Comings and Goings

Pit 011

If you want to play the Wirral Council  corporate game be prepared to get down and dirty!

Last night’s Employment and Appointments Committee officially confirmed our previous reports that Wirral Council’s Head of Law / Monitoring Officer Surjit Tour is leaving Wirral Council.

There were no glowing eulogies from committee members at the announcement that Wirral Council was engaging a recruitment agency to find his replacement. Furthermore Wirral Council CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson ran through further proposals for senior management personnel changes to implement his New Operating Model – or should that be Non -Operating Model?  This included the appointment of a Director of Children’s Services on an increased salary of £115,000. This was justified with the usual excuse that we have to pay top whack to get the very best. To which we can say it hasn’t worked in the past so why will it work now? What has clearly been demonstrated by previous CEO Graham Burgess’s appointment of Super Directors which has been an abject and costly failure. And let’s not get on to Stressed Eric himself!

Of course we know that Tour was on his merry way  but curiously there was (inevitably) an exempt item on the agenda which we understand involved discussions about yet another high profile departure who has been allowed to slip the net (if you get our drift).  Suffice to say there’ll be more on that particular catch of the day at a later date.

As Surjit didn’t exit to rapturous appreciation for all he’s done for the people of Wirral we thought we’d do the decent thing and give him the eulogy he deserves.

However we’ll leave it to a clearly well placed source to provide a fitting tribute to Tour which consists of a comment from ‘ Whatever’ that is far too good to languish in our replies section. For those who may have missed it we reproduce that comment in full  below. What it demonstrates to us yet again is that Wallasey Town Hall is the absolute pits. Whilst we’ve known about the infamous ‘Sex List’ for sometime and referenced it previously it stands as the epitome of how low senior managers will go to get their man (or woman). As we commented :

So it would seem that the ‘dig the dirt’ tactic is a favourite approach of senior council officers when faced with a pesky employee who won’t play the corporate game, have served their purpose or they just want shut of. We’re wondering whether it was a trick that Norman picked it up at Wirral Council or it was part of his legacy that he left behind? We say this as we are reliably informed that two acting very senior officers at Wirral Council went digging for dirt from staff in an infamous case from 2015 .The dirt concerned allegations of sexual impropriety involving a now departed senior council officer . So far, so sordid. However, for us , what is even more sleazy is that the approach came with the  inducement that it would be beneficial to staff member’s careers if they dished the dirt. Nice work if you can get it and you can get it if you have absolutely no morals,ethics or integrity. What did we say in yesterday’s post about Wallasey Town Hall being a cesspit?

Dirty Work

We can only hope that the next victim of the ‘Curse of Leaky Towers’ is slimy Deputy CEO David Armstrong ( and we know how upset he gets being badmouthed on social media). He can boo-hoo all the way the bank as as far as we’re concerned as in his own way, he’s absolutely everything that’s wrong with Wirral Council. In another time and another place and where the get out was ‘ I was only following orders’ he’d be a very dangerous man indeed.

Meanwhile courtesy of ‘Whatever’ here’s ‘Surjit’s Eulogy’ :

I hope we can send to Mr Tour’s new employer a list of Wirral tax payers issues as the tax payers of York did with Mr Halliday.

Mr Tour’s replacement will have a long list of “things to do” which he/she should read asap –

For example perhaps, whatever happened to the letter signed by Mr Foulkes (probably written by labour policy adviser and Labour scrutiny support) sent to Mr Wilkie outlining in a way not appropriate for public office ( yet more training needs) just what Mr Foulkes et al thought about Mr Wilkies staff structure which included the promotion of none other than Ms Degg to deputy CEO ?

Indeed what happened to those 2 people (Adviser and Scrutiny) from Leeds way *  (* Hebden Bridge actually) ?- well whatever you say about Norman, he was the only one who at least tried to tackle them. Norman left and Mr Tour picks up the rotten dirty baton and title. Did Mr Tour prevent the “not in line with guidelines” payments made to one of those women – er, no and has he closed this case or as he let it drift into obscurity, a key feature of Tour is drift, drift long enough and it will be forgotten.

