Beasts from the East

As the awards season starts to kick in and as a prelude to our eagerly anticipated annual  ‘Leaky Awards’ we bring you the surprising news that Wirral Council didn’t get a mention in Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs Awards 2018.

However Wirral ‘s near neighbour Cheshire East Council (CEC) , who we have often featured on our own pages due in no small measure to ex -Wirral Council senior officers who have sought refuge there and most prominently HR horror Paul Bradshaw and law unto himself Bill Norman, did:

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We have covered these stories here and as we have previously commented :

Kudos to the Cheshire Constabulary for actually taking allegations of Council corruption seriously which is more than be said of Merseyside Police who are seemingly too lazy and/or too busy exchanging funny handshakes and going to the confessional box to be bothered investigating legitimate concerns about Wirral Council . We’ll be interested to know whether the mud will stick and there will be a sticky end for Cheshire East councillors and council officers.

Fortunately we have a contact in Cheshire East who keeps us (and Private Eye) informed of local goings on and which, despite the political reversal of ruling administration and opposition, reminds us so much of the poisonous political dynamic that exists on Wirral. It looks to us as though CEC are an early contender for Rotten Boroughs Awards 2019 but will forthcoming revelations on Wirral Leaks ensure Wirral Council join them in the ‘Town Hall of Infamy’ ?

It’s a new year but its the same old story coming out at morally and ethically corrupt Cheshire East Council:
 
28th October 2016
Cheshire East Council leader Rachel Bailey states “I am pleased that we have taken a further step towards becoming a council that is open and fully transparent in the work that we carry out on behalf of our residents.”
10th January 2019
Conservative controlled Cheshire East Council refuse to allow a local reporter named Belinda Ryan to witness an investigative meeting being conducted into Conservative Cllr David Marren, despite Belinda having being invited to attend by Cllr Marren in the interests of openness and transparency. In fact CEC were so desperate to keep the details of the allegation against Cllr Marren secret that they drafted in an external lawyer and even paid for their hotel accommodation. 
Whilst I have no idea what Cllr Marren has been accused of I suspect Conservative Cheshire East Council are not happy about having a Conservative councillor failing to follow the appallingly low standards of conduct set by fellow Conservative councillors at Cheshire East Council. Cllr Marren champions openness and transparency and holds himself to highest standards of ethical conduct.
Cllr Marren is one of three Conservative councillors who, over the past couple of years openly questioned and challenged decisions made at Cheshire East Council. All three have now been removed from the senior posts they had previously held within CEC. Cllr Marren had previously been the vice chair of both audit and governance and the constitution committee but he was removed shortly after he publicly criticised CEC over allegations of the widespread culture of bullying conducted by senior managers within the council and the councils failure to pay the minimum wage to some care workers.
PS – I hope Cllr Marren isn’t expecting any support from CEC Labour councillors because just like the Conservative leadership of CEC they will also want to put their party (Labour) ahead of supporting ethical behaviour. I’ve copied the CEC Labour leader into this email because Cllr Sam Corcoran might like to correct me on my last point.

The Twelve Days of Christmas : Day Six – Organised Crime

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There were raised eyebrows at Leaky Towers at the moral outrage and shock ! horror! report titled Wirral bar that saw vicious attack had ‘strong link’ to organised crime gangs  where we found out that the licence for Sherlocks , a classy joint in downtown Birkenhead where apparently rival organised crime gangs like to beat seven shades of shite out of each other,  had been revoked after appeals by Merseyside Police to Wirral Council.

Funny that, we thought to ourselves, Merseyside Police weren’t quite so agitated when it came to organised crime gangs threatening to beat vulnerable people in the care of Wirral Council with baseball bats. Where were the cries from Merseyside Police to close down so called ‘care homes’ then? Could it be that both they and Wirral Council were compromised by the fact that the ‘care’ company  as reported in Private Eye was owned by Peter and Jane Spencer, ex Merseyside CID ? Just sayin’

Private Eye ALS

For further information read the the full horror story here  where you will discover how Merseyside Police and Wirral Council colluded with an Organised Crime Group – even when it meant the death of a vulnerable adult – all in the name of reputation management. It’s still the most shocking report that we’ve ever read in relation to Wirral Council – just think about that for a moment and then weep copious tears.

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Safe and Secure

Safer Wirral Hub

If ever there was a picture that wanted His Lord and Ladyship to stick their fingers down their throat this is it.

The hypocrisy on display is truly sickening. Let us explain why :

There has been a lot going on behind the scenes within Community Safety. As you might remember there was the usual PR bullshit within the local media with the announcement that ‘The Safer Wirral Hub’ (FFS!)  was moving to Leasowe’s Solar Campus site as a joint initiative with all new cushy jobs and wage rises for the select few.

