We notice that the Taxpayer’s Alliance have published their annual list of the highest paid, so called, public servants . You know , the ones we pay through the nose so they can keep their noses in the trough – purely because they can speak BS and do a powerpoint presentation AT THE SAME TIME! Glory be! we need to grovel in admiration!
Needless to say Wirral Council features on the list.
To which a couple of our commentators responded as follows :
Meanwhile an exasperated Wirral Council officer shakes their head and with hands on their hips says:
“This information is published by the Taxpayers’ Alliance every year, and every year is inaccurate.
In this particular case, the salary quoted for the chief executive is wrong – and there are no council officers earning more than £300,000.”
Might we humbly suggest that the £371,848 remuneration to an ‘unknown strategic director’ best known for smoking, shagging and fighting included a £250,000 bung for him to slither off to the Wirral Chamber of Commerce? We may be wrong, but let’s face it, we very rarely are!
The deeply aggrieved Wirral Council mouthpiece helpfully points us towards the Wirral Council website for clarification:
It is interesting to note that at the end of the page it asks the pertinent question:
IS THERE ANYTHING WRONG WITH WITH THIS PAGE?
To which we at Leaky Towers can only reply : ‘Hell, yes!, where do we begin?’
For starters – Eric ‘ Feeble’ Robinson is on £178K ? – everything that is wrong with the world right there when that elusive mediocrity is on that kind of money.
As for Blott/Armstrong/Hassall – they were put on God’s green earth to be despised by us. They have succeeded. They now need to take their pensions and disappear.
We reserve judgement on Fish as apparently she had a bit of beef with Emma Degg and the former unexpectedly won. Go Clare!
Paul Satoor as Transformation Director is a new one on us. Jeezus his Department must be bigger than Dr Jekyll’s laboratory. But with the same results – full of havoc-wreaking, cash guzzling monsters like Mr Halliday, sorry Mr Hyde.
The rest of the list is a dispiriting roll call of overpaid nonentities but we were particularly drawn to the name Nicola Butterworth. Any relation to ‘Stressed Eric’ acolyte Stephen Butterworth? Or shall we just rejoice in the influx of Butterworths to Wirral that make all our lives just so much better?
For those of you looking for a last minute topical tip for this afternoon’s Grand National Wirral Leaks provides you with this free cut out and keep guide to some of horses that have caught our eye:
This one is for fans of Martin Liptrot – that’ll be Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies then. Liptrotsky is always the perfect candidate for Pip regardless of his experience or qualifications. Who needs an Equal Opportunities Policy when your mate is the Leader of the Council? This is also one for fans of Stewart ‘Happy’ Halliday – that’ll be his preferred referees if not our friends in York ! And again this will be popular with the Basnett clan because a) if you’re related to Princess Paula or b) you’ve lamped the former CEO of Wirral Council over a shared perk then you’re the ‘perfect candidate’ for the Wirral Chamber of Commerce !
No, this isn’t for fans of the current Labour administration at Wirral Council. They’re definitely (spelt correctly) NOT red! This one is for fans of current Wirral Council CEO Eric ‘the Red’ Robinson. No, we’re not referring to the fact he’s an LFC fan among all the high profile bluenoses at Wirral Council – we’re talking about his visage and his presiding over the ‘Wirral Council High Blood Pressure Club’ alongside Cllrs Phil Davies, George Davies and Steve Foulkes. Whatever could be the reason for the beta blockers?
It may have been a stellar notion for Wirral Council to place their bets on a Hong Kong bankrupt Stella Shiu. However we suggest looking elsewhere for a winner as this one could end up like Stella herself – falling in the (Wirral) Waters.
This is one for fans of the Hoylake Golf Resort . That’ll be Power Boy Pip again – shame the response to the desecration of the Green Belt in the name of big business has been decidedly under par.
This one is for Kevin ‘Lost’ MacCallum’s Communications Team at Wirral Council. Apparently they’re not averse to a tipple at our expense. Celebrating the launch of Wirral View and recently celebrating St Patricks Day. We wonder if they’ll drown their sorrows when Wirral View ends up in the recycling bin – again.
This one is for all fans of Wirral Leaks as we continue to expose dishonesty,incompetence and corruption and prick the pomposity of local politicians and senior council officials. But unlike Wirral Council we ask you to gamble responsibly. When the Fun Stops Stop!
There’s been yet another twist in the tale of the ‘Happy Halliday’ saga :
Indomitable Wirral resident Charles Nunn has valiantly chased up queries about the appointment of controversial ex City of York Council (CYC) employee Stewart Halliday to Wirral Council and received this response from elusive (and gullible?) Wirral Council CEO Eric’ Feeble’ Robinson :
‘Thank you for your email dated 13 March 2017 and follow up email on 26 March 2017.
Here’s a couple of responses from his contacts in York which have been judiciously edited , not that we doubt the veracity of some of the statements , but we know how delicate the sensibilities of our highly paid public servants are and we don’t want to prompt another outraged response from’Blotto’! . The first goes something like this :
‘I’m utterly gobsmacked at the response from the C.E.O. of Wirral Council, but, knowing how these organisations work, perhaps I shouldn’t be? ……….The Director of Communities and Neighbourhoods was Sally Burns at the time Halliday was there, but, she has also now left…..Judge for yourself – here are the dynamic duo in action (do try not to fall asleep whilst watching their spell-binding performance:
It is laughable, and outrageous that Halliday refutes the allegations…….
‘The current holder of the grandiose title of Director of Communities and Neighbourhood did NOT provide a reference. I am certain, as are no doubt you, that it was a previous post holder Ms. Burns who, like (Kersten) England furnished a glowing testimonial.
Apologies – this leak from Wirral Council has been in our inbox for a week but events somewhat overtook us . The leaked email below is one that was sent to all Wirral Councillors by a local resident voicing their concerns about the Hoylake Golf Resort or Hoylake housing development with attached golf course as we prefer to call it!
Although we’ve covered some of the ground previously https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/big-hitters/ our enquiring local resident proves again that the interweb thingy is full of fascinating facts if you know where to look and brings some new and interesting information to the fore (!). Shame some of our senior councillors and council officers aren’t acquainted with the wonders of www as they might have been better informed about not only about the golf resort proposals but the past activities of the likes of Stella Shiu and Stewart Halliday!
Based on past experience we can’t help thinking that our concerned resident’s plea to councillors : ‘I hope that you will look further into these matters and continue to ask
searching questions.’ will sadly end up in the Wirral Council bunker known as ‘recently deleted items’!
Subject: Hoylake Golf Resort – Wirral’s Preferred Development Partner
*Hoylake Golf Resort*
*I am asking you to look further into Wirral’s choice of partner for the
proposal to build a golf resort, a luxury housing development and a 5* spa
hotel and conference centre on Merseyside’s Green Belt land – Niklaus Joint
WMBC have made much play about Jack Nicklaus’s involvement – he features in
a video on the Golf Resort website. Everyone love a celebrity. But the
Nicklaus Joint Venture Group consists of 5 directors, none of whom are Jack
Nicklaus. Jack Nicklaus himself has no shares in the company. Golf
courses under this company are designed not by Jack Nicklaus, but by his
son, Gary. Gary is the “Nicklaus” of the company name. The majority
shareholder of the company is *James Anderson*, who holds over 80% of the
shares. James Anderson has been the director of 18 companies, most of them
The interesting comparison for the Hoylake Golf Resort is with the *Machynys
Nicklaus Golf Resort in South Wales*, a very similar development to that
proposed for Wirral. The original Machynys planning application was for a
golf course, hotel, spa and enabling residential development, just like the
one proposed for Hoylake. The NJVG is registered in South Wales.
James Anderson was the director of Carms Construction which built the
houses at the Machynys Nicklaus Golf Resort. Carms Construction then went
into liquidation with liabilities of over £600,000. Machynys Homes (of
which Anderson is also a director) which sold the houses wasn’t affected.
James Anderson was the man who promised to bring a 125 bedroom four star
Hilton Hotel to the golf resort in Machynys. However, the Hilton Group
pulled out of the Machynys project because of “flooding concerns”.
Planning permission at Machynys was granted despite Environment Agency
Concerns about flooding:
The hotel has yet to be built, although outline planning permission was
granted in July 2002, nearly 15 years ago. No hotel, no accompanying jobs.
The issues affecting the Machynys Resort are despite the significant
advantages it has over the proposed Hoylake site. It is in a prime
location, with an adjacent beach and views over Cardigan Bay. It has good
access, with three roads, each with a bridge over the adjacent railway line.
Carmarthenshire County Council was very supportive of the project, entering
into agreements with James Anderson’s companies. Councillors enthused about
how the hotel project would be fantastic for the area bringing jobs,
tourism and investment, in an exact parallel with Wirral.
Wirral Council already has a questionable record of choosing development
partners – witness the history of Wirral Waters involvement with Chinese
company Sam Wa.
The danger is that the events of the Machynys Golf Resort are repeated,
leaving a luxury housing development on Green Belt land as the main
heritage of the proposal.
I hope that you will look further into these matters and continue to ask
This post predominately ( but not exclusively) celebrates the endeavours of redoubtable Wirral resident Charles Nunn.
Check out his latest Freedom of Information request here :
Mr Nunn is a bona fide local legend who makes us look like the rank amateurs that we actually are.
Let it be known it was he who discovered the definitive Wirral Council remuneration of City of York Council incompetent Stewart Halliday and justifiably commented – because he comes from a generation who knows the difference between right and wrong:
Private Eye magazine tells us in the latest edition, and appropriately enough on the same page as their previously reported ‘Happy Halliday’ story, that ‘ Council bigwigs across the land can barely contain their excitement as they prepare to fly to Cannes (this) week for what is for many the highlight of the year – the international property bash , Marché International des Professsionels d’Immobilier , aka MIPIM.
Thousands of public officials from all over Europe to gather to be plied with drink for four days by property developers eager to get their hands on publicly owned assets. Aptly ,the event also attracts hundreds of prostitutes’
Now we know this spring break has been heavily pencilled in on the calendars of Wirral Council’s very own ‘bigwigs’ for quite some time.
A Cabinet meeting held on 8th December 2016 included a report written by one Stewart Halliday (who he?) and stated as follows :
‘It is imperative the council has an emerging proposition for investors by early 2017 and that by March 2017, when the MIPIM Conference takes place, is able to set out its offer to investors. This annual conference for investors is the key opportunity to meet and pitch to the world’s major development investors and banks’
Moreover as we reported in our An Extraordinary Council report Cabinet resolved at the meeting held on 16th January to create the post of ‘Investor Development Manager’ especially for Wirral Council leader Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies’ left hand man Martin Liptrot (aka Liptrotsky).
The justification for fast-tracking the appointment and waiving the call in process was as follows :
‘Although this was not a key decision, in the light of the time critical nature of these activities, it was considered necessary to request that call-in be waived. This would enable the activities to progress at once and, therefore, ensure that work was completed in time to meet deadlines for key events such as MIPIM. Due to the absence of the Chief Executive, and on his behalf, the Assistant Chief Executive had recommended that call-in be waived’.
Subsequently a request for an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council was called by 24 opposition councillors as ‘we believe that the creation of this post requires further scrutiny, to enable council to decide whether it is justified’.
However as we observed :’ …… the Extraordinary Meeting has been called for 6th March – AFTER the appointment has been made! Which rather suggests to us that the matter was NOT ‘urgent’ in the first place and in fact the waiver was a means of preventing anyone asking any awkward questions as to why , at a time of cuts and punitive charging measures , that the council taxpayers of Wirral are being asked to fund Council leader Power Boy Pip’s special friend to hobnob in the South of France at their expense’
Unfortunately opposition councillors seem not to have kept their eye on the road and subsequently steered down a cul-de-sac , as the Extraordinary Meeting to discuss the Liptrot’s Investor Development Manager appointment was parked in favour of another Extraordinary Meeting concerning car parking charges.
We understand that Liptrotsky’s dodgy £350 a day gig will now be discussed next week:
This of course allows (presumably) Pip and Liptrotsky (and whoever else is in the Wirral entourage) to fly off this week to the French Riviera – no questions asked. No doubt this means that next week’s Extraordinary Meeting will now be all about the mega-deals that were struck as a result the Pip and Liptrotsky double act (somewhat like bungling Morecambe and Wise in that creaky comedy ‘That Riviera Touch’ only without the laughs). Shall we look forward to hearing that Wirral Waters will no longer be marketed as ‘Shanghai-On -The- Mersey’ but as ‘Côte d’Azur-On -The -Docks’ ?!
Meanwhile Wirral Leaks welcomes any news on Wirral Council’s entourage and hopes that Pip and Liptrotsky have taken a hat, as even at this time of the year, it can get very hot in Cannes……………………….
The ‘Happy Halliday’ story certainly pushed a few buttons didn’t it?
Well we’ve got some news for you – the plot thickens or should that be sickens?
Subsequent to our posts you might have read that Wirral Globe reported that the following appointments had just been made by Wirral Council:
£188,192 for a programme manager.
£181,471 for a second programme manager.
£139,080 for an interim head of transformation.
£665,760 to management consulting company Capita.
£185,000 to two companies to provide economic and legal advice to set up a joint venture property company.
The first thing to say is that we wondered how long it would be before outsourcing carrion birds C(r)apita got in on the vulturine act of picking at the emaciated cadaver of Wirral Council.
However our immediate attention was drawn to some of the eyewatering sums involved. Under the circumstances it would seem an obvious choice to assign the post of interim head of transformation to our new found friend Stewart Halliday. However we have reason to believe that ‘Happy Halliday’ may have actually been appointed to the second programme manager post on £181, 471 ! Which would mean that he could have DOUBLED his salary since fleeing City of York Council under a charcoal-coloured cumulonimbus .
Of course our sources may be mistaken and if so we would welcome Wirral Council , in the name of openness and transparency ,to put the correct names in the frames . After all it must surely be in the public interest that we should know where our money is going and who it is going to!
However, there’s more to this fast moving story. Hence the title of this blog post. So, you may be asking yourselves what kind of reference did ‘Happy Halliday’ get from his previous employer? – well , apparently he didn’t get one!
Yes that’s right ,news reaches us that Halliday was provided with a reference from the Chief Executive of Bradford City Council , one Kersten England .
Eh? – well apparently Ms England was CEO of City of York Council before moving on to Bradford City Council in the summer of 2015. So despite there being two subsequent CEOs of CoYC since her departure – the interim, Steve Stewart, and the current incumbent Mary Weastell – both of whom could surely have provided a glowing reference for the wonderful work Halliday did for CoYC, he curiously chose to seek a reference from England, along with a reference from an agency ‘outlining’ two years of Halliday’s employment history.
This wouldn’t be so bad , after all everyone ( including the agency involved), wants to present themselves in the best light when a six figure gig is up for grabs , however we understand that, shamefully, it was Wirral Council who made NO DIRECT APPROACH to CoYC for a reference for Halliday. Which makes us to want to wish that the whole of Wirral Council’s notoriously appalling Human Resources Department management team ,who’s motto seems to be ‘we were only following orders’, gets swallowed up and spat out into the gutter by C(r)apita at the earliest opportunity.
It’s all very reminiscent of the Stella Shiu debacle isn’t it? And look what happened there! It’s like the interweb thingy doesn’t exist for Wirral Council or perhaps there are darker forces at work which ensure that the current administration ‘get their man’ no matter what his credentials.
Might we suggest that whilst this situation may result in big money for Halliday it’s a kick in the holiday money for the long suffering council tax payers of Wirral!
Spookily, we were about to follow up our story about one of Wirral Council’s new ‘transformation’ gurus , Stewart Halliday, when we were sent the above story from Private Eye with exactly the same title that this ‘excellent local blog’ was about to run with ( great minds etc;). We say ‘one of’ as we understand there have been two new highly paid ‘interim transformation ‘ council appointments to push through the further dismantling of public services.
Astonishingly it has been suggested to us that ‘Happy Halliday’ could be in line for a significant increase on the estimated £90K salary that he received at City of York Council despite leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.Talk about rewarding failure!
We’ve already reported on his previous involvement in a series of irregularities at City of York Council involving procurement and contract procedures and the use of consultants. Among the allegations made against Halliday were that he failed to get proper tenders, quotes or contracts for £174K worth of work that he commissioned and he didn’t draw up business cases or monitor the work that was paid for.
Halliday had previously also been implicated in criticism that City of York Council had not been very good at publishing its data according to a report compiled by Spend Network, which forms part of the Spend Small campaign by the Centre for Entrepreneurs :.
“They ( City of York Council) are bad at publishing data that we could use to analyse what they are doing. It’s obvious they don’t think anyone is going to run the data against an algorithm. They have got dirty data, and manage it in a poor way. It’s not very helpful for people to use the data, and not helpful for people to read it as a human, it’s very hard to interpret.”
And so with Wirral Council pleading poverty at every turn and imposing a 4.99% rise in Council Tax it doesn’t sit well with us that they are potentially appointing two further people on six figure ‘interim’ contracts,one of whom at least , has a chequered past. This of course hasn’t prevented Halliday securing a big cheque future at the rogue’s paradise that is Wirral Council. As we know all too well Halliday follows a trail of local government garbage who have cleaned up at our expense.Who can forget Rob Vickers – the social care consultant who was paid £180K for 18 months ‘work’ which essentially involved helping to cover up two Department of Adult Social Services (DASS) scandals (‘the 4 week delay’ disgrace and, a thus far unreported, further unlawful overcharging of vulnerable people). And there have been plenty of others just like him, jumping on and off the endless money-go-round that is the Wirral Council consultant carousel.
We can only predict that one day we will look back and reflect that these were the darkest days in the history of public services – not just in terms of public finance, but in respect of the calibre of people who are running them and/or running them down.