Making Plans For Wirral

Javid letter 010

Following yesterday’s masterful Masterplantastic story we bring you an immaculately timed letter from  Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Housing , Communities and Local Government which tells us what happens when a council has ‘visions’ rather than ‘plans’ !

As you may remember last November we brought to your attention Wirral Council’s failure to produce a ‘Local Plan’ and Javid’s warning that there would be government intervention if Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies couldn’t get his house in order : Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail .  Wirral Council was one of 15 council’s who received such a warning with  Javid making this sabre rattling statement :

…today is the day that my patience has run out.

Those 15 authorities have left me with no choice but to start the formal process of intervention that we set out in the white paper.

By failing to plan, they have failed the people they are meant to serve.

The people of this country who are crying out for good quality, well-planned housing in the right places, supported by the right infrastructure.

They deserve better, and by stepping in now I’m doing all I can to ensure that they receive it.

Now it would appear that Wirral Council has excelled themselves by being one of only 3 remaining councils who now face intervention for “persistent failure over many years to get a Local Plan in place”  For further details : Three councils

The full shameful letter from Javid to Pip can be read here :

Wirral Plan

Meanwhile a Wirral Leaks commentator going by the name of ‘HeadBallRoll’ writes to us to say :

After a series of mealymouthed excuses as to why highly paid council officers and their political paymasters couldn’t actually cut and paste something resembling a Local Plan by 31st January 2018 – as they were too busy hiding behind their 20/20 Vision and pledges rather than meeting a statutory requirement by which they can be held to account . Maybe the chosen few were too busy scoping golf courses, closing children’s centres, farming out council houses to private property developers … or simply not paying attention? So it’s been around a while, ending up with 15 councils warned by the angry Slaphead Javid.  But even nearly three years’ notice wasn’t enough for the senior, blind, bumbling incompetents shuffling around lost, bumping into each other, muttering, tripping over files, in the dusty, unused Wirral planning office.

And let’s face it, 33 months is  nowhere near enough notice to get their shit together (after 13 years of not having a ‘Local Plan’ !)  Presumably the other dozen LAs scraped through because they had enough about them to focus, gather the remnants of good practice and apply the last surviving vestiges of planning nous into cobbling some crappy document together in time.

But not here.  It seems they’ve sat around, twiddled their thumbs and hoped the horrible Tories would either go away, forget, or not go through with it.

Despite the BIG proclamations, the BIG egos, the BIG senior salaries, they’ve messed up BIG style.  It’s one BIG cock-up.

This being Wirral though, where abject failure and disaster have long become customary bedfellows, like night follows day, or falling off a log, it doesn’t soften the blow.

But hey, as long as those bumper salaries are not cut off and continue to come in on pay day, where’s the incentive to do your jobs, lol?

So chaos is now expected and planned for at ‘most improved’ Wirral. (Who remembers the Children’s Services OFSTED catastrophe that overpromoted social worker and CEO Eric Robinson  knew about months in advance, only to dive under his desk, head in hands, dribbling and doing bugger all to stave it off?)

And what of the grafting junior staff of the Planning Department, doing their utmost to at least be professional and hold the fort?

Monday morning will arrive, and they’ll find themselves intercepted, scapegoated, placed into the line of fire and reaping the consequences of years of failure by their bosses and councillors – who will have had just enough prior notification to give it all a timely body swerve…. That’s the type of ‘planning’ they’re very good at. Avoidance measures, whilst junior bods and lackeys are left to pick up the pieces. 

So it’s not just Children’s Services, Social Services, Highways Services that have collapsed into an abject, irretrievable mess.We can now add the Planning Department to the long list of shame.

Of course the upshot of all this is that Wirral’s ‘Local Plan’ could now come under the auspices of the Liverpool City Region as Javid warns in his letter:

 

My officials will also begin formal discussions on the options of inviting the Combined Authority for the Liverpool City Region to prepare a Local Plan for Wirral and on the possibility of directing an accelerated Joint Plan, as part of considering whether to use my statutory powers and if so which ones.

Could this have been part of  Pip’s ‘Masterplan’ all along ?  To evade accountability for an unpopular ‘Local Plan’ and subsequent planning decisions – ” It wasn’t us who approved a golf resort etc;  – it was the Liverpool City Region!”

 

Time for an Intervention

 

intervention

Wirral Council are increasingly reminding us of an old soak who’s in denial about their drinking as they stumble from mishap to crisis .