It was the shape of things to come that Wirral Council’s  Community Patrol Officers (CPO’s) are the only ones not in the picture. In fact as far as we understand they are only requested to attend solar Campus if a bit of car parking duty is needed or a CPO needs picking up.

Apparently the CPO’s are now back to where they were 20 years ago in a ramshackle house on the grounds at Cleveland Street depot and are being requested to take on the duties of more senior officers which they have been covering for over nine years but with an agreed payment when they cover.
Now the powers that be want to make it part of their duties – without payment at a loss of up to £3k a year for some officers. As a source tell us :
Meanwhile in the real world Community Patrol Officers are currently going through a consultation that will change their shift patterns and take up to three thousand pounds out of their annual earnings.
Officers have been covering for supervision carrying out their duties for over nine years and receiving a payment for doing so as their wage bands are so far apart E to a H.
This new consultation wants to evolve these duties into the officers job descriptions without any further progression to their pay band but still have a  single senior officer on a Band H overseeing.
This single post will be between the soon to be discarded Control room officer supervisor ( 30 years service with no blemishes) and ex mayors chauffer(with historical numeracy skills and a way with the ladies) who do we think will get this? The dubious character of the likely candidate speaks volumes

The consultation is over and the choice given is accept or bye bye.
Jobs for the boys at the top with fuck all on the shop
It’s Wirral Council’s same old mantra – something for nothing but aimed at the manual workers from the lower grades.Effectively punishing the lowest paid staff to retain one highly paid position when working class lads have covered it for the past ten years.How are CPO’s meant to make Wirral’s residents safe when their jobs aren’t secure?
What’s more the CPO’s have not been allowed to see their own job description as Wirral Council’s utterly corrupt HR department say they don’t have it.
Isn’t it a shame that people are reduced to making Freedom of Information requests  to find out information to which they are legally entitled? :
But what really galls us is the likes of Cllr George Davies are still  in a position to make decisions about people’s lives and livelihoods when he should have been run out of public office years ago. Lucky for him -and unlucky for us –  he has low friends in high places who have got him out of deep shit of his own making.
Under these circumstances could this make ‘Gorgeous George’ the ultimate class traitor?

Null and Void in New Brighton?

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We had been contacted by Paula Walters the UKIP candidate for the New Brighton ward in this week’s local elections prior to Wirral Globe updating  its original story from 23rd April about Ms Walter’s alleged ‘hate tweeting’ .  Today , a week after the article, Wirral Globe have also issued an apology to Ms Walters – see here
The upshot of all this hoo -ha is that depending on the outcome of the election that Ms Walters may well have to petition to have the  New Brighton election declared null and void (see below).
We won’t comment on Ms Walters’ statement to us other than to say that we fully concur with Ms Walters’ final line :
I was contacted by Liverpool Echo that Christine Spriggs accused me of hate tweeting and would I like to comment. I asked to see the article so that I could respond. They refused but did send the tweets which were from 2015. I responded to each and every one of them which to be fair was a bit like ‘War and Peace’. I was then advised by Tom Houghton from the Echo that he was unable to honour my right to reply and went ahead to publish – on April 22nd see here –  what in my opinion is an unfair,unjust article. The Globe reproduced the article in its entirety but went further in their headline that I am standing down. There has been no sign of an apology for trampling over my reputation (until today –  a week after the original article ) and the Police are now involved, also The Independent Press Standards Organisation. I often attack policies of other parties but would not attack other candidates as a way of point scoring. I find this abhorrent. Feel free to publish my statement
STATEMENT : It has been falsely alleged by Christine Spriggs, The Liverpool Echo and by the Wirral Globe that I have posted ‘hateful’ Tweets. These Tweets have not been reproduced by the paper. I tweeted that Halal slaughter, in which animals are conscious when their throats are cut, should not be allowed in this country. I tweeted that money should be given to those needing cancer treatment, pensioners and the homeless rather than illegal immigrants. I tweeted that illegal immigration jeopardises our security, as ISIS has pledged (again last week) to send jihadists into our societies. I tweeted that people who have multiple wives – a criminal offence in this country – should not be paid extra benefits for them. The Wirral Globe/Echo did not reproduce these Tweets, because they were aware that huge numbers of Wirral voters agree with them, wholeheartedly.
Instead, they have propagated the lie that they were ‘hateful’.  They have additionally now stated that I am standing down as a candidate in the forthcoming election. This is another lie, and an illegal interference with the election, contravening Section 106 of the Representation of the Peoples Act 1983 I cannot now do anything to change that, so on the Town Hall’s advice I will be petitioning for the election to be declared null and void. I regret the cost and inconvenience this will cause, but if someone lies repeatedly and breaks the law to affect an election, it is the only proper course to take. These people will stop at nothing.
Paula Walters, UKIP candidate for New Brighton

