Public Health in Private Hands

 

Fiona Loves CGL

What Does Fiona Love ? : Public Relations or Public Health?

We’re getting further worrying information about an organisation we’ve reported on briefly a couple of times.The organisation that was formerly known as Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI) who finally woke up to the fact that not all people with drug/alcohol and other vulnerabilities were necessarily criminals and changed their name to the much more cuddly Change, Grow , Live (CGL). 

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/people-who-need-people/

What we can’t get over at Leaky Towers is how people are so ready to complain about NHS privatisation by the back door and yet when Public Health became the responsibility of Wirral Council (Lord help us!) one of the first things they did was hand over the NHS Drug and Alcohol Service to the private sector !.

No doubt this contributed to the fact that  CRI /CGL has doubled its income to more than £140m in five years!. But then there’s always been seriously big money to be made out of people with addictions !.

http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/crime-reduction-initiatives-plans-expand-its-health-services-carry-rebrand/finance/article/1360918

As a number of sources have been in touch to raise their concerns we didn’t know where to start . So let’s start at the beginning with some real live quotes from the people in the know and which provide a cautionary tale about what happens when you handover loads of public money to the private sector :

I just thought I would drop you an email to say thank you for the posts around CRI or whatever name they are going by these days.

I worked for the Drug and Alcohol service for X years when it was NHS and at St Catherine’s Hospital. Was it perfect? –  of course not but I can honestly say the level of care and support for some of the Wirral’s most vulnerable clients was outstanding. I will not bore you with stories of what we did on a daily basis, it broke my heart when the tender was awarded to CRI and Phoenix BUT I did keep an open mind and thought about the clients and keeping on to support them….How naive was I?.
Day One at Conway Street which is the old Arch building- no fax machine, phones, no referral paperwork, basically a nightmare and it continued for weeks and weeks. I must be honest with you I left and didn’t even have a job to go to that is how bad it was.
And there’s more :
Clients not seen on a one to one basis, all group work, caseloads for one person went up to around 150 people, RECOVERY was the buzz word and they would not see anyone who didn’t want to be drug or alcohol free. No more free Hep(atitis) B injections, they didn’t want to do any community detoxes, even the drug and alcohol nurses from Arrowe Park got their legal team in to stop CRI staff on the wards because the care was so bad,  we used to take people from Arrowe Park to detox them from alcohol in the community to free beds. I can only imagine that hospital admissions have rocketed, they left the hostel and homeless clients without a worker for months. The YMCA management were furious, they would not pay for flu injections for the homeless which we as the NHS had been doing for years, the hostel and homeless nurse had to fight with them and basically shame them into paying for the flu injections in a meeting. 
And more :
I could go on and on with horror stories…..  I am heart broken for the clients, most of them have had shitty lives, unimaginable things happen to them and now they are not even getting a half way decent service. 
When we fought as a NHS service to try and stop this service becoming private ( Council Leader) Phil Davies responded with a cut ‘n’ paste letter stating CRI  was the best service  and  would not meet with us for a meeting . What made me angry was he came to the YMCA in Birkenhead for a photo opportunity a few days later to pick litter with residents….
I thank you for your kind response and keep up the good fight! Just know there are still people very angry at this who truly do care for the people of Wirral…
And more :
     
Now, did you know that ARCH has gone bankrupt and been taken over by another drugs company called Kaleidoscope… All Arch’s cafes have been closed apart from one- Nightingales because it was funded by Public Health money …
And more :
We have been told there have  been 65 or 66 deaths since they CRI/CGL took over. A source tells us :

Some staff members requested a meeting with a CRI/CGL  (Director) which took place with a union rep and she stated it was because of ‘An ageing population’

That’s  a line that is usually thrown out when the Department of Adult Social Services tries to explain why it is overspent.
As our source says :
How odd they all chose to die to die in the 16 months of transfer……….
Now as former CRI/CGL employee Cllr Angela Davies seems quite happy to ignore her public duties and yet privately raise concerns so we’d like to turn our attention to a  ‘public servant’ who manages to rake in a six figure salary for commissioning this service –  Director of Public Health Fiona Johnstone.
I’m sure Fiona can reassure us that there is nothing to worry about and the appropriate scrutiny/oversight/monitoring/accountability of  CGL  has taken place and everything is hunky dory.
Perhaps it will appear as a good news item in the first edition of the Wirral Council propaganda sheet which received approval last week.
We won’t be holding our breath.

