Top of the Tips

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We reported on this environmental disaster in our Tipping Point story from last year. Alas! It would appear that nothing has improved for the people of Birkenhead despite  the high pitched protestations of Cllr Brian Kenny.

You’d think that after his return to political power after the sensible people of Birkenhead booted him out and he had to rely on being shoehorned into the safe seat of Bidston & St James vacated by convicted criminal Jim Crabtree and squeaky-voiced Kenny’s subsequent instalment as a member – and we use the term advisedly – of the  Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee it would be top of his ‘to-do’ list to address the tip situation in Cleveland Street.

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But no! Another despairing member of the public has been in touch with their concerns and sadly it’s not just Cllr Kenny who isn’t responding :

I note Frank Fields 5 Point Plan as voted for by us, apparently, to improve Birkenhead. One of the points refers to the environment and fly tipping.The biggest fly tipping culprit is the council itself. Has anyone seen the vast fly tip and dump currently growing and festering at the end of Cleveland Street? Its been there for two or three years and is currently closed after a fire there last November’s bonfire night. People are still dumping mattresses there and old settees. God knows what is in the seemingly abandoned shed as it is stuffed to the roof with black bags. It was licensed by the council as a recycling centre. It is an appalling site and is next to a primary school, residential houses and Our Ladies Church, not to mention the Police Custody suite. I see Green councillors posing for pictures after cleaning up alleyways but this Giant Fly Tip is ignored and continues to grow.

No one seems interested really. I even spoke to Pat Cleary who batted it away. The fence has been pulled down now and settees and mattresses are being dumped again. I read a report that they were going to build houses now on the old Rivers Estate, about time, but do people want to live between two tips? The official council tip and the official council fly tip. Dreadful way to treat Birkenhead North End. They go on about flytipping but this is disgraceful. My uncle lives down there and they all deserve better than this…Brian Kenny is obviously distracted.

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Pip Pops Off : A Wirral Leaks Tribute

Before we provide you with our post local election reflections we need to commemorate that a week ago today the Annual Meeting of Wirral Council saw the  end of an era (pronounced error) as Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies’ tenure as council ‘leader’ officially ceased.

Here at Wirral Leaks we couldn’t let the momentous event pass without providing our own fitting tribute to a ‘man’ who given the choice between right and wrong would always choose the latter option . In our opinion this didn’t make him a political game player it just made him weak. A man who always seemed uncomfortable with ‘leadership’ being thrust upon him after the ignominious fall from grace of that consummate political game player Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes  in 2012, in the aftermath of a series of damning reports. This is how we commented on his ascendancy to the top of Wirral Council’s greasy pole:

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As we were to subsequently find out if Power Boy Pip (as he was to become known to Wirral Leaks readers) excelled at anything it was ‘denial’. At this point we’d like to take a leaf out of Kipling’s ‘Just So’ stories and pose the question : ‘How did ‘Power Boy Pip’ get his name?’ Well, thereby hangs a tale from 2013 which you can read here where we mocked how Pip invested in himself ‘Strong leader powers’ and a Cabinet system that screamed weakness. A council criticised for its secrecy becomes less open and transparent,  a council criticised for its lack of accountability concentrates its power in someone who abuses it ,  a council criticised for the conduct of its elected members lets its councillors run amok  as George Davies, Louise Reecejones, Jim Crabtee and Steve Foulkes show their contempt for their ‘leader’ with their out of control conduct and yet somehow Pip only publicly criticises Reecejones – go figure .

We nailed it in our We Leak, Pip Squeaks  post when we wrote :

Of course we believe that ultimately what what will do for Power Boy Pip is his failure to rein in Cllrs  Steve Foulkes and George Davies and to stand up to Birkenhead MP Frank Field over the Wirralgate scandal. These are not the actions of a leader – this is a man out of his depth clutching onto a red flag of convenience and not waving but drowning………………

Pip was never a leader but always the ‘front man’ –  a turd-polishing pollyanna . The pinnacle of this ‘achievement’ being Local Government Chronicle’s ‘ Most Improved Council’ Award in 2015.

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Needless to say Pip took his cue from the ne plus ultra of local political game players, Frank Field, who as we know , has spent 4 decades surrounding himself with ugly bullies and useful idiots . Conveniently Pip was to find many of both, not only in his own party but in the paid ranks of public servants at Wirral Council. However where Pip really began to become unstuck was the alliance made in hell (via West Kirby) with his infamous appointment of politically motivated spin doctor Martin Liptrot to whatever job ‘Liptrotsky’ wanted. The pitiful correspondence from Liptrot to the Council ‘leader’ dictating terms of his  grace and (political) favour employment was pitiful to behold and further evidence of Pip’s reliance on others to sustain him in power. This episode and further details of this disastrous appointment can be read in The Liptrot Mystery.

