C and Unbelieve

Image

It’s an unwelcome return to Wirral Leaks to our old fiends Change! Grow! Live! , Wirral Ways To Recovery, Money,Money,Money or whatever they’re calling themselves these days!

We’re unhappy to report just how they’re earning their £7 million + from the Wirral Council Public Health budget from a thoroughly disillusioned insider:

Just when you thought Change Grow Live Wirral integrated drug and alcohol system couldn’t get any worse ‘‘just’ in keeping people alive they’ve botched it up again.

For over 4 years they have been testing people for Hep C and HIV with ‘faulty kits’ and gave some  people their hep C results as being “not positive/negative”. When in fact the tests they used were faulty and some of the people they told were negative have in fact  been positive! public health  issue I think you’ll agree? 

Everyone has to be re: tested and guess who is picking up the bill?…well its not the ‘charity’ commissioned to carry screenings out who’s income grew to £193 million last year -(which is what they’ve disclosed in their report so who knows what the actually amount is!)  but the NHS via Arrowe Park Hospital. 

How long did they know about this before acting on it… 6 months! 

Up for tender too following an increase of 29% in drug related deaths nationally. Which they conveniently relate to “an aging population”. Well indeed but coincidentally those in the brackets of ‘aging population’ when treated by professionals in the past didn’t die at such ludicrous numbers.  

Come on commissioners wake up. 

Its not working on our doorsteps. Get it right surely people’s lives are worth more?

But hey! CGL have at least got a Hepatitis C strategy. Surely it’s gotta be worth millions of pounds of public money for consistently failing their patients and the public purse?…

Don’t Fence Me In

About Wirral 015

We very rarely get contacted by West Wirralians . Perhaps it’s because that generally life is fairly pleasant that side of the peninsula (as the 10 year difference in mortality rates between East and West Wirral , neatly dissected by the M53 motorway, seems to prove). Here’s our take on the situation and which we think would save Wirral Council’s Public Health team time, trouble and money in consultations –

Q: Why do people die earlier in East Wirral than West Wirral?

A: Because they want to…

Even Wirral Council can’t seem to mess the quality and quantity of life up of the people who live as far away on the peninsula from Birkenhead as possible, as they only seem to take an interest in West Wirral when ‘The Open’ golf tournament is on.

However we’ve been contacted by some ‘Hoylakers’ (is that the collective term?)  asking us whether we know anything about why contractors were out at a local school over the weekend.

There are suggestions that we’d be interested because it possibly relates to a previous story on Wirral Leaks about Wirral Council, local contractors and school fencing which we hope to revisit shortly. Whilst they tell us that Hoylake is a lovely place to live -although Market Street is looking a bit tawdry at the moment with some boarded up shop premises – but as an exposed coastal area it is sometimes subject to fierce winds like those that were experienced last week. They suggested to us that wouldn’t it be awful ,if during such fierce winds, a fence fell down at a school and landed on top of a child who ended up in hospital because ,on inspection,the fence was not put up correctly and had securing brackets missing ?…

 

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #6

Hey! people of Wirral – we’re supposed to be semi-retired here! But in the mean time keep ’em comin’……

CONDUCT UNBECOMING 

This is a postscript to our Intimidation and the Hypocrisies of Public Life post where earlier this week we witnessed Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin desperately querying whether a particular website was intimidatory. Hey , Matron – we pay for your taxis , it would appear you now want us to pay for your phone. As Her Ladyship said : ” It’ll be bad dye jobs and manicures next !” Can we just pitch in that we agree with a recent Guardian report (that’s a first for us) where ex- Tory minister Sir Eric ‘Who Ate All The Pies’ Pickles gets a deserved kicking (or this being the Guardian – a mild riposte). It was Frank Field’s mate who dismantled the external scrutiny of Councils with the abolishment of the Audit Commission and Standards For England and my goodness haven’t councillors at Wirral Council taken advantage of the fact since? For more read here : Blame Eric Pickles for councillors guzzling high on the hog