The latest stumble being the failure of their 2015/16 accounts not being signed off pending an investigation of their taking out of some dodgy looking loans : https://wirralinittogether.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/wirral-councils-201516-accounts-will-not-be-signed-off-before-30th-september-deadline-heres-why/

This must be why a Wirral resident is calling for an urgent intervention and what a compelling case they make for detox.

Dear Marcus Jones MP – Minister for Local Government; and, Sir Eric Pickles MP – former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & Author of ‘Securing the ballot: review into electoral fraud’.

Further to my email of yesterday (pasted below for completeness) regarding the Demand For Government Intervention regarding Wirral Council.

The concern is not only a serious issue for the public. I am not mistaken as to the gravity and critical nature of the issues in Wirral Council, as can be seen by a letter sent by 3 Wirral opposition Councillors, who are virtually marginalised in exercising any influence whatsoever, by the changes the ruling group have made to the Council constitution and scrutiny committee composition, amongst others. Many comparable examples can be provided from virtually all aspects of Wirral Council’s governance, conduct, legislative compliance and delivery.

I insert here a copy of the Councillors letter, to your colleague Edward Timpson MP, which has been published in full in the media (link below), and urge you, and your colleagues to act immediately, while there is something that can be salvaged from the wreckage of democracy in Wirral. Intervention is long overdue, in order to reassure a cowed electorate, that accountability, transparency, honour and integrity still matter in local government, and public service actually matters.

http://m.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14761154.Council_leader_defends_trip_to_China_amid_Wirral_s_child_safeguarding_crisis/

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/the-big-lie-gets-even-bigger/

For all of the 8 links I have provided, a fuller picture is painted by scrolling to the very bottom of the feature articles and reading the public comments.

Contrary to Greg Clark MP and his statement that the Minister does not have the power to intervene, the Government does have powers to intervene in local authorities. The specific legal power is in Local Government Act 1999, s.10, as modified by Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, Sch 10, para 2 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/2/schedule/10/paragraph/2

I have provided the link to save time for you, given the critical state of Wirral Council and public disquiet.

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DEMAND FOR GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION (sent initially on 23.09.16)

Dear Marcus Jones MP – Minister for Local Government; and, Sir Eric Pickles MP – former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government & Author of ‘Securing the ballot: review into electoral fraud’.

DEMAND FOR GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION

I have corresponded with the previous Minister for Local Government Greg Clark MP, regarding my serious concerns relating to the conduct, behaviour and questionable decision-making by Wirral Council, on Merseyside. I assume that correspondence has remained on file, therefore you will know my background.

I will keep this demand for intervention brief for the following reason:-

You will read all of the content…

I provide only 6 weblinks (the tip of a very large iceberg) at the foot of this demand, which are damning in themselves for any accountable authority, never mind the recipient of the LGC’s ‘Most Improved Council of Great Britain 2015’ award, after being ‘on the brink of intervention’ in 2012, and the imposition of an LGA ‘Improvement Board’ until 2014. That questionable ‘award’ is only about 18 months old…, and now Wirral Council sees its standing as “From the brink of intervention, to the pinnacle of local government.” (Eric Robinson CEO Wirral Council; recruitment statement September 2016)

From the weblinks you will see a snapshot of the level, or ‘pinnacle’, at which Wirral Council functions…Marcus Jones MP will already know about the very costly Wirral Council proposed monthly ‘newspaper’ – a trivial matter by comparison. Sir Eric Pickles may not be aware that Wirral Council has also been reported to the Police and Electoral Commission for suspected election fraud at the May elections, and to the Police regarding other issues of theft and fraud.

The framework within which local government exists, functions, and the responsibilities of which are discharged by holder’s of public office, and their employees, are governed by the Laws of the Land, Acts of Parliament, and policies, procedures and constitutions of each authority. If the Government can intervene directly on the strength of a monthly newspaper, I would see it as a dereliction of your public duty (much as I see Wirral Council in this light), if, as the Minister responsible for Local Government, you fail to place Wirral Council into special measures. If Wirral Council’s ‘benchmark’ standard of ‘most improved’ local government behaviour constitutes ‘acceptable’ standards of governance and conduct in public office, we are all in serious trouble.