This reliance on the bad will of others has meant that the past 7 years have been one one long pay off party for some really horrible senior council officers . The routine seemed to be –  Inept? Here’s a cheque. Inept and knowing –  here’s a bigger cheque. Inept , knowing and prepared to do Pip’s dirty work (Hey, Joe  name your price!…)

Compare and contrast that with the fact that throughout his tenure as ‘leader’ (and even before that…) there wasn’t a Wirral Council whistleblower he wasn’t prepared to screw over. Except, of course, the one set of  bogus , so called Wirralgate ‘whistleblowers’ who had him over a barrel and could shaft him at the drop of a tape recording. Luckily for him he had those ‘special leader powers’ to get him out of a deeply corrupt hole of his own making by deciding to bring the Highways contract back in house and give Gary’s Gang what they wanted all along.  Obviously when the hired hands with their hands on the ‘record’ button it’s time to go visit your grandkids in Canada. For more details read here

So many unanswered questions and it shames councillors of all parties that Pip was allowed to quietly depart without them ever being asked. We never did hear the end of the Wirralgate saga did we ? The one that led to front page news stories, and an ‘independent’ investigation that has never seen the light of day ? But oh, believe us before we go you will dear reader!…

Typically, Pip isn’t around to see whether any of the 20 pledges in his much lauded 20/20 Vision thing are ever realised in 2020. Funny how we don’t hear about the pledges anymore isn’t it? There was a time when it seemed that every Labour councillor had to preface every utterance with reference to ‘pledges’ . Could it be that it was all complete bollocks and another reason Pip bailed out before the 20/20 Vision was, to mix a metaphor with a bit of the Bard,  proven to be the usual smoke and mirrors signifying nothing?

However whilst Pip will be gone he will not forgotten as the last ever Leaky Awards will be known as Pip Memorial Awards for Public Dishonour – winners to be announced in a glittering awards ceremony hosted by Pip beneficiaries – the Wirral Chamber of Commerce.

With our nasty head on (do we have any other? ) we were going to wish Pip a very short retirement but we suspect that as he merrily frolics with the Davies clan in Canada and he’s finally free of a position to which he was manifestly unsuited that the red suffused face ( part high blood pressure/part embarrassment) will be replaced by the rosy glow of contentment of knowing that he managed to blag it for so long.

Finally …do we have an extradition treaty with Canada ? Askin’ for a friend!

Murphy’s Law

Sheila Murphy

Photo: ITV news

We note that veteran Wirral based political campaigner Sheila Murphy has spoken exclusively to ITV news who tell us  “the woman who used to be Labour’s top official in the North has left the party – saying membership had become like ‘being in an abusive relationship’…” 

Murphy spat her dummy out the day after the recent local elections  presumably because she had foreseen the likelihood that the Green Party would win the Birkenhead & Tranmere ward  after previously bemoaning that Labour Party members were actively supporting the Green Party :

“We were knocking on these people’s doors and they were openly telling us they were voting Green instead of Labour and even had Green posters in their window.  I reported them to the Local Campaign Forum and was told: ‘It’s their choice’.” For good measure, the local branch even posted on their Facebook page that the Greens were not the problem – their Labour council was…”  

Whilst Murphy has continued to campaign in Wirral under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, she has now suddenly turned round and claimed that Jezza is to blame for ‘allowing a certain type of behaviour to happen.’

‘Certain types of behaviour’?  It would seem that ‘certain types of behaviour’  doesn’t include the reprehensible conduct of the likes of former Labour councillors Jim Crabtree or Louise Reecejones , current Labour councillors Steve Foulkes and George Davies that Murphy has chosen to ignore but which have rightly appalled other Labour Party members . It’s no coincidence that the Birkenhead & Tranmere ward was, until the recent local elections, held by Wirral Council ‘leader’ Phil Davies. It’s clear the local branch of the Labour Party wanted him gone ( for ‘certain types of behaviour)  and gone he has ( a Wirral Leaks ‘tribute’ will follow shortly). 

Murphy says that the local election results which resulted in loss of overall control  of Wirral Council by Labour and which is now a minority administration under Cllr Pat Hackett is ‘self-inflicted’. Whilst we can’t say we disagree with that assessment it seems to us that in this case  Murphy’s Law is , not just a case of what could go wrong will go wrong , but a law for one set of Labour Party members and another law for The Right Kind of Labour Politician …

 

 

 

Wirral Council ‘leader’ and his shock resignation : Power Boy Pip reaches the ‘Omega Point’

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Power Boy Pip’s reflects on his political career  and decides smashing the mirror is easier than doing something about the distorted image. 

There are many curious aspects to Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies’  announcement that he was packing in politics – not least the fact we got to exclusively reveal the news from a leaked email . As much as we appreciate the leak we would have thought a more appropriate forum for this momentous news would have been the previous evening’s full Wirral Council meeting.

Whilst Liverpool Echo just did a hasty cut and paste job with archive photos shortly after we’d published the story , clearly other parts of local MSM were geared up for the announcement as Wirral Globe managed to get the news into yesterday’s print edition. The Globe also managed to reference to Frank Field’s recent run-ins with the resurgent Labour left despite the fact that this did not feature in Pip’s epitaph for his political career.

We’ll be analysing both the resignation message and Power Boy Pip’s political career in a special commemorative,cut out and keep, full colour supplement on Sunday  titled ‘ THE 30 INGLORIOUS YEARS OF PIP’ – but for now all we’ll say is the hackneyed comment about him wanting to spend time with his long suffering family’  was not only reminiscent of resignations of Wirral Council’s past ( ex-CEOs Maddox and Burgess spring immediately to mind) but is also the time honoured phrase used by politicians just before the proverbial hits the fan…and oh believe us, it’s about to…

There have been various theories sent to us about the sudden announcement  and we believe it may be a combination of all of them. After  Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes  reign of terror came to an end in 2012 in an unprecedented vote of no confidence , Power Boy Pip had the chance  to really ,really make a difference to the toxic culture of Wirral Council but instead chose the path of least resistance.

