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

 

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Dead Wrong

Cabinet 019

Cllr George Davies hangs his head in shame. Correction : he has no shame. 

Today’s Wirral Council Cabinet meeting gave the powers that be the opportunity to respond to the criticism levelled at them by central government that they couldn’t organise a bunfight in a bakery when it comes to local planning issues with their failure to produce a ‘Local Plan’.

Unfortunately spineless council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies , in his inimitable style, delegated the task of chairing this meeting to his hapless deputy , Cllr George Davies. But where was Pip? – New York? Reno? Cannes? China? Apparently anywhere but his ward in Birkenhead or Wallasey Town Hall! Consequently we’d like to send him an early Easter present – a petri dish. Perhaps he’ll be able to grow a scrotum in it!

petri dish

Inevitably it didn’t work out well as Gorgeous George hid behind his PC screen (which makes a change from hiding behind Frank Field’s skirts) and , as usual, embarassingly read out a pre-prepared empty speech which bore a remarkable similarity to an exclusive statement issued to Wirral Globe by Pip in his belated response to Sajid Javid, the Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government,and his letter threatening government intervention which we exclusively revealed to the people of Wirral –  Making Plans For Wirral

The belated Wirral Globe story can be read here

The use of the term ‘dead wrong’ was a dead giveaway that this was a Martin Liptrot-scripted case of talking loud and saying nothing.  Watch in horror from behind the settee from 7.30 minutes in of the John Brace video as Cllr George Davies has the temerity to say that as a  government minister Sajid Javid is “entitled to his opinion” . Whereas the truth of the matter is that Javid is entitled in LAW to insist that Wirral Council abide by their statutory obligations and produce a coherent ‘Local Plan’ .

What we find to be ‘dead wrong’ in the above horrorshow is that someone who has used racist slurs and offered a sweetheart deal to scammers  in return for smearing a political opponent is deemed to have the moral authority and political gravitas to challenge the accusation that he is monumentally incompetent when it comes to fronting Wirral Council’s planning portfolio.

Just watch and tell us whether it makes you feel proud that the people above – and Cllr George Davies in particular  – are responsible for making decisions that affect you and your life.

Cabinet 005

Wirral Council ‘leadership’ in action. These are the people who make decisions about our lives whilst avoiding the public gaze from behind their (smoke)screens .

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #9

Javid letter 354

Mail on Sunday 25/3/18

LOCAL PLANS,WEDDING PLANS – IT’S ALL THE SAME TO THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT (NO F*CKS ARE GIVEN)  

We think it’s fair to say it’s been a bad week for Wirral Council’s planning department. Just to cap it off there was a High Court ruling on the long running Thornton Manor story  A Thornton Huff : Where once again ‘ignorance is bliss’ when it comes to the Green Belt . You won’t be surprised to hear that Mr Justice Kerr ruled that Wirral Council had allowed Thornton Manor to flout planning laws and erect three marquees on the Green Belt by mistakenly making the permission to do so ‘unconditional’. The council only spotted the blunder in March 2017  – SIX YEARS  after permission was granted – like you do. In an unprecedented move Wirral Council apparently “confessed to its error “(!) which prompted the owners of  nearby rival and Mayor’s Ball venue , Thornton Hall Hotel, to make a legal challenge. Press reports say that as Thornton Manor has made wedding bookings up until 2020 that up to 50,000 guests could be affected by the ruling. Mr Justice Kerr stated ” I do not think that the existence of these bookings should override the public interest in the integrity of the planning process”. Little does he know that the public interest and integrity of the planning process seem to be alien concepts to Wirral Council!

We have to say the story reduced Her Ladyship to tears……..tears of laughter that is – as she read that blushing brides had been tempted to hire one of the marquees for their big day with a ‘Say I Do In Choo’ promo, where if they spent £3,950 – which struck us as a bit of a random figure – they would be entitled to a £500 voucher for Jimmy Choo shoes.  Her Ladyship composed herself after her bout of schadenfreude and rather pointedly sniffed : ” I think that prospective brides will find that being Choo-less is the first of many disappointments when it comes to married life “

“DON’T LET THE S*N GO DOWN ON FRANK” PLEADS MATRON

Oo-er Matron! Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin tries to come to the rescue of her adored Frank Field as he came under fire at Friday night’s Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP) meeting for continuing to write for The S*n .

