A number of our readers have been in touch with pictures of the Wirral Globe wraparound ‘Advertisement Feature’ promoted by Cllr Ian Lewis on behalf of Wirral Conservative Group which has caused pre-Purdah murder.
We remember having a pop at the Wirral Labour Group for pulling a similar stunt last time the local elections came around. However this particular production really is something else. Real lowest common denominator stuff – right down there with their infamous ‘baseball bats’ leaflet which ruthlessly exploited the fallout from the damning ‘Independent Review’ of 2012 .
The problem we have is that whilst we acknowledge you’d have to be spectacularly dim to think that the wraparound contained genuine news stories and not exploitative electioneering on the part of the local Conservative Group the fact is a) it appears under the Wirral Globe masthead and b) there are an awful lot of spectacularly dim people out there .
The scaremongering cover star is hasbeen ‘Militant’ bogeyman Derek ‘Deggsy ‘ Hatton. The picture is so old it was taken when he still had a decent head of hair . Whilst this ‘hard left’ trope is not only used as means of highlighting the power struggle within the local Labour Party it also tacitly supports the established Labour cabal which have wreaked so much havoc in Wirral over recent years!
The inside features pro- Green Belt , anti-Kingdom Security votecatchers which hitch a ride on the work of local activists and campaigners . Elsewhere it’s a bit thin on the ground policy-wise. A less than detailed 6 point plan features such nebulous aims as ‘ Expose Council Waste’ and ‘Better Council Services’ . Perhaps if the local elections don’t go well as expected the author can take over the running of Wirral Leaks. The local Conservative Group don’t seem to have learned their lesson from exploiting the political fallout of the Independent Review . Once they unexpectedly got into power , their main policy initiative was a desperate Council Tax rebate – even that didn’t work and there wasn’t enough spectacularly dim people to keep Cllr Jeff Green in power as Leader of Wirral Council and the Conservatives were ousted at the next election.
Finally , we’d like to comment on the back page of the ‘Advertisement Feature’ which features the welcome demise of litter enforcement louts Kingdom Security. We can’t help feeling that there’s been a bit of ‘Leaksification’ when it comes to the hard-hitting picture. Well ,they do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…
We were alerted to this story by a search term on our website which read : “Maura Noone Reading”. This piqued our interest so we did a bit of further research and lo – or should that be low? – and behold we discover that Noone is astonishingly now Head of Adult Social Care at Reading Borough Council. No,really !!!
Those who remember the 2012 publication of the Independent Review of Allegations Made by Martin Morton ( and Others) will know the furore that followed which led to the following front page headlines
Of course this being Wirral Council there were no such sackings. Instead – and much to the horror of Tory councillor Lesley Rennie who claimed she’d been misled by Labour councillors about such matters – two of the worst offenders who were redacted out of the report, but we know them to be Department of Adult Social Services (DASS) senior managers Mike Fowler and Maura Noone , who were handed £100K + and ask to asked to go quietly on the eve of publication. There was incredulity and outrage that bullying,dishonesty and incompetence was rewarded. But no one was surprised.
However you know what they say about an ill wind and the hyaenas in high office soon realised there were rich pickings to be had from the calamity. The Local Government Association, North West Employers Association, Audit Commission(later to transfer to Grant Thornton) and future Wirral Council CEO Graham Burgess all gorged themselves on the corpse of Wirral Council. Whilst even when a report commissioned by Burgess when he became CEO implicated Fowler and Noone and others in £31 million of toxic debts Burgess claimed that Fowler/Noone should never have been paid off there were merely whimpers from the likes of council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies who meekly claimed that there was nothing Wirral Council Pip claimed there was nothing they could do because those responsible had ‘left’. But they hadn’t just ‘left’ they had been rewarded with public money,their reputations were protected and Noone and Fowler were free to ply their trade elsewhere. Meanwhile former leader Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes was privately telling concerned members of the local Labour Party that he’d been ‘misled’ by officers (whilst writing to the Wirral Globe in praise of a disgraced DASS Director) .