Ultimately it is a failure of Pip’s ‘leadership’ – the reliance on a handpicked spin doctor ,the failure to rein in out of control councillors ( Crabtree, Reecejones, Foulkes and George Davies for starters) ,the inability to say ‘NO!’ to Birkenhead MP Frank Field, the all consuming reputation management and the constant denial best exemplified by the fantasy  (Local Government Chronicle ‘Most Improved Council award) taking precedence over the reality (an ‘Inadequate’ rating of Wirral’s Children’s Services by Ofsted).

However it is also what French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin titled the “Omega Point”: “Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! … For everything that rises must converge.”

It is about the rise of the Green Party in Birkenhead (the humiliation of defeat in next May’s local elections had become a reality for Pip) , it is about the rise of Labour left (being held to account by party members had never before been a reality for Pip) , it is about the rise of local blogs ( there is no hiding place for local politicians up to no good any more ) and it is about the rise of political activism from people of all political persuasions across Wirral (especially those defending the Green Belt and the NHS – the likes of which Wirral politicians have never experienced before) .

For everything that rises must converge and together we say that is what is  responsible for Pip’s demise…

 

 

The Party’s Over : Is Frank Field Killing The Thing He Loves?

We hate to renege on a promise but we thought we’d comment first on the reasons why Birkenhead MP Frank Field claims he has resigned the Labour Whip (although not the Labour Party) before we embark on uncovering why we really think he’s resorted to such desperate diversionary tactics.

But first let us thank our readers for the press extracts above and consider some facts surrounding this week’s grandstanding media onslaught. As we know facts are something that Field has a history of  ignoring , preferring instead opinions (particularly his own). The issues that led to his resigning the Labour Whip and, more importantly for Frank , wall to wall mainstream media coverage are set out in his resignation letter and expanded on in an ‘exclusive’ interview with the ever compliant and servile Liverpool Echo where apparently Field ‘opens his heart’. We don’t really need to do the punchline do we?

We’d now like to highlight  four salient points that may have been making the national headlines but have been somewhat lacking  in local knowledge.

ANTI-SEMITISM 

It would seem we’re not the only ones sitting here in utter bemusement wondering why Field the so-called ‘outspoken maverick’ all of sudden voices his public concern about anti-semitism in the Labour Party . We won’t dignify his declarations of concern with the term bandwagon-jumping. We prefer the words offensive, manipulative and exploitative . We’ll leave the last word on the matter to newly elected Labour councillor Jo ‘Lady in Red’ Bird who posted today on New Ferry & Bromborough Labour Party Facebook page :

Cllr Jo Bird is frankly fed up

I am a newly elected Labour councillor who is Jewish, in a ward bordering Birkenhead. Frank Field MP chose to use antisemitism as his excuse to resign from the Labour whip. I am frankly fed up of anti-Jewish racism being used as a political weapon to attack Labour Since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader a few years ago, my Jewish lived experience is a ‘broad church’ Labour Party showing solidarity and support to the many as well as the Jews. More than 100 members from all wings of Wirral Labour Party worked together to elect me, in our successful local by-election this month. We spoke with over 2,100 residents and I heard no-one raise the issue of antisemitism. Unlike Frank Field, my constituents’ highest priority is ending cruel Conservative government cuts to services we all rely on. The New Ferry part of my ward was devastated by a huge explosion in March last year and the government’s response is shockingly pathetic.

ANTI- RACISM

Field is really pushing his luck with claims that the Labour Party should be ‘a champion against racism’ when we strongly assert that he knows HIS OWN ELECTORAL AGENT CLLR GEORGE DAVIES HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF BEING RACIST. It is widely known that Davies has in the past used a racist slur ( “bloody useless Chink” ) during a recorded telephone conversation which was concerned with offering to settle a non-existent legal claim to someone to help organise a smear campaign against the then leader of the local Conservative group.  A later post will identify those who have either heard the recording, have a copy of the recording or know of the recording  and who have chose to collude with racism and criminality for personal and/or professional gain  – we guarantee it will certainly help clear up a few local mysteries.

And do we have to mention Cllr Davies’ old chum and former Labour leader of Wirral Council Cllr Steve Foulkes and his ex-Mayoress missus and their alleged shameful behaviour last year in Sorrento? Read here : Sorrento Shame : Holidaymakers claim they faced ‘racist abuse’

Was Frank himself ‘a champion against racism’ then?

BULLYING/INTIMIDATION/’NASTINESS’

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of Field’s ramblings is the claims of bullying ,intimidation and what he calls with typical prissiness , ‘nastiness’.

As anyone who has dared to challenge the local Labour Party elite will testify that bullying and intimidation and abuse of power has been their modus operandi for as long as anyone can remember . Where was Field’s condemnation of ‘the corrosive culture’ of the Labour run administration as it was described in one of a number of damning reports concerning Wirral Council?

Perhaps the most disturbing and shameless  reference that Field has made is about former Wirral Council Labour councillor Louise Reecejones (LRJ)  . Wirral Leaks first reported concerns about LRJ’s conduct in 2015 – see Suspension Suspense and we have continued to do so,often exclusively ,to the extent that we are referenced in Wirral Council investigation reports. Again where was Field’s public condemnation of LRJ when as a Labour councillor she was found to have repeatedly breached Wirral Council’s Code of Conduct . Moreover did Field ever comment on the case of former Labour councillor Jim Crabtree convicted of making malicious calls to LRJ threatening to kill her and making specific reference to the murder that had occurred the very same day of Labour MP Jo Cox? If Field ever wanted a PROVEN case of criminal ‘nastiness’ this is it – Crabby – Guilty as Charged – but again not a peep from Field.

