More Embarrassment For WBC

Can he Fix It ?

Oh dear oh dear oh dear ! It’s just one PR Omnishambles after another over at Clown Hall

“A CONTROVERSIAL £25,000 office refurbishment for Wirral council’s chief officers broke planning laws, it has been revealed. The upgrading of offices for the chief executive Graham Burgess’s and his top team of new “super directors” caused outrage when it was revealed.

Now the council has admitted that “due to an administrative error” it failed to obtain listed building consent before the work was carried out to the Grade II listed Wallasey town hall.”

Read more: Liverpool Echo


Tricked or Treat ? Where the Abnorman is Normal

Lord and Lady Wirralleaks and all at Leaky Towers have been casting an increasingly jaundiced eye over recent comings and goings at Wirral Council.However if you’ll excuse the mixed metaphor we have been keeping our powder dry and waiting for the dust to settle before we decided to put in our twopenneth worth with regard to the recent departure of Bill Norman Esq – ex Director of Law & Whatnot at the aforementioned esteemed institution (and we use the term advisedly).
New Chief Exec Graham Burgess seemed awfully keen to state that following the fallout from a recent investigation concerned with some decidedly dodgy dealings that there was “no case to answer” after all –  and so with a cry of “William ,it was really nothing”  Wirral Council’s Monitoring Officer was bade a fond farewell with a big wodge of Council Tax payers cash.
This apparently was agreed after the former Director of Law said he wanted to leave the Council and hired some lawyers to fight his corner ( we know! – there was many a chuckle at the Towers when we realised the irony of that one) We can only conjecture that these fearless legal eagles must have mounted a robust and complex legal challenge which went something like: ” Sweet William has been terribly upset by all this unpleasantness so can you be awfully good chaps and pay our legal bills and give him a nice fat cheque to add to his collection and he’ll go quietly .Please?.Pretty please?” .
Because as we know that “Torbay Bill” has a bit of  a track record in not only ”dealing” with whistleblowers but also for “trousering the cheque” courtesy of a troubled Council .
However we couldn’t help feeling that there was something decidedly amiss about this arrangement. As I reminded Lady W when I had that unfortunate misunderstanding over my expenses (some pesky penpusher asking awkward questions about claims for dredging the moat at Leaky Towers, the ornamental duckhouse and the business trip with Miss Snoop to Paris) –  I soon came to realise that perhaps it might be expeditious to “spend more time with my long suffering family ” which I believe is correct expression used these days – although Eldritch puts it rather more prosaically as : ” Leg it quick- we’ve been fucking rumbled” .
This ”accounting error” ultimately meant I had to leave my office with a shoebox  full of the loose change out of my desk drawer,some snaps of Verity under the Eiffel Tower and half a box of Earl Grey teabags.However as far as I can remember I did not depart with £150k of public money tucked cosily into my handkerchief pocket.
Therefore ,especially as the nights have been drawing in, the Leaky Towers household have been entertaining themselves in front of the log fire with games of Wirral Council Cluedo .
After a hearty,warming supper prepared by cook Miss Knowall – believe me there are times when I simply can’t wait to get my teeth into Nigella’s dumplings-  we all hunker down and lay the suspects on the floor, trying to identify what was behind this seemingly “irrational generosity” towards Mr.Norman. 
Now the first thing that perceptive Miss Snoop suggested was that we needed to identify was who sent Mr.Norman off site in the first place?.
However matters were confused by the fact that over the past couple of years there had been so many Chief Execs or Acting Chief Execs ( or “Acting the fucking goat” as Eldritch would have it)  – that it was difficult to identify who might have done the dirty deed just as Billyboy was due to go his well-earned summer jollies.
Lady W peeked out from behind her  Sudoku puzzle to suggest that perhaps it was Mr.C in the Finance Department as he was Acting Chief Exec at some point. “ No couldn’t be him “ prompted Miss Knowall   “because he was sent off site at the same time”.
And  what’s more I added Mr.Coleman must be a bit miffed that he bagged just over half of what Bill Norman got especially since Norman has been at the Council for 4 years and Coleman had been there for as long as any of us could remember.  
It was at this point that Eldritch blurted out “MF”!. Lady W  was rather taken aback by this outburst : “ Really Ernest, must we?, I know you’re frustrated about this situation but the Oedipal expletive is not an acceptable term to be used in a respectable household”  
 ” No Ma’m. I meant MF for Michael Frater”.
We all scratched our heads and looked at each other quizzically until Miss Snoop helpfully opened the press cuttings file and yes, indeed there he was!  – he was the high flyer who flew in like a particularly opinionated canary saying that “weird” things were going on in Wirral and that the AKA report was “understated” and he was going to chuck out those birds of a feather who had flocked together to feather their own nests or some such birdshit.
However it would appear that before anyone noticed that he’d made not a blind bit of difference, he too flew south (while the Council went west) – clutching a big bag of swag in his beak ( £75K for 6 months work – nice work if you can get it).
So forthwith off went Miss Snoop to make some enquiries of trusted sources about the mysterious Master Frater and well,well,well it would seem that he may well have been involved in the suspension of Norman,Coleman ,Green and the other one who’s name escapes us – Lady W keeps referring to him as Mr.Taylor -Dane- but I’m sure that can’t be right.   
Anyway I digress –  as the crux of the matter lies in the fact that according to official Council sources “there was no case to answer”.However what seems not to have been considered in all this is an obscure Council ruling that Miss Snoop has uncovered in Chief Officers contracts of employment.And it would appear that Wirral Council Chief Officers, as befitting their Godlike status, cannot be suspended until it is first established that : “THERE IS A CASE TO ANSWER”!.
This privilege of course does not extend to the rest of the hoi polloi who work for the Council – but of course what it affords is the opportunity for Chief Officers to head for the shredder ,lean on the underlings to keep schtum and generally get their friends in high places to close ranks, all accompanied by the discordant clamour of the armour plating of backsides.
Of course if  Master Frater did indeed send  Bill Norman packing before it was proven “there was a case to answer” then dare we suggest this would have “compromised” Wirral Council somewhat and smoothed legal negotiations towards an amicable settlement on behalf of Mr.Norman?.
Of course as we understand that Bill Norman was not subject to a confidentiality clause within his Compromise Contract perhaps he’d like to resolve the mystery and share with the long suffering Wirral public what actually happened.
However the reality will be that with Norman,Wilkie and Coleman gone that some very senior Councillors will be resting easier in their beds -seemingly safe in the knowledge that the REALLY BIG DIRTY SECRET will remain forever hidden.
Fear not Leakers Miss Snoop has the key to that secret on a chain which she wears round her neck and which nestles ,rather pleasingly and reassuringly on her decolletage.
Toodle pip……… for now!……………