We should never underestimate (or forgive) Pip’s role in this debacle starting with the kangaroo court that that led to the ‘exoneration’ of Noone for any wrongdoing ( Fowler was sent a ‘letter’ saying what we’ll never know) aided and abetted service by a North West Employer’s Organisation report (which was later proven to be a whitewash and a sham).
Meanwhile Noone undertook n MA in Public Health at Liverpool John Moore’s University then landing a Assistant Director post at Northamptonshire County Council before bailing out prior to the Government sending in commissioners to take over the failing Council, which brings us full circle to Noone’s latest post as Head of Adult Social Care at Reading Borough Council.
And so the (im)moral of this story seems to be that bullying ,dishonesty and incompetence remain no bar to high public office. It also helps to explain why so many public services are in such a mess – it’s not just about lack of money as let’s face it there’s always plenty of public money for reputation management.
Courted and feted : McCourt enters ‘The Inner Ring’
And so after a previous meeting behind closed doors of the Employment and Appointments Committee it would appear that full Council on Monday 19th March will rubber stamp the permanent appointment of current interim Assistant Director : Law and Governance Philip McCourt to the new post of Director – Governance & Assurance (Monitoring Officer)
We have to doff our coronet to McCourt on this one. He sat back as Wirral Council struggled to appoint to this poisoned chalice of a post and watched gimlet-eyed as they had to bump up the pay (funny how there’s always money to be found for the upper echelons of local government isn’t it?) and upgrade the post from Assistant Director to Director enabling McCourt to sit at the top table of council chief officers. And from what we understand there was none of that tiresome psychometric testing or bothersome interview process for such a high profile post. Oh no it was a shoo-in for fêted Phil.
Canny McCourt has cleverly manoeuvred himself into a strong position by getting the lowdown – and boy do we mean lowdown – on Wirral Council. This was not only on the job – when he could fit Wirral Council business in around his other consultancy commitments that is. Checking out his LinkedIn profile this included not only work for solicitors Weightmans LLP , where no doubt he would have encountered former Wirral Council legal alumni Morris Hill and Simon Goacher, but also during a stint at Bristol City Council in 2016 where he would have compared cheques with Anna Klonowski – author of damning Independent Review and Corporate Governance reports about his latest employer. The man who took over from McCourt at Milton Keynes Council in May 2013 was a Stephen Gerrard (no, not that one) . Coincidentally enough Gerrard was Interim Head of Legal and Member Services at Wirral Council October 2012 -May 2013 during the then permanent head, Bill Norman’s suspension (Norman later went on to become involved in all kinds of shenanigans at Hereford and Cheshire East councils) . Gerrard also left somewhat hastily , whether it was because he and his deputy Surjit Tour were not the best of buddies we can only speculate. However ,as we know, Tour was later to make the most of an unguarded (and racist) comment from Deputy Leader of Wirral Council Cllr George Davies and astonishingly ascend to the top legal job at Wirral Council before escaping back to Sandwell Council. We don’t know about you but this local government merry go round makes us dizzy (and slightly nauseous).
Whether McCourt will prove to be as controversial appointment as Norman and Tour only time will tell but we do know he’s inherited some very thorny legal issues and knowing his political paymasters as we do there will no doubt be more to come. As ever the real test for a head of law at Wirral Council will be how they reconcile protecting powerful politicians with protecting the public purse and the public interest. We shall be particularly interested to see whether McCourt follows the path of least resistance trodden by his predecessors and favours the former over the latter.
Today we thought we’d revisit a post from December 2011 which concerned itself with the then leader of Wirral Council Cllr Steve Foulkes’ big idea – ‘ Destination Excellence’ which was parodied in the ‘Destination Effluence’ video which we published earlier this week. This was Foulkesy’s ‘Christmas Message’ to council staff following the damning ‘Refresh & Renew’ corporate governance report which was published prior to the even more damning Independent Review which was to be published the following month. Foulkesy went all out for a utterly inane and patronising driving analogy that much like ‘ Destination Excellence’ itself was destined to crash and burn. We think the post serves as a timely reminder of how very little has changed at Wirral Council – replace ‘Destination Excellence’ for Wirral Council’s ’20/20 Vision’ and you have the same BS package ( ‘dream’ ‘journey’ , ‘vision’ , ‘bigger picture’ etc;) but in glossier,shinier wrapping paper.
