Is There Anything Wrong With This Page?

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We notice that the Taxpayer’s Alliance have published their annual list of the highest paid, so called, public servants . You know , the ones we pay through the nose so they can keep their noses in the trough – purely because they can speak BS and do a powerpoint presentation AT THE SAME TIME! Glory be! we need to grovel in admiration!

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15216874.Wirral_Council_bosses_back_on_the_Town_Hall_Rich_List___and_one_earns_more_than_the_PM/

Needless to say Wirral Council features on the list.

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/taxpayersalliance/pages/6911/attachments/original/1491491587/Town_Hall_Rich_List_Master.pdf?1491491587

To which a couple of our commentators responded as follows :

‘Good to know town hall fat cats across the country are doing their bit in the face of savage guvmint cuts by awarding themselves massive pay rises. 
Funny that Wirral Council is cutting adult social care at the same time it’s introducing an adult social care precept. 
Not hard to guess which adults it is providing care for…..Step forward Blotto and Feeble.’
As they stole ‘Blotto’ and ‘Feeble’ from us . We’re stealing ‘guvmint’ . Genius!
Meanwhile someone who seems to have spent some time at the newly opened, glorified ‘yoof club’ that is ‘The Hive’ says :
‘Forget ASBOs – it’s these MOFOs that have caused downfall of society. 4 real! ‘
Who are we to disagree?

Meanwhile an exasperated Wirral Council officer shakes their head and with hands on their hips says:

“This information is published by the Taxpayers’ Alliance every year, and every year is inaccurate.

In this particular case, the salary quoted for the chief executive is wrong – and there are no council officers earning more than £300,000.”

Might we humbly suggest that the £371,848 remuneration to an ‘unknown strategic director’ best known for smoking, shagging and fighting included a £250,000 bung for him to slither off to the Wirral Chamber of Commerce?  We may be wrong, but let’s face it, we very rarely are!

The deeply aggrieved Wirral Council mouthpiece helpfully points us towards the Wirral Council website for clarification:

http://www.wirral.gov.uk/about-council/performance-and-spending/chief-officer-pay

It is interesting to note that at the end of the page it asks the pertinent question:

IS THERE ANYTHING WRONG WITH WITH THIS PAGE?

To which we at Leaky Towers can only reply : ‘Hell, yes!, where do we begin?’

For starters – Eric ‘ Feeble’ Robinson is on £178K ? – everything that is wrong with the world right there when that elusive mediocrity is on that kind of money.

As for Blott/Armstrong/Hassall – they were put on God’s green earth to be despised by us. They have succeeded. They now need to take their pensions and disappear.

We reserve judgement on Fish as apparently she had a bit of beef with Emma Degg and the former unexpectedly won. Go Clare!

Paul Satoor as Transformation Director is a new one on us. Jeezus his Department must be bigger than Dr Jekyll’s laboratory. But with the same results – full of havoc-wreaking, cash guzzling monsters like Mr Halliday, sorry Mr Hyde.

The rest of the list is a dispiriting roll call of overpaid nonentities but we were particularly drawn to the name Nicola Butterworth. Any relation to ‘Stressed Eric’ acolyte Stephen Butterworth? Or shall we just rejoice in the influx of Butterworths to Wirral that make all our lives just so much better?

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SPECIAL REPORT : Where Your Money Goes

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It must be this time of year, as we’ve been musing on money matters (or rather lack thereof). Clearly Wirral Council have been doing the same as they gear up to set their forthcoming budget and pursue a number of punitive charging regimes to offset central government funding cuts.

Yeah,yeah, yeah – we get it when they drone on about how badly they’ve been done to by central government and they have to make tough choices and priorities. But that’s what we take issue with Wirral Council here at Leaky Towers – it’s the choices that they make which indicate to us that their priorities are all wrong. Consequently they lose all moral authority when they start bleating about lack of finances.

So let’s take a quick look at where that money comes from and where it goes :

As we all know Wirral Council’s income stream is increasingly going to be us via Council Tax and any supplementary fund raising scams they can come up with.We look forward to their budget proposals now that they’ve been given the go ahead by central government to put up Council Tax by 3% to pay for the rising costs of social care. Rather frighteningly they also have the the opportunity to raise even more money via this route.Surrey County Council are looking at a total Council Tax rise of 15% but to do so they would have to put it to the local vote. We suggest that this is not something that the ruling group at Wirral Council wouldn’t risk but nothing ,nothing would surprise us about this shower of chancers.

