Sorrento Shame 2 : No Laughing Matter

No laughing matter

Ordinarily our lead picture would be the Foulkes’ Sorrento holiday snap which features on social media and has been forwarded to us. However after further consideration of the ‘Sorrento Shame’ story we feel the need to take a more sober approach (no pun intended) . Now is not the time for satire, sarcasm or caption competitions.

As you can see from the picture above hotel management  tried to pacify a distraught couple who allege they were subject to racial abuse on holiday and hope that one day they will find it ‘something to laugh about’. On seeing this letter it suddenly struck us that it took people from outside Wirral to point out how unacceptable some behaviours are. They’ve held a mirror up to us all and it doesn’t reflect well on any of us.

We say this , as to us and to many people, none of the allegations that have surfaced will come as a surprise. We’ve been forwarded many stories over the years which people have asked us not to publish. Frankly we’d rather not know. It’s just such a shame that people locally haven’t been prepared to speak up before now. We’re calling it the ‘Weinstein Syndrome’ – where ‘everybody knew’ about certain attitudes and behaviours but chose to succumb to pay-offs , legal threats or went along with a different kind of abuse of power because it was advantageous to their career. Additionally we understand that some people are frightened to speak up against powerful and influential people especially when they are protected by other powerful and influential people. And look what happens to those who do speak up!

Doesn’t it make you proud to live on Wirral?   But then we’ve long held that there is a dark heart at the centre of the local Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP) where racism , harassment and bullying and lying by a tiny minority of local councillors is apparently tolerated and/or condoned because they’re part of  Frank Field’s ‘Inner Ring’ .

But it’s not just the Birkenhead CLP who go along with it – it’s Wirral councillors of all political parties (with a couple of honourable exceptions) who thought it was OK for ‘Foulkesy’ to become Mayor of Wirral in 2014, two years after it was exposed he was the leader of a basket case council that was rife with bullying , nepotism , incompetence and dishonesty (but then everyone knew that as well!) Of course there was the opportunity to prevent this appointment in 2013 but an unholy alliance of middle class charlatans and working class chancers went along with it – all in the hope of career advancement, financial gain or a front page exclusive. We can’t think of anywhere else in the country where the Wirralgate cover up would have lasted this long.

Wirral councillors then went on to  (deliberately?) miss the point of the Patricia Thynne Wirralgate investigations by a country mile. Who gives a damn whether Foulkesy was part of a plot to ‘smear’  Tory collaborator Jeff Green? It was the fact that he’d lied through an investigation which necessitated a further investigation costing us £17K and throughout which he again continued to lie. Perhaps instead of an apology to the collusive Cllr Green ,  Foulkesy was instead denied the opportunity to be a Wirral Council representative on outside bodies this might have represented a meaningful sanction.

However as John Brace’s excellent blog points out ‘Foulkesy’ has this past week been allowed to vote himself an annual £10,108  pay rise  (this is not including his remuneration for sitting on the Magenta Living board alongside ………yes you guessed it, Cllr Jeff Green !)

Holiday money

But then the likes of the Local Government Association (LGA) and consultants like Anna Klonowski and Anna Hutchinson at Labour North West and Merseyside Police are no better – pussyfooting around power abusers is so much easier than confronting sordid and difficult realities.

And then there’s what we’re calling ‘Shite Privilege’  where  certain people are allowed to hold the most reprehensible views and behave in the most appalling manner because of their local connections . Of course the precedent here is the Jack Nolan case (Jack being Elaine Foulkes’ -nee Nolan’s- son ).  A classic case of the the apple not falling far from the tree. Suddenly doesn’t his assault and affray conviction at Birkenhead Magistrate’s Court in 2015 seem tragically inevitable? We could almost, but not quite, forgive him. However what we can’t forgive is the high profile protectors who turned up to provide character references at the trial. This inevitably included council leader Cllr  Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies, who’s moral compass appears to be permanently pointed to hell.

What A Load Of Testimonials!