Now suddenly Field finds he has something to say about LRJ to fit with his current utterly contrived narrative and accuses LRJ of contributing to the death of former Wirral councillor Walter Smith. Although we have known about the allegations against Walter Smith and have made passing reference on our blog, out of respect for the dead and considering we’d never heard a bad word about him, we have refrained from publishing anything on the matter. Obviously Field has no such qualms about making serious accusations involving the death of a Labour colleague as a means  to substantiate his claims of bullying and intimidation within the local Labour Party.

The hypocrisy is staggering when you consider that Field has been the protector and benefactor of PROVEN liars, bullies and racists within the local Labour Party for many years. Could it be that Field has only suddenly become concerned about the matter of LRJ because it is she who chairs the Bidston & St James Labour group which initiated the removal of the whip by the Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party ?

Meanwhile Field is now making noises about standing as an Independent Labour candidate at the next General Election and sounding out the local electorate in the expectation that his adoring constituents will vote in their droves for the Pope of Poverty . We believe this is not a noble,principled stance but the Machiavellian manoeuvring of an egotistical, sanctimonious hypocrite. Didn’t we once say it would be his own hubris that would be his downfall ? Frank Field – ‘ The Truth Will Out’…

 

 

 

 

LRJ : The Return of Her Royal Highness of Hardfacedness

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You may remember our disappointment at the announcement on social media by local Labour Party luminary Louise Reecejones (LRJ) that she was ‘retiring’ from politics. LRJ was such prolific source of gobsmacking stories that we felt momentarily bereft – although we did note that she did say in her valedictory Facebook post :

I’ve not gone anywhere and will be back stronger than ever, just without the noose…

Full story here : LRJ: An Unofficial Announcement

So imagine our delight when we saw that familiar name at the head of the recent letter calling for the removal of the whip from Birkenhead MP Frank Field  and finding that LRJ was the Chair ,yes! – the Chair of the Bidston and St James Constituency Labour Party (CLP). Read here :  Exclusive : Will Frank Field have the Labour Whip withdrawn?

We can only speculate that the only other candidate during her election was an actual chair – one with four legs and a backrest.  But what a metaphorical smack in the face that must have been for ex-Bidston & St James ward member, ex- Wirral elected member – we use the term ‘member’ advisedly-  and convicted criminal – Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree. All we will say is someone is doing a fine job keeping Jimbo away from the telephone and the late night light refreshments.

Nevertheless LRJ’s comeback has not been without its setbacks as can be witnessed by this month’s Disability Labour AGM motion :

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Oh dear !  it would appear LRJ’s little local difficulty involving sanctions and suspensions and wrist slapping  from the Labour Party slipped her mind. Last thing we knew she was suing all and sundry at Wirral Council for bringing her good name into disrepute (no laughing at the back). The question we’d like to ask is : How on earth did LRJ get to be Secretary of Disability Labour in the first place?

We just continue to be appalled at the calibre of  politicians in general and local politicians in particular. Such developments reinforces our belief that there is but one attribute that is required to achieve high office. You only have to peruse the rap sheet of some of the serial liars who pass themselves off as our local politicians – it would seem you don’t need to be intelligent,ethical,moral or honest  – you just need to be HARDFACED.

We all know that humans are the only species that blushes (or indeed needs to) but those marble busts in the Lady Lever Art Gallery would crimson up before any of the shower than run the show on Wirral.

Nevertheless we have to confess to the guilty pleasure of witnessing Her Royal Highness of Hardfacedness (LRJ) taking on the Czar of Chutzpah ( Frank Field). We know it’s a bit of a mismatch but nevertheless it has all the potential to get very messy . Indeed we look forward to chronicling the fan-assisted flight of the excrement…

 

Wirral – Where Public Service Went To Die …

Human Nature

This week we were quite happy taking a sentimental journey round the septic isle until Dr Robert diagnosed us with ‘Sandie Shaw Syndrome’ . No , we’re not in the words of the barefoot singer’s Eurovision winner ‘Puppets On A String’ (we leave that to others). As fellow sufferers of the syndrome know  : “There’s Always Something There To Remind Me” and it messes with your head.

So whilst it’s vaguely concerning/amusing/appalling that other local authorities are equally inept and corrupt, let’s be reminded of Wirral Council’s rap sheet courtesy of ‘The Good Doctor’. Although as we replied to our esteemed commentator the sleaze (there is no other word) that lies behind the bare reported facts doesn’t bear thinking about!

WIRRAL COUNCIL… WHERE PUBLIC SERVICE WENT TO DIE…

It is 2011, and Wirral Council is in serious trouble. It is on the brink of Government intervention and has received a damning report1 from consultant Anna Klonowski (AKA Associates). The report paints a graphic picture of Wirral Council’s corrosive and bullying corporate culture, failures in corporate governance, and of Wirral as ‘the insular peninsula’. The Council is vividly described as an inward-looking organisation where the abnormal had become normal. The Council Leader and Chief Executive unreservedly accept the devastating assessment, and all the consultant’s findings.