Although it must be said that one aspect of ‘Destination Excellence’ that can be said to have impacted on Wirral Council is Foulkesy’s pledge “to make sure we dynamite anyobstacles out of the way” – yes, and usually in the form of public money to shut people up.
We asked the following question when we first published the leaked message :
What WBC Council leader sent to staff this Christmas… beyond parody really, and you have to ask the the question , what the hell have they been doing the last ten years ???????
Six years have since passed and under new leader Cllr Phil ‘ Power Boy Pip’ Davies the question is just as pertinent.
Conversations with Steve Foulkes
Hi everyone! I know it’s getting close to Christmas and we’ve all got our minds on other things, but I did promise that I would be back to talk to you in more detail about changes that are happening in the Council, so this is the latest update.
On Monday night the Council agreed to send the Council’s revised Corporate Plan to Scrutiny Committees for debate. I want all of you to be involved as well because this is about making a real difference together to the place where we live and work but we need to sign up to making it happen, and I need to know you’re all on board with me.
Money is in short supply. There are fewer of us to meet the ever growing demands for services and sometimes it feels as if we’re just running to stand still. It’s important not to feel totally overwhelmed, so we need to have a very clear idea of where we are going, how we are going to get there and why that journey matters. And we need to understand how each one of us fits into the bigger picture.
The Corporate Plan sets out our destination, in a clear Vision for Wirral. It maps out how we are going to get there. It looks at ways in which we can travel safely (and cost effectively), it lays down the values that we all share, and then it sets out in more detail what that means in practice for all of us. The foreword I’ve written to the Corporate Plan explains this. You can find the Corporate Plan on the Council website. I would very much like you to find time to read it if you can. (It isn’t very long).
One of the things I really want you to understand, because it took me some time to get my head round this, is this phrase “Corporate Governance” which you’ll keep hearing because Wirral is undergoing a “Corporate Governance Review” at the moment. Frankly, it sounds pretty bureaucratic and boring and “nothing to do with us” as we struggle to meet the daily demands of our job. But it isn’t.
To me it’s like going back to the basics of learning to drive again.Remember studying the Highway Code? Learning how to change gears? Remember that moment when you thought you would never get the hang of it and that there were just too many things to think about all at once, and now, when you drive, you don’t think about it all and it all just happens automatically? Well, that’s what we’re aiming for – doing the right thing automatically all the time so we can get to where we want to go without any disasters, without unnecessary stress, and without paying more than we need to because we have made avoidable mistakes.
So here’s what we’ve decided to do to make sure we’re all working together.
§ We will have a couple of big “Meet the Staff” events where my deputy Phil Davies and I will be sharing with you what the Vision is and what we need to do together to achieve it.
§ We will be setting up a number of smaller focus groups in different areas where there’s space to discuss where we are going and hear what you have to say about it.
§ We will be contacting you individually with a short questionnaire to give you the opportunity to tell us what you think about the Council now, and where you think we should be going.
§ We will be setting up a confidential e-mail line where you can contact us with any fears you may have, or details of anything you think might be getting in the way of achieving our Vision, or behaviour which contradicts the values we are signing up to together.
§ We will be setting up special meetings with Cabinet members, so you can make an individual appointment to talk directly, in confidence, to the appropriate Cabinet member and raise anything that may be bothering you.
Basically, we’re doing two things. The first is to make sure we all know and agree where we are going and understand the way there and how to get there safely. The second is to make sure we dynamite any obstacles out of the way so we have a real, fighting chance of making a difference to Wirral we can all be proud of.
Just think, if we could really create a healthy and prosperous society, where people feel good and where the place you live and the amount you earn no longer effects how long you live, wouldn’t that be something? If we could wipe out the stark possibility that exists now of dying ten years earlier if you’re poor than someone who lives in a wealthy part of the borough?
Now that is something worth working for, something worth changing for.
This is the time of the year for endless repeats of heartwarming movie classics. The only difference is that our video excerpts below come with the Parental Advisory label. So those of a nervous disposition – you have been warned (though if you are of a nervous disposition we do have to wonder what you’re doing here) .