It is apparent that electors on Wirral don’t or at least don’t in any coherent way police the conduct of councillors. So we try to instead – and if that’s ‘intimidatory’ Matron we make no apologies! Just sayin’

HUBWATCH  

Maritime_Knowledge_Hub

Her Ladyship turned to me the other day and said :

What the world needs now
Is hubs, more hubs
It’s the only thing
That there’s just too little of
What the world needs now
Is hubs, more hubs
No not just for some – but for everyone

Lord, we don’t need
Another mountain
There are mountains
And hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans
And rivers enough to cross
Enough to last – ’til the end of time

What the world needs now
Is hubs, more hubs

And who was I to disagree? So in honour of Her Ladyship we are introducing a new Wirral Leaks feature – Hubwatch. This week’s hub is the ‘Maritime Knowledge Hub’ exclusively featured in Wirral Council’s favourite website Insider Media Ltd. 

The ‘Digital Staff Writer’ for this exclusive for this is one Matthew Ord. Now we’re not being rude here Matthew but your profile pic makes you look slightly deranged. We suppose that’s what happens when you have to cut and paste press statements from various interested parties into a vaguely coherent article so that it doesn’t read like complete BS for a living. Just sayin’

WIRRAL WINDFALL 

The latest contribution from regular Wirral Leaks contributor ‘The Prof ‘ may be a bit controversial but we’re a broad church and we like to encourage debate and dispute

It was good to read in the February Wirral View that according to Cllr. Phil Davies Wirral is now the centre for ‘Offshore Renewable Engineering’! Orsted’s new ‘flagship’ site for windmill maintenance is apparently the best thing since sliced bread ! Phil must have read the piece in Renewable Energy News, etc, which reported that several hundred offshore windmills supplied by Siemens, including those of Orsted, have suffered unexpected problems including severe blade erosion requiring expensive repair or replacement. That should keep Orsted’s base busy in the short term. But, as to the medium term,  did Phil not also read the Financial Times piece (23.02.18) :’Global Renewable Energy Sector Faces Enron Style Collapse’. With the end of cheap money and subsidies and the US shale gas revolution ,the ‘windmill era’ may be ending again just as it did when coal and oil arrived in the 19th century. If Phil wants economic renewal for Wirral he should forget politically correct fantasy, embrace reality and talk to Cuadrilla.                                                                        Professor D P Gregg (retired)

 

Juergen Maier is Siemens CEO and North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) Chairman

Emma Degg (ex Wirral Council, Wirral Leaks passim) is CEO of NWBLT

Oh and DLA Piper, Grant Thornton, Orsted and Unilever have representatives on the NWBLT board. Have you all worked out how this shit works yet?

NWBLT Members

Just sayin’

STIR IT UP
Marley's E-cigs
Now you know we don’t judge here at Wirral Leaks and we fully support local businesses and recognise you gotta do what you gotta do to make a living these days. However from time to time who question the appropriateness of some sponsorship deals . We say this as we’ve been sent these pics and comment from a local resident :
Good to see Somerville Medical Centre being sponsored by the cheapest e cig shop on Merseyside……sponsored by Marley’s where (if you zoom in on this photo) you will also see that you can buy ‘spliff boxes’, ‘bongs’, and associated drug taking paraphernalia ……. ha ha
Spliff box
Perhaps Julie Webster Head of Public Health at Wirral Council could comment on the matter and at the same time confirm she has an MSc and therefore has the authority to do so. Just sayin’
AND FINALLY 
We’ve been sent this picture and asked  ” What does this former party political leader and his partner have in common with a Wirral political power couple?”
Henry & Jo
We were stumped – perhaps Wirral Leaks readers can enlighten us………

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….

Wirral Leaks Weekly Dispatch #1

Following on from last week’s post and with our readers continuing to send us dispatches of despair from dystopia we thought we’d instigate a weekly foreign exchange. Be warned – it might not be weekly. We’ll be treating these titbits like we’re shopping in the local market – keeping it fresh,seasonal and whatever catches our eye.