In April 2012 the ‘window dressing’ started. A politically-expedient decision reportedly taken by Frank Field MP and Eric Pickles (then-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government), established a Local Government Association (LGA) Wirral Council ‘Improvement Board’. Called ‘sector-led improvement’ by the LGA, a review of Wirral Council’s corporate governance was undertaken by an ‘expert’ (peer review) panel. Its role was to identify the embedded detrimental issues and agree a corporate improvement programme.

In November 2013 the ‘Improvement Board’ produced a 63-page draft report congratulating themselves for enabling ‘the fastest turnaround2 in local government history’. Its job deemed complete, Wirral Council was unleashed from supervision.

Once unleashed, Council Leader Phil Davies guaranteed the casting vote on all Council committees. Replacing all opposition-councillor committee Chairs with ruling group councillors was in direct contravention of the Improvement Board agreement. The Council and Cabinet has had no effective political opposition since.

November 2014 saw a presentation given by Cllr Phil Davies and Graham Burgess, who appeared to have moved seamlessly3 in 2013 from Improvement Board member to Wirral Council CEO. The judging panel for this presentation, comprising primarily LGA members, judged for the first and only time, the Local Government Chronicle’s (LGC) ‘Most Improved Council in Great Britain’ award. Never awarded before, never awarded since. Without warning, Mr Burgess, described as a ‘leading light’ of the LGA, ‘retired’ from Wirral Council at the end of 2014.

It was March 2015 when Wirral residents awoke to media headlines announcing “From ‘abnormal to inspirational’ – Wirral wins ‘Most Improved Council in Great Britain’ award4.” In Wirral the question on everyone’s lips… is it April 1st?

A new Wirral CEO5, Eric Robinson, a former social worker from Staffordshire CC, was appointed in April 2015. Cllr Phil Davies stated… “Eric is the ideal appointment to take us forward towards my ambition for Wirral to become an outstanding council.”

In 2012 Wirral Council had agreed with findings that it was an ‘inward-looking organisation’ where ‘the abnormal had become accepted as normal’. In November 2015 it still was, as a very low-key peer review revealed. That was, if you could find it.

Also in November 2015, almost absolute power lay in the hands of the Council Leader when Wirral Council Cabinet agreed constitutional changes6. Coupled with the ruling group en-bloc voting7 and abstention regime, any decision could be bulldozed through. This change effectively negated any political opposition and scrutiny, Ward, community8, or resident9 representation.

Political, individual and council organisational survival were now the priorities. Residents were paid lip-service with endless ‘consultations’, as infrastructure deteriorated10, and public services reduced dramatically.

As local criticism grew, Wirral Council Leader took to ‘reputation management’. Described in the media as ‘cronyism’, in February 2016 Martin Liptrot, a self-proclaimed ‘reputation manager’, was appointed. This elicited headlines such as “Emails give extraordinary insight into Wirral Council’s controversial hiring11 of former Labour spin doctor”.

In September 2016, CEO Eric Robinson described Wirral Council’s ‘improvement journey’ as moving from “from the brink of intervention to the pinnacle12 of local government”. With his background in Children’s Services, was all well at the pinnacle of all pinnacles?

‘Most Improved’ Wirral Council’s Children’s Services were rated ‘Inadequate’ by Ofsted in September 2016. Hidden away was a Serious Case Review into the grooming of teenage girls13 in Wirral Council care over a 5-year period. In a desperate attempt to deflect criticism and accountability, the oft-quoted ‘austerity-hit, cash-strapped’ Leader initially promised £2m additional funding. Then a promise of £10m. Then a promise of £20m, to ‘demonstrate Council commitment’.

With ‘Most Improved’ Wirral Council’s reputation in tatters, Martin Liptrot was then fast-tracked to ‘Investor Development Manager’ with ‘no questions asked’14, and immediately sent to Cannes to attend MIPIM, a ‘property market’, with the Council Leader, Council CEO and others.

…and it goes on…in November 2017 following the 2016 Serious Case Review, two brothers were jailed for a combined 40 years after being convicted of 27 sexual offences against girls as young as 14. The Children’s Services Improvement Board Chair, Eleanor Brazil, resigned15 citing Wirral Council’s “shoddy treatment” of Julia Hassall, the then Director of Children’s Services, and “…some significant corporate issues…”

… and on…Jim Crabtree, a (now ex-) Councillor and Chair of Audit & Risk committee was convicted in January 2017 of making death threats16 towards fellow Councillor Louise Reecejones, regarding an unidentified sum of £19,000. In March 2018 the threatened Councillor resigned to free herself from “the noose”17.

Without Local Government Commissioners’ intervention, ‘Most Improved’ Wirral Council is the graveyard of the 7 ‘Nolan Principles’18 of public life, viz.  Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty & Leadership.

In Wirral you won’t hear the ghosts of the Nolan Principles wailing and roaming the streets at night. They left long ago.