Now we don’t know about you lot but we resent someone is allowed the opportunity to finance him and his missus’s holidays in the sun so he can allegedly stand by and watch the abuse of innocent bystanders at our expense.  We should not be funding more opportunities to ruin not just other people’s holidays but other people’ s careers and lives. This is no laughing matter.

 

 

 

 

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Secret Chamber

york-council-chamber-guildhall-updated

Above is a picture of the rather splendid council chamber at York Guildhall.  The admirable  York Mix website tells us that it will be here next week that a group of senior councillors are challenging City of York Council (CYC) leader Cllr David Carr to publish  a ‘secret report’.

Secret Report

Regular Wirral Leaks readers will know that our interest is piqued by the fact that we understand the report follows a Local Government Association (LGA) investigation into  what Stewart Halliday got up to before he landed a £200K +  ‘transformer’ gig at Wirral Council.

What also interests us is the sheer persistence of CYC councillors in pursuing this matter in the public interest. Can you imagine Wirral Council’s equivalent to CYC’s Audit & Governance Committee writing a cross- party letter to the leader of the Council asking for a report to published in the name of openness and transparency?

Indeed if they were doing their jobs properly there’s a particular ‘secret report’ that Wirral Council’s Audit & Risk Management Committee should be asking to be published. The sad fact is that half of this committee don’t even know what report we’re referring to and the other half know exactly what report we are referring to and are choosing to sweep the matter under the Wallasey Town Hall carpet !

 

 

 

Local Government Association – Hand In Glove With The Glove Puppets

Glove Puppet
Today we have decided take the Trans-Pennine Express and visit our friends in York. Not only to update you all on Stewart Halliday affair but to enable us to vent about local government in general and the Local  Government Association (LGA) in particular.
Firstly we’d like to thank the excellent website York Mix for providing comprehensive coverage of the bounteous beneficence bestowed from Stewart to Stuart aka  ‘ The Goulden Showers’.
For those who can’t decipher this code might we suggest you read an introduction here : Transparency v Secrecy
Here you will find independent City of York (CYC) councillor Mark Warters showing up our supine Wirral councillors for the waste of space that they are and daring to ask pertnent questions in a CYC Audit & Governance meeting about a draft LGA report into the Halliday affair that has been with the council for some time :

 

“And according to the people who really run the council – the senior officers – this report, even after it has been sanitised between the council’s HR department and the LGA, is to remain secret. Are you as a committee willing to condone this state of affairs? He said the committee should insist on seeing the “full, unsanitised draft report”. Otherwise it would confirm the scenario “that elected members are merely the glove puppets of the senior officers riding the local authority gravy train”.

Further understanding on how things work in York, in local government and indeed closer to home can be found in the following report on the Supply Management website:

The Local Government Association (LGA) was called in to review procurement at the council in the wake of controversy over how consultancy services were acquired in the past.

The LGA said procurement was held in high regard internally, with “many solid achievements” and delivering “good quality services”, but it was “subject to heightened scrutiny in York due to past internal control issues”.

“There remains a negative external perception of council procurement, including among members of the public,” said the report. “This negative perception needs to be addressed if the council is to secure public confidence in its procurement processes and the wider corporate governance arrangements.”

A previous audit report by Veritau in November 2016 focused on the appointment of a communications consultant and their associated company between 2013 and 2016. One particular chief officer, who no longer works for the council, was found to be mainly responsible for employing and making payments to the consultant and the company. These totalled more than £174,000.

The audit could find no material to back up claims contract procedures were followed. “At best this represents a failure to be transparent and to retain all relevant procurement documentation,” said the report. “However, it seems likely that there was a failure to follow proper procurement processes, including obtaining written quotations, ensuring sufficient potential suppliers were approached and agreeing a formal contract.”

The LGA review, carried out in June 2017, said it was “reassured to find that the council has a good corporate procurement function and that the compliance issues are being addressed”.

“However, as the council itself recognises, there is more to do in regard to procurement’s enabling role within the council’s developing commissioning framework and to address the residual negative perceptions of historical procurement issues.”