The Poisoned Chalice

A-Chal

Question : What’s the difference between “leader” (lol) of  Wirral Council Phil” Power Boy Pip” Davies and a supermarket trolley?
Answer : A supermarket trolley has a mind of it’s own !

Accordingly our so-called “Leader with Special Powers”  has decided to further line the pockets of external consultants Penna and LGA from a seemingly bottomless pit of public money. This time it’s to give advice on the appointment of a new Chief Executive to follow in the footsteps of Comrade ” I’m a non-entity get me out of here”  Burgesski.

This week saw the unedifying spectacle of an Employment and Appointments Committee where nodding dog Labour deputies  Cllr Ann “McCrackers” McLachlan and Gorgeous George “Downfall” Davies  fearlessly backed Pip in his mission to attract a top-notch Chief Executive on a top-whack salary.

 “We need a reality check and get in the real world” implored Cllr McLachlan , somehow managing to keep a straight face as she endorsed a £175,000 golden hello for another doubtless self-serving shyster.

Let’s face it whoever they appoint to the top job their task is to simply make people redundant and close down public services and take the flak whilst Pip blames the Tories (whilst failing  to mention that if they are elected at the next General Election Labour intend to carry on regardless with the self-same “austerity measures!” ……..)

Indeed a quick glance at the Penna website tells you everything you need to know about what kind of candidate Wirral Council are looking for:

“Enhanced efficiency and seeking to do more with less in the face of ever growing demands and more exacting financial pressures whilst trying to maintain the current welfare state benefits means that current paradigms need to shift.
In the current economic climate there is increasing pressure for public services to run efficiently. Driving forward public sector reform will help the UK emerge stronger and faster from the global downturn. Learning from those already making efficiency savings is the next challenge for public services”

Which translates as : ” Yes we love public services so much we decided to work in the private sector and make lots of money advising public servants to hire people like us”…..which makes us at Leaky towers want to tell Penna where exactly they can shift their bloody paradigm.

And as for the LGA ( L’Oreal Government Services – ” Because we’re worth it…”)
Haven’t the people of Wirral paid you lot enough already – and for what exactly?

We noticed that both consultants still failed to point out in their unconvincing deliberations that a) there is a particular perk that the past three Chief Executives have enjoyed and  b) whosoever does take the job the first criteria must surely be whether they meet Frankenfield’s approval ….

So finally our advice to prospective candidates is that it might be wise to check out Wirral Leaks to know exactly what they’re really letting themselves in for before considering how they intend to spend their miserly £14,500 A MONTH paycheck……..

Consultant Insults

CONSUL

Wirral Leaks has been for some time highlighting the worrying situation of Wirral Council hiring highly paid consultants at exorbitant rates whilst at the same time explaining how services must be cut and staff need to be made redundant and anyway it’s all the governments fault.

Wirral Council’s use of consultants seems to be for 3 reasons :

1) For when they’re in a hole of their own making – “Here’s a shed-load of money if you write any old flannel as long as the conclusion is – “No case to answer” !

2) Absolve the Council of responsibility for decision-making  – ” It was the independent,external consultant who recommended that we cull half of our workforce and lay waste to public services.We didn’t want to really ,honestly…..”