David Hodge, Leader of Surrey County Council, announces proposal to seek a council tax rise of 15%

So , down to business –  we’ve previously discussed the charming operatives from Kingdom Secrurity and their cash for trash extortion agency for the Council. As anyone who has seen a Kingdom Security in action – they go after vulnerable people who don’t have the means to  retaliate . Much like the people they get their contract off.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/11/25/cash-for-trash/

It’s not  about caring for the environment. Neither are other money-making scams devised by an increasingly desperate council. Similarly their car park charging proposals have absolutely nothing to do with maintaining the roads or traffic measures. It’s all about the moolah. Your moolah! – so cash cows out there prepare your teats for action as they’re going to be bled dry.

Park and Get Taken For A Ride

We’ve already reported the squandering of £80,000 on the appointment of an Investor Development Manager – rumoured to be a shoo-in for current leading Wirral Council puppet master Martin Liptrot.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/the-power-abusers/

Which again begs the question as to why there isn’t someone on a humongous salary with the requisite skills at Wirral Council – because well ,apparently there just isn’t ! Let’s not even mention what the likes of David Armstrong, Clare Fish and Joe Blott  get paid  – if you throw in Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson that’s half a million big ones per annum between them.

Never mind the recent ridiculous ‘Are Wirral’s 66 councillors Value For Money?’ exercise conducted by themselves and to which the unsurprising answer was a resounding YES! – how about we have a VFM consultation on the above gang of four/flaw? – especially when we consider the damning Ofsted report into Children’s Services.

This has necessitated the appointment of troubleshooter Eleanor Brazil and former Children’s Commissioner for England Professor Maggie Atkinson as the new ‘independent’ chairwoman of Wirral Safeguarding Children’s Board. The appointment of such big hitters suggests us to that Children’s Services is in an even bigger mess than the Ofsted report indicated. Not that we’ll ever know because the Children’s Services Improvement Board meets behind closed doors. Lessons have obviously been learned from the last Improvement Board – no openness, no transparency, no public accountability suits the powers that be. We’re just asked to stump up the bill.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15032232.Government_troubleshooter_who_dealt_with_aftermath_of_Baby_P_scandal_to_lead_rescue_of_Wirral_children_s_services/

These consultants seem to be mainly tasked with finding out why Wirral Council can’t recruit and retain staff in Children’s Services. We can tell them free of charge : because it’s rammed with poor calibre middle managers who bully their staff on the instructions of passive/aggressive senior managers who earn a nice wedge spouting platitudes and duping councillors.Plus the fact that who in their right mind would want to do Child Protection work in Birkenhead. Think about that for a moment  – beyond grim.

Another drain on resources that we never to get to hear about are the court cases that Wirral Council get ensnared in because they simply don’t know the difference between right and wrong….but they’ve got plenty of well paid people particularly in the HR and Law Departments who are prepared to blur the lines between the two in return for a big fat salary. We understand that there’s a court case coming up at the end of this month that could prove to be the defining moment of how Wirral Council chooses to ‘move forward’.

We’ll keep you posted.

Public Accountability Wirral-Style

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We were looking forward to reporting from tonight’s Birkenhead Constituency Committee but we understand it’s been cancelled again – although we should be grateful that they’ve set up a meeting in November as originally they were due to meet next in  January 2017 – meaning  that would have been more cancellations than meetings this past year. We can only guess that they call it a  ‘Special  Meeting’ because it’s a special occasion when they actually meet!.

Now we don’t want to be seen to be singling out Birkenhead Constituency Committee but we really would like to know what these mockeries of  local democracy actually achieve?. Wallasey seem to be the only one of the 4 constituency committees that actually meets regularly and achieves anything.

However we do have a particular interest in Birkenhead Constituency Committee because let’s face it that’s where most of the absolute worst local politicians -and it has to be said a couple of the best- Cllrs Kelly and Cleary take a bow – who besmirch our blog can be seen up close and personal. The council “leader”  Power Boy Pip can be found there with both of his deputies  Cllr Ann “Going Forward” McLachlan and Cllr George “Combing Forward” Davies  along with Cllr  Angela “CGL who?” Davies , Cllr Matron McLaughlin and of course who could forget ex-council leader Foulkesy ?. Although we have to say we owe an apology to Foulkesy as we claimed in a previous post that he was not renowned for anything. That’s simply not true. He’s renowned for being a LIAR!.

Now that Birkenhead MP Frankenfield has given up the chair to spend more of his valuable time backstabbing Jezza Corbyn and badmouthing “Sir” Philip Green  he’s handed over the reins of the committee to his political agent and bumbling , mumbling go -between –  Cllr George Davies. And we think that in the light of the Thynne 2 report and the Ofsted report that those who were due to attend the Birkenhead Constituency Committee and who were implicated in various failings and misconduct have decided to keep a low profile and which may explain why tonight’s meeting was cancelled.