Tag Hag 

Several of you have been in touch to tell us that Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram plans to fudge a mayoral election pledge to ‘slash’ Mersey Tunnel toll charges . It now transpires he wants to reduce tolls for off-peak fast tag users but to raise charges to £1.80 for everyone else ! We believe the word for this type of manoeuvre is sophistry. However all we can say on the matter is that the £1.70 we paid to get out of Wirral and onward to Liverpool John Lennon Airport for a flight to Nice was the best £1.70 we’ve ever spent. Just sayin’!

What’s in a Name?

We have been sent a very sad story about the death of a young man named Mark Potter –  Wirral Man,32, who died in his sleep was very much loved   

Mr Potter’s family attended the inquest and they repeatedly quizzed mental health workers about how their son would know how to access their services.

Mr Potter’s dad asked Marion Blackburn, from Wirral Ways To Recovery: “Since 2015, how many people have died in your care?

She replied: “We have learnt things and [we’re] to make changes to make things better for people.”

Mr Potter said: “How do we [the public] know you are there?

“People are falling down the cracks. I hope you’re sorting that organisation out because people like Mark might be dying all over the place.”

Needless to say we’ve long raised the same concerns about Wirral Ways To Recovery and particularly the services that operate under the Change Grow Live  (CGL) banner. This of course led to an investigation which concluded the high mortality rate associated with the takeover by CGL of services previously provided by NHS was due to an ageing population. We’re still not convinced.

Public Health england brought in to investigate concerns first raised by Wirral Leaks

Wirral Council are having Nunn of it !

What better way of avoiding scrutiny and accountability by pulling the ‘vexatious’ card from the bottom of the pack. The latest target of this dubious tactic is our old friend Charles Nunn – who has been denied information about consultant Stewart Halliday’s ongoing (?) inflated remuneration because he might say mean things on social media. Wirral Council solicitor Rosemary Lyon , who must be a delicate little flower ,  is also upset by Charles’ ‘tone’ and writes:

I consider that you as a third party are pursuing a legitimate interest.
However I consider that that legitimate interest has been lessened by the
tone of your request in asking the Council to confirm whether “there will
be no further contract extension for this man?”

I have had regard to the guidance issued by the ICO “Dealing with
vexatious requests (Section 14) 20151218 Version 1.3. Paragraph 56 states
that “The context and history in which a request is made will often be a
major factor in determining whether the request is vexatious.” Having
regard to your previous requests about the same individual and also having
regard to comments you have made in the public domain concerning this
individual, I consider that the tone of part of this request for
information is potentially vexatious.

I consider that the processing of personal data ie the release of personal
data in respect of  Mr Halliday is unwarranted  by reason of prejudice to
the rights and freedoms or legitimate interests of him as the data
subject………..I consider that disclosure of the requested information would be
unwarranted having regard to the prejudice that would be caused to the
rights and legitimate interests of Stewart Halliday. 

For full details : Stewart Halliday FOI Request

Ms Lyon appears to have cut and paste her response from various other FOI cases she’s been involved with and one in particular which she suddenly withdrew from. Now that would be a really interesting FOI request for someone to make . The Lyon sleeps tonight? – might we suggest she’ll sleep soundly if she’s got her own solicitor to back her up in case she suffers any detriment for refusing to front a case for Wirral Council that is riddled with corruption. We can only hope the tone of that particular comment doesn’t upset Little Miss Snowflake too much!

All’s not well in Sandwell  

If Rosie Snowflake thinks she’s got it bad she needs to spare a thought for her old boss Surjit Tour who we know she admired immensely. As we’ve previously reported Tour is now fitting in nicely at Sandwell Council . We know this because we have been sent details of a threatening missive he sent last week to the magnificent local blog The Sandwell Skidder . Tour’s full hilarious rant including the immortal phrase ‘ excitable language’ can be read below, but we have to say that we’re a tad disappointed that we never received such a threat of legal action from Tour when he was at Wirral . Hmmmmm- why was that we wonder? He certainly wasn’t averse to issuing such threats as local blogger John Brace can testify. If he would have had the gonads to send such a threat to us we guarantee he would have got the same response from this Julian as he did from The Sandwell Skidder‘s very own Julian Saunders  :  

Dear Mr Saunders

Sandwell Skidder (“the Blog”)

Allegation of Harassment

I am writing to you on behalf of the Council.