The Skwawkbox blog reports that a strongly-worded motion of censure was proposed by Birkenhead CLP’s Prenton branch which stated as follows :

Prenton Branch condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the decision of Frank Field to write for Murdoch’s S*n. This not only flies in the face of Birkenhead public opinion and a Wirral Labour Council boycott, it rides roughshod over the memory of those who died or survived the Hillsborough tragedy and were smeared by that rag. It also causes upset to friends and family of victims and survivors.

One Prenton member has cancelled his membership due to Frank’s involvement in the gutter press. The branch feels that this is a clear case of bringing our Party into disrepute.

We call on Frank, to give a clear, unambiguous, public apology, for the hurt caused and to provide an undertaking not to contribute in any way, in future.

field-s_n-clp

“The writing was almost literally on the wall beyond him” –  pic and caption courtesy The Skwawkbox

A Labour Party member who was present at the meeting told Skwawkbox :

Frank said that he would not be muzzled. He refused to give the requested commitment not to repeat the offence caused and stated that if members didn’t like it, they could deselect him.

He flounced out of the meeting, claiming that he was continuing his surgery at nearby Birkenhead Town Hall. Nobody believed that, as it was nearly 8 pm and his surgery started at 5 pm!

His parting shot was some snide comment about Jeremy Corbyn, but members shouted back at him “thanks for nominating him”, as Field provided the deciding vote, which secured JC’s place on the original ballot!

We remind him of that frequently. If he thought he was being clever at the time, and JC had no chance of winning, look how that turned out.

Read full story here : Labour MP Field censured by Birkenhead CLP for S*n columns

The flouncing , arrogance and snide comments of Frankenfield will be familiar to those who happen to get on the wrong side of the Birkenhead MP . All you have to do is simply not to agree that he is 100% right on EVERYTHING and fail to prostrate yourself in adoration before him and you’re a wild-eyed Trotskyite and/or a mad malcontent. Which brings us round to Matron who gallantly (and unusually) writes in support of her hero in the comments section (Frankenfield had himself had declined to comment to The Skwawkbox) . There’s an interesting spat with local blogger Wirral In It Together. Matron loses – badly (and inevitably). One comment that particularly caught our eye was from Ian Campbell who wrote : “1984 N Wales Euro election Frank FIELDS (sic)  signed a half page in all the 10 constituency newspapers to warn against Ian Campbell the official Labour Candidate LP general Secretary wrote to me to apologise adding Fields has the backing of the Catholic Church and is untouchable.”

This reminded us that we really must get round to that story about Anglican Field’s extensive local connections with the Catholic Church………

ALL WRAPPED UP

You’re telling us that the Wirral Growth Company news emanating from its PR arm Wirral Well Made is absolutely relentless. We understand that this week’s Wirral Globe featured yet another 4 page  wrap around ‘advertising feature’ (costing  £4K +). Why Wirral Council’s ruling Labour administration continues to publish their Wirral View and duplicate spending on exactly the same content in a local newspaper we can only assume is down to arrogance and contempt for council tax payers. Wirral Well Made ‘s Martin Liptrot must be Wirral well made up that having wanting to put the Wirral Globe out of business he now has the financial means to use it as just another Wirral Council media outlet  Indeed Wirral Council now appear to have the local mainstream media all wrapped up. Indeed one reader has kindly sent us an artful representation of what it feels like to be subject to the ongoing media bombardment :

Javid letter 361

And what’s more it would appear that local opposition parties are not able to do anything about it. Whilst we understand the local Conservatives took out their own pre-purdah page in this week’s Wirral Globe (presumably paid for by local Tories and not by local council tax payers) to rerun the usual fare of complaints about consultants, Wirral View , Hoylake Golf Resort , bins and loans it seems to us that despite the high costs these are , politically-speaking , low ticket items :

Javid letter 360

The problem that opposition parties on Wirral now have (and particularly the Tories) is that as a result of their misplaced politesse the big ticket item of institutional corruption involving a small cabal of  Labour councillors has allowed the latter to act with impunity . Consequently this cabal have grown in strength, increased their power and are now acting, somewhat like their mentor and spiritual leader Frankenfield , as though they are “untouchable” . And with a perpetually impotent opposition with few new ideas things can only get worse.