3) Compensate for the sheer ineptitude and negligence of  council officers on megabuck salaries who seem to have absolutely no idea what they’re bloody doing!  – As her Ladyship said ” If I was on a life raft and reliant on a full set of chief officers for survival I think I’d throw myself overboard and take my chances with the sharks”

The latest beneficiaries of the Wirral Council runaway gravy train are a consultancy firm by the name of V4 who have given Wirral Council the V-sign and been paid £260,000 for what was initially a £50,000 job – SEE HERE

Nice work if you can get it and you can get it when Wirral Council officers and councillors are simply not up to the job and where it’s always amateur hour!.

Despite this work being authorised by Labour cabinet member Cllr.Chris Meaden , Power Boy Pip displays  his renowned leadership skills and plays pass the parcel by claiming  that the issue “concerns officers”. We were also interested to read about this case that “delegated powers” to  Wirral Councillors allow payment of monies up to the value of £50,000. That’ll explain the £48,000 for “hurt feelings” then!  – ” Let’s keep it just under £50,000 and we’ll throw in a couple of packets of Benson & Hedges”.

Finally Wirral Leaks would like to offer some advice to Wirral Council staff currently facing redundancy who fancy a piece of the action.

A guide on how to become a Wirral Council consultant is helpfully set out on the ever illuminating Wirral In it Together blog:

SEE HERE
The steps are:

1. Prove yourself “useful” to Wirral Council
2. Nab a 12 month contract
3. Set up a consultancy company
4. Think of a number – treble it and there you have your daily rate (£515 in this case)
5. Get your contract extended (with or without councillor scrutiny).
6. Trebles all round!

The Non Return of Martin – Grrrr!

MARTINMORT

And so the ultimate PR prize slips from grasp of Wirral Council as veteran whistle-blower Martin Morton turns down the tempting offer of a return to the house of fun and chooses to take the money and run.

Of course this would of been the ultimate endorsement of the “new” regime if Morton had crawled back with his tail between his legs. A trophy to be cynically displayed at every opportunity like an endangered species bagged by a big game hunter.

So this leaves us with the question of who to believe when it comes to the supposed miraculous transformation of Wirral Council – Morton  (who clearly doesn’t believe a word of it) or Comrade Burgesski/Power Boy Pip and their Local Government  Association lapdogs.

Based on the stories on this blog we know where we’d put our money…….

We must say we find the press reports a tad confusing – for example if there’s a secrecy clause what’s Morton doing blabbing all over the local papers again like someone with a bladder problem?

SEE HERE

AND HERE

Once again we get an unnerving sense that there’s something decidedly unsavoury and unresolved we don’t know about – with Morton mentioning about writing a book and saying : “I know what is going on behind the scenes. It’s not a changed organisation….”

We can only wonder whether he’s heard the Wirralgate tape!

Bizarrely Burgesski  states : “But we are pleased Martin feels the matter has been finalised.”

Really? – it doesn’t sound like it to us!

The King of Wishful Thinking v The Man Who Knew Too Much

Once again we know where our money is going……..

Flying Down To Rio

Flying_Down_to_Rio05

It came as no surprise to us at Leaky Towers to hear that a small delegation of Wirral Council bigwigs had taken flight (especially when we heard it involved The Deadly Davies Duo, Pip & George)

What did surprise us is that the airborne jaunt landed in the pensioners paradise that is Bournemouth for a Local Government Association conference. Why one can almost hear the ‘chink’ of bone china tea cups as Pip and Gorgeous take centre stage

SEE HERE   

Comrade Burgesski provided unequivocal evidence that his recent irony by-pass operation had been such a success when he declared that their attendance was an “opportunity to showcase Wirral’s achievements and good practice on this national platform.”

Subsequently Wirral Council spokesperson Dee Niall has refuted rumours that the expedition will next be flying down to Rio to advise FIFA’s World Cup officials on hospitality beanos, pay-offs and sweetheart deals……

As our new Brazilian maid Dolores Del Rio said : “Fala sério!…………….”