The Council considers that your behaviour and conduct over the past few years cannot be left unchallenged any longer. Whilst it had hoped that your activities would die down over time it is clear that that has not happened and instead they have only increased. In addition to using your blog to attack Councillors and employees you are targeting the same individuals on Twitter and other social media sites. You are regularly seen outside of the Council offices seeking to obtain information.

The Council fully accepts that, as a body, it must be subject to criticism but as an employer it has a duty to its staff to ensure that they can work in peace and are not harassed and targeted, and a duty to Council tax-payers to ensure that their needs are not neglected whilst having to expend considerable time and effort trying to dealing with a persistent and vexatious individual such as yourself.

Whilst the Council has carefully considered whether there would be any merit in trying to engage in dialogue with you again unfortunately it does not seem to be possible or be likely to achieve any measure of success. Only today, 25th January 2018, you have posted a witness statement in a blog entitled “The Statement Sandwell don’t want you to see!” that was produced for a quasi-judicial standards hearing that was held on 24th January 2018. You were put on notice that the Council objected to the content of this statement yesterday. You have nonetheless gone ahead and not only published your statement but presented a skewed account of what took place.

The excitable language you use on your website is indicative of a motive to do damage. Unlike newspapers or news websites you fling out with abandon accusations of corruption and criminality against individuals. Nor do you appear to verify your accusations. Your persistent publication of a photograph of the Council leader with the captions on it, is designed to harass him. That is why you are doing it.

We would ask you to go through your blog and consider carefully the appropriateness of the accusations you are making and the language you are using.  The council requests that you remove all unfounded abusive/offensive remarks and images immediately.

We consider that when you do you should recognise that the language is excessive and much of the content inappropriate and together it is harassing of individuals and is unacceptable.

To that end, we are engaging specialist Counsel to assist us with this matter but would hope that you will take steps to ensure that no further action is in fact necessary.

For the avoidance of doubt, if action is taken by the Council, we will comply with the relevant pre-action protocols. At this stage, we hope you will act to ensure that there is no need to proceed any further.

If necessary, we reserve the right to show this letter to the court.

Yours sincerely

AND HERE IS MY REPLY:

To: Surjit Tour <Surjit_Tour@sandwell.gov.uk>
THIS IS NOT A PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATION

My reply is – you are well out of order and can fuck off.

For the full response : An Exchange of Correspondence with Surjit Tour

 

Public Services – ‘At Risk’

Public sector workers

Public service ‘transformers’ at work.