AND FINALLY….

There were a few notable absentees ( including Cllr Louise Reecejones) and the announcement of a couple of retirements at this week’s full Wirral Council meeting. The latter included Cllr John Hale , a former Wirral Council leader from the last century (or was it the century before that?) and outgoing Mayor and former Deputy Leader of  Wirral Council  Cllr Ann ‘Moving Forward’ McLachlan.  Cllr McLachlan always appeared to us to be in a permanent state of denial about the appalling conduct of some of her contemporaries be they Wirral councillors or council officers . Her mantra was always about ‘moving forward’ as if it made all that ‘unpleasantness’ suddenly disappear. Now that Cllr McLachlan is ‘moving forward’ into retirement from politics perhaps she will take time to reflect that sometimes silence is compliance.

 

 

 

 

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #8

PIP’S PANTO 

Our loyal readers get us and know exactly what – and who – we like (and don’t like). Accordingly the following information was sent to us by a few members  of the Leakerati and was described as an “open goal” by one and came with the message “please, I implore you. Have some fun with this….” from another. So channelling that laid back Sunday vibe here goes : Wirral Council are commissioning a pantomime.

Panto 006

As you can see we are not making this shit up . Yes, yes we know it’s always panto season at Wirral Council but we’ll leave you to do your own punchlines . Suffice to say this year’s pantomime has been confirmed as ‘Aladdin’. Freud would have a field day with that choice – keeping the genie in the bottle , the rubbing of lamps etc. For future years might we suggest that ‘Sinbad’ would be the obvious choice (think about it) …..then there’s  ‘Pinocchio’ (the audition for the lead would be right down New Brighton prom) or how about old favourites ‘Spinderella’ and  ‘Puss In (Ugg) Boots’? Indeed someone going by the name ‘Dazzler’ suggests to us a bawdy retro look at how car parking charges at country parks are impacting on the local dogging community with a production of ‘Babes In The Wood’. What does Wirral Council Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies think ?

Pip's panto

MIPIM IN THE BUD 

Talking of outmoded sexism (and racism) we’ve been asked how the Wirral Council delegation got on dans notre coin de pays at this week’s MIPIM (‘Le marche international des professionnels de l’immoblier’) event in Cannes. Unlike last year where they were seen flogging themselves all over social media like a Cannes courtesan (see below) it appears that curiously they’ve been keeping a low profile. They even left the latest ‘Wirral Waters ‘announcement to Peel’s Richard Mawdsley . Read more here : Wirral Waters

Despite the fanfare it was merely confirmation to us that what we have here is a private housing project kick-started by public money. Although we did note that all concerned are still including a ‘speculative industrial project’ as part of future plans. Let’s face it ‘speculative’ is the word – and when it comes to ‘Wirral Waters’ it has been all along !

Checking out the #MIPIM tweets and social media posts it would appear that when it came to Wirral it was as usual case of the Wirral minnow and the Liverpool whale (no that’s not a reference to Mayor Joe) as Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and Liverpool City Council’s Mayor Joe Anderson took centre stage – although when it comes to the latter we have to ask – who on earth thought that was a good idea?

During our research we couldn’t help notice that there was there was a great deal of national coverage – including The Financial Times and The Guardian – about how sex workers had been banned at this year’s MIPIM event as the sleazy property industry tries to shed its sexist and racist image. As one delegate named Jane said : “What other industry on the face of the earth in 2018 needs to remind businessmen that they can’t bring prostitutes to an industry conference?”

Might we question that whilst the Wirral Council delegation might have felt at home at why did Wirral council tax payers have to pay for this sleazy jamboree?

The most prominent Wirralian we could find referenced on social media was Wirral Olympian Chris Boardman who rocked up to speak on behalf of er…..Manchester. Although we suppose we should be grateful that at least it wasn’t the ubiquitous Sam Quek.

One thing we did find out is that the outfit responsible for all those bloody artist’s impressions are called Uniform Architectural Visualisation . Didn’t you just know they’d be called something like that ? This latest one one is for Egerton Village/Square  – about which we expect to hear much more.

Egerton Visualisation

A DIFFERENT WORLD

One of the twitter feeds we checked out for MIPIM news was  @WirralWellMade which is as far as we can make out is the Martin Liptrot-led  PR arm of the Wirral Growth Company .The latest Tweet we looked at goes like this :

Sunday Times 012

Seriously?

