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.

Mob Rule

WIRRALYOBBOS

‘If they are Caesars or Cromwells, they seize power for themselves. If they are spineless courtiers, uninterested in doing good yet dangerous when they seek to do harm, they go back to lay their power at their master’s feet, and help him to resume arbitrary power on condition they become his chief servants ‘– Maximilien Robespierre, 1791

Is it us or does it suddenly seem as though Wirral Council is gripped with turmoil akin to pre-revolutionary France?

Consider if you will the “Golden Shower” – the gilded elite sustained by Comrade Burgesski which has come to symbolise the excess and decadence of Wirral Council – holding court at top-notch tucked-away hostelries and pissing on the proles.

No jobs? no prospects ? no hope ? – “Let them play golf” drawls Burgesski and his courtiers and then signs another cheque of public money to get him out of a bunker dug for him by careless, feckless and clueless local politicians.

Of course we were soon onto the man once described as “the fourth most influential man in local government” ( that’s one hell of a chat up line I’m sure you agree) and identified that he was really the Emperor With No Clothes ………

However we do admit Burgesski proved to be a rich source (no pun intended) of satire – from lampooning his preening vanity in the “What Really Matters” video to his St.Vitus Dance routine at last years Improvement Board Royal Variety Show.

The man who arrived on Wirral thinking he was a shoe-in for an OBE and a nice little pension pot top up – who soon followed the path of least resistance and threw his hand in with the people who had brought Wirral Council so low in exchange for a permanent contract – only to find they were to later to turn on him when he made the suggestion that the future assistant Chief Executive should be a particularly favoured courtier.

Fear not dear readers the revolutionary spirit lives on at Leaky Towers – even in the face of the relentless photo-op phonies.We all know who they are – the ones with seemingly endless access to local media. Note how the press statements and PR stunts from certain local politicians rise exponentially with the effluence emanating from Wallasey Town Hall. The latest manifestation of this loathing by politicians for the people they are meant to serve comes in the form of the desperate and manipulative “yob culture” rhetoric we have witnessed this past week.

We can only long for the day when the so called “yobs” rise from their false consciousness and instead of terrorizing their own neighbourhoods they begin to direct their anger and frustration toward the false messiahs who fail to consider their own manifest failings when it comes to a situation where disaffected,disenfranchised and dysfunctional young people on Wirral feel they have no option but to make other people’s lives as miserable as their own.

Not so much “Yob Culture is Ruining Town” as “Mob Culture is Running Town”

Vive le revolution!

Purdah Most Foul

Smile for the CAMRA (geddit?). The peerless,the fearless and the beerless (that's St.Frank obviously).

Smile for the CAMRA (geddit?). The peerless,the fearless and the beerless (that’s St.Frank obviously).

Wirral Council has just issued a “Statement of Persons Nominated” for the local elections to be held on 22nd May and therefore it was Verity’s task to wade through the nominations looking for any interesting developments.

Whilst there was wry amusement to be had that Rock Ferry Green Party candidate Karl Cumings was proposed by the appropriately named Ivy Woods a more interesting revelation was the absence of Cllr Simon Mountney’s nomination for the Saughall Massie ward.

Of course we all know Cllr.Mountney for being the Councillor who put his reputation on the line to valiantly support whistleblower Martin Morton (indeed we understand that he had to face some opposition within his own party for his stance let alone from the opposition benches.)

Now we don’t know Cllr.Mountney’s reason for withdrawing from the Town Hall cesspit but we’d like to wish him well in his future endeavours and if he’d like to give us the lowdown on what went on behind the scenes we can be contacted at wirralleaks@gmail.com

And so we now find ourselves in the middle of Purdah –  the pre-election period  between an announced election and the final election results. Purdah in local government ends at the annual meeting of the council in the new municipal year. For local elections, the activities of local authorities in the pre-election period are governed by the Code of recommended practice on local authority publicity, which is issued as part of the provisions of the Local Government Act 1986 which read :

Elections, referendums and petitions

41. The period between the notice of an election and the election itself should preclude proactive publicity in all its forms of candidates and other politicians involved directly in the election. Publicity should not deal with controversial issues or report views, proposals or recommendations in such a way that identifies them with individual members or groups of members. However, it is acceptable for the authority to respond in appropriate circumstances to events and legitimate service enquiries provided that their answers are factual and not party political. Members holding key political or civic positions should be able to comment in an emergency or where there is a genuine need for a member level response to an important event outside the authority’s control. Proactive events arranged in this period should not involve members likely to be standing for election

So all and all this is an interesting time on the local political scene as we note @frankfieldteam suddenly return to Twitter after a 10 month hiatus.In other words an eager to please intern gets to tweet on behalf of St.Frank during Purdah .

However we note the following tweet posted on April 3rd  by @frankfieldteam which rather gives the game away has since been deleted:

“Pleased to announce we are reopening our Twitter account. Much more to follow over the coming days and weeks…”

So over the “coming days and weeks” we can expect more opportunistic and cynical pics from a local MP who makes Esther McVague appear to be a rank amateur when it comes to “realpolitik”.