Today we return to a sadly familiar tale. The destruction of public services and those public servants making a killing making it happen and enabling private sector vultures to gorge on the corpse.
Let’s start appropriately enough with one of our respondents by the name of ‘P45’ who told us in a reply to an earlier post :
Won’t be reported in the glorious Wirral View how hundreds of (Wirral) council workers have just this week received ‘at risk’ letters.
Average wage of these manual workers 18k a year – the normal cuts start at the bottom.
Compare that with the obscene rates paid to fly by night municipal mercenaries in the form of external consultants and  particularly so called ‘transformers’ who seem particularly adept at transforming their bank balance if nothing else. These are dark days for public services – not just in terms of central government funding but also because of those who seek financial and /or career advantage from its demise.
No doubt the latest round  of redundancy threats will be done in the name of short term savings when we all know its more about the Council divesting themselves of direct responsibility for staff and services.  Then watch as in the long term the council wage bill rises to pay for agency workers and temporary staff on insecure short term contracts.
But then what hope do rank and file staff have when they are not only at the mercy of self serving senior managers but are also ill served by supine unions and betrayed by amoral councillors – the most sickening example being serial failure Cllr Steve Foulkes recently voting himself a rise in expenses/allowances for sitting on outside bodies alongside his day job and his council duties when council staff are at risk of losing their livelihoods.
Of course this  “I’m Alright Jack” mentality shows up the support for the likes of foodbanks and the homeless to be the phony political posturing and cynical virtue signalling that it is.  ” Oh these foodbanks are a damning indictment of modern society  ….. I know !  let’s open another foodbank so I can get my picture in the paper”.
As we know there’s not only political capital to be had at the expense of the vulnerable there is ,more pertinently,  financial capital to be gained.
Indeed we have been provided with a telling example by a well placed source who notes that we have written extensively about Change, Grow, Live  (CGL).  As we know CGL are the grateful recipients of the biggest slice of Public Health monies ( £7 million +) to provide drug and alcohol services that were previously provided by the NHS. Our source has been reliably informed that David Biddle the Chief Executive of  CGL ( formerly Crime Reduction Initiatives) will be in line for a £1 million golden handshake when he retires next year .  David Biddle – ‘stepping down’
In an interview published last year in The Guardian Mr Biddle claimed ‘what pissed people off’ was that CGL were ‘very businesslike’. Read the full story here : What pisses people off
Believe us Mr Biddle the CGL operation on Wirral has been described to us in many ways but ‘very businesslike’ certainly isn’t one of them! What’s more what we think really pisses us off is people making obscene amounts of public money that can be made out of other people’s misery . As our source says :
Surely this is public money, squeezed from LA drug budgets as CGL undercut by some way existing NHS services, like Wirral, and set up inferior and less effective services. Remember the 72 dead here in their first eighteen months? Talk about blood money.
It is because of the increasing prevalence of scenarios such as this that we applaud the work of campaign groups such as Defend Our NHS Wirral who campaign to support public services for the benefit of ALL and not just the gilded elite ‘transforming’ public services mainly for the benefit of themselves.
“Will you defend our NHS?”
Wirral campaign group Defend Our NHS has written to all councillors to find out where they stand on the destruction of the National Health Service.
The group, alongside others in Cheshire & Merseyside, is asking councillors to do more than express their admiration for the NHS and its staff.
Rather than simply share patients’ and widespread public concerns at the harm being done to our health service by cuts and closures Wirral councillors have the statutory power to STOP the damage in its tracks.
Wirral shares the same problems as other parts of the country. But the closure of the Eastham Walk-In Clinic (without adequate notice or indeed any consultation), the pressures on Arrowe Park Hospital, and the ongoing appointment difficulties are just some of the specific local concerns.
All of this, and the accelerating pace at which problems are mounting, are the inevitable result of £22 billions cut from the NHS budget. And now the so-called ‘sustainability and transformation partnership’ (STP) would produce a permanent regime of cuts (almost a further £1 billion in our region) and threats to a free national health service.
Wirral Council voted last December to oppose the STP for Cheshire & Merseyside which would inevitably (unless stopped) lead to an American-style ‘accountable care system’ (ACS).
The STP and ACS scandal is now the subject of two legal challenges.
Defend Our NHS is asking all councillors three simple questions to discover where they stand on all this.
Along with other campaign groups in the STP ‘footprint’ Defend Our NHS will be publishing the results and inviting councillors to briefing sessions to learn more about the destruction of our NHS – and how to defend and reinstate it.
1. Do you support our campaign to stop the STP and oppose the further cuts? YES/NO
2. Do you support the reinstatement of our NHS? YES/NO
3. Will you tell Wirral voters what your responses are in any forthcoming communication? YES/NO

MAT Carpeted

MAT 010

Before we move on to education from health can we just comment on today’s Wirral Cabinet ‘good news’ item?

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15403266.Councillors_approve___20m_boost_for_Wirral_health_services/

And can we just say there is no £20 million ‘boost’. It’s not an ‘investment’. It’s ‘Public Health’ money which appears to have been unimaginatively allocated to the usual suspects. This includes £7 million + to  Change,Grow,Live (CGL) for their services – about which we still get a torrent of complaints about.