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #10

The-Esther-Bunny

The Esther Bunny

THE CLASH

This isn’t just an excuse to pull out one of our old Easter pictures featuring former Wirral West – and current  MP for Tatton- Esther McVey . Although we do have to say it is a particular favourite. No ,dear readers it is to draw your attention as to why you should always, always question the facts behind the headlines (and that includes ours). A story which particularly caught our attention appeared in this week’s Wirral Globe and was titled 98 benefits staff face the axe at Birkenhead jobcentre

The story featured McVey and Birkenhead MP Frank Field who appear to be currently competing for column inches (oo-er missus) .  This bogus story was peak Field/McVey  – not so much ‘Clash of the Titans’ as ‘Clash of the Titheads’ . For a start off 98 Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) staff are NOT facing the ‘axe’ . They are on fixed term contracts which end in ONE YEAR’S TIME.  Their contracts may or may not be renewed depending on demand for DWP services in Birkenhead. As Field and McVey both know such arrangements are what keeps the Civil Service going. It’s like suggesting that MPs who are ousted at the General Election should remain in office because the country is in a mess.

Frankenfield does his usual amateur dramatics  describing the situation as ” gutwrenching”  and cites an unverifiable yet exploitative case of a “female constituent (who) has told him she has been reduced to penury and is living on 7p a day” . Lord knows what that has to do with 98 DWP “facing the axe” other than serving Field’s personal and political agenda.

By the way this is the actual Field/McVey exchange in the House of Commons that prompted the story . Does this look like a ‘clash’ to you?

Photo of Frank FieldFrank Field Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

I ask the Secretary of State not to give an immediate reply to this question but to ponder it. The Secretary of State has told me that the 98 members of jobcentre staff on temporary contracts in Birkenhead are going to be laid off because they have come to the end of their contract period. Unlike Gloucester, we are having real problems with the roll-out of universal credit. I had five cases last week, including one involving a woman who had been reduced to living on 7p. Might not some, if not all, of those staff be redeployed to ensure a smooth transition from traditional benefits to the new one?

Photo of Esther McVeyEsther McVey The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

I appreciate the right hon. Gentleman saying that I could speak to and work with him to see what is happening in Birkenhead. What I know is that we on this side of the House brought forward up to 100% advances, so that anyone in need of money could have it. We have also stopped the waiting days, and from April we are providing the two-week housing payment. That is what we on this side of the House have done to protect the most vulnerable, but the Opposition voted against it.

DRUGS ARE BAD – M’KAY?

We received this correspondence from one of our readers who is concerned about Merseyside Police and their approach to drug dealing on Wirral :

I have become more than aware of a number of cases over the years of law abiding members of the general public becoming increasingly frustrated at what they perceive to be the total lack of action by the Police when they are informed of
consistent drug dealing from domestic premises.

There appears to be a pattern of Police response in ALL the cases that I am aware of.

Firstly, after several complaints about lack of action by the Police, individuals find themselves having  to complain higher up the ‘food chain’  ((i.e. to the Chief Constable or to their local member of parliament ) Eventually a ‘community’ Police officer gets in touch and explains that they need more detailed ‘intel’ (Intelligence). They will want car registration numbers, times of callers, reports of ‘incidents’ (such the associated shouting outside of the various properties etc)  In all the cases that I am aware of all this information (and much more) is provided. This usually goes on for a number of months.

Then the question from local residents becomes ‘How much information do the Police actually require before they actually do something?’ This is a question no one actually gets an answer to… because nothing actually happens.

No doors are kicked in, open drug dealing continues. Nothing changes. Local residents give up. This is the pattern on the Wirral.

It seems that there is something structurally wrong with the organisation of the local Police for things like this to continue.

I am not anti Police. I know that the ordinary copper has to go out and fight with knobheads everyday. (And that they do this day in and day out. ) But there is something wrong with the set up as it stands,  concerning the response to reports of drug dealing from domestic premises.

So this is my appeal to Merseyside Police, do something, get a grip   –  or you are going to loose all the good will and respect of a lot of very ordinary Wirral people.

We gave a fulsome response to this but we’ll keep it off these pages for now – but suffice to say Wirral Leaks has a view – a dim view of what’s going on with Merseyside Police (or above a certain seniority anyway). However in the interest of balance we are pleased to bring you this report from Merseyside Police :  Investigation launched following discovery of cannabis farm -Townsend St, Birkenhead

Here we discover that Merseyside Police have a ‘Cannabis Dismantling Team’ .  Just think about that for a moment . A  whole team …… dismantling ……. cannabis. It brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘high public office’ ! Shame they don’t have a Corruption Dismantling Team – but then there will never be enough resources for tackling that type of crime would there boys and girls?