Of course those who follow local politics (and unfortunately for democracy there appears to be very few on Wirral ) something similar happened at the last local elections when St.Frank’s bezzy Cllr.Jean Stapleton was under threat in the local elections from Pat Cleary from the Green Party.

And so it would appear that this time that Brian Kenny will be the fortunate beneficiary of “The Frank Field Effect”.

Finally we’d like to draw your attention (geddit?) to the fact that Purdah  comes from the Persian word “pardeh” meaning “curtains”, referring to the status of women hidden from the world of men.

 

All we can say is that we wish it was “curtains” for some prominent local politicians who are not facing re-election this time round and not the likes of Councillor Mountney……..

LEST WE FORGET ….TO HAVE A FEW JARS AT THE TAXPAYERS EXPENSE

DREBBIN

After the toe-curling Nuremberg rally-like address last week by Colonel Burgesski to Wirral Council staff – that all was now well, there is no longer anything to see here, so please move along; Frank Drebin, eat your heart out – it was a relief to see business has returned to abnormal today.

It is only, after all, the most poignant day of the year, so let’s dunk our heads as deep into the trough as we possibly can, eh?

Lord and Lady Leaks sat appalled today as we witnessed the mutual love in at Birkenhead Town Hall, where the not-at-all-great and the not-even-slightly-good milled around with the decent, the honest, and the friends and family of the injured, fallen, and serving military personnel who collectively put the Brighton Street weasels to shame.

Burgesski was on coffee, we noted. But it was knees-up Mother Brown for council leader Phil Davies, a somewhat subdued George Davies (can’t imagine why, *cough*), mayor-to-be-if-he-really-still-thinks-that-ho-ho-ho Steve Foulkes, and his winsome cohorts Moira McLaughlin, Anna McLaughlin (another cough) and thirsty ex-mayor John Cocker.

All of it paid for by YOU dear Wirral Council taxpayer, too!

Yep, it was a freebie that only last year ol’ Burgesski deemed a bad use of public funds. But this year he changed his mind on opening the bar to all and sundry. Maybe he needs some pals?

“Who is Wirral Leaks?” they murmured and fidgeted, as the lady pianist played in the background in the main reception room, and also as the Scotsman piper played prior to service outside the town hall.

But they soon forgot that as the bun fight began for the free drinks, served in the “old” mayor’s parlour.

Beer on tap, every spirit you could think of. And all free. In a refurbished parlour (Foulkes is coming after all, huge and red like the Coca Cola Christmas truck) that surely cost thousands.

What they forgot to do, of course, was to think about the day itself. Rather than a barney for our Brighton Street brethren, this was supposed to be a day of reflection.

But the lift at Birkenhead Town Hall was too jittery, so Lady Leaks was horrified to see old soldiers having to climb four sets of stairs.

Missing, though, on such an auspicious day, were Spinders and Addled. Why? Prior appointment? Lady Leaks thinks she should be told…

Wirral Council Goes Back To School


As I take a break from watching the Beach Volleyball and as my good Lady was showing  a particularly avid interest in the swimming at the Olympics ,my wonderful personal assistant Miss Snoop (herself a fine Lacrosse player in her day) has just brought to my attention that Wirral Councillors and their Officers are “being sent back to school”.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/9845875.It_s_back_to_school_for_Wirral_councillors_and_officers/?ref=mc


Yes seriously !  Yet again Wirral Council projects itself beyond satire and in doing so demonstrates the normal isn’t just abnormal, it’s bat shit, eye rolling, tongue lolling, spittle flecked nuts!  One can only conjecture what might be on the curriculum at this school for incompetents  although I suspect that Reputation Management, The Art of Spin and How to Manage a Cover Up will feature prominently.

And I’m sure that “Games” would be well attended, although sadly it appears there will be no sack race!

 It does make me wonder what the Council Officers who have attended Masters in Business Administration courses (which we the public have paid for) have been doing with their qualifications. One suspects they’re merely adornments on some glittering CV’s as any “learning” has clearly not been brought back to the workplace. How much do these people get paid ?  Our coachman Vainian has been heard calling these officers “self-serving fuckwits” and although we do not approve of such colourful industrial language (unlike Brain Moore domed  Councillor Harry “Fuck you! ” Smith) we believe he may have adroitly summed up the problem.

 

We understand that a spokesperson for the Council has issued the following statement: “

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“Lessons have been learned so ,er, lessons must be learned………will that do as an empty soundbite for now?”.

***********************

We also note that the  Council safeguarding improvement plan  [ Council Report on Adult Protection or C.R.A.P.) is amazingly still some way off being acceptable!!!!

SEE HERE 

Now even a cursory glance would suggest that surely the advice within is obvious stuff, and something we would have expected them to be doing as the NORM!! And therefore begs the question what the hell were they doing before now ??

Adieu,

Lord Wirral-Leaks