I put you Mr Marcus Jones and by virtue of her delegation to you, the Prime Minister Theresa May, on notice that you have now been advised of the critical situation facing Wirral residents as a result of the implosion of Wirral Council. The Council has a total disregard for the democratic process, the wishes of many of its residents, and no longer appears to manage its finances for the benefit of the Wirral population. Serious governance deficiencies exist, and incompetence in the tendering and procuring processes, coupled with an almost total absence of due diligence, are now systemically ingrained. Wirral Council now enjoys a deplorable reputation in both providing direct services, and commissioning third-party services to be provided by the private or voluntary sector.

You will see from the weblinks below that I ‘draw a line’ for you from which to make a long-overdue intervention into the machinations of Wirral Council. If you fail to do so the responsibility for the ongoing failings of Wirral Council will fall on your shoulders for ignoring this warning.

The response I received from Greg Clark MP was that the Minister did not have the power to intervene in the day-to-day business of local authorities. Marcus Jones MP has intervened in the day-to-day running of Wirral Council with regard to its cavalier attitude to non-compliance with Government guidelines regarding the monthly publication of a Wirral Council 32 page ‘newspaper’.
Given the range of issues that are of concern relating to Wirral Council, and I have an encyclopædic archive of research, the publication of a monthly newspaper, whilst being important, and a potential illegal act in direct contravention of Government guidelines, pales into insignificance when judged against the appalling situation that exists between Wirral Council (the duty of which, and raison d’être, is to serve its public) and the Wirral public.

I view the ‘newspaper’, and dissemination of information, as ‘day-to-day’ Council business, which is now subject to direct Government intervention, as the proposal ignores and locally overrides Central Government guidelines and legal provisions.

On the basis of the corrosive corporate culture which pervades Wirral Council, its ruling councillors, and the senior management of the council, a corporate cancer exists which is destroying public services. The concept of public service has been effectively erased from Wirral Council’s leadership, with a self-serving political collective, and individual isolationist consolidation, now making numerous political decisions at will. Many dishonestly pre-determined decisions run counter to, and ignore the expressed wants and needs of great swathes of the Wirral population, many ‘window-dressed’ through the manipulation of resident’s surveys ‘interpretation’.

The concept of the democratic process, transparency and accountability no longer exists in Wirral local government. A large number of councillors no longer represent their constituents, and democratic government has been replaced by a dictatorship under the guise of the LGA ‘strong leader model’ of local government.

Total power is now held by the Council Leader after a number of recent changes to the Council’s constitution, and the replacing of scrutiny committee chairs with ruling group members to ensure the casting vote, should it be needed, achieves the ‘correct’ outcome. Replacing the chairs of scrutiny committees effectively removed any opposition to the ruling group’s ‘steamroller’ mentality. Due to the ruling majority’s ‘party-political’ en-bloc voting and abstention regime, Wirral Council, as an organisation, now primarily serves the interests of a number of politicians and senior managers.

Government intervention is neither an option, nor an inconvenience, it is a necessity.

It is also a necessity to intervene, with totally independent agents, without the interference of the Local Government Association, and without the interference of Frank Field MP, who is the MP for Birkenhead only, not the entire Borough of Wirral as he seems to believe.

Wirral Council ruling councillors, and senior managers, are not capable of resolving the Council’s mostly self-inflicted problems. Collectively they have conspired to systematically drive out highly-skilled and experienced, dedicated staff. If the current Councillors and senior managers had the wherewithal to resolve the massive problems that exist in Wirral and Wirral Council, they would never have allowed them to develop in the first place. Nor would they employ a press office of around 27 staff, and feel the necessity to also employ a self-proclaimed ‘reputation manager’.

 

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14751802.Updated__Ofsted_report_into_child_safeguarding_failures_sends_shockwave_through_Wirral_Council/?ref=mr&lp=12

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14759476.SPECIAL_REPORT__Council_leader__whistleblower_and_outspoken_critic_give_their_views_on_Wirral_s_child_care_crisis/?ref=mr&lp=3

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14761154.Council_leader_defends_trip_to_China_amid_Wirral_s_child_safeguarding_crisis/

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/09/16/the-big-lie/

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14733919.74_people_have_died_in_Wirral_while_under_care_of_drugs_and_alcohol_support_charity/

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14657040.BOMBSHELL__Minister_s_warning_letter_to_Wirral_Council_over_its_newspaper_plan_was__concealed_from_public_/

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