Movie buffs will recall the infamous “Downfall trilogy” classics were the work of Wirral Leaks collaborator Cecil B. De Mented and featured scripts penned by our own pottymouthed butler Eldritch.
DASS Bunker is concerned with the aftermath of the publication of the “Independent Review of Allegations Made by Martin Morton ( and Others)” aka the ‘Klonowski Report’ which did indeed lead to the then Wirral Council leader Cllr Steve Foulkes’ very own downfall when he was later ousted in a vote of no confidence.
The sequel Destination Effluence chronicles the short-lived hapless attempts of a ‘Turnaround Team’ to help Wirral Council on its ‘improvement journey’ under the title ‘Destination Excellence”. This was a classic case of Wirral Council being beyond satire and of the script writing itself.
All In It Together is the final instalment of the trilogy and covers a prominent episode that took place during Graham Burgess’s tenure as CEO of Wirral Council and is concerned with his Wallasey Town Hall bathing arrangements. Once again – you couldn’t make it up , although we did give an involuntary shudder at the thought.
Finally to end on a festive note , there is a Christmas special which celebrates Burgess’ s achievements during his tenure as CEO . It’s a very,very short film as he finds himself becoming not so much part of the solution but part of the Wirral Council problem.
Pass the popcorn and the port and join in with your favourite lines. But only when your elderly relatives are safely snoozing on the couch after their sherry and mince pie binge.
We understand that Wirral Council have just agreed a 3-year £750K contract with Trinity Mirror (publisher of the Liverpool Echo) to print their appalling rag Wirral View. This new arrangement is due to start on December 1st so we just hope that council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies , seen bopping away in a PRIVATE box in the Liverpool Echo Arena at last night’s Queen & Adam Lambert concert, paidfor the dubious privilegeor at least made an appropriate conflict of interest declaration. Just sayin’
However the arrangement seems to be bearing strange fruit for the Liverpool Echo as they publish an EXCLUSIVE! , presumably courtesy of Wirral Council ,on the repulsive Rajenthiram brothers Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) case.
As we’ve already reported the Serious Case Review (SCR) report has not , and currently will not, be published . Instead Liverpool Echo have today published a front page EXCLUSIVE! under the headline ‘ Grave Errors ‘ paved way for Wirralabuse scandal ‘. Inside on page 16 there are details of the 24 ( count’em) recommendations of the SCR. Crime Reporter Joe Thomas chips in with the sub-heading ” Too many missed opportunities. The public should be told” and bigs up the Echo’s role in revealing ‘concerns’. However after the bigging up comes the inevitable copping out as Joe says :
“The safeguarding situation on Wirral is said to be much different now ….”
And commenting on Wirral Safeguarding Children Board’s chair Dr Maggie Atkinson he adds :
” And she believes that improvements have already been made – and that the same failings seen in the Rajenthiram case would not be repeated today”
Yeah , whatever! Hey! Joe they said that in 2012 after the publication of a damning Independent Review about adult social services. They lie. It’s what these people do. Might we suggest you at least check out the veracity of their claims before publishing.
Meanwhile we still think that the problem with Wirral Council is its culture and which is revealed in the 24th and last recommendation of the SCR which reads :
To ensure the promotion of “professional curiosity” when vulnerable children seek advice
Or in layperson’s terms – try and employ people who actually give a shit about their job and more importantly vulnerable people. Simple as that.
However isn’t it reassuring to know that the day before Wirral Council was humiliatingly yet again being called out for being crap all over the local TV and press that its ‘leader’ saw fit to play air guitar and headbang along to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ ?
Simon says : ‘Carry on Matron’ (clip courtesy John Brace)
Now we admit to being late to the party on this one but one of our keen followers brought to our attention an ‘epic fail’ by one of Wirral Leaks regulars Cllr Moira McLaughlin (aka ‘Matron’) at last week’s ‘People Overview and Scrutiny Committee’.
Whilst the supine members of this particular Committee were quite happy to sit back and accept that Matron knows what she’s actually talking about , we’ve scrutinised the John Brace video we were guided to – and blimey! – our source was right about our Cab Queen councillor – and it seems she’s still taking us all for a ride!