 

Weblinks 1-18

 

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/9263981.Chief_executive_and_political_leader_accept_responsibility_for_council_failures/

https://www.lgcplus.com/home/lgc-awards-2017-the-shortlist/lgc-awards-2016/lgc-awards/lgc-awards-2015/most-improved-council/5083096.article

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/chief-executive-graham-burgess-wirral-3325136

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/11851526.UPDATED__From__abnormal_to_inspirational____Wirral_wins_Most_Improved_Council_award/

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/former-social-worker-appointed-wirral-8595400

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/13944494.Sweeping_changes_will_see_Wirral_s_cabinet_councillors_given_extensive_new_powers/

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/09/27/time-for-an-intervention/

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/wirral-school-parents-fought-tooth-14516957 

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14601265.Girtrell_Court_closure_row_reignites_with_claims_council__misrepresented__carers/

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15179685.Who_put_the_lights_out__Call_for_urgent_action_to_repair_Wirral_s_2_200_broken_street_lamps/

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14306240.Emails_give_extraordinary_insight_into_Wirral_Council_s_controversial_hiring_of_former_Labour_spin_doctor/

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

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/five-years-shame-how-wirral-13045435

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15022687.UPDATED__Wirral_Council_agrees_to_create_new___80k_management_job___with_no_questions_asked_/

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15325055.Leaked_resignation_letter_shows_Wirral_s_child_safeguarding_improvement_board_boss_was__shocked_and_appalled__by_director_s__shoddy__treatment/ 

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ex-councillor-sent-drunken-death-9612068

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2018/03/10/lrj-an-unofficial-announcement/

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-7-principles-of-public-life/the-7-principles-of-public-life–2

 

Leaky Awards 2017 – Quotes of the Year Part One

Leaky awardsLeaky awardsLeaky awards

Apologies for the late arrival of the Leaky Awards 2017 but we’ve been inundated with suggestions for nominations. Furthermore ‘Her Ladyship’ had to arrange to borrow a dress and a pair of sparkly shoes from Wirral Chamber of Commerce CEO , ‘Princess’ Paula Basnett for the occasion. Times are hard (for the less well connected anyway).

However without further ado – let the ceremony commence ! This year we’ve had to divide the awards into sections starting with ‘Quotes of the Year’ . This is because 2017 proved to be a bumper year from beginning to end for foot in mouth, face palm and WTAF memorable quotes that have (dis)graced our pages . We’ll also revisit some past glories and provide details of where you can purchase your very own Wirral Leaks Inspirational Fridge Magnets

JANUARY 

“You need to pay back the £19,000 bitch, or I will do what happened to that MP today” –  Jim Crabtree , ex-Wirral councillor. After the story originally broke on Wirral Leaks it is finally revealed at Wirral Magistrate’s Court what ‘ Crabby’ actually said in the death threat made to former Labour colleague Cllr Louise Reecejones during a drunken late night telephone call. The MP referred to, was of course, murdered Labour MP Jo Cox.

Jumbo

Foulkesy’s idea of strong leadership

CRABBY : GUILTY AS CHARGED

FEBRUARY 

” People are C’s – never ceases to amaze me how horrible people can be to others”Andrew Moore, diminutive solicitor hired by Wirral Council tweets to the world the benefit of his experience. Could C stand for councillor we ask ourselves?

FLOATING IN THE AIR

foulkesy-lrj-008

 ‘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.’  Cllr Philip ‘Brightboy’ Brightmore, Labour councillor  shuts down any debate during a Committee meeting about the proposed reduction of Wirral councillors from 66 to 44 with a supremely pompous ‘we know best’ comment.

QUESTION TIME

MARCH  

‘ I only found out (who was on the panel) via Wirral Leaks. Thank goodness for them in some ways, but that’s no way to run an open and transparent Council ‘ Cllr Lesley Rennie , Conservative councillor with the barnet as hard as a bobby’s helmet begrudgingly bemoans the fact that she found out who was on the panel that led to the infamous appointment of Labour spin merchant Martin Liptrot to a ‘transformer’ role at Wirral Council only via this blog.

TRANSFORMERS

APRIL

It’s about cultural potential; reclaiming Wirral’s industrial heritage; pop-ups and meanwhile spaces and enthusiastic people who want to change perceptions, make a difference and try something new.”  Wirral Chamber of Commerce describe their role in Wirral Council sponsored first (and last?)  ‘Festival of Beautiful Ideas’ (!) held in Birkenhead/Woodside. For clarification we think a ‘meanwhile space’ is  more usually known as a ‘shed’ . As for trying something new and considering the location we were thinking did they mean  ‘Spice’ ? ‘Ket’? or ‘Bath Salts’ ?

FANTASTIC FESTIVAL OF BS

Sheds 2

The waste of space in a ‘meanwhile space’

MAY

“I have been imposed by Jeremy . I have the indignity of the leader imposing me on the party” – “I would collapse soon, it would be over. I hope to hit the wall running, that’s the aim.” – Frank Field , Birkenhead MP and droll wag muses on the double threat of Momentum and retirement respectively. We heartily endorse the latter sentiment and the sooner the better. 

ELECTION SELECTION WEEK 3

JUNE

“(The investigator) found the actions of  Cllr Reecejones were designed to threaten,intimidate,undermine and cause difficulties at work “  and her evidence was  ‘inconsistent, vague and misleading’ – Standards Panel Investigation report

SANCTION DISTINCTION

As for Crabby well he is one vile disgusting bully who goes around picking on women. His words to me were, ” your a f@@@ing Deaf, Fat Bitch”.This was I (sic) front of school children at the holocaust memorial service.Crabby refuses to answer to the complaint and will slope off as he has been deselected.There is another one you may be interested in but I will give you her next week after I’ve met with the whip, some interesting times ahead with key people leaving the group at May’s elections, positions are up for grabs and scary times ahead for who will become chair of the group etc. And I haven’t I have had him suspended and took him to task, I’m not an easy push over I just don’t believe this man should be near politics or vulnerable people.