It transpires that this refers to Heswall being named fourth best place to live in North West in a poll published in today’s The Sunday Times. What we are waiting for Marty is an accurate reflection of what it’s really like to live on Wirral. Relentless positivity is all Wirral well made and good but might we suggest that accurate reporting and reflection of reality is even better ? Even The Sunday Times described The Wirral (sic) as “a different world” .

Sunday Times 016

Ain’t it just! and one we don’t recognise or no longer care to be part of !

…..AND FINALLY

West Wirral

We’ve been sent this screenshot from this week’s West Wirral Constituency meeting. Now either that’s a misplaced seating arrangement or we need to send Wirral Council’s Deputy Chief Executive David Armstrong our best wishes on his/her transitioning as currently this is the least convincing gender reassignment since boxing promoter Frank Maloney decided to become Kellie.

 

 

Muse Musings

How lovely of the local MSM to join the local party (and we all know what party that is don’t we boys and girls?).

OK so the Liverpool Echo and Wirral Globe are exactly ONE MONTH late in dancing to Martin Liptrot’s tune after Wirral Leaks exclusively revealed that Muse Developments were Wirral Council’s preferred partner – in what exactly? Wirral Growth Company – apparently !

Our thanks go to ‘Frankie'(not that one obviously) for saying this  :

I know you’ve moved away and hope your enjoying being away from the rat race…. just to give you an update looks like the clowncil are about to appoint the partner this being MUSE who seem to be the front runner in the shenanigans.

Loves ya leaky
Frankie

MUSE

Wirral Council placing public assets and development programmes under the control of a private company –  what could possibly go wrong?  Just don’t mention Carillion ! Full story here :  Dispatches from Dystopia

However it wasn’t us who noticed that the orchestrated media message about Muse Developments was embargoed until it could be better managed . As one of our (many) sources said after picking up the story from Martin Liptrot’s Facebook page : ” He’s headlines in all our local fearless news outlets today….”

Cabinet to consider appointment of Wirral Growth Company partner

Stunning new images

Isn’t he just ? – but we just wish he’d spare us yet more bloody artist’s impressions. Our favourite quote was from Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies who is in the Liverpool Echo saying that the Wirral Growth Company “would be accountable to the public”.

Wirral Growth Company – A PRIVATE Limited Company

Well that would make a change wouldn’t it? We can’t even get a public body to be accountable let alone a private limited company. Moreover the Wirral Growth Company appears to be a one man operation (or should that be be one man bandit?) as it is registered in the name of the eternal Wirral Council frontman David Armstrong. A man who when it comes to being held accountable on behalf of Wirral Council at a forthcoming Tribunal said he’d call in sick if asked to do so ( didn’t he Rosemary?)

We’d also like to ask as to why Wirral Council had to resort to a solicitor in Bristol by the name of Christopher Harper (Bevan Brittan LLP )to set up this thoroughly flimsy looking operation.

Having said all that what we’re particularly interested in is the role of Power Boy Pip’s friend and neighbour Martin Liprot (aka Liptrotsky) who according to his LinkedIn page is no longer the ‘Lead Investment Officer (Interim)’ at Wirral Council and has now resorted to being a ‘Communications, Stakeholder Engagement & Public Affairs Consultant’. That’s ‘Spin Doctor’ to you and us. Although somebody still needs to explain how ‘Wirral. Well made. ‘ fits into all of this – even if it is Col Regis Davies ( are you still going with that hilarious nom de guerre, Martin?)

However at this point we really must direct you to Liptrotsky’s vainglorious Facebook page – 98 Republic

All we’d like to say is that you’d think a ‘Communications, Stakeholder Engagement & Public Affairs Consultant’ would know the difference between an ‘article’ and an ‘advertisement feature’ paid for by us wouldn’t you?

Liptrot Shit 007

We’re left feeling that that we should send out a message to the various inadequate protagonists involved in this increasingly sordid story and ask them to listen to a song written appropriately enough by ‘Propaganda’:

Sell him your soul, sell him your soul, sell him your soul
Never look back, never look back

 

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #3

We’ve got stories backing up like a blocked up bog during the plague – and believe us they all stink to high heaven.