We’re particularly disappointed  that tonight’s meeting is off as we’d advised one of disgruntled sources to show up and shame them after they’d written to us in desperation to say  : “Why are they allowed to mismanage things so consistently.  As for my local councillor S Foulkes all I’ve received from him (and this was after two requests for acknowledgement of my emails) was an email telling me that council would resume on 1st September, useless is the kindest word I can use.  That said that is more of a reply than I got from Coun Davies, I never even got that from him…..”

That’s why we advise our readers to attend these meetings if only to hold these no-marks to account and remind them they are ACCOUNTABLE TO US.

This is something to which most councillors and the officer class of Wirral Council seem to be oblivious to. This is demonstrated once again by the fact that council sources inform us that :

A Spotlight session has been arranged at which Julia Hassall will lead a briefing for members regarding the outcomes of the recent Ofsted inspection of children’s services in Wirral. The purpose of the session will be to outline the key findings of the Ofsted inspection and the Council’s planned response. There will then be the opportunity for a question and answer session. All members of the Council are invited to attend the session, which will not be open to the public.

The session will be held on Tuesday 11th October, commencing at 6:00pm in Committee Room 1 at Wallasey Town Hall. 

Under the circumstances all we can do is advise our readers to contact their local councillors and ask them to ask pertinent questions on their behalf . http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1

It maybe not the way that public accountability should work but at least we can point to an example as to how it should work :

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/data_protection_breach_4

As following our exposure of a serious data protection breach by Wirral Council they were compelled to report their failing to the Information Commissioner’s Office . It’s just a shame that the person who picked up the documents from the pavement had already beaten them to it!.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/09/13/environmental-disaster/

NOW THAT IS HOW PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY SHOULD WORK!

The Pain of Failure

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Now that we’ve had time to fully absorb Ofsted’s less than flattering  inspection report of Wirral’s Children’s Services we thought we’d wade in with our thoughts.

The horrorshow of a report speaks for itself :

https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/local_authority_reports/wirral/051_Single%20inspection%20of%20LA%20children%27s%20services%20and%20review%20of%20the%20LSCB%20as%20pdf.pdf

So having last week made our position on the latest Wirral Council car crash clear we’d particularly like to concentrate on the debris .

Inevitably Frank Field has melodramatically (if belatedly)  entered the fray saying that the report is “simply devastating” . However for a man who in the past has been quick to condemn he’s treating those responsible for the manifest failings in the report with kid gloves (no pun intended).

“Now is not the time for scapegoating”  he magisterially declares taking time out from calling for public accountability and monstering panto villains like former BHS boss “Sir” Philip Green. Which is a bit of a surprise from someone who makes such a public show of his deep concern about Wirral’s kiddiewinks. Although it’s perhaps not so surprising when you consider that one of the main people who should be driven into the desert is People Overview and Scrutiny Committee chair and long-time  Frankenfield acolyte Cllr Moira “Matron” McLaughlin , who having failed spectacularly when she steered a totally out of control adult social services department has been given the opportunity  to fall asleep at the wheel again and fail to ensure the proper scrutiny of children’s services under the  stewardship of Labour cabinet lead  Cllr Tony Smith . That’s quite a track record – it can only be a matter of time before she’s awarded an OBE.

But then what constantly perplexes us at Leaky Towers is that the people who are responsible for Council failures are given the responsibility to clear it up. We are not re-assured by the fact that Wirral Council Chief Executive Eric “Feeble” Robinson has informed us that will be holding Head of Children’s Services  Julia Hassall’s hand whilst they clear up a mess partially of their own making. Stressed Eric described the Ofsted report as “painful” – but then we’re sure that the  near £300,000 per annum of public money that Eric and Julia earn between them must go some way to easing that pain.

Has anyone noticed that Clare Fish the Strategic Director for Families & Wellbeing has been conspicuous by her absence from the public eye?. Whilst we always considered Fish to be out of her depth we wouldn’t like to think that this particular Super Duper Director has become yet another big fish who’s been let off the hook and been rewarded for their failure.

However it’s not all bad news as we’re particularly gratified, alongside a former Wirral Council head of safeguarding, that the current incumbent of the post – simpering Simon Garner – has been rumbled.

And finally  with reference to the Ofsted report we think that whoever thought up the acronym MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) needs to be put out of their misery.

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Memo to Frank Field

 

The Big Lie

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it..”

There will be no wacky pictures, no funny puns and we won’t be referencing the above quote (if you don’t know it – Google it). This post will be fuelled by anger and frustration.

Anger and frustration at the news that there is a yet another damning report about Wirral Council in the pipeline. This time it’s an Ofsted report concerned with Children’s Services.

Eagle -eyed Leaks readers will have noted from previous posts and comments that we knew this was on the horizon. And inevitably what we have witnessed today is the first instalment of an exercise in damage limitation and reputation management for which Wirral Council is so well known  with a carefully controlled ‘leak’ to the Liverpool Echo.