KINGDOM COMEUPPANCE

We were particularly pleased to be informed about the the formation of the Facebook group Wirral Against the Litter Police. (Kingdom Security) 

We made our position clear on the matter of Kingdom Security way back in 2015 when we said :

There’s been much clamour in the local press concerning the overzealous pursuit of alleged litter louts or more accurately those who happen to be easy targets of litter Hitlers issuing Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) at the drop of a bookmark.

Now as our readers will know we have a particular aversion to filth and detritus at Leaky Towers which may explain why we report so often on the dirty dealings of Wirral Council. Therefore whilst we realise the days of the Litter Defence Volunteers have long gone we would usually wholeheartedly applaud efforts to keep Wirral tidy. However we also realise that standards in local public life have also fallen into the gutter.So when we read that fines from FPNs issued by Kingdom Security Ltd on behalf of Wirral Council had topped well over a quarter of a million pounds in the first three months of their mutually beneficial arrangement we began to question the motivation behind the cash for trash scheme.

Is this more about swelling Council coffers than about environmental concerns ?.

Full story here :  Cash for Trash

and finally….. FUN WITH POTHOLES

We’ll leave you with this video of  Wirral pothole fillers . The original video was brought to our attention on Facebook and has since been adapted into a rather marvellous and amusing Youtube video. We don’t know whether the chaps in the video are sub-contractors or will become Wirral Council employees when BAM Nuttall hit the road in October. However in the meantime let’s enjoy their workmanship.  

 

 

 

A Sticky End?

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Sticky Change : Fridge magnets made flesh.

As we said yesterday in our Spot the Blott post we do like to follow the progress of former Wirral Council alumni who have graced (and disgraced) our pages. Fortunately for us (and unfortunately for them ) there are correspondents around the country – and particularly from Bristol, Hereford, York and  Sandwell – who have kept us informed of  Wirral Council’s cast-offs and how they carry on regardless of any scandals or scrapes they’ve been involved in beforehand. However it would appear that we have a particular keen following in Cheshire East. Thanks mainly to the travels and travails of Wirral Council ‘s former head of law – the infamous Bill Norman.
Firstly we hear that there are currently no less than SIX ( count ’em) police investigations concerning Tory led Cheshire East Council. Read more here : Cheshire East police investigations
Kudos to the Cheshire Constabulary for actually taking allegations of Council corruption seriously which is more than be said of Merseyside Police who are seemingly too lazy and/or too busy exchanging funny handshakes and going to the confessional box to be bothered investigating legitimate concerns about Wirral Council . We’ll be interested to know whether the mud will stick and there will be a sticky end for Cheshire East councillors and council officers.
However particular thanks go out to  “A member of ItsRandom the Wirralleaks franchise in Cheshire East”  who sends us this particularly interesting missive concerning Mr Norman and the use of Wirral based consultants ‘Sticky Change’. Now we know that ‘ Sticky Change’ may sound like an old Wirral Leaks headline from the days when we were covering stories about Wirral Council senior management sex romps but this change management consultancy firm website reads like satire to us : Sticky Change .  Their ‘Our Values’ page has to be seen to believed (and sorry we don’t believe any of it). Any one who uses the word ‘ Passionate’ to describe the process of making money is to be viewed with great suspicion as far as we’re concerned. And as for the ‘ look at my backside’ quip – oh do give over ! It’s more a case of all my arse as far as we’re concerned.We’re not sure whether Wirral Council have ever used ‘Sticky Change’ (perhaps somebody would like to enquire) . Meanwhile read this and weep :
Wirral Council and Cheshire East Council have far more in common than anyone realises, so its little wonder that whistle blowing staff and residents are in fear of speaking out. Bill Norman left his mark at both Councils, but the blame lies with those that allowed his appointment…..and they are the ones which always keep their jobs. When Councils appoint people like Bill Norman they know exactly what they are getting. Cheshire East and Wirral Council are not alone in appointing expendable people to take the flack when wrongdoing is exposed. 
Corporate organisations like to appoint people who share the values of the company, but what happens when the people at the top of an organisation not only tolerate wrongdoing but potentially reward employees via promotion for allowing it to happen. With these type of organisation all employees are seen as expendable. In fact to the people at the very top of many public sector organisations the sacrificing of employees is little more than a snake sacrificing its own skin – it means nothing because its still a snake. 
 
In fact looking at Bill Normans work history at other councils I would be amazed if Cheshire East Councils didn’t provide details of the payoff and compromise agreement as part of the employment contract for new starters. Most organisations want honest consciousness employees, but Cheshire East Council see these employees as potential whistle blowers and manage (bully) them out. 
 