How Not To Deal With A Sick Employee Part 1,002- The Wirral Way.

Following on from our disturbing revelations about how Wirral Council’s Social Services Department [in particular]  deals with sick/disabled employees HERE and HERE we have received the following email. 

“Just read the Wirral Leaks.

When I read the bit about the worker who had been denied access to Occy Health I could have sworn they were talking about ME!

I saw OH recently and told him I had asked to be referred to occy health when I came back off sick in Feb 2011. I was promised by my manager that she had made a referral and in subsequent supervisions she promised to ‘follow it up.’  When I finally went off sick again in some months later  I rang Occy Health straight away to chase up the referral that had been made.

Guess what? They had never received one. Occy Health told me to chase it up with Human Resources. They said they’d ‘look into it’.

Guess what again? A referral suddenly materialised and there was some reference to an ‘admin error’ explaining referrals had been lost or misplaced by HR or something.

Given my manager said she was looking to occy health for some guidance re my ‘reasonable adjustments’ [Under DDA/Equalities Act]  and in the meantime I was struggling to cope, and ultimately became ill again and went off sick,  this is total negligence.

Now I am not calling my manager a liar but I have continually asked for copies of referrals that were made with no reply.”


You have to ask the question, if they cannot provide the basics in a duty of care to ill or disabled employees, how can they be trusted to look after our most vulnerable members of society

It seems they have learnt the square root of f*** all  and Senior officers carry on regardless despite being shamed in the past for sending emails over even more shocking matters  such as ….

[Officer C (DASS)] to [Officer D (DASS)]
24 February

Subject: RE: Supported Accommodation – Charging Policy
Once we go for a ‘reimbursement’ the cover’s blown. However we can’t bury our head in the sand for too much longer as the charging review group will start soon (it could be better to leave it to that group to consider?) In the meantime there is ‘unfairness’ in the system hence my advice to X to consider the broader issues in AMT.

As evidenced in the Whistleblowing case involving Martin Morton who highlighted an ‘illegal charging policy‘  – Seems like nowts changed at WBC.

A Whistleblowers Open Letter To Frank Field MP.