 The ‘investment plan’ is as follows :

  • Drug and alcohol services:  £7,332,674
  • Smoking cessation:            £697,878
  • Sexual health:                   £2,939,729
  • Children (0-19):                £6,909,800
  • Weight management:        £200,000
  • Health checks:                  £306,029
  • Mental health:                   £40,000
  • Miscellaneous:                   £1,614,027
  • Infection control:               £223,578

Total = £20,263,715

Yes , you read that correctly . £40,000 for mental health.

Perhaps if Wirral Council invested money in mental health services from the get go perhaps they wouldn’t need to pick up the tab further down the line for the sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll casualties. Just sayin’ !

However , on to education and the ‘ Multi Academy Trust’  (MAT) consultation involving Woodchurch High School. For those interested everything can be found here:

http://www.woodchurchhigh.com/poll.php

Why we were particularly interested in highlighting this story was because our source gave us a handy summary of the proposals :

Greedy Top Brass (CEO, Directors etc), dishing out scraps to the serfs ( Primary Schools)
Resulting in poor education for children as schools can no longer afford quality teachers ( too expensive )
Thus relying on NQT’s ( Newly Qualified Teachers ) to start our children’s journey through education.
Unfortunately this will sound very familiar to our readers who know that a concentration of power in institutions on Wirral usually leads to abuse of that power.
Just sayin’ (once again)

Health Cheque

 

Fiona Loves CGL

Fiona loves her £91,935 salary

 

Tonight at Wirral Council’s People Overview and Scrutiny Committee a report will be presented which allegedly reviews the  drug and alcohol service provided by Change,Grow,Live (aka Wirral Ways To Recovery)

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50037772/Enc.%201%20for%20Review%20of%20Services%20provided%20by%20Change%20Grow%20Live%20CGL.pdf

Now we thought Public Health England were being brought in  to investigate concerns about mortality rates first raised by Wirral Leaks .

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/09/08/public-health-england-brought-in-to-investigate-concerns-first-raised-by-wirral-leaks/

But no!  as the introduction to the report on page 2  states : “The number of deaths of people in contact with the service has been increasing; we have been aware of this situation and working with the provider to ensure we have a safe and effective service. However this increase has also given rise to heightened concern and it was this that led to a member of staff from Wirral Ways to Recovery contacting both an elected member and the national BBC news team to highlight this trend. The Public Health team have responded to both expressions of concern, and have linked with the regional Public Health England team, and both the local Wirral Ways to Recovery team and officers from the national parent organisation, to examine and seek a better understanding of the cause of the continuing rise in the number of deaths. This report is focusing on the 72 reported deaths of people in contact with the service over the period, 1 st February 2015 to 31st August 2016. The 72 deaths are the result of a wide range of causes, with a significant percentage being associated with long term health conditions.”

And so it would appear that not only have we been written out of history  it would appear that Wirral Council’s own Public Health team have undertaken the review  and have merely “linked ” with the regional Public Health team and CGL/ Wirral Ways To Recovery. We had our doubts about Public Health England doing this review anyway this makes a complete mockery of external scrutiny and oversight.

As a concerned source writes to us expressing their concern about this situation :

This is PHE review into drug related deaths on the Wirral. The report was authored by Fiona Johnstone, she is Director of Public Health for Wirral I believe and was instrumental in bringing in CGL after the tendering process.

The report is just 12 pages long which shows the level of indifference the council have for this marginalized group, the report doesn’t say anything other than they were old, we don’t know how old because they haven’t said. These are just a few of the crucial questions that need asking.