Sticky Change…….
I feel Cheshire East Council spending over £150,000 to bring in a consultancy firm called Sticky Change in order to help the authority tackle its ‘bullying’ culture is more about creating good PR to fool the public into believing that the leopard really wants to change its spots. It was reported that Sticky Change worked with Everton Football club and this might help explain my point. 
 
Football is a results based business, and even when the decision was made by Everton FC to bring in Sticky Change the directors knew that the manager would still be the one picking the team to play a 442 system. It wont be any different at Cheshire East Council.
As Cheshire East Council seem committed to at least appear to be drag their reputation from out of the sewers then perhaps they would answer the question I made a week ago:

The real question is when did Sticky Change work with Torbay Council – before, during, or after Bill Normans employment with Torbay Council?

This is very important because Cheshire East Council need to be aware that the decision to choose Sticky Change as external consultants should be open to public scrutiny.
  • Sticky Change previously worked at Torbay Council and it is important to know if this was before, during, or after Bill Normans time with the council? If it was during or after Bill Normans time with Torbay Council then Bill Norman and Sticky Change may have a connection. 
  • The fact that CEC didn’t mention Torbay Council in their press release when naming who else Sticky Change had previously worked with seemed strange, so was it a deliberate omission to avoid drawing attention to any potential link?
  • Just months after the departure of Bill Norman from Cheshire East Council it was announced that Sticky Change would be brought in to tackle the bullying culture. So how and when did CEC first look at using the services of Sticky Change and did his overlap with Bill Normans time at CEC?
  • Sticky Change are based on the Wirral and whilst working at Wirral Council its believed that Bill Norman also lived on the Wirral (Bill might have continued to live on the Wirral whilst working at CEC). Given the points above and Bill Normans very close geographical relationship to Sticky Change on the Wirral there is a possibility that there is a connection/relationship between Bill Norman and Sticky Change. What steps have CEC taken to ensure that the decision to use Sticky Change (and their independence) will stand up to public scrutiny?
I cant speak on behalf of other people but I don’t think I would be comfortable discussing the bullying culture at CEC with consultants from Sticky Change if the above points remain unanswered. The fact that CEC didnt seem to carry out any due diligence when appointing Bill Norman means how can anyone be sure that it wasn’t Bill Norman that recommended CEC to bring in Sticky Change?
Sticky Change (Consultants) Ltd
Sticky Change (Partners) Ltd

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #4

WW1

WW1 : Artist’s impression # 256

                                                                   WW1

As far as ‘Wirral Waters’ press releases goes this really is the best one yet. You can almost smell the desperation.  Note how the quietly abandoned ‘Wirral Waters’ scheme has suddenly and mysteriously been ‘transformed’ into ‘Wirral Waters One’ . Whoever thought of that new branding needs shooting – say it out loud , it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue does it? Can we also point out that when it comes to acronyms WW1 has already been taken? Just sayin’

Apparently Wirral Council’s Cabinet will announce tomorrow that a massive (! )£100,000 will ‘kick start’ a £90,000,000 residential development in ‘Wirral Waters One’ !

The proposal is a joint venture between the council and landowners Peel Holdings, and includes the Legacy Foundation – an investment fund established by former Tranmere Rovers player Aaron Cresswell………..The Legacy Foundation will provide £100,000 of funding in the first year to be invested in community activities. Full story : Wirral Waters One

We don’t get a breakdown of the total investment between Peel Holdings/ Wirral Council/Legacy Foundation but you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be Wirral Council (or more accurately Wirral council taxpayers) who will be putting their hands the deepest into their pockets when it comes to ‘kick starting’ this proposal. Nor do we get an explanation as to what is meant by ‘community activities’

Instead stepping up to take credit for the momentous investment was Birkenhead MP Frank Field  (huh?)

“An idea bringing the largest programme of new housing to Wirral in living memory, announced today, is the brainchild of Andrew Forsey who is the head of my Parliamentary office.Through his work in making contact with footballers interested in making long term investments from their pensions. Andrew helped to persuade a crop of current and former Premier League players – including Aaron Cresswell, who was a Tranmere Rovers player and now plays for West Ham – to see whether it would be possible for his investment fund to begin work in Wirral Waters.”

Is it just us ? – or is is there something vaguely nauseating about poverty tourist Frank Field’s parliamentary office brainstorming about the ‘loadsamonies’ who they can approach with the begging bowl without considering whether it’s morally right that footballers and the like can earn such huge sums of money or question as to whether as a society we’ve got our values all wrong? Nevertheless it is interesting to discover that Wirral’s ‘largest programme of new housing’ is somehow the responsibility of Frank Field’s Parliamentary office isn’t it?!