Full article can be read here : Negative Public Image
Doesn’t the excruciating, bureaucratic language of the LGA make ya wanna puke? Unfortunately this wretched organisation is stuffed to the gills with highly paid nonentities who think that what goes on in local government can be anonymised, rationalised and sanitised as long as it involves one of their own.
Fortunately for the truth -seekers out there we understand that after the meeting Cllr Warters collared the LGA representative giving the public report into procurement at City of York Council (CYC) as he left the meeting and left him in no doubt that the Halliday/Goulden business will end up with the police.
Now this is the kind of local representation we are crying out for and reinforces our long held view that INDEPENDENT candidates are the way to go and that DIVISIVE PARTY POLITICS HAS NO PLACE IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT and that the LGA ARE HAND IN GLOVE WITH THE GLOVE PUPPETS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT .
Even closer to home we are grateful that local resident Charles Nunn understands the issues at stake and comprehends that someone with apparently no understanding of even the most basic concepts of public procurement can wangle a near cool £200K + gig from long suffering Wirral Council tax payers :
I find it somewhat ironic that the major political upheaval in York is over dodgy contracts worth £175,000. Halliday, courtesy of the ever benevolent Wirral Council Tax payer, will be bunged about £50k more than that as a result of his contract extension.
Read it and weep.

Bank Holiday Bulletin Board

With His Lord and Ladyship still on what the latter lamentably calls a ‘vacay’ the faithful retainers at Leaky Towers have been asked to publicise the following in their absence.

Firstly we’ve been asked to give 2 local petitions some exposure:

https://www.change.org/p/wirral-council-stop-development-on-bidston-hill?utm_source=embedded_petition_view

The so called “LEISURE PENINSULA ” council want to sell off  land Bidston Hill for housing
The decision of no government funding to re-build NEW FERRY – central government may be selective when it comes to funding such disasters but from what we’ve seen we  have to say Wirral Council don’t seem to be cognizant about how such disaster funding actually works.
Secondly here’s a reminder and further news about the Defend Our NHS Wirral meeting on September 7th

Leaflet3 August 2017Dear friends of the NHS

This is to remind you of our public meeting in Birkenhead on Thursday 7th September.

We’re pleased to say that we will be joined by national campaigner Steve Carne talking about the STPs and NHS reinstatement.

The need to share information and alert the public is ever more urgent. Please circulate this message and the attachment. The NHS is on its knees and we need to fight desperately to save it.

Please see the revised notice for the meeting, which is attached, and this welcome news below from the Latest edition of Private Eye. The STPs are now called in true George Orwell style ‘sustainability and transformation partnerships’. ‘And’, by the way, is the only word in that title which does not mean the opposite of what it says:

·      ‘Sustainable’ = slashed budgets and services.

·      ‘Transformed’ = cut, demoralised and damaged beyond recognition.

·      ‘Partnership’ = developed in secret, operating in secret, condemned by local councils, a total lack of public/patient consultation, and the only happy partners are Richard Branson and a series of US ‘healthcos’.

 The STPs must be stopped, opposed, reversed and the damage undone.

We look forward to seeing you at the meeting, to which ALL Wirral councillors and MPs are being invited.

Best wishes on behalf of DONHS

More about STPs? http://www.stopthestps.org.uk/home/4593142849

More about DONHS? https://www.facebook.com/groups/defendournhs/

Leaflet3 August 20172

Where’s Wally?

Denial

Hopefully readers will be pleased to hear that Dr Robert B Smith is still on Wirral Council’s case. This time he’s trying to elicit a response from their CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson to queries he made via email over 6 months ago. Dr Smith has contacted all 66 councillors in asking whether Stressed Eric’s conduct was a) acceptable or b) unacceptable.

