Pip Pops Off : A Wirral Leaks Tribute

Before we provide you with our post local election reflections we need to commemorate that a week ago today the Annual Meeting of Wirral Council saw the  end of an era (pronounced error) as Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies’ tenure as council ‘leader’ officially ceased.

Here at Wirral Leaks we couldn’t let the momentous event pass without providing our own fitting tribute to a ‘man’ who given the choice between right and wrong would always choose the latter option . In our opinion this didn’t make him a political game player it just made him weak. A man who always seemed uncomfortable with ‘leadership’ being thrust upon him after the ignominious fall from grace of that consummate political game player Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes  in 2012, in the aftermath of a series of damning reports. This is how we commented on his ascendancy to the top of Wirral Council’s greasy pole:

Screen Shot 2019-05-19 at 19.21.10

As we were to subsequently find out if Power Boy Pip (as he was to become known to Wirral Leaks readers) excelled at anything it was ‘denial’. At this point we’d like to take a leaf out of Kipling’s ‘Just So’ stories and pose the question : ‘How did ‘Power Boy Pip’ get his name?’ Well, thereby hangs a tale from 2013 which you can read here where we mocked how Pip invested in himself ‘Strong leader powers’ and a Cabinet system that screamed weakness. A council criticised for its secrecy becomes less open and transparent,  a council criticised for its lack of accountability concentrates its power in someone who abuses it ,  a council criticised for the conduct of its elected members lets its councillors run amok  as George Davies, Louise Reecejones, Jim Crabtee and Steve Foulkes show their contempt for their ‘leader’ with their out of control conduct and yet somehow Pip only publicly criticises Reecejones – go figure .

We nailed it in our We Leak, Pip Squeaks  post when we wrote :

Of course we believe that ultimately what what will do for Power Boy Pip is his failure to rein in Cllrs  Steve Foulkes and George Davies and to stand up to Birkenhead MP Frank Field over the Wirralgate scandal. These are not the actions of a leader – this is a man out of his depth clutching onto a red flag of convenience and not waving but drowning………………

Pip was never a leader but always the ‘front man’ –  a turd-polishing pollyanna . The pinnacle of this ‘achievement’ being Local Government Chronicle’s ‘ Most Improved Council’ Award in 2015.

a-prick

Needless to say Pip took his cue from the ne plus ultra of local political game players, Frank Field, who as we know , has spent 4 decades surrounding himself with ugly bullies and useful idiots . Conveniently Pip was to find many of both, not only in his own party but in the paid ranks of public servants at Wirral Council. However where Pip really began to become unstuck was the alliance made in hell (via West Kirby) with his infamous appointment of politically motivated spin doctor Martin Liptrot to whatever job ‘Liptrotsky’ wanted. The pitiful correspondence from Liptrot to the Council ‘leader’ dictating terms of his  grace and (political) favour employment was pitiful to behold and further evidence of Pip’s reliance on others to sustain him in power. This episode and further details of this disastrous appointment can be read in The Liptrot Mystery.

This reliance on the bad will of others has meant that the past 7 years have been one one long pay off party for some really horrible senior council officers . The routine seemed to be –  Inept? Here’s a cheque. Inept and knowing –  here’s a bigger cheque. Inept , knowing and prepared to do Pip’s dirty work (Hey, Joe  name your price!…)

Compare and contrast that with the fact that throughout his tenure as ‘leader’ (and even before that…) there wasn’t a Wirral Council whistleblower he wasn’t prepared to screw over. Except, of course, the one set of  bogus , so called Wirralgate ‘whistleblowers’ who had him over a barrel and could shaft him at the drop of a tape recording. Luckily for him he had those ‘special leader powers’ to get him out of a deeply corrupt hole of his own making by deciding to bring the Highways contract back in house and give Gary’s Gang what they wanted all along.  Obviously when the hired hands with their hands on the ‘record’ button it’s time to go visit your grandkids in Canada. For more details read here

So many unanswered questions and it shames councillors of all parties that Pip was allowed to quietly depart without them ever being asked. We never did hear the end of the Wirralgate saga did we ? The one that led to front page news stories, and an ‘independent’ investigation that has never seen the light of day ? But oh, believe us before we go you will dear reader!…

Typically, Pip isn’t around to see whether any of the 20 pledges in his much lauded 20/20 Vision thing are ever realised in 2020. Funny how we don’t hear about the pledges anymore isn’t it? There was a time when it seemed that every Labour councillor had to preface every utterance with reference to ‘pledges’ . Could it be that it was all complete bollocks and another reason Pip bailed out before the 20/20 Vision was, to mix a metaphor with a bit of the Bard,  proven to be the usual smoke and mirrors signifying nothing?