However let’s get on with this week’s Wirral snippets :

Rock the Boat 

There has been an interesting development with regards to New Brighton Lifeboat story which we have reported on from time to time. Apparently Wallasey MP Angela Eagle has belatedly intervened to rock the boat and ask some pertinent questions as to what exactly is going on in this long running saga . The Royal National Lifeboat Institution ( RNLI) has rejected Eagle’s claim that a ‘restricted service’ at New Brighton Lifeboat station has had an impact on its life-saving work and patronisingly invited her over for a cup of tea and a chat.  Read here : New Brighton Lifeboat
As ever there is much more to this than meets the eye and one of our long standing sources on the story has written to us to say :

Someone makes a fairly astute ‘comment’ after the end of the (Wirral Globe) article ….yes, why doesn’t Angela Eagle have a word with the Chairman of New Brighton Lifeboat, LABOUR Councillor Tony Jones. As we all know he is the bloke who fucked over the sacked crew in the first place.  And while she is at it maybe she could get Phil Davies to take a bit of interest…..

And so it would appear -and not for the first time – that the Eagle has landed without fully knowing the local background and finds herself out of her depth . Once she finds out we guarantee she’ll retreat to her eyrie
A Direct Approach to Saving Money
After an inglorious history of  DASS -tardly plots to saving money and denying vulnerable services the to which they are legally entitled – unlawful charging, 4 week delays in care packages etc; – we bring you  Wirral Council’s Health & Social Care Service (formerly Wirral Council’s Department of Adult Social Services ) latest cruel wheeze which has been forwarded to us from Facebook.
image1

Toxic Twins

Evil Twins

We’ve long bemoaned that Wirral’s pre-eminent institutions are virtually indivisible in terms of their toxic cultures. Further confirmation arrived this week :

You may want to ask some questions of senior management at Wirral University Teaching Hospital where I understand that there is an systemic culture of bullying and arse covering at the expense of both patient and staff welfare.
(This week) – management refused …..to classify a matter as a serious incident, preferring instead to downgrade the matter and protect their reputations……… 
the coroner’s findings will be very interesting to all who of us who are obliged to use this failing establishment for their medical needs.
Wirral Leaks asked : But is this a failing establishment or is it being deliberately run down? Your thoughts please. 
My belief is that it’s a failing institution. I don’t believe there is any intention or ulterior motive – certainly not on a regional or national level, it is simply managed by an incompetent team of senior managers, deeply worried by their failings, and consequently under-reporting, buck-passing, and blaming others in a desperate attempt to protect their own positions.
With Wirral University Teaching Hospital and Wirral Council being run in such a similar way are you still surprised that we scarpered? Especially , when coincidentally , we received this ‘ Where Are They Now’ update featuring failed WUTH CEO Len Richards :

Your old mate who I think last featured in your organ in 2012 has rocked up here in deepest darkest Wales as CEO of Cardiff and Vale UHB.

He’s already embarked on a fact finding trip to Canterbury with a small team. (No not Chaucer’s Canterbury, the other one in New Zealand) on behalf of his cash-strapped employer.Thought you might like to be kept informed of how one of your old boys is progressing
This is the problem – bullshitters everywhere. Surely there must be a meme for that somewhere?
Billionaire’s Breakfast Club

WIRRAL ‘SET FOR £1BN INVESTMENT BOOST’

That was the headline in this PR job published this week on the Insider Media Ltd blog  – which was no doubt set up by Wirral Council leader Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies right hand/left wing man Martin Liptrot. The plans were apparently detailed at Insider‘s ‘Invest in Wirral’ breakfast event held on Tuesday, 6 February 2018. No doubt this was followed by a ‘powerlunch’. Unfortunately the headline was far removed from the reality of the situation as what Pip actually said was :

“We are looking at £1bn development opportunities across five areas in Wirral from Birkenhead town centre right through to Bromborough. We’ve never done anything of this scale and it’s a new way of working.The attraction of this model is that we share in profits going forward. It’s important, not only for new jobs and investment, but in bringing in an ongoing revenue scheme for the council….” Full story here :  £Billion Investment Boost

Forgive us but Pip’s ‘Wirral Growth Company’ comes across as a kind of malignant local authority tumour spreading across the peninsula as Wirral Council hawks its tawdry wares dressed up as ‘development opportunities ‘ for  private investors – and all for the sake of a good news story.
Wirral’s disabled : A thorn in the side?