This time it concerns what may seem to be a throwaway comment made at last week’s Committee meeting. Watch with incredulity as after a dreary presentation from Wirral Council’s Safeguarding Lead Simon Garner – God help us one and all – Matron McLaughlin chips in just after 26:00 and comments that after reading the latest Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board (SAPB) ‘annual report’ – well when they say ‘annual’ – there have been 2 ( count’em) since 2012 .
Matron tells us that prior to reading the latest magnum opus she thought that the highest number of allegations about abuse would implicate family members and that the alleged abuse took place in the vulnerable person’s own home. She pitifully asks whether it’s “a shift , a change in information being gathered”
Well if you’ve been in a coma, maybe ! Really Matron ? you actually said that OUT LOUD and IN PUBLIC and none of the Committee members saw fit to challenge you and say ” WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? But then why have scrutiny when you can resort to that old standby – denial ! In fact we remember last time round the reason given for the rise in referrals about alleged abuse in care homes by care workers was because the SAPB were doing such a good job raising awareness about abuse!
Take a look at this graph from the ONLY previous Safeguarding Adult Partnership Board (SAPB) report (June 2014) :
We’ll just leave it there for the Committee to have a look at . An expression using the words ‘elephant’ and ‘room’ springs to mind. However Director of Adult Social Services Graham Hodkinson chips in at 28.00 to tell us not to worry it’s all in the hands of his QA ( Quality Assurance?) Team – which based on their past history doesn’t exactly reassure us – and asks the pertinent yet evasive question:
” What does that say about care home quality”
What the information tells us is that care services on Wirral are more than a bit of a worry. Whilst that shouldn’t come as a surprise to Wirral Leaks followers perhaps it will to sleepwalking members of the ‘People’ committee.We’ll spell it out for you Graham the quality of too many care homes on Wirral is S-H-I-T …..shit,crap,turdacious or whatever Care Quality Commission (CQC) excrement scale you care to choose! Too ‘disasteful’ for you Mr Hobgoblinson?, try living in one of the care homes you’ve got a contract with at discounted rates even though there known ‘quality’ concerns and get back to us! Just sayin’ !
How prescient of us to write in anticipation of the latest SAPB report in February 2016 (!) :
Meanwhile we anticipate that in it’s long – awaited and much delayed report Wirral Council’s self – congratulatory Safeguarding Board will kiss its own arse and claims it is doing a good job protecting vulnerable people.
As you can see from the above post the quality of Wirral’s ‘care’ providers is something we’ve been banging on about for years . Indeed from when the CQC told Wirral Council way back in 2010 they couldn’t safeguard a dead hamster to the calamitous Independent Review in 2012 that didn’t only tell the council they were safeguarding failures that they themselves were actually perpetrators of abuse!
This small detail was of course omitted from the only previous SAPB report
Indeed we’re appalled to discover that they’ve resumed business with a particular organisation who were redacted out of the Independent Review – whilst some other So & So’s it was a case of carry on regardless – and yet we’re supposed to be as surprised as the Matron that vulnerable people are potentially at more at risk of being abused in care homes and the greatest number of allegations is against their ‘carers’!
It might also explain why the Director of Services of this organisation has stopped contacting us to tell us how appalling Wirral Council are . Might also explain his reluctance to expose historical financial abuse of vulnerable people in his ‘care’ when he knows there are lucrative Wirral Council care contracts to be had if he keeps schtum about their mutual dirty little secret ( which we promise to get round to one day).
We couldn’t let this momentous day pass without mentioning it is the 5 year anniversary of the publication of the ‘Independent Review of Allegations Made By Martin Morton ( & Others)’ aka AKA report .
We remember how in a blaze of bad publicity we all thought it was a bright new dawn for Wirral Council as the then council leader Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes went on TV to say he’d apologised to whistleblower Martin Morton for his appalling treatment for bravely pointing out that Wirral Council was a basket case. Investigator Anna Klonowski had recorded what Morton had told her (but strangely enough not the really damaging stuff) and pocketed £250,000 of public money for doing so . She proved to be the first of many parasitic consultants who got paid for pointing out the bleedin’ obvious before pissing off back down south with a swag bag of public money.