As far as we know the only councillor to respond was Cllr Walter Smith. We’ll leave you to read his email and Dr Smith’s meticulously researched riposte. However we would comment that as far as we’re concerned it’s a case of  ‘Walter by name , Wally by nature’. Indeed Cllr Smith has recently been observed on the campaign trail wearing a red fleece with his name printed on the back. Presumably to help him remember who he is if he get’s lost.  However if we were ever asked the question –  ‘Where’s Wally ?’ we’d have to say  : ‘In denial’……..

Dear Dr Smith,

I presume that there must be a reason for a failure to respond to your request. I suggest that you involve your local councillor. By the way WBC has never been better run than it is today. The officers do a good job, and we councillors have received the award of ‘The Most Improved Council’.

Kind regards,

Walter Smith.

Dear Cllr Walter Smith

It was my intention to circulate all Wirral Councillors with the results of my earlier survey, and reply  to you individually. I only asked for ‘unacceptable’ or ‘acceptable’ as a response. However, given your more expansive response to me, it would seem apposite to circulate my response more broadly.

Firstly, given your response, and the fact that you are a collective employer, why don’t you ask Mr Robinson what is his ‘reason for a failure to respond’? My assessment would be that he is unable to put anything in writing that would not seriously compromise his position.

Shall we take the latest development in the appalling situation regarding the Wirral Safeguarding Board, as a starting point?

The Government’s intervention by installing Eleanor Brazil to endeavour to address the numerous failings, speaks volumes regarding capability. As does Mr Robinson’s claim in the Wirral Globe given his background;

Eric Robinson, chief executive, said: “We have made some changes in terms of social care and I will now work with Julia Hassall”.
“My background is in Children’s Services so I will oversee the work”. (Wirral Globe 20 Sep 2016
)

The press coverage of the sentencing of Brothers Vinothan and Ilavarasan Rajenthiram, jailed for 40 years for grooming and sexual exploitation of vulnerable young girls in Wirral, included the following comment – “Over a five-year campaign Ilavarasan and Vinothan Rajenthiram groomed and sexually abused vulnerable young girls from Wirral, all known to Wirral Council”. That would go back to 2012 and doesn’t support the assertion of your 3rd sentence. Actually, it also blows a considerable hole ‘, in the claims made in your 4th sentence as well as in the credibility of the fantasy ‘The Most Improved Council 2015′ award.

Now, with regard to ‘The Most Improved Council’ award. I have discussed this award, and its credibility with Dr Gill Taylor of the Local Government Association (LGA). You will remember her from the ‘LGA Improvement Board’. I have also corresponded with the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) and Government Ministers. It was actually a Local Government Chronicle Award, one of a range of local government awards given by a local government subscription periodical. This ‘Most Improved’ award was apparently never awarded prior to 2015, and it has never been awarded since – too many burned sponsors fingers, I suspect.

You may remember Graham Burgess? Yes, he who breezed into the ‘Improvement Board’ in 2012/13 as a peer reviewer (at the request of the LGA and Michael Frater). At the time Graham Burgess was CEO of Blackburn & Darwen Council (which incidentally had won the LGC ‘Council of the Year’ award in 2011).

The recruitment of Graham Burgess as ‘interim’ CEO of Wirral Council was an ‘interesting’ process. And as for the permanent position – 8 applications…1 successful interviewee?

Quite like self-proclaimed Labour activist Mr Liptrot and his published email thread to Cllr Phil Davies. Not to mention Mr Liptrot’s numerous conflicts of interest. It was fortunate that Mr Tour felt absolutely compelled to ‘remind him about’ occupying a ‘politically restricted’ post whilst it was reported he had several contracts across Merseyside. With Wirral Council’s plummeting reputation, and no Joe Anderson metro-mayor bandwagon to ride on, it appears that a side-step to promote unattainable investment ‘opportunities’ matches a mythical skillset. So we witness a frenetic appointment ‘crucial’ before the Cannes visit to MIPIM. Expedience which truly stretches credulity.
But back to Graham Burgess.
Wirral Council’s own press release described him as a ‘leading light’ of the LGA. He was also a regular contributor to, and endorser of the LGC. For the 2015 ‘Most Improved’ award, the ‘live panel’ presentation was made by Graham Burgess and Cllr Phil Davies to assessors comprising mainly LGA member Chief Executives. (Doncaster Council, the 2015 award runner-up is an interesting study. Even more so if you add WBC, LGA, SOLACE, ex-WBC staff and very low interest loans into the mix.)

