Wirral Council are public servants. We are here to serve the people of Wirral and that will not change. What must change is how we serve you. Meeting our duty as public servants means finding the best, most cost effective way of improving residents’ quality of life…..”

Satire at it’s finest!

Coming Soon: FUTURE COUNCIL!

backtothefutile
 

“I’ve seen the future, I can’t afford it
Tell me the truth sir, someone just bought it
Larger than life and twice as ugly
If we have to live there, you’ll have to drug me”

Yes yet again you read it here first – after “Destination Effluence” and “Transforming Wirral Council” comes the latest Wirral Council makeover – ” Future Council” (or should that be futile?) Cautious of the derision that met “Destination Effluence” a  desperate PR stunt spawned in haste after the shock of the Independent Review published in 2012 , Wirral Council seem to be adopting a more subtle and subliminal approach this time.From information we’ve been receiving it would seem that Council staff are gradually being brainwashed into talking about “Future Council”  so as to make cuts to services and staff redundancies somehow sound more palatable and well , sort of dynamic and futuristic and stuff.

ROBOTSHowever we feel, just like Destination Effluence, it’s just the same old Council trick of putting lipstick on a pig ……

Even the usually compliant union Unison expressed  “major concern” in their last annual report when “Future Council” was quietly being introduced : “The Budget option entitled ‘Transforming Wirral’ Council now referred to as “Future Council” caused major concern. It seeks to make savings of £9.5 million by the end of 2015/16…”

So is ” Future Council”  meant to sound as though Wirral Council is to be run like a lean,mean machine managed and controlled by unthinking,unfeeling automatons?.

Sounds like business as usual to us!

pig-lipstick
Lest we forget ….