Courted and Feted

FOUKSLEYS

Unfortunately our invitation must have got lost in the post so Lord and Lady W missed the opportunity to mix with the hoi polloi at Foulksey’s mayor-making bash at the Floral Pavilion.And we use the term “bash” advisedly as we understand that also in attendance on the front row was our other favourite Steve  – “Mad Dog” Maddox.With Foulksey at the forefront it must have felt as though the Bully Convention was in town having had a former Wirral Council Officer inform us that Maddox wasn’t averse to swearing at him in meetings.Just the kind of role model to whom the Freedom of the Borough should be awarded don’t you think?.

As an aside does anyone know whether the Ladies of Hebden Bridge were in attendance, as we know they and Foulkesy went back a long way – all the way back to Hebden Bridge in fact and with most of Wirral Council’s senior officers in tow!

However lets not get away from the fact that this was the Prince of Belligerence’s big night and supported  by his consort and fiancee, the lovely Elaine,Foulksey conceded that he “wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea” as 15 dissenters ( 5 nay-sayers and 10 abstentions) decided to register their protest at his appointment.

Power Boy Pip bleated :”It’s a shame because, obviously, Steve’s family and friends were here, so it should have been a nice night and council should have been unanimous in its support.It’s left a bit of a bitter taste in the mouth.”

We presume he wasn’t talking about Foulkesy’s cup of tea!

However if this statement proves anything it is this:
POWER BOY PIP DOES JUST NOT GET IT AT ALL!
But then he’s learned at the past master’s knee as Foulksey managed to show him just how insensitivity, lack of awareness and sheer ignorance should really be done.

Commenting on the fact that Wirral Foodbank would be one of the Mayor’s chosen charities Foulksey went into full Mother Theresa mode

“Wirral Foodbank is run by genuinely caring people who are in crisis. It takes steps to stop them getting deeper in crisisAs I said in my speech, we are only a few wage packets away, or a very serious accident away, from being in a situation of crisis. There, but by the grace of God go I, which is why I’m also pleased to support the charity.”

So tell us Foulksey how many people have Wirral Council made redundant or bullied out of their jobs are now reliant on such handouts whilst you snort noisily in the trough of plenty whilst being “courted and feted” wherever you go ?………..

Fatprince

 

Ministry of Public Enlightenment & Propaganda

PowerPIPPED

Even considering  we had a  7 month start on Power Boy Pip’s Leader’s Blog it is clear from the 151,000 + hits that Wirral Leaks has had compared (since moving from Tumblr to wordpress)  to his 8,000 , it would appear that the Head of Community Engagement & Communications needs to start earning their £84,000 per annum salary ( plus, er, “bonuses” ). With all the pre-determined consultations, bogus surveys and approval of Freedom Of Information responses it would appear that somewhere along the line the propaganda war is clearly being lost.

As with Goebbels’ original concept   –  The Ministry of Public Enlightenment & Propaganda –  the Leaders blog seems to be an attempt to develop a cult of personality – only without the personality.

For those yet to sample the riveting delights of the Leaders Blog it goes something like this :

” Hi , er , friends and  citizens of Wirral –   everything is thrusting and dynamic here on the golf peninsula  – have I told you about the exciting development on Wirral Waters?.Well , just for now ,instead of thrusting and dynamic skyscrapers we’ve planted some trees. No ,honestly, everything is going to plan, just a few diplomatic hitches to iron out and we’re good to go . Meanwhile I have single handedly turned the Council  into a streamlined thrusting and dynamic organisation ( “you’ve already said thrusting and dynamic” – Head of Community Engagement & Communications)- Oh and have I mentioned the golf? yes there’s a golf tournament where somebody wins a jolly big cheque and a silver trophy and we get to hang out around the hospitality tents pretending to be important…..er and , anything else?…. (  “No! – best not mention the forthcoming Mayor ceremony” – Head of Community Engagement & Communications ).”