It is a shallow exercise in massaging political egos, and self-promotion for the LGA (and the LGC) to promote the ‘LGA Sector-led Improvement programme’ and the ‘peer review’ mechanism. If you achieve some supposed ‘improvement’, by some supposed ‘measure’ or ‘other’ and provide the tea and biscuits, the LGA will bask in the glory, and parade an individual (in Wirral’s case Cllr Phil Davies) around the country, as a ludicrous example, of a ‘success story’.

It is evident that aspiring to mediocrity underpins the peer review process, and serial under-achievement is the benchmark of ‘improvement’. This is displayed in pyrotechnic fashion in Wirral Council, where documents by both the LGA and Anna Klonowski quote wording proclaiming ‘…in her report, of 2012 Ms Klonowski highlights how at Wirral Council “the abnormal has become the norm”.’

That is 5 years ago. The ‘LGA Improvement Board’ covered the period March 2012 until November 2013 and then, its job done, disbanded. The LGA produced a glossy brochure detailing Wirral’s ‘improvement journey’. The summary introducing the document makes interesting reading and includes this claim.

Eighteen months after Wirral developed and implemented their action plan with the LGA, the Improvement Board that provided advice and oversight of Wirral’s improvement journey reported that sector-led improvement had “transformed” the Council to one that was “stable, well-led, open and far more inclusive.” If you don’t recognise that description, and I certainly don’t, here is the link. http://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/wirral-councils-sector-le-40f.pdf

An interesting comment in the Liverpool Echo published 8th May 2013 from Cllr Harney at the time of establishing the ‘LGA Improvement Board’ Cllr Harney said the council needs “a great deal more openness and much more rigorous performance management”.
He added: “People, councillors, senior managers and the public, have not been aware of what has been going on.”

One aspect of the withdrawal agreement with the Improvement Board, was that Opposition Councillors would occupy the Chairs of Scrutiny Committees. Is that still the case Cllr Smith? No of course it isn’t. All scrutiny committee chairs were taken by Labour councillors in 2014. That casting vote, as required to achieve the prescribed outcome, is crucial to driving unopposed decision-making, but also negates independent scrutiny, accountability and transparency.

Coupled with other constitutional changes giving sweeping new powers to Cabinet members, and a forthcoming fallow year for elections in 2017, any prescribed outcome is attainable. Add to that heady mix the ruling group en-bloc voting and abstention regimes, and what results? Mythical resident’s surveys aside, and resident ‘information deficit’, party-political voting which mostly ignores constituents’ wishes e.g. Girtrell Court and Lyndale School thrives. As you will know, these deliberate changes effectively create the situation where power rests solely with Cllr Phil Davies. How would you describe that model of administration?

Graham Burgess’ apparently effortless ‘soft-shoe shuffle’ into Wirral’s CEO position preceded the 2015 LGC ‘Award’. The Guardian newspaper published, on 10 Apr 2014, the 3rd in the series ‘Public Service Tango’ – Headlined ‘One leader, one chief executive – and a joint vision for their council’s future’ – a far from enlightening piece by Graham Burgess and Cllr Phil Davies. A good journalist would normally extract a ‘riveting quote’, or an ‘earth-shattering insight’ from the article to draw the reader into this revelatory discourse.

This must be the best available. “Wirral council’s leader and chief executive attend each other’s meetings and welcome ideas from all employees”. An absolutely breath-taking insight you must agree – but does it actually matter? Well yes, and, no.