Now if Liverpool Echo want to be Liptrotsky’s lapdog that’s between them , their advertising revenue and their tawdry ‘exclusives’. But it doesn’t mean we’re buying their bullshit and it doesn’t mean that most of us don’t know what Wirral Council are up to.

Sorry – you may have noticed but we can’t get worked up about bins or dog crap at Leaky Towers when we get confirmation that Wirral Council is failing to safeguard children and meet their educational needs.

The most damning indictment of  any  local authority is that the safety and life choices of our most vulnerable are compromised. Of course we’ve been here before with this wretched Council haven’t we?. Just as we’ve heard the platitudes and the promises dribbling out of the mouths of Council Leader and his Chief Executive when they’ve been rumbled.

I think we can all agree that the risible ‘Most Improved Council in Britain’ tag can finally be consigned to history – we note that it is conspicuously absent from Wirral Council correspondence we’ve recently received. Yes that’s right – Wirral Council have been directly in touch  with us for the very first time. But more about that another time.

I suppose we shall have to wait for the intervention of interfering Birkenhead MP Frank Field making demands for the resignation of those responsible for the findings in the upcoming report, just like he did in the past with former Wirral Council CEO Steve Maddox and  Director of Children’s Services Howard Cooper. Both of whom were rewarded for their varied and manifest failings with an OBE.

Or perhaps not. Field will no doubt play his part in perpetuating  ‘The Big Lie’.

So we’ll do it for him instead –   CEO Eric Robinson  , Head of Children’s Services  Julia Hassall , Corporate Safeguarding Manager  Simon Garner ,  Council Leader Phil Davies ,Children Services Lead Cllr Tony Smith, People Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chair Cllr Moira McLaughlin  – RESIGN NOW

Crushed – The Closing of Lyndale School

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We implored Wirral Council to “tread softly” when it came to Lyndale School.
However reverting to type last night they decided to put on the bovver-boy boots and crush the hopes of pupils,parents,carers,teachers and supporters by deciding to close the special school.

Knowing what she was up against parent spokesperson Chrissie Woodland declined to speak at the meeting of Wirral Council’s Cabinet claiming that it was a “waste of time”.

Indeed it appears to us the whole consultation process was a completely stage managed farrago. We imagine the pre-meeting conversations went something like: ” Right Julia , Ann will ask the first question and then Bernie can ask the next one and then you give us your rehearsed answer and we’ll nod along pretending to be interested”.

Let’s face it as soon as Julia Hassall stated from the outset of the consultation that Wirral Council was “minded” to close Lyndale School it was a done deal.

What we don’t understand that if “economic considerations” were the reason for the closure why don’t the sums add up?
Are the “economic considerations” more to do with a future potential capital receipt for the land we ask ourselves?

Meanwhile the valiant parents have vowed to challenge the process which led to the decision and have it quashed at Judicial Review.

So before they bulldoze the sensory garden funded by £80,000 worth of donations from Wirral Globe readers Wirral Council need to be “minded” that the fight is far from over. We’ll be ringside hoping for a knockout blow in this David and Goliath battle.

“Cold & Bureaucratic” – The Closure of Lyndale School

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And so with heartbreaking and crushing inevitability comes the news that Wirral Council’s Labour Cabinet has voted unanimously to close Lyndale School.
A special school which taught and supported some of Wirral’s most vulnerable children who have a multitude of complex needs.

Remember the Council’s pledge to protect the most vulnerable in the wake of damning reports criticising how they treated disabled people? Remember the “What Really Matters?” consultation where the people of Wirral said they wanted the Council to protect our most vulnerable citizens?  Remember how Director of Childrens Services Julia “No” Hassall said she was “minded” to close Lyndale School last November?

The same Julia Hassall who claimed at the Cabinet meeting that compared to the desperate pleas of the parents and staff speaking on behalf of the children they loved and cared for she sounded “cold and bureaucratic”.

“Cold and bureaucratic” doesn’t come close to describing the sham of a consultation, the dragging on the usual highly paid “independent consultant” Lynn “Wrong &” Wright ,the shameless going through the motion of listening to parents and staff and petitions and the “we know best” decisions made behind closed doors.

In other words the usual “bureaucratic machinations” which have plagued Wirral Council for years and continue to do so – and all to the detriment of Wirral’s citizens and particularly when it’s concerned with the treatment of disabled children.

Finally  we implore you to remember the names of the Cabinet members making the decision to close Lyndale School and particularly the one Councillor who we feel is simply not fit to hold public office , let alone make a decision significantly affecting the lives of people who he clearly regards merely as a means to pay his Council expenses.