These 2 women were loyal supporters of Foulkes, (nothing wrong with that other than inconsequent personal opinions on bad judgement) when Mr Foulkes was told to get legal advice after his letter writing. Cllr Foulkes stood down as forever leader and up popped Mr Davies, who was told to drop the supporters or no leadership role for him. Mr Davies did as he was told for the sake of group or himself and his awaiting career of leadership.

Can’t quite remember the figure of toxic debt written off, in the high millions, these 2 women summoned the Council directors separately to go to Leeds (or wherever it is up that way) where they would “tell” the directors what their budgets were. Everyone knew it was these 2 women running WMBC for years Foulkes was the willing puppet and the Directors racking up excessive mileage claims for Wirral Tax payers to pay.

Mr Davies had to be trained in fist clenching and smoke screens, up pops Mr Field with some tale of whistleblowers and Hespe contracts (Labour group hated with a passion anyone who was perceived to work too closely with Cllr Green .. Ms Degg and Mr Green to name 2). Did Mr Tour ever write a letter to Frank Field telling him that WMBC is not his private purse to pursue his smoke screens with payments to non whistleblowers ?

So back to Ms Degg, well we have all read and heard enough about Ms Degg and what we consider to be un sound judgement on the men in her life but that is of no concern to us unless it prevented her from carrying out her paid function, whatever that was. However when it does become our business is when 2 members of staff are paid off one via the ever helpful EVR (normally given to failed directors without spine and employee jumpers) and the other a recent settlement. These 2 members of staff were hauled in by Mr Armstrong Ms Hyams and of course the ever present in the shadows “it wasn’t me” Tour, this trio on our behalf felt compelled to get to the bottom of £48k payment made to Ms Degg by one of the too many ex chief execs as an apology again on our behalf for not becoming the deputy chief exec and for the hurt feelings caused by the school ground tactics of certain Labour councillors and senior officers (including the Trio). If only they wouldn’t but again on our behalf this highly paid Trio (with the knowledge of Cllr Phil Davies) asked, no demanded to know the ins and outs of Ms Degg’s sex life, asked for rumours anything these 2 members had on Ms Degg.
Thank the lord these 2 members of staff stuck two fingers up to the bullying trio .

“list of things to do”; clearly through actions Mr Tour thought this payment made to Ms Degg (although he must of agreed it in the first place) was unlawful in some way.

The 2 well liked members of staff wouldn’t play ball and you didn’t get your own underhand way, Tour, Hyams (who really didn’t like Degg and the feeling was mutual) and Armstrong (who once was a nice bloke I hear) even though 2 of the trio pulled out the appalling and should be left for the movies, tactic ” signing the statements would / would not help their careers”

The poor person going round asking for money for Tour’s leaving present probably stopped saying “awww he’s a nice man its a shame” pdq. I don’t think it was his match made in heaven (how many grievances !!) PA who accepted her redeployment to Tour’s PA role with “I’m not working for him” but soon shut up when she realised she was onto a good thing, the amount she read and helped shred would, like her boss keep her in a job as long as she wanted it.”


Close to Home – News from Abroad

Special Delivery

“I would only open this in the presence of a Commissioner for Oaths….”