Wirral Leaks : You need to look higher up. Crabtree is a nonentity.

Oh I have stuff from a high up, all in good time xx It’s prob worth noting that if I did as I was told over this case Labour would not of took it any further and I would not of been suspended. I was given an ultimatum and they were willing to brush over the accusation. I knew 100% I had done nothing so refused the offer with no hesitation. 
I had no idea what it was over until October when I went to see the CEO so that’s a lot of time to set me up.
WL : First mistake – you put your trust in (Graham) Burgess.
Oh no I’ve never put my trust in him at all, nor have I in the leadership of the group.

Cllr Louise Reecejones  speaks candidly to Wirral Leaks about life in the local Labour Party

LRJ CONFIDENTIAL

“I’m in favour of Wirral Leaks. If I was the Council I’d pay them money to find out what was going on in my Council” – Frank Field , Birkenhead MP speaks candidly to a local constituent who records him for posterity.

MEN OF MYSTERY – THE BIG REVEAL PART ONE

“However we know that the service faces many challenges and there are also clearly some significant corporate issues hindering the ability of the service to be more efficient.” Eleanor Brazil , Children’s Services troubleshooter fails to speak candidly about why she bailed out on Wirral Council and leaves us all to interpret exactly what she means by ‘significant corporate issues’

PORTRAIT OF A GOBSHITE

 

 

 

EXCLUSIVE : Thick As Thieves (Update)

3 wise monkeys

You may  or may not be aware of a story emerging from Liverpool Crown Court which appeared in the local press earlier today.

Petty Cash Thief

As you can read above the story concerns the theft of petty cash money by a former Wirral Council employee. But when you consider that Wirral Leaks first revealed the story HERE  in January 2016, following leaks from aggrieved Wirral Council whistleblowers, it becomes clear that there is much more to this story than has been reported in today’s press.

You will see from our original story that the person we coyly referred to as Mr T (and now revealed to be Carl Thompson) has indeed now been convicted for stealing £7,000+. However we don’t wish to focus here on Mr T especially as he has now faced justice and has been held accountable (which as we know is unusual for someone involved either in the past or the present with Wirral Council). Equally unusual is a rare example of openness and honesty from a Wirral Council senior manager . As a certain Simon Cuerden is quoted as saying this particular case ” had adversely affected the staff morale and the reputation of the authority and rebuilding trust and transparency is still ongoing”    

If you look at our original story (re-published in full below) you can see why Mr Cuerden saw fit to make this comment. Consequently, and as was the case with former Labour councillor Jim Crabtree, we have to ask ourselves if whistleblowers hadn’t contacted us as to whether various crimes and misdemeanours would just have been buried by the council:

Now from what we’ve observed of an increasingly desperate Wirral Council leadership is that they’ve been told to do two things  : a) praise council staff publicly even when treating them like crap and b) mention the utterly vacuous and meaningless window dressing that is their 20/20 Vision Wirral Plan at every opportunity ( “We have a plan ,we know what we’re doing – honestly”).

Well can we tell Wirral Council that judging by the increasing amount of correspondence we’re getting from the crime scene that is Wallasey Town Hall that council staff are getting increasingly pissed off with the fakery – seriously pissed off.

Nothing is pushing their badly-done-to button more than a case which in some ways is a microcosm of how Wirral Council operates. It’s a case which has been knocking about our inbox for some time and when one of our sources writes : ”  I would appreciate anonymity as we all know what happens to WMBC whistleblowers…”  This tells us everything we need to know about the poisonous culture which still seemingly infects the alleged “Most Improved Council in Britain” than any number of feelgood press releases.

Council staff are not so much singing like a canary but singing like Shirley Bassey and their song goes something like this:

“Lightfingered – he’s the man, the man with the petty cash , Council-tax payers cash……” 

This doleful refrain concerns a certain Mr.T – T in this case stands for thief
We understand that Mr.T was suspended under that polite euphemism “misappropriation of funds” (something that Wirral Council have been quite adept at themselves) and although apparently Mr.T owned up the act, he was suspended on full pay during a lengthy investigation before he was recently dismissed.

However what is vexing Council staff is that it is alleged that this matter “was not reported to the police, central government, the audit commission or Wirral council tax payers and has been swept under the carpet in true WMBC style”.

No change there then you might say (no pun intended) – especially as this was someone caught with their hands in the petty cash till  – as Wirral Council  have an inglorious record of lurching towards the twin perils of  “reputation management”  and “cover up” when it comes to situations such as this.

We understand that the figure that has been filched is approximately £30,000 but common opinion among council staff is that as there was no thorough investigation that the actual figure could be much more than this.We understand that Mr.T could have been stealing money over a number of years and nobody knows the exact amount as Wirral Council only investigated what was stolen within a particular financial year.

Of course Wirral Council are welcome to deny any of these allegations…..

Questions and comments that have been put to us – although perhaps they should be put to Wirral Council leaders or even more pertinently to Merseyside Police are :

  • Why was it so easy for Mr.T  to steal thousands of pounds?
  • Who countersigned any monies/petty cash? If not why not?
  • I suspect this is due to the fact that said colleague had access to thousands of pounds in petty cash and was able to spend from the council budget until his heart was content as he was not managed for a minimum of 3 years
  • Staff reviews should take place every year! but his line Manager left and he was then left to his own devices!! You have to ask why internal audit were not doing an annual audit? If they had this would have been picked up very early.
  • It is now believed that he is working elsewhere and had faced no consequences for his actions besides dismissal
  • This person has taken the Wirral taxpayers money and needs to be held to account.Where is the deterrent? Where is the accountability? Where is the public interest? Where’s our bloody money?