Actually it doesn’t in this specific case as one learns nothing, but of more interest is this extract from a paragraph beneath the published article.
Phil Davies is leader of Wirral council; Graham Burgess is the council’s chief executive. This collection of articles on the relationship between public managers and politicians is supported by SOLACE and is running on the Guardian Public Leaders Network from March to June 2014.

I know that you will be on the edge of your seat by now, Cllr Smith, but what happens next? You will take solace from what happens next.

The very, very low-key publishing of the November 2015 ‘peer review’ follow-up, of Wirral Council, by the LGA. You may not know the then-Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council, but you should. His name is Mark Rogers – http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/birmingham-city-council-chief-executive-12625426

Mark Rogers was the CEO of Birmingham City Council, a member of the LGA and SOLACE, which if you don’t know is the Society Of Local Authority Chief Executives. It is most likely that Eric Robinson (from neighbouring Staffordshire) and Graham Burgess, and Cllr Phil Davies would know him. Not only was he a member of SOLACE (supporting the Guardian article), but he was its President until October 2016.

Birmingham CEO Mark Rogers (LGA member and SOLACE President) was one of the ‘experts’ who undertook the ‘peer review’ of 2015 which unlike the ‘sector-led improvement journey’, and the farcical ‘Most Improved Council 2015’ award, was unleashed on an unwitting public without fanfare and illustrates regression, not improvement. I would imagine that even Mark Rogers would struggle signing that review off, with his background in children’s social care?

Does that look familiar, given Eric Robinson’s previous employment?
At this point, the question for me is where do I stop ‘joining the dots’?
I have only scratched the surface of the machinations of Wirral Council above, but you will get a flavour of why I have some difficulty taking your response seriously.

Wirral Council ruling administration is in serious trouble, and using great swathes of public money to defend the indefensible, is actually indefensible.

I look forward to receiving your response,
Your sincerely

Dr Robert B Smith FCMI

ps I would be making these observations and comments whatever the political colour of any Council administration conducting itself in this manner.

Basket Case Review

Pip Resign 012

Even gormless Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies must know he’s in big trouble when the usually lazy and compliant  Wirral edition of the Liverpool Echo runs the front splash – Wirral Council boss ‘must resign’  followed by a double page spread headlined  ‘Five Years of Shame : How Wirral Social Services Failed Its Most Vulnerable’ and Leader Under Pressure To Quit Over Child Abuse Failings’.

Pip Resign 009

It comes to something when the most complicit agent of Wirral Council’s armoury of reputation management realises that artist’s impressions of the International Trade Centre on Wirral Waters just doesn’t cut it when a couple of miles away young girls are being groomed and abused in a tawdry cornershop.

And as for the mantra ‘ lessons have been learned’. Just cut it out. We don’t care if it’s Pip, new Cabinet member for Children’s Services Bernie Mooney ( Gawd’elp us) or the new Chair of Wirral’s Children’s Safeguarding Board – Dr Maggie Atkinson who use the dreaded phrase . Dr Atkinson in particular needs to realise the people of Wirral have been here many times before and we’ve had enough of the platitudes and the cliches and the soundbites.

Pip Resign 010

How we remember another so-called Doctor  – Dr Gill Taylor from the Local Government Association (LGA) who breezed in the last time Wirral needed an Improvement Board and then breezed out with plaudits and pay cheques for the LGA  and abolutely nothing for the people as she declared ,yes you guessed it, lessons have been learned.

I suppose we have to wait for the publication of the Serious Case Review in the summer before we can FULLY judge the failings of Wirral Council and other statutory agencies involved in the appalling Rajenthiram brother’s depraved exploitation of our most vulnerable.

Although we have to say a Serious Case Review (SCR) is a step in the right direction. The last time an Improvement Board was set up they’re wasn’t even a  SCR to consider when a vulnerable adult had been found dead after 13 hours after repeated warnings that his placement with an abusive organisation linked to drugs money laundering was putting him at grave risk.