Frank Field MP

Thursday 22 September 2011

Dear Frank Field,

I wrote to you back in February about Wirral Council and VS [the Voluntary severance scheme,] within that email I gave the view that Wirral Council and in particular DASS was and is toxic dysfunctional and not fit for purpose.


On top of this there were and are a myriad of other issues. My concerns were numerous, and at the risk of overwhelming you with detail I feel the time has now come for these concerns to be looked at seriously
1) Background – Wirral became one of the first authorities in the country to ‘lose’ posts due to personalisation and at least 29 experienced Social Workers and qualified workers left to make way for unqualified ASO’s [Assistant Support Officers] ( as reported by Community Caring – ) With a nice quote from Rick O’Brien.

2) The ASO training was extremely poor, something CQC picked up on in their damning report. Due to demand/pressure/ lack of Social Workers / incompetence, managers allocated ASO’s who are inexperienced and unqualified complex work to do which in turn gives the ‘customer’ a much poorer service, and potentially puts them at risk. This also has the knock on effect of causing stress in the ASO’s as they are ill equipped to do the work. Many ASO’s are required to do a high volume of complex work with many openly saying leaves them feeling ‘out of their depth ‘ and having to present ‘High cost packages’ and ‘residential and nursing packages’ to ‘panel’.

3.ASO’s report that they regularly have cases refused at decision making ‘panels’ often as they are asked questions about the cases that they simply can’t answer. This is partly because they are unqualified and inexperienced, received poor training and also because of the volume of cases allocated they have very little time to go into things in detail. (Surely someone who is unqualified and inexperienced shouldn’t be given complex cases in the first place, and if for some unknown reason they are given complex cases then they should be given plenty of time and support to sort things out). All in all ASOs generally feels stressed and made to feel inadequate by what they feel is unreasonable demands made on them . Many ASO’s for various reasons won’t speak out. ( as mentioned in AK’s report) – fear of looking inadequate, wanting to ‘get on’, wanting to please management, fear of bullying and intimidation etc. etc. As soon as you speak out your ‘capability’ is questioned. It’s you, not poor management or bad practice – And we all know were capability ends up in Wirral Bully Council.

My line managers always maintained that a case suggesting an admission to permanent care wasn’t ‘complex’. As a Social Worker told me and I quote “Total BS. Only a sociopath careerist would say something so wrong”. Permanent care is a life changing decision, would the families really be happy if they knew unqualified administrators are presenting these cases to a ‘panel’

4) Management will mitigate by saying ASO’s are given ‘supervision and support’. This is bogus. Most of the time the managers don’t know what to do themselves. One manager has a reputation for avoiding supervision with people and when they get it they say she is next to useless. , another team manager is an Occupational Therapist. How can she give ‘professional supervision’ to social workers? I have my supervision record, about 4 in 18 months.

At least qualified social workers have their training and experience to fall back on which can mitigate against poor / lack of professional supervision. ASO’s haven’t got that that to fall back on which puts them under undue pressure.

5) Institutionalised delays to meeting needs. Well ‘panel’ is one way of delaying meeting needs. Give an inexperienced and unqualified ASO lots of cases to present to ‘panel’ Tell him he hasn’t given enough evidence for a high cost package or residential / nursing placement and to go away and come back with more ‘evidence’. And in the meantime give him more and more work to do so as to slow him down even further and stress him out more.

6) introduce a 4 week delay before brokerage even starts to look for a ‘package of care’.

7) Performance Indicators. Getting staff to fill out a huge amount of bogus forms and reports which don’t actually reflect whats happening in DASS just needed by senior management to ‘evidence’ how well they are doing.

In the light of Anna Kolonski’s damning report into WBC’s practices I demand, as an ex employee, AND a Wirral resident AND  tax payer that my Whistle-blowing concerns are dealt with properly I have evidence and corroboration, yet still WBC deny this was practice. I suggest the people responsible are now held to account and you as my MP should ensure an independent review is undertaken.

The Council finally agreed to my VS and paid my and additional 25,000 so as not to take them to court for Disability Discrimination over their failure to make reasonable adjustments under the Equalities act in my place. This, it appears was preferable to addressing my concerns about work place practices. Add this to EVR of 20,000 and holiday pay AND six months on full pay whilst off sick with work related stress and they effectively have paid me 50,000. A small amount when you consider they have damaged my health and ruined any career. However there was no gagging clause with regard to my compromise agreement. Their response to my Whistle-blowing concerns has been lamentable.

The Council must get it’s act in order because it is the vulnerable people of Wirral who continue to suffer.