Or there’s pictures of Pip doing his “I care  – I’m approachable – I’m not bored,really “ routine with some Modern Apprentice who’s been dragged away from Youtube and asked to grin for the cameras whilst Pip reports :

” Here I am in the busy,busy Legal Department where they do awfully clever legal stuff involving laws and organising cover ups and not renewing leases.Next week I’ll be in Human Resources where apparently they do stuff with humans –  indeed it’s very important that the 23 remaining staff we have working for the Council are paid a living wage and feel supported during this difficult time because if the 23 staff weren’t doing the work of 300 we’d be well and truly stuffed.

I hope to soon drop in on the Finance Department and cheque out (geddit!) whether there’s enough money in the kitty for Burgesski’s antique crystal chandelier to light his throne room (the lavatory to you and I.) No doubt I will jest with my Comrade that in such financially constrained times it is perhaps inappropriate to spend public money on such fripperies….but we both know I can’t bear to see him looking like a sad emoticon so I’ll probably give in like I always do….”

Wirral Leaks Disclaimer :  We defer to Justice Saunders and his deliberations on coverage of the Hacking Trial in relation the internet and Private Eye Magazine  ( November 2013): “It is meant to be satire. You ignore it; it has no serious input and it is not relevant to your considerations. It is one of those things that you will have to ignore, a joke that in the circumstances of today is a joke in exceptionally bad taste…”

And accordingly we humbly suggest to Wirral Council that any further claims of “hurt feelings” should be considered in this context.

Fools Paradise

ANGRY-GET-IT-RIGHT

Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours. With a little understanding. You can find the perfect blend………”

How appropriate that the first meeting of the LIVERPOOL City Region Combined Authority should have it’s inaugural meeting on April Fools Day. SEE HERE

You will note that Wirral Council website cannot bring itself to use the L word and coyly refers to a City Region Combined Authority.

And so it would seem we are all now officially living in the Peoples “Socialist” Republic Of Merseyside – a veritable fools paradise of working class chancers and middle class charlatans riding that gravy train for all it’s worth.

Reading like a Mills & Boon novel written by Karl Marx we see flighty,flirty Miss Wirral fleeing the evil clutches of Cheshire’s Tory Boy and return to the crimson caress of her first true love, thus fulfilling a long held ambition of becoming Liverpool’s golf resort over the River Mersey (although visitors are advised to wear blinkers as they travel their way through the decay and dereliction before arriving at the green sanctuary of the golf course)

However the fascination for us at Leaky Towers was the race to be the first chair of this auspicious group and much to our hilarity it turns out to be Power Boy Pip !!!! – thereby providing us with endless comic possibilities. With of course Foulksey being crowned mayor in June this promises to be a bumper year for satire. SEE HERE

What gives this appointment added frisson is the clear tension that exists between the Labour Council leaders and particularly Mayor Joe and Our Boy Pip. It’s like a non- anthropomorphic version of Animal Farm!.

We were praying for a Harry Hill type scrap today but clearly given the heads up that he wasn’t getting the top job Mayor Joe threw a diva strop and arrived after Pip’s appointment and left straight after the end of the meeting with his lips hermetically sealed ( which must be a first!).

Of course it didn’t take long for the titty-lipped loser to start sniping about Power Boy Pip’s incongruous appointment modestly commenting : “We have been stopped by people who were saying that I’m too big a personality and that Liverpool is too strong….”  SEE HERE

This was clearly a riposte to Pip who had previously oozed,  :

“The overall objective of bringing more jobs and growth to the city region is more important than any personality or individual politician. It’s absolutely essential, it’s a no brainer…..”

Which is presumably why a “no-brainer” was appointed to be chair!

Looks like this bitch-fest will run and run……

Suddenly_Angry_Anderson
Ta-ra for now,Comrades!