Pip Resign 011

Finally can we say – fuck what Ipsos MORI tell us – the most disempowered members of our community, young vulnerable girls, do not need their ‘information deficit’ met by Wirral View .They need protection and support from the agencies that get paid handsomely to do their jobs.  Not much to ask is it?

ps  can we just hope you’re all tuning into ‘Three Girls’ right now  on BBC1

 

Reference Point 2 : A Halliday Hullabaloo!

Truth Sounds

There’s been yet another twist in the tale of the ‘Happy Halliday’ saga :

Happy Halliday  Nous Sommes Charlie Reference Point

Indomitable Wirral resident Charles Nunn has valiantly chased up queries about the appointment of controversial ex City of York Council (CYC) employee Stewart Halliday to Wirral Council and received this response from elusive (and gullible?) Wirral Council CEO Eric’ Feeble’ Robinson :

‘Thank you for your email  dated 13 March 2017 and follow up email on 26 March 2017. 

 The Council’s Human Resources Team has confirmed the following:
 
Mr Halliday is engaged via an agency through the Council’s contract with Matrix Ltd.  Under the process, Matrix require supplying agencies to supply references for the previous two years employment history.
 
These references were sent directly to the line manager recruiting the worker.  There is no requirement for our Human Resources Team to be involved in all such engagements.  The line manager also elected to seek an additional reference from the former Chief Executive of York Council and subsequently a further reference was provided to the agency by the Director of Communities and Neighbourhoods still currently working at York.
 
We have been advised by Mr Halliday that he refutes all the allegations which are matter of ongoing dispute between him and his previous employer. It is not appropriate for Wirral Council to comment any further on these allegations.’
However  Charles ‘ trans-pennine contacts were having Nunn of it (geddit?).

Here’s a couple of responses from his contacts in York which have been judiciously edited , not that we doubt the veracity of some of the statements , but we know how delicate the sensibilities of our highly paid public servants are and we don’t want to prompt another outraged response from’Blotto’! . The first goes something like this :

‘I’m utterly gobsmacked at the response from the C.E.O. of Wirral Council, but, knowing how these organisations work, perhaps I shouldn’t be? ……….The Director of Communities and Neighbourhoods was Sally Burns at the time Halliday was there, but, she has also now left…..Judge for yourself – here are the dynamic duo in action (do try not to fall asleep whilst watching their spell-binding performance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_C47mc1m1U

It is laughable, and outrageous that Halliday refutes the allegations…….

The front this man has, beggars belief…
Halliday hasn’t “refuted” anything.
He has “denied” it.
There is a big difference in the meaning of these words.
There is NO ongoing dispute twixt Halliday and CYC.’
The second comment is no less compromising :

‘The  current holder of the grandiose title of  Director of Communities and Neighbourhood did NOT provide a reference. I am certain, as are no doubt you, that it was a previous post holder Ms. Burns who, like (Kersten) England furnished a glowing testimonial.

In order to “refute” something one must put forward evidence and argument to conclusively demonstrate that the allegations are invalid.  Halliday has NOT done this.  Indeed he cannot. 
We know for an indisputable fact what the procurement rules are – and also for a fact that he has failed to comply with them.
Ergo – he is guilty as charged.
His denials are worthless; but he is hardly likely to openly admit wrongdoing is he?  Or accept responsibility for it all? ‘
In an attempt to resolve the matter CYC Councillor Mark Warters has waded in (geddit?) in an attempt to address the discrepancies seemingly raised in Stressed Eric’s email and has asked current CYC CEO Mary Weastall the following questions :
Dear Mary,
Following the receipt of an FOI response forwarded to me from a concerned Wirral resident penned by the Wirral Council CEO that Stewart Halliday is in “ongoing dispute” with CYC;
Please confirm that Mr. Halliday is in “dispute” with CYC and what the nature of the dispute is.
Please also confirm the origin of the second reference provided to Wirral Council from the Director of Communities and Neighbourhoods “still currently working at York”, I assume that was the former Director Sally Burns who departed under a reorganisation some time ago.
If this was the case why was the reference provided from this directorate as Mr Halliday was working for the Chief Executives Directorate.
I understand that a reference was obtained from former CYC CEO Kersten England, was a reference ever sought from the CYC CEO at the time, I assume that was Steve Stewart?
I look forward to the LGA investigation into the 22nd February A&G meeting and wonder in relation to the “ongoing dispute” with CYC if the LGA brief should be extended to cover all aspects of this sorry saga including the procurement fails at CYC, the relationships between CYC officers, including Mr. Halliday and the external communications ‘consultants’ and Mr. Halliday’s subsequent employment at Wirral Council.
I am sure the LGA would be keen to operate across two local authorities to get to the bottom of these matters if only to prevent further reputational risk to member local authorities.
Thank you in anticipation of your assistance in these matters.
To which we at Leaky Towers would’ve been ready to heartily cheer ‘here!,here!’,  if only the Local Government Association(LGA) were not involved!
However I’m sure we’d all like to know who’s telling the truth don’t we ? – place your bets now on the ‘Stewart Halliday Sweepstakes’. Which is a bit like this week’s upcoming ‘Grand National Sweepstakes’ which involves the public losing a lot of money on something that should have have put out to grass a long time ago.