NUMBER – CRUNCHING   – Aaron Cresswell’s  current fortnightly salary at West Ham Utd  = £100,000 ! (well fancy that!)  See here : West Ham Utd Salaries 2018

So what we’d like tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting to do is finally come clean and announce that ‘Wirral Waters One’ and indeed the ‘ Hoylake Golf Resort’ proposal are merely opportunistic housing developments and quit the soft soap.

 

                                                              Vexatious , Moi?

Wirral Council seemed to have backed off the desperate claim that Wirral Council taxpayer Charles Nunn is ‘vexatious’ for asking pertinent questions about the continuing employment of highly paid consultant Stewart Halliday . See their latest response here : Halliday FOI

Mr Nunn comments :

At last a part reply to my F.of Information request.
Halliday has had his contract extended for a further SIX MONTHS from 1st. January, 2018.
Another £90,000 odd from the Wirral Council Tax payer.
It may be worth a mention in your esteemed publication.
Charles

                           

                                           CGL:  “……and nobody seemed to care “

Many thanks to those who keep us appraised of national charity Change,Grow Live who are the grateful recipient of Wirral’s largest ( £7 million +) Public Health contract. Their latest mishap involves them in a massive data breach involving abandoned files found in an empty Tameside office  containing highly personal details about the lives of vulnerable young people – including abuse survivors. Once again we fear we have seen the future of health and social care. Be afraid, be very afraid.

CGL- Tameside

 

                                                     Posted Truth

A source writes :

By way of obscure and tenuous response to you excellent ‘Post Truth’ contribution/blog

… I am sending you this ‘Posted Truth’ image… I reckon you could say it is both a statement of fact…. and a protest. (Which I obviously feel to be a good thing).

Posted Truth

 

 

                                                       De-Stressed Eric 

A local barfly informs us :

Eric (Robinson) was recently seen in a pub in Liverpool when he should have been working – the pub being ‘Brew Dog’ dressed in casuals.
The council is no better than when we had the other 3 – it’s probably worse.

Now we can’t confirm whether Stressed Eric was on council duty or not whilst allegedly quaffing the craft ale – but we have to ask as to whether anyone would notice the difference ? Plus we simply don’t want to think about him dressed in his ‘casuals’.

Having said that we don’t need convincing that Wirral Council is worse than ever under his , ahem, ‘leadership’  As for ‘the other 3’ – whoever could they mean?!

       

                                               A Cautionary Tale

In Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #2 we commented on recent developments where Mayor Joe Anderson was interviewed  by Merseyside Police ‘under caution’ in relation to the ongoing fraud probe involving Liverpool City Council CEO Ged Fitzgerald and others. We now hear of someone closer to home who it is alleged was also interviewed under caution by Merseyside Police in relation to an altogether different matter. However such are the extreme sensitivities surrounding this particular case we are precluded from reporting any further. Nevertheless we will be following developments with interest….

Her Ladyship’s Thoughts From A Broad : Gang Mentality

3 billboards

The second part of our movie review double bill is ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’.

The film tells the tale of Mildred Hayes (played by Frances McDormand) , a grieving mother of a murdered teenager, angry at the lack of progress made in finding her daughter’s killer, who erects three billboards outside town, calling the local police chief to task. Now it’s not just the influence of our foulmouthed butler Eldritch and his Anglo-Saxon tendencies but this film really hit home with us (and if you are easily offended could we suggest this film, this blog post and the trailer below might not be for you).

Having said that there are many reasons why we think you should watch this film (not least of which are the excellent script and performances ) . Whilst the issues raised in the film  – anger , guilt, grief, retribution and the abuse of power has many resonances for us ,there is one particular scene that nailed one of our recurring themes and made us wanna holler  , stand up and clap our hands (see below) .

We’ve previously established our uncompromising views on Wirral’s gang mentality when we published C.S Lewis’ eloquent analysis about how ‘The Inner Ring’  operates :  Wirral Council Scoundrels : Five Years On

However we maintain there is a gang mentality which is about more than just members of a particular political party who happen to follow the same religion and the same football team (although it must be said there are a few Wirral Leaks regulars who fit this particular demographic) . It is the means by which the powerful across all of our local institutions protect each other knowing that if they’re part of this gang they can never be criticised and can never be culpable. 

SPOILER ALERT !  This is Mildred’s response to Father Montgomery who comes to visit Mildred to voice his disapproval at the billboards . Whilst this may be a less eloquent modern counterpoint to C.S Lewis and ‘The Inner Ring’ we consider it no less powerful.
FATHER MONTGOMERY
I know it’s been hard for you, Mildred,
this past year. We all do. The whole
town does. And whatever it is you need,
we’ll be there for you. Always. But the
town also knows what kind of a man
William Willoughby is. And the town is
dead set against these billboards of
yours.
MILDRED
Took a poll, did ya, Father?
FATHER MONTGOMERY
If you hadn’t stopped coming to church,
Mildred, you’d be aware of the depth of
people’s feelings. I had a dozen people
come up to me on Sunday. So, yes, I
took a poll. Everybody is on your side
about Angela. No-one’s on your side
about this.
MILDRED
Y’know what I was thinking about,
earlier today? I was thinking ‘bout
those streetgangs they got in Los
Angeles, the Crips and the Bloods? I
was thinking about that buncha new laws
they came up with, in the 80’s I think
it was, to combat those street-gangs,
those Crips and those Bloods.