Meanwhile under yet another misleading headline:

Staffing issues force temporary closure of Wirral care home

We have the news that NHS respite service for people with learning disabilities at Thorn Heys  in Oxton is to close temporarily because of difficulties over staffing levels. Yeah right –  as Wirral Leaks readers will know this has been on the cards for some time.

The decision was made by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group so this is something more than just a ‘Wirral care home’. In fact it is another slap in the face to Wirral Council’s pledge to protect vulnerable people following on the closure of respite services at Girtrell Court.

As we reported in our Good Health In Bad Hands post from September 2017 :

However more concerning for us was an issue that received  zero press coverage and caused considerably less outrage among councillors and that was the closure of  Thorn Heys, an NHS respite service for people with learning disabilities and mental health needs.  Somebody remind us what was that Wirral Plan ‘pledge’ about ‘protecting the most vulnerable’ again?

 And finally ……as a follow up to this week’s pothole story The Hole Truth we’d like to leave you with this from The Daily Mash which proves the Freudian dictum that there is no such thing as ‘just a joke’ and some things are just beyond parody :  Pothole confident it will survive latest council tax increase

Rich Pickings On Animal Farm

Animal Farm House

As a companion piece to yesterday’s story we have been sent a link to a story on the Guido Fawkes website by a gobsmacked Wirralian. And yes we know Guido Fawkes has an agenda, so does The Canary and so do we. Deal with it! For avoidance of doubt our agenda is to highlight that modern (and particularly local) politics is complete self serving bollocks.

However for your delectation here is the story that was brought to our attention:

Back in October Guido ran one of our “through the keyhole” looks at Esther McVey’s Wirral home, the four bedroom house was on the market for £615,000. With our help promoting the property it sold the very next month in November for just below the asking price at £605,000.

In a strange twist, the buyer of this suburban dream home was Catriona Davies, the daughter of the leader of Wirral’s Labour Council – Philip Davies* – who, in the 2010 General Election, lost out against the now-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for the Wirral West seat. She bought it for cash, no mortgage needed…

*not her boyfriend Philip Davies, the Tory MP.

Link to Guido Fawkes story : here

So much we’d like to say – much (if not all) are contained in the comments below the Guido Fawkes article.  However the story strikes us as very Orwellian. ‘Animal Farm’ made flesh with the extra frisson that Birkenhead councillor Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies’ daughter allegedly now lives in the house that was once occupied by the woman who thwarted his political ambitions. As we know at the subsequent General Election McVey was ousted after what was a particularly hostile campaign co-ordinated by Pip’s West Kirby neighbour , Martin Liptrot – the man who first became Pip’s personal PR guru before being appointed to a ‘transformation’ policy wonk role at Wirral Council after a couple of ‘grace and favour’ appointments.

And so it all worked out well in the end for everyone (including McVey) didn’t it ?  – as it always does with those with the ‘right’ connections , who live in the ‘right’ areas and say – but don’t necessarily mean – the ‘right’ words. For those who don’t – and who won’t play the modern political game – not so much……….

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

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 ‘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

 

 

 

All That Glitters

All that glitters

On returning from nos vacances en France we wanted to burst into a heart-warming rendition of  ” Hello, hello

It’s good to be back, it’s good to be back, Hello, hello, hello……”

But then we remembered the associations and connotations and thought better of it. Lord knows Gary Glitter, Rolf Harris , Stuart Hall , Jonathan King and Jimmy Savile have sullied our childhood memories enough .  Abusers of power protected by their status and/or powerful institutions allowing abuse to continue for far longer than it should have. And despite the eternal cry of ‘lessons have been learned’ we fear that it is a scenario that remains prevalent throughout many of our institutions.

However talking of the ‘Leader of the Gang’ we note that on our return our inbox was stuffed with comments about local MP  Frank Field playing the first two hands of his tried and tested three card trick. Firstly we have his anti-social behaviour schtick (see below).  Initially, when we read Frankenfield was complaining about “toe-rags dragging our town through the gutter” ,   we thought he was finally calling out certain corrupt councillors but then realised he has a twisted symbiotic relationship with those very same councillors and so it soon became clear to us he was back to bashing Birkenhead’s bad boys . The line that really got us though was  : “The thugs act as though they can get away with whatever they want, knowing they will face no consequences…..” . Those of us who know better clearly think Field has had an irony by-pass.  The expression those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones (at bus shelters) comes to mind. Whilst there is no excuse for anti-social and criminal behaviour why should Frankenfield expect any better from the poor and the powerless when some of the most powerful politicians on Wirral appear to get away with whatever they want ,knowing they too will face no consequences – mainly because they are protected by him!