Wirral Council Scoundrels : Five Years On

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.

The Big Lie Gets Even Bigger……

It’s been a week since we published our heartfelt preview of what was then the upcoming Ofsted inspection report of Wirral Council’s Children’s Services

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

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.

 

china4

China Crisis 

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?.

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

Walker Walks

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’.

https://uk.linkedin.com/in/bernard-walker-3333713b

Self Improvement 

“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!……”

 

 

The Gaslighters : Silent but Deadly

Lying

Wirral Council will be holding the most significant meeting in their history today.

What do you mean you haven’t heard about it?…… details are right there on their website. Oh no sorry they aren’t are they ?!.

Of course they’re not as Wirral Council’s gaslighting* of the masses continues unabated.

So what are we banging on about you might ask yourselves? – today (and possibly) tomorrow if the meeting is adjourned , in a room somewhere in Wallasey Town Hall , the details of the second (and hopefully more factually accurate ) Thynne Inquiry will be laid bare before a select few. A select few who have been sworn to secrecy and silence.

Not surprisingly we’ve made the comparison to the Chilcot Inquiry before –  delays, bureaucrats protecting their political masters, and the Maxwellisation of the process as politicians bleat about how they’re being picked on and it’s all so unfair.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/the-maxwellisation-of-wirral-council/

The only difference is it looks like The Chilcot Inquiry will actually get published very soon and discussion will take place in public . We even live in hope that there may actually be some sort of belated accountability for the Iraq war debacle.

But oh no not the Thynne Inquiry – what could possibly be so incendiary that it wouldn’t be allowed to see the light of day?. Could it be the truth about how some of the most senior politicians on Wirral conduct themselves and have been conducting themselves for many years ? . Destroying the lives and livelihoods of those who dared challenge their wrongdoing so that they could  maintain their reputations and positions of power – and what’s more using YOUR MONEY to do it!.

As we’ve said before it is the poison that has infected the body politic of Wirral for far too long. An infection that the likes of the Local Government Association and various consultants have diagnosed (for a big fat fee)  but chose to walk away from saying  to Wirral Council : physician heal thyself!.  The physician in this case being Harold Shipman.

Of course the Thynne Inquiry is just one half  of this sordid tale. Does anyone know if the Nick Warren Review (allegedly completed in April 2015) will  ever see the light of day?. No – thought not!. Whilst we might know that both of the reports from these investigations are different sides of the same sordid ,moneygrubbing coin known as Wirralgate –  why is it that  the people of Wirral aren’t allowed to know ?. Is it because they’re just considered to be the mugs kept in perpetual ignorance  and yet are expected pick up the tab for covering up corruption in high places.

Therefore we ask is it too much to expect that Wirral Council communications tsar Martin Liptrotsky should be enlightening rather than gaslighting the press about today’s momentous meeting?.

 

*Gaslighting