And, if I remember rightly, the gist of
what those new laws said was, if you
join one of these gangs, and you’re
running with ‘em, and down the block
from you one night, unbeknownst to you,
your fellow Crips, or your fellow
Bloods, shoot up a place, or stab a
guy, well, even though you didn’t know
nothing about it, even though you
may’ve just been standing on a
streetcorner minding your own business,
those new laws said you are still
culpable. You are still culpable, by
the very act of joining those Crips, or
those Bloods, in the first place. Which
got me thinking, Father, that whole
type of situation is kinda similar to
you Church boys, ain’t it? You’ve got
your colors, you’ve got your clubhouse,
you’re, for want of a better word, a
gang. And if you’re upstairs smoking a
pipe and reading a bible while one of
your fellow gang members is downstairs
fucking an altar boy then, Father, just
like the Crips, and just like the
Bloods, you’re culpable. Cos you joined
the gang, man. And I don’t care if you
never did shit or never saw shit or
never heard shit. You joined the gang.
You’re culpable. 

So , thinking particularly about a file in our possession,  Her Ladyship is currently channelling Mildred Hayes and wondering whether to organise a Crowdfund page to hire some billboards as ‘the more you keep a case in the public eye, the better your chances are at getting it solved ‘………………………………………………………………..    

Advent Farewell 9 – Out of Sight , Out of Mind

Maddox & Morton 2

Two Deputy Lieutenants of Merseyside are of one mind.

From time to time we like to check up on the progress on some of the Wirral Council charlatans and chancers that have (dis)graced our pages over the years in our special ‘ Where Are They Now?’ feature.

Whilst we readily acknowledge that we featured former Wirral Council CEO  Steve ‘ Mad Dog’ Maddox in such a post earlier this year we feel the original post needs enhancing mainly because we believe that in many ways it is most instructive on the ways of Wirral.

If ever there was an example of how to evade accountability and manage your reputation then Maddox is the ultimate case study. He saw the writing was on the wall when so called independent investigator Anna Klonowski was brought in by the Tories to find out what whistleblower Martin Morton was blathering on about . On the very day Maddox was due to meet with Klonowski  , Maddox took the coward’s way out and suddenly announced he was going to spend more time with his long suffering family. This followed over two years of Wirral Council senior management covering his expansive arse . Of course Maddox didn’t even need to work his 3 month notice period and swiftly pissed off to the golf course with additional pension payments made up to when he would have retired – about which we can only ask – why?

The panicked leader of Wirral Council at the time Cllr Steve Foulkes provided this farewell quote :

“Steve is essentially a self effacing and modest man who probably has no idea of the very real and extensive legacy he will be leaving behind.We know, and are grateful for it. I wish him all the best for the future and hope that he will continue to be involved with the people of Wirral, for whom he has always been an eloquent and passionate advocate.” Steve 2 Steve

This translates as Maddox did as he was told and his greatest quality is that he could go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on .  But oh what a legacy he left behind!  Whilst Maddox secured himself a tidy six figure bung , collected the Freedom of the Borough of Wirral to add to his OBE and was made a Deputy Lieutenant of Merseyside to stand alongside Birkenhead MP Frank Field, his swift departure meant his hapless and hopeless sidekick Jim ‘Wee Willie’ Wilkie was to reap the wild wind of what his former boss had created – a toxic,corrosive culture of bullying,incompetence and deceit which was soon to be (partly) revealed in the Independent Review in  January 2012 . Needless to say shortly after Wilkie ended up being escorted from Wallasey Town Hall premises a broken man.

What’s more when the furore over the Independent Review had died down Maddox reappeared on the local scene and within the year was appointed as a Director of  mental health organisation Wirral Mind in December 2012 .

This appointment has always intrigued us ,  primarily because it is with some irony that Wirral Mind were seemingly gifted the management of the learning disability service that was a significant feature of Morton whistleblowing case that led to the Independent Review that in turn was the impetus for  Maddox’s ‘retirement’ !