Although it must be said Morton tells us he must have been in a coma at the time because he has no recollection of ever receiving an apology from ‘Foulkesy’. Which as far as we’re concerned kind of set the tone for Wirral Council for the next 5 years – shameless dishonesty over truth and media manipulation over a true reflection of how Wirral Council operates . No amount of bogus awards or the callow complicity of the Local Government Association or appointment of so -called ‘policy advisors’ or publishing your own newspaper can disguise the dark,dark heart at the centre of Wirral Council.
This week’s Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree court case provided but a brief glimpse into this heart of darkness. We have forthcoming tales of incompetence , bullying,pay-offs , fraud , thefts , dishonesty and seediness that prove to us that ‘no lessons have been learned’ in the past 5 years – other than you need to add several coats of expensive veneer if you want to fraudulently present yourself as the ‘Most Improved Council 2015′ . To which all we can say to Wirral Council is this : It’s 2017 now guys and nobody bought that shit then and they certainly ain’t buyin’ it now!
Indeed as a special request to commemorate this day we’ll leave the final word on the matter to the author C. S. Lewis who many years ago prophetically published this insight into how ‘The Inner Ring’ at Wirral Council operates in a volume titled ‘ The Screwtape Letters’ ( not to be confused with ‘The Wirralgate Tapes’!) :
And the prophecy I make is this. To nine out of ten of you the choice which could lead to scoundrelism will come, when it does come, in no very dramatic colours. Obviously bad men, obviously threatening or bribing, will almost certainly not appear. Over a drink, or a cup of coffee, disguised as triviality and sandwiched between two jokes, from the lips of a man, or woman, whom you have recently been getting to know rather better and whom you hope to know better still—just at the moment when you are most anxious not to appear crude, or naïf or a prig—the hint will come. It will be the hint of something which the public, the ignorant, romantic public, would never understand: something which even the outsiders in your own profession are apt to make a fuss about: but something, says your new friend, which “we”—and at the word “we” you try not to blush for mere pleasure—something “we always do.”
And you will be drawn in, if you are drawn in, not by desire for gain or ease, but simply because at that moment, when the cup was so near your lips, you cannot bear to be thrust back again into the cold outer world. It would be so terrible to see the other man’s face—that genial, confidential, delightfully sophisticated face—turn suddenly cold and contemptuous, to know that you had been tried for the Inner Ring and rejected. And then, if you are drawn in, next week it will be something a little further from the rules, and next year something further still, but all in the jolliest, friendliest spirit. It may end in a crash, a scandal, and penal servitude; it may end in millions, a peerage and giving the prizes at your old school. But you will be a scoundrel.
Whilst our focus was on the Nigel “Highbrow” Hobro question raised at the Wirral Council meeting on 19th December – and to which we presume he is still awaiting an answer from council leader Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies – we missed this seemingly innocuous little question from Tory leader Cllr Jeff Green.
As you can see he , all other councillors and the Strategic Leadership Team were given an answer to his question about ‘overcharging for care services’ which was directed at the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care Cllr Chris Jones earlier today.
Now we don’t know – yet anyway – what was behind Cllr Green’s question but we suspect he’ll be making a media statement shortly about how ‘outraged’ he is about a case of ‘overcharging for care services’ that has been brought to his attention.
We know he certainly knows of one already – as do many councillors and council officers who have chosen to cover up a quite scandalous case of overcharging.
We know this because we forwarded this email to Wirral Council whistleblower Martin Morton himself (and we were quite amused to hear he’d already received a copy !)
Morton must be so relieved that as he rots on the dole unable to find a job and with very little prospect of ever getting another job again his experience has now been redefined as an ‘incident’. That’s if you can call systemic bullying and harassment , cover ups , lies , £1 million pay offs, £31 million toxic debts, the council doing business with drugs money launderers, turning a blind eye to the abuse of vulnerable people , covering up of a death and the paying back of £736,000 to disabled people as an ‘incident’.