I think the only question we can actually answer is the one about Internal Audit.They were doing their usual job of obeying their political paymasters and/or being inept .However for the rest it would seem it is the usual tale of Wirral Council failing to take any responsibility for their own negligence in allowing this situation to arise in the first place.

We’re left wondering as to whether someone with £30,000 + of Council Tax arrears would avoid legal action quite so readily?. Indeed Wirral Council  seem to be labouring (no pun intended again) under the misconception that the money they lose through their negligence/incompetence is THEIR money – so it can just be written off and forgotten about.

Consequently Wirral Council leaders rap sheet of cases where they protect their positions of power by protecting wrongdoers continues to grow.

However when you’re thick as thieves with thieves,liars,bribers and bullies might we suggest to those in power it’s time to take a long hard look in the mirror and decide as to whether you still have the moral authority to run a local authority.

 

Whilst some of the questions raised by one of our sources may have been answered , some haven’t, such as how come an  “unsuspecting solicitor colleague” signed off some the petty cash slips – until suddenly a new member of staff joined his department? What the hell were Internal Audit playing at ? Did Wirral Council provide a reference for Mr T ? and whether being Mayor Foulkesy’s former chauffeur influenced the (in)actions of Wirral Council ?

 

To Sandwell In A Handcart

Colin as Surjit 009

Less than 5 years of dedicated public service at Wirral Council seem to have taken their toll on poor Surjit Tour  pic: courtesy of John Brace

We couldn’t bring ourselves to watch video footage last week’s Wirral Council Cabinet meeting as we understand Power Boy Pip et al  gave outgoing Wirral Council law lord Surjit Tour a rousing round of applause as it was his last ever council meeting – yes , even from Cllr George Davies – but then the deputy leader of Wirral Council must be relieved to see the back of this particular chink in his armour.

The plaudits were all very reminiscent of the time when the subsequently convicted criminal Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree chaired the the Audit & Risk Management Committee  – yes we know ! – can you believe that actually happened ? – and led the handclapping for Audit Commission/Grant Thornton gobshite Mike Thomas. We suspect the applause for both was much for the same reason – keeping a lid on Wirral Council malpractice and getting paid well to do it.

Having said that Tour must be shooting off to his new gig at Sandwell Council like shit off a shovel. And it would appear he will be right at home. As a local source commented –‘Labour controlled and crooked forever’ 

https://www.expressandstar.com/news/politics/2016/10/10/sandwell-council-shake-up-fourth-senior-officer-leave-post/

We’re sure the six figure salary was particularly enticing for this status – conscious public servant. All we can say is that you can earn as much as you like but at the end of the day you’re still Surjit Tour.

https://www.expressandstar.com/news/local-hubs/sandwell/2017/05/26/sandwell-council-looking-to-appoint-top-roles—one-earning-100k-pay-packet/

We’re just staggered that out of four candidates interviewed for Sandwell Council’s top legal job that Tour came out on top.  Isn’t it reassuring that our public services have such a deep well of talent to draw upon?

Sandwell Council  must be particularly dear to Tour’s heart as a legal case involving his new employer was brought to attention in 2016.  A Wirral Council whistleblower had told their senior managers that they weren’t complying with the law when it came to administrating Discretionary Housing Payments  (DHP)- which are what they say on the tin, discretionary payments made to people who are having trouble paying their rent for one reason or another and presumably some of the most vulnerable members of the community.

Wirral Council seem particularly reluctant to promote this fund they have available to help people in need so we’re saying loud and clear if you find yourself struggling to pay your rent contact Wirral Council and ask about DISCRETIONARY HOUSING PAYMENTS!

Needless to say the public-spirited  whistleblower who identified that Wirral Council were acting unlawfully was cruelly hounded out of their job for showing up their managers for the bullying incompetents they were.  There will be much more to come on this story but changes to procedures and belated thanks from Tour doesn’t cut it when someone’s career is needlessly destroyed for,once again, wanting things done properly and dare we say LAWFULLY!

Is it just us who thinks that if we don’t speak up about such abuses we’re all going to hell in a handcart?

Subject: Re: Whistleblowing Matter (Case Ref: 22/2016)

Dear X

Further the above matter, I have now completed all requisite enquiries into this matter. I have received and considered the report prepared by XX (Senior Auditor) into the matter you raised in your confidential report [CRF1] dated 22nd February 2016.

The review conducted by XX showed that whilst an assessment of income was undertaken in respect of DHP applicant’s income, the assessments were not fully compliant with the post Sandwell case and revised DWP guidance (issued in August 2015) on such claims.

In light of this, supplementary guidance has issued and explained to all relevant members of the team at the Transaction Centre so that DHP claims are assessed in accordance with the Sandwell case and revised DWP Guidance. Moreover, changes to procedures have and are being implemented to ensure consistency and compliance with the Sandwell case and revised  DWP guidance.

May I take the opportunity to thank you for bringing this issue to the attention of the council.

Kind regards

Surjit Tour

Head of Legal & Member Services

and Monitoring Officer