It has long been thought that Wirral Mind, with no significant track record of supporting people with learning disabilities, were rewarded  the contract for keeping a lid on the unlawful charging scandal when they were appointed as advocates on behalf of those who couldn’t speak up for themselves when the scandal blew up . Unfortunately this ‘advocacy’ service didn’t actually extend to advocating on behalf of those who had been financially abused.  An appalled Wirral Leaks reader once recalled attending a  Wirral Council meeting  where Sandra Gilbert Wirral Mind CEO , said that the tenants who had been financially abused ‘lived in the lap of luxury’ . Perhaps if  we put aside the issue of illegality and equality Ms Gilbert might appreciate that if she had £100 + a WEEK taken out of her salary over a number of years she might have fought a bit harder on behalf of disabled people instead of leaving it to Morton and others.

All the Independent Review report had to say on the matter was that there was

” a need for the Council to refresh its contractual arrangements with (Wirral Mind) in the context of EU procurement requirements.”

Funny how Frank Field wasn’t jumping up and down about this proven case of Wirral Council flouting EU procurement regulations isn’t it ? Or getting Merseyside Police and the Serious Fraud Office involved as he did with the Highways contract complainants that apparently he is still ‘gallantly’ supporting 9 years after their alleged whistleblowing exploits !

Since our report we note that in August 2017 there was a  cessation of Maddox  being ‘a person with significant control’ of Wirral Mind  August 2017.   However he still remains a Director – presumably because of the lustre and prestige that someone with his impeccable track record brings to an organisation.

 

Sanction Distinction

foulkesy-lrj-012

LRJ and Foulkesy – same actions, different sanctions

And so another Labour councillor from Wirral Council is found to be unworthy of holding public office as a damning Standards Panel ‘Decision Notice’ is published. Wirral Leaks readers will know that Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ)  is no stranger to these pages . This time she appears to be the perpetrator rather than the victim of malicious acts.

The Standards Panel , after considering an Investigators Report, “found the actions of  Cllr Reecejones were designed to threaten,intimidate,underine and cause difficulties at work “ for one of the complainants Tamsin Coates . The Standards Panel also noted that LRJ  took a similar approach to the second complainant , Jessica Smyth, where she had made a complaint to the organisation where Ms Jessica Smyth volunteered . Both Ms Coates and Ms Smyth had previously raised legitimate concerns with Wirral Council’s Internal Audit and Merseyside Police. Although no charges were brought against LRJ  because of ‘insufficient evidence’ the complainants were found to be justified in raising their concerns.

LRJ 015

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50042506/Standards%20Panel%2015%20June%202017%20Decsion%20Notice.pdf

Furthermore the Standards Panel found all the complainants  to be credible ( there were more from the Overchurch Residents Association) and yet LRJ was found to be ‘inconsistent, vague and misleading’   –   we know what they’re trying to say there don’t we boys and girls? Of particular interest to us was this quote from the Decision Notice :

LRJ 018

However it was when we read the ‘Sanctions’ section that apoplexy rapidly set in.

There are 5 sanctions in all  : i ) a formal warning letter from Wirral Council’s Monitoring Officer  Surjit Tour (!) ii) LJR must provide a written apology to all complainants iii)  Labour leader Cllr Phil Davies to consider whether party disciplinary action be taken against LRJ and whether she should be removed from all outside bodies to which she has been appointed iv) Tour will be arranging ‘training’ for LRJ which she must attend v) The Panel’s decision to be considered further by the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee.

These sanctions stand in stark contrast to the mild rebuke that was imposed on Cllr Steve Foulkes last year. Foulkesy got away with an apology to  Tory leader Cllr Jeff Green who wasn’t even the complainant! Foulkesy had lied to Wirral Council, lied to the investigator (necessitating a further investigation costing  Wirral Council taxpayers £17K) and continues to lie about what he and Cllr George Davies had been up to – to this very day.

If we were LRJ we’d be asking some serious questions as to why Foulkesy wasn’t given similar sanctions. Especially in relation to a proven liar being able to represent Wirral Council on outside bodies.If anything he is even more unworthy of public office than LRJ – and it would appear that’s really saying something!

But then again we did advise LRJ she was on a hiding to nothing a long time ago . She’s not and never has been part of  the ‘Inner Ring’ . Unlike Standards  Panel  member Cllr Moira McLaughlin who must have enjoyed sticking the knife in someone who played a part in bringing down disgraced former Labour councillor Jim Crabtree – who was , very much, part of the ‘Inner Ring’ .

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/suspension-suspense/

We have never claimed that all Labour councillors are dishonest,incompetent or corrupt but we have consistently called out the cabal that are. Ultimately  we believe it is this ‘Inner Ring’ which has consistently brought Wirral Council into disrepute and until these people are removed from public office the people of Wirral will continue to be poorly served.

Although currently marked ‘Strictly Private and Confidential ‘ the full ‘Investigators Report’ can be found here

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/g6133/Public%20reports%20pack%2015th-Jun-2017%2017.00%20Standards%20Panel.pdf?T=10