Morton maintains there is an outstanding case of over charging and that money was not paid back ‘as soon as possible’ as Cllr Jones claims or indeed at all. This allegation follows the publication of the ‘Independent Review of Allegations Made by Martin Morton ( & Others)’ cobbled together by compromised consultant Anna Klonowski in 2012. Now we don’t know whether this is what Cllr Green is hinting at (and frankly we’re not that interested in his political point scoring) but we do have a mountain of material from Morton evidencing this further allegation of overcharging and which was not reported on his now sadly defunct blog.
We are currently working through this simply astonishing archive and will be bringing you all the tawdry details of this long running and ongoing cover up and the names of all those involved. From what we’ve seen already it makes a monumental lie of the claim that ‘lessons following the Martin Morton incident were learned and implemented’.
We will also be reflecting on the fact that almost exactly 5 years after its publication that the so-called shockwave of Klonowski’s Independent Review can now be more accurately described as a slight tremor and failed miserably to drain the poison from the body politic on Wirral.
And now in the aftermath of the publication of the latest in a long line of damning reports it would appear Wirral Council are adopting the timeworn tactic of denial and damage limitation.
As an antidote to these machinations we’re bringing you our further thoughts on the Ofsted report and subsequent developments.
Once again Council leader Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies demonstrates his renowned strong leader powers and makes plans to bog off to China with his new BFF – Metro Mayor reject Joe Anderson – in the aftermath of the Ofsted report crisis. At least his predecessor as council leader Steve Foulkes , who was not renowned for his political insight or indeed renowned for anything , had the good sense to abandon plans to jet off to the far east when the equally damning Independent Review threw Wirral Council into chaos in 2012.
However it seems Power Boy Pip is undeterred by the fact his leadership is in question and the Council is yet again in turmoil as he embarks on yet another junket. What we’d like to know is what exactly is his “number one priority” – small children or big business? and what have any of these many trips achieved for the people of Wirral?. Perhaps Pip can also tell us whether the Wirral Chamber of Commerce Queen Paula Basnett and Contact Company King Asif Hamid are also on the trip and if so – why?.
We think the first casualty (and we hope not the last) of the Ofsted inspection was Bernard Walker the ‘independent’ chair of Wirral Safeguarding Boards for both adults and children . Walker must have known the writing was on the wall and walked out when Ofsted walked in (allegedly at the end of his “tenure”). Subsequently Ofsted judged Wirral Safeguarding Children Board as “inadequate” and that it was “not discharging all of its statutory functions ….and the running of board business are not sufficiently independent of the local authority”. As we know from the Standards & Constitutional Oversight Committee an ‘independent’ person for Wirral Council is usually a safe pair of hands who won’t rock the boat and won’t ask any awkward questions . And at £500 a day for Walker’s services it would seem it’s the usual consultancy trick of taking the money but not taking the flak. Seems like Walker could talk the talk but couldn’t walk the walk. Under the circumstances might we suggest to Bernard that in the light of the Ofsted report findings that he may want to tinker with his LinkedIn profile – just sayin’.
“From the brink of intervention, to the pinnacle of local government” (Eric Robinson CEO Wirral Council).
So in the light of the Ofsted report how is that statement standing up Eric? . It’s all sounding a bit hollow isn’t it?. An empty Martin Liptrot -penned soundbite. Ain’t it a shame that the people of Wirral are not buying what you’re selling? . Although they are being asked to stump up another £2 million to help put things right!.
Unfortunately though the supine Department of Education suits think Wirral Council can be entrusted to set up their own improvement board and everything will be tickety-boo in no time. Of course long suffering Wirralians know better as we’ve all been here before . It is less than 3 years ago that the Local Government Association – led improvement board made a premature evacuation .
We all knew at the time that Wirral Council was nowhere near being “improved”. Self improvement is not the way forward with this lot- we all know that Wirral Council has long needed external intervention.
“Oh but they’ve got an action plan……leave them alone” bleats Frank Field . To which we’d like to say to him – “You , sunshine have a lot to answer for – it was you who stopped the Local Government Commissioners intervening in 2012 . You must be so proud of your politically motivated control-freakery. This Ofsted report is part of your legacy Frankenfield – so please that’ll be no more headline grabbing , fake- emoting over the plight of starving mites in Birkenhead from you thank you very much!……”