1.  How many were off their prescription at the time of their deaths?.
2.   How many were on a reducing prescription?.
3.   Were any excluded from services through so called behaviour issues at the time of death?.
4.   Were there any deaths after successful completion or drop out of treatment?.
5.   How many had been released from prison?.
6.   Did any die during changes to medication?
7.   Were they attending the services needle exchange scheme without fear of being challenged?
8. How many had recently been discharged from hospital prior to their death?
9. What are communication/care pathways like between the provider and the hospital?
10. How many were homeless?
11.How many had dual diagnosis?
12.Numbers diagnosed with Hepatitis C?
13. Has the provider spoken to their bereaved relatives?
I could go on Julian I’m just shocked by such a poor report
From what we can make out the report concludes that the rise in deaths is part of a national trend and mainly involves long term drug/alcohol users with underlying health problems . Anecdotal evidence is also used from  CGL/Wirral Ways to Recovery staff comparing the new and previous service provided by NHS which suggests that a number of those that died would probably have been discharged/left the service before the point of death.
We just wonder whether the whistleblower from CGL/Wirral Ways To Recovery is satisfied with this review as there appears to be no analysis or consideration of the numerous practice/service concerns raised on this blog and we very much doubt anyone would raise their concerns about death rates without mentioning concerns they had about how the service operated.
 We also wonder whether they’re reassured by the fact that scheduled contract meetings between Wirral Council’s Public Health team and CGL/Wirral Ways to Recovery will monitor the rather vague actions included in the conclusion of the report?. A further consideration that isn’t mentioned in the report that the  CGL/Wirral Ways to Recovery contract is ,at £7 million + per annum , the largest contract the Public Health team has.
From our perspective we continue to despair that public services and health and social care services in particular are being dismantled and being subject to market forces and profit margins. Unfortunately it seems to us there are many so called public servants  who in exchange for a significantly high salary seem happy to facilitate this dismantling without evidence to suggest that there has been an improvement in services or that these services provide better value for money.

New Term at St.Frank’s Academy

DUNCE

September always has an air of ‘back to school’ about it and so it is that after the summer break the cycle of Wirral Council meetings resumed this week.

Things kicked off with a meeting of Cabinet on Monday at 10 am . All the better to ensure it gets less coverage than Tom Daley’s swimming trunks and the prying eyes of the public are kept away. Although to be honest these meetings are more stage managed than a Busby Berkeley production number. It’s usually a case of  Council leader Phil “Power Boy Pip” Davies handing over to  deputy Cllr Ann McLachlan  who recounts how everything on Planet Wirral is “going forward” despite the “Tory cuts” . Then assorted cabinet members chime in with gushing good news stories about their portfolios whilst using either the words “Wirral Plan” “20/20 Vision” or “Pledges” (they haven’t quite co-ordinated a consistent approach yet).

However we understand that an absentee from yesterday’s meeting was Cllr George Davies as it was left to Power Boy Pip to reveal Davies’ grand plan for the Lyndale School site. Yes  – what a surprise it’s going to be a property developer’s  paradise. And so it came to pass  with cruel circularity and sickening similarity to the Wirralgate story as George finishes off what Foulkesy started with the former drawing up the final plans for the disposal of Lyndale School after the latter chaired the original “consultation” meeting proposing the closure.

One councillor that did manage to turn up and nod approvingly at everything that was said was Cllr Stuart Whittingham who will be attending  an event “The impact of congestion on bus passengers” in London on 14 September 2016. Although a) you would think Cllr Whittingham, as a bus driver with Arriva, would know this already… and b) the only congestion to be experienced on Wirral is when there’s badly co-ordinated roadworks as recently experienced by the poor people of Hoylake and West Kirby.

Also worth noting at this meeting was the rubber -stamping of the Public Health ‘commissioning intentions’ which included a £7,709,379 contract with with  drug and alcohol support provider ‘Change, Grow , Live’  – no questions asked.

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50036101/APPENDIX%20ONE%20-%20PUBLIC%20HEALTH%20COMMISSIONING%20INTENTIONS.pdf

A meeting to look out for later this week is the “People  Overview and Scrutiny Committee”

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=760&MId=5758

Curiously for a committee which pays so much attention to inclusivity it is surprising to see an exempt item on the agenda. Could it be another report that the the people on the People Committee don’t want the people of Wirral to know about?……

 

 

 

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.