However whilst Pip will be gone he will not forgotten as the last ever Leaky Awards will be known as Pip Memorial Awards for Public Dishonour – winners to be announced in a glittering awards ceremony hosted by Pip beneficiaries – the Wirral Chamber of Commerce.

With our nasty head on (do we have any other? ) we were going to wish Pip a very short retirement but we suspect that as he merrily frolics with the Davies clan in Canada and he’s finally free of a position to which he was manifestly unsuited that the red suffused face ( part high blood pressure/part embarrassment) will be replaced by the rosy glow of contentment of knowing that he managed to blag it for so long.

Finally …do we have an extradition treaty with Canada ? Askin’ for a friend!

The Twelve Days of Christmas : Day Seven – The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future

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PAST : It was with breathtaking cynicism that on Christmas Eve 6 years ago Wirral Council shut up shop and published a report by Richard Penn which investigated a minor case of alleged ‘whistleblowing’ which nevertheless managed to get some airtime on Radio Merseyside on Christmas Day 2012. We won’t go into the details as apparently to do so could potentially cause ‘damage and distress ‘ to those named in the report. As you can see from our report The Penn Is Mightier Than The Sword  such was the secrecy and subterfuge it was a week later (and six years to the day) before we  got around to  covering the story –  and let’s face it like most of you probably under the influence of a hangover.

PRESENT : So you might be wondering why are we bringing up the matter of on the sixth anniversary of the publication of  ‘The Penn Report’ now? Well ,dear readers  ‘The Penn Report’ featured as evidence this year in a significant legal case which ended up in the Upper Tribunal in London, far from prying eyes and inquisitive ears and which demonstrated what can happen when low friends in high places pull a few strings who want to avoid the publication of ‘The Warren Report’ covering  the same issues as the ‘The Penn Report’ but allegedly penned (no pun intended) by close friend of Frank Field who describes the author of the unpublished report as a ‘stunning lawyer’ . We prefer the term ‘compromised ex-Judge in a conflict of interest clusterfuck’ and we’re confident with all his legal knowledge Nicholas Warren isn’t going to sue us for expressing that reasonably held belief even when Warren himself was indemnified by you, dear readers, to write whatever he wants about whoever he likes even though his report can’t ever be published.

Morton v 1.Information Commissioner 2. Wirral Metropolitan Council : (2018) UKUT 295 (AAC)

FUTURE : We predict – no, we promise – both reports will feature significantly in future 2019 Wirral Leaks posts as we finally put to bed the biggest scandal in Wirral Council history and reveal just how deep the corruption goes in our most revered and venerated UK institutions and which extends far beyond the insular peninsula…

 

Advent Farewell 22 : WUTH – less this Christmas

There’s been a strangely muted response in the local press to the ‘stepping down’  of Wirral University Teaching Hospital Foundation (WUTH) Foundation Trust CEO David Allison . Allison doesn’t even get a namecheck in the Wirral Globe headline about his sudden departure. The story is somehow spun that it’s ‘All About Frank’ and the Birkenhead MP’s support for the Globe’s petition to get the current car parking charges for nurses changed – which is much like his ‘starving mites’ schtick. No right thinking person thinks nurses should be paying such high car parking charges just as they wouldn’t want children to go hungry. Here’s the Globe’s take : Tank Top Frank

We were given the heads up that Allison was heading for the exit with indecent haste by the following message :

David Allison – taken the money now running

Along with his useless Director of Workforce (replaced the useless Sue Green – yes – married to the useless David Green) James Mawrey – same job just a different title so her role could be made redundant and she could a massive pay-off…..

I dread to think what incompetent fiickwitts will follow in their steads

BTW – don’t give up – please!

However for us to get a fuller picture of what’s been going on we had to go to campaigning journalist Shaun Lintern who writes in the Health Service Journal :

WUTH

The concerns recorded in the document include:

  • NHSI was told the board “was not functioning as a unitary board . Pre-meets are carefully managed and concerns suppressed . It is felt that the CEO has a lack of grip on the issues facing the organisation and was not paying attention to quality indicators . The CEO responds to quality concerns with dismay and aggression. There is a concern that some key data and supportive narrative may be being carefully managed
  • NHSI was told executives have been instructed not to involve non-executive directors in any initiatives or issues in their portfolios without going through the chair
  • The executives ” felt the organisation had a culture that prohibits raising concerns as there was a lack of transparency and honesty when difficult issues were raised. this translated into a lack of visibility of quality and safety and reluctance to escalate concerns”
  • NHSI was told ” senior colleagues were moved out of the organisation very quickly with no obvious explanation .. They felt that this was related to a reluctance to escalate concerns and inability to accept appropriate challenge”
  • Consultants at the trust were said to be ” reluctant to take on senior leadership roles as history showed that they may (be) subject to investigations (and/or) intimidation if things did not work out”

Well fancy that! Were WUTH and Wirral Council separated at birth?

None of these allegations come as a surprise to us as we’ve long received similar allegations (see below), often sadly from whistleblowers who were subject to a culture of fear even more virulent than Wirral Council and therefore less willing to go public. We think it is significant that it was senior managers who blew the whistle because we’d like to suggest that there are WUTH staff further down the pecking order (and with considerably less influence and power) who have tales to tell about the trust’s toxic culture.

Indeed here we have some scary stats courtesy of NHS whistleblower and campaigner Minh Alexander which details whistleblowing contacts 2015-17 with useless health and social care regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) 

MINH whistleblowing

Home

Talking of useless regulators who are seemingly unwilling to accept that there was an increasingly worrying governance and culture problem brewing at WUTH we are also aware that Monitor were involved in a complaint about the highly questionable removal of a WUTH Governor in 2014 which had the hallmarks of a ‘kangaroo court’. They lamely concluded “…….we expect the Trust to explain departure from the Code of Governance in its annual report. However in the absence of further or new information , we will not be taking any further action over the above matters”  

The history of this case is worthy of a post of its own but might we suggest it would be more instructive for this particular former Governor to contact NHS Improvement to tell them of their experience.

We’ve trawled our other leaks to discover similar allegations to those mentioned above about WUTH . The first of which we publish in the interest of balance to the comment made above :

For the record, Sue Green, HR Director, left the Trust a few months after my removal. Wirralleaks reported on the circumstances of her leaving at the time. She had been suspended for disciplinary reasons but later cleared. During her suspension, the post of HR Director was dispensed with and she was made redundant. My experience of her was that she was an honest, conscientious and efficient professional who got on well with those she had contact with and was a loss to the Trust. Apparently, she did not fit in with the new culture of the Trust since the recent appointment of the new CEO, David Allison. 

And here’s another:

Michael Carr is the CEO’s puppet and has been given two extensions to his contract by governors for exceptional reasons (don’t know what reasons are but they will have been invented by Allison) after he had completed two periods of three years, which is the norm for an NHS FT Chairman. Allison wants him in post because he does not cause any problems for him. He is very compliant!

Suddenly doesn’t the chaos , disarray, low morale and lack of beds that we frequently hear about Arrowe Park Hospital make tragic sense when we get a peak at what goes on behind the scenes and how the place is seemingly (mis)managed?

However just to finish on a lighter , reassuring note like they do on News at Ten isn’t Orlando Agrippa simply the best name ever ?!

Rouday Awakening

dont-lose-your-head-puzzle-maze

If there’s one lesson that Wirral Council should have learned in recent years is this:

Never,ever underestimate the  resilience , resourcefulness  and sheer bloody-minded persistence  of whistleblowers. They will never lose their head and will overcome the bureaucratic maze you attempt to put in their way.

And so we proudly bring you the latest instalment of the BIG/ISUS/Working Neighbourhoods saga (yes , it’s still going on) . However it’s a sorry state of affairs when the whistleblowers have to get the EU involved.

But whatever works right?.

We proudly present a message from Ms. Rouday  from the Directorate of the Audit Quality Control Committee informing Nigel “Highbrow” Hobro that European auditors are on the case because let’s face it  internal and external auditors on Wirral have failed miserably to do their jobs. Which leads us once again to say : “What is up with these people?”

As Highbrow says :

Terror and Virtue are inseparable bedfellows. It was true in the French Revolution caused by the State’s financial deficit, wholly comparable to ours of 2007 to now. An emergency where ONLY TERROR inspires Virtue.

No threat of harassment no Virