Lip Service

Matrix to the rescue

Matrix to the rescue

It comes to something when local councillors are quoting Wirral Leaks as a means of getting to the bottom of the curious Martin Liptrot(sky) situation. 

Firstly see this mealymouthed Wirral Council “response” to this Freedom of Information request :

However there are a couple of interesting snippets to be had confirming the news that Liptrotsky was the only candidate interviewed for the Power Boy Pip Davies special knit-your-own-post and that he will allegedly be line managed by highly paid flunky Joe Blott – once again , no sniggering at the back.

However there doesn’t appear to be confirmation that a Politically Restricted Post declaration (see below) has been signed by Liptrotsky himself.

Meanwhile the increasingly less cuddly Lib Dem councillor Phil Gilchrist is reduced to asking Wirral Council’s SirGit Tour whether he’s read Wirral Leaks lately. Cllr Gilchrist’s queries and SirGit’s replies are set out below  :

” I have noted an article on the ‘Wirralleaks’ site which gives an account of the work being undertaken by Mr Martin Liptrot. (20th October) .

The article ‘Busybody Liptrot and his silent partners’

Three issues are mentioned…

(1)  ‘We’ve also followed up enquiries from our ever increasing readership and been informed that Liptrotsky works just TWO DAYS A WEEK for Wirral Council for his £45,000 ‘

(2)  ‘We also understand that Liptrotsky also does the same PR job for – wait for it – Power Boy Pip Davies’ arch City Region rival Mayor Joe Anderson, despite the fact Mayor Joe and Power Boy Pip hate each other’ guts. Conflict of interest, anyone?.

(3)Astonishingly Liptrotsky is ALSO looking after communications for Knowsley Borough Council AND Wirral Chamber of Commerce!. That’s some political busy body in the local body politic , eh folks?. And presumably well recompensed by the taxpayer’.

Whilst I believe the appointment is ill advised and questionable I am assuming there is a contract which sets out the ‘work’ and gives guidance on conflicts of interest.

What arrangements are in place to establish or monitor what ‘work’ is being undertaken for Wirral MBC? What assurances are that the other suggested arrangements do not eat into time being paid for by Wirral council taxpayers?

RESPONSE: There is an agency agreement in place for the appointment which is governed by our Matrix Contractual arrangements. The contract allows for work to be undertaken up to 36 hours per week. The Council only pays for work undertaken for and on behalf of the Council. The Council will not therefore be paying for any other work undertaken by Mr Liptrot under another arrangement he may or has entered into.

Joe Blott has/will have regular meetings with Mr Liptrot to discuss his planned and completed work over a 4 weekly period. Other meetings and discussions will be had as required. Mr Liptrot is required to submit timesheets and his work will be reviewed before the timesheets are approved for payment. As with other agency arrangements, this contract will be kept under review to ensure that it is operating as planned and meeting the identified business need. Should any issues and matters be brought to senior management’s attention concerning the role/work of Mr Liptrot then they will be considered/addressed properly and expeditiously.

Thus my second question is –

As the employee is an ‘agency’ worker how are ‘conflicts of interest’ recorded?

An officer would be required to list these and their ‘interests’

RESPONSE: Mr Liptrot has been asked to confirm whether there is any arrangement(s) in place involving him that gives rise to a conflict of interest. Mr Liptrot has confirmed that he is not aware of any such arrangement. Mr Liptrot has been advised of his obligations to ensure he keeps this issue in mind and that he must notify the Council immediately should a conflict of interest involving the Council arise. Of course, should a conflict of interest be alleged by a third party, the Council will investigate any such matter immediately.

And so demonstrating the kind of evidential rigour that you would expect of the Council’s top legal advisor SirGit  seemingly pops his head round Liptrotsky’s office and asks him whether he’s aware  of any conflict of interest. Liptrotsky says no  – so that’s alright then!.

When it comes to Liptrot’s service it seems it is the usual lip service paid to accountability ,scrutiny and transparency.Cllr Gilchrist ,being much more polite than us calls the appointment questionable and ill advised – we’d call it abuse of power and a bloody disgrace.

However there are LOLZ  galore to be had in the Tour/Gilchrist exchange though. For instance we love the fact that Gilchrist has placed inverted commas round the word ‘work’ , that Liptrotsky is an ‘agency’ worker for Matrix and that Wirral council’s senior management could ever be said to address any concerns “immediately”, “properly” or “expeditiously.”

But oh we did chortle at the phrase about Liptrotsky “meeting the identified business, need” of Wirral Council – a definition of exactly what that “business need ” is would be most illuminating!.
We suspect it would simply read  : ” Getting Pip out of the shit.”
Indeed has Liptrotsky made Pip’s mind up yet whether he’s for or against the idea of a City Region Metro Mayor?.Put it this way we suspect Liptrotsky would be in favour if Pip was in line for the gig – a proposition which doesn’t bear thinking about.
We’re still left wondering at Leaky Towers how Liptrotsky squares his political activities openly discussed on social media with the following provisions of the Politically Restricted Post to which he has been appointed (the full provisions can be found in the FOI request above) :

Politically Restricted Posts (PoRPs) (source: Local Government Association)
The main provisions regarding PoRPs are set out in Part I of the Local Government 
They are also restricted from:
· canvassing on behalf of a political party or a person who is or seeks to be a candidate (Reg 3, Sched Part I, para 5 LGO(PR)R 1990)
· speaking to the public at large or publishing any written or artistic work that could give the impression that they are advocating support for a political party (Reg 3, Sched Pt II, LGO(PR)R 1990).
The cumulative effect of these restrictions is to limit the holders of ‘PoRPs to bare membership of political parties, with no active participation within the party permitted.

We’d be particularly interested to know how Liptrotsky’s ongoing work with Wirral West Labour MP Margaret Greenwood fits with these provisions as we know he managed her general election campaign – and what an ugly campaign it was too – and no , we don’t mean John Prescott’s appearance on West Kirby beach.

Perhaps Liptrotsky could clarify this for us and add us to his media distribution list as shown here on this post from his public Facebook page. Here we found him in between “advocating support for a political party” – the Labour Party to be precise (although he’s apparently not a fan of Jezza Corbyn) finding time to gripe about his Wallasey Town Hall office and ” the Tories”.

 Liptrot's office
Here’s the luxury office suite the Tories are so agitated about… @livechonews @wirralglobe