 

Coming Soon: FUTURE COUNCIL!

backtothefutile
 

“I’ve seen the future, I can’t afford it
Tell me the truth sir, someone just bought it
Larger than life and twice as ugly
If we have to live there, you’ll have to drug me”

Yes yet again you read it here first – after “Destination Effluence” and “Transforming Wirral Council” comes the latest Wirral Council makeover – ” Future Council” (or should that be futile?) Cautious of the derision that met “Destination Effluence” a  desperate PR stunt spawned in haste after the shock of the Independent Review published in 2012 , Wirral Council seem to be adopting a more subtle and subliminal approach this time.From information we’ve been receiving it would seem that Council staff are gradually being brainwashed into talking about “Future Council”  so as to make cuts to services and staff redundancies somehow sound more palatable and well , sort of dynamic and futuristic and stuff.

ROBOTSHowever we feel, just like Destination Effluence, it’s just the same old Council trick of putting lipstick on a pig ……

Even the usually compliant union Unison expressed  “major concern” in their last annual report when “Future Council” was quietly being introduced : “The Budget option entitled ‘Transforming Wirral’ Council now referred to as “Future Council” caused major concern. It seeks to make savings of £9.5 million by the end of 2015/16…”

So is ” Future Council”  meant to sound as though Wirral Council is to be run like a lean,mean machine managed and controlled by unthinking,unfeeling automatons?.

Sounds like business as usual to us!

pig-lipstick
Lest we forget ….

Welcome To The “Socialist” Republic of Merseyside

FranklyPOBJOE

We meant to comment on the naming of a new “Super Council” in a more timely manner but we’ve been sidelined by other matters –  firstly there was Eldritch’s parole hearing and then we got rather excited when we heard there was breaking news about a Deputy Labour Leader involved in a smear campaign. Imagine our disappointment when we found out it only concerned dreary old Harriet Harman……

However it comes as no surprise to us that the “leaders” of Halton,Knowsley,Liverpool,St.Helens,Sefton and Wirral Councils couldn’t decide on a new name for the proposed new “Super Council” so government officials had to step in and name it Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St.Helens, Sefton and Wirral Combined Authority or HKLSHSW Combined Authority for short – catchy huh?.

” Dearie me”…drawled her Ladyship “sounds like a Countdown contestant with a consonant fetish”.

SEE HERE   and HERE

BAGOFSHITE

Not only does it not augur  well for the future operation of  the “Super Council” when our “leaders” can’t agree on a name but the Liverpool Echo also reports “that according to sources, there were highly charged scenes at the last meeting of all six leaders when it became clear Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson is likely to be pipped to the post of chairman by Wirral council leader Phil Davies.”

Whilst “pipped to the post” has to be our favourite unintentional pun of the year both Echo articles hint at deeper divisions

A titty-lipped Mayor Joe ‘Angry’ Anderson is reported to have said : “I would hope that people would recognise that my leadership of the city region over the city region over the last three-and-a-half years has been fruitful, but other people – maybe for their own ends rather than the combined authority’s ends –thought otherwise.”

Meanwhile Liverpool Council’s Lib Dem leader Cllr Richard Kemp has written to Nick Clegg with talk of senior Labour “fighting like ferrets in a sack”. Clearly unhappy with the name of the Super Council and Power Boy Pip Davies’s elevation to Super Council Leader status he wrote: “With a pigs’ breakfast for a name and clear divisions at the very top of the body, I cannot begin to see how it might fulfil the roles of leadership which are desperately needed to bring jobs and prosperity to our region…I know that it is not your job any more than it is mine to comment on disagreements within the Labour Party. However these two facts make me very concerned about the viability of the combined authority.”

We can’t help feeling that some powerful individuals are pulling the strings for political ends and wanting to elevate Power Boy Pip to a position to which he is clearly not suitable.

We await confirmation of this appointment with interest. Meanwhile might we suggest that like many a “super-power” he needs to get his own house in order before he starts empire-building.

Neighbours eh ? Pfft !