Secondly we were asked to catch up on  the equally familiar but slightly more entertaining story of Frankenfield continuing  to play handbags with  “Sir” Philip Green  Empty Threats   

“Sir” Philip would be well advised not to hold his breath waiting for an apology from Frankenfield as the latter is used to saying what he likes about people he doesn’t like.

Now all we need  is a news story about how many ‘starving mites’ he’s personally saved from malnutrition during the school holidays with ringfenced Wirral Council money and we’ll have a Frankenfield full house.

However we have to say we particularly interested in his Toe Rags  article  for the Wirral Globe as Field describing some parts of his constituency as being in the ‘gutter’ would appear to  to undermine the gallant attempt of Wirral Council’s chief shit-glitterer Martin Liptrot (sky) to sell the peninsula under the banner of Wirral Well Made

This picture postcard PR job shrieks ‘amateur hour’ especially when the website heralding  ‘A new vision for Wirral’  ( yes folks, yet another ‘vision’) originally included a text box with Latin – the standard filling used by printers to work spaces out. Although this has since been corrected it would seem to be the usual story from our well paid public servants . Not so much ‘Wirral Well Made’ as ‘Wirral Cobbled Together’ .

Indeed with the Council giving the green light to build on the green belt, continuing recycle bin and flytipping fury and further news of Asif Hamid’s massive empire building ( more of which later) it seems to us that having returned to Leaky Towers it’s a case of plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose……..

 

Consultant Insults – Continued

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The long running saga involving Wirral Council’s love of costly external consultants continues.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/consultant-insults/

As following on from our interims story – The £Million Interims – we understand that there are full details knocking about of consultants performing an interim role for Wirral Council.

However the people who actually pick up the DAILY tab of £8,404 – that’s us folks! – apparently aren’t allowed to know who we are paying, what we’re paying and what we’re paying them for – go figure!

This is because Wirral Council consider the information to be confidential and the poor downtrodden consultants that are not directly employed by the Council will have confidentiality preserved when it comes to cold hard cash.

Huh ?! – not at Wirral Council it won’t, especially when much of the information is rightly already in the public domain. We think that whoever  made up this diktat on the hoof realises that someone who does work for a local authority and is paid with Council taxpayers money somehow has a right to keep their paypacket a secret is not a particularly convincing argument.

That might explain why they usually throw in ‘commercial confidentiality’ as an additional back up as to why the Council need to keep a lid on the gory details of their expensive consultancy habit.  Apparently it could inhibit the Council from recruiting future interims. Whaaaat?! – can we therefore assume that the remuneration listed on recruitment sites will just henceforth state : ‘ Fill yer boots !’

It’s such a shame that the information about the 18 interims that are currently on the Council payroll is not more readily available as we’re sure that Wirral Council taxpayers would find it most illuminating/infuriating . Indeed we’re sure that one of Wirral Leaks’ regular contributors , Charles Nunn, will be particularly pleased to hear that we understand that Stewart Halliday’s contract , at a daily rate of £705 , and which was due to end in August has now been extended to the end of 2017.

However it should be noted that ‘Happy’ Halliday is not the highest paid interim on the list. We understand that accolade goes to Surjit Tour’s replacement . Philip McCourt ,the interim Assistant Director – Law & Governance has to get by on a mere £800 a day …….making him pro rata , at £200K + per annum, on more than Wirral Council’s CEO, Eric Robinson.

Wirral Council watchers may find some consolation in knowing that one of the 5 ‘transformers’ on the list , Martin Liptrot, finds himself ranked 16th out of the 18 interims listed in terms of his day rate – a paltry £350!

And finally before we go we’d just like to inform our readers that we’ll be taking a long overdue summer break throughout August – unless of course THAT story breaks . In the interim (!) we’ll  be considering how we co-ordinate the ‘managed decline’ of Wirral Leaks when we return in the autumn.

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