Today we peer behind the veneer at the sordid reality of what it’s really like for some people who work at Wirral Council.  What lies behind the current banal mantra of pledges/ leadership/going forward are the desperate measures that some council employees are forced to take to protect themselves and why callow and complicit councillors and officers are prepared to collude with such a toxic culture.
The case study below tells a salutary tale of operating in such a toxic culture that won’t be found in any Local Government Association or any other so called “independent” report.
For now at least  we have adopted the Wirral Council  method of redacting the names to protect the guilty. However unlike Wirral Council we “pledge” (!) to reveal the names in time.
Who knows when ? – perhaps when we stand alongside the Commissioner of Oaths when the special delivery above is finally opened?.
If memory serves me correctly they started within months of each other at WBC. It was evident to me that they were ‘out of the same mould’ from the outset. What I would describe as a ‘difficult’ relationship ensued as it soon became apparent to them that I saw through them both, and was not going to be cowed by either or both of them, which did not make me very popular.
Unpopular with them or not, I had a very successful 23 years in WBC as my successes, in spite of, rather than because of the system, have demonstrated. I apologise if that comes across as an arrogant claim, but I do not do false modesty and my track record of public service has had many recognitions, ironically a number from WBC, amongst others.
The background here is important, and precedes any ‘exposé’, or ‘common knowledge’ of insidious bullying, intimidation and other misdemeanours as A and B spread their vicious, manipulative cancer from the outset through weak politicians, and weak chief and senior managers. In a fairly short time they exercised what at times could only be described as an almost psychopathic need to control everything – at which they virtually succeeded.
My WBC networks were external, internal but corporate, and not solely departmental like many staff. The stories on the grapevine, and my own personal experience painted an appalling picture of deceit, self interest, manipulation, tantrums, bullying and fear.
I took the following precaution in the mid-noughties.
In a similar way to which copyright songs were protected in the not-too-distant past, I committed my concerns to paper, and sent a copy to myself at work (I received and dealt with my own post) by Royal Mail Special Delivery/Tracked and registered.
The content of the letter described what I considered to be, at some point in the future, the distinct possibility of unfounded allegations of sexual harassment/ sexual assault or maybe worse against me. That was the situation as I saw it at the time, and I am not prone to flights of fancy, or unfounded speculation of this kind. It was time to take precautions.
As this cabal operated at the highest levels, and ranks were well and firmly closed as you know, where could you go to report your concerns? Nowhere, which was why I took this action.
One could easily imagine the grief I would have been subject to if my concerns had entered the upper echelons of management, or the public domain at the time.
Nothing did happen, but would you have taken the chance against these two and their ‘protectors’, particularly with the benefit now of hindsight?

Others may have taken some sort of ‘precautionary’ action, I am not aware of any, but if it is familiar to you then it is a good indicator of the ‘regime’ and the view that they were ‘bullet proof’.

Whistleblowing in WBC was like pressing the self-destruct button, even though it was a heavily-promoted WBC policy – consequences as per Martin Morton, et al, more recently.
Ordinarily’, and I can just about remember a time such as that in WBC, all things being equal, I would never have disclosed this to anyone. It had served its purpose and to date nothing has required me to produce this letter.
I am appalled by what has passed itself off in Wirral Council as ‘public service’ and the way others have profited rather handsomely at the expense of genuine individuals and services. If your face didn’t fit, or you weren’t prepared to be dominated and submissive you would be overwhelmed and driven out. The ‘non-compliant’ were driven out of jobs they loved and unlike these parasites were actual assets to the Council and the public.
This action was not taken lightly, and I am not, and never have been, paranoid. I am reasonably intelligent and articulate, and neither stupid nor foolish (and they couldn’t cope with that), but I have been successful (and they couldn’t cope with that either).
Why wouldn’t anyone ask…What would drive any ‘successful’ sane individual to take this kind of action?
As the ‘dynasty’ subsumed all before it, I took this action to protect me (and my career) as an individual, my wife and family, and my reputation. I saw a real threat, a very real threat indeed, with no prospect of support should it become a reality.
Shall we call it Risk Assessment and Risk Management and an Action Plan? The aim was to minimise the risk, which is what I did. I ensured that I was never alone in any situation, and later when things intensified I arranged to meet only in my office with my staff in attendance. I also ensured that any dialogue we had was documented in emails, not phone calls.
I believed that I had enough verified information, knowledge and experience, that these two individuals in particular, either working together, or alone could so simply orchestrate a situation, with open plan offices full of ‘witnesses’, that some kind of indiscretion had been perpetrated by me. Manipulation and feminine wiles were her stock in trade, and histrionics were her forte.  Bullying, ignorance and connections were his.
The letter is still sealed and unopened within the sealed Royal Mail envelope and is in Europe for safekeeping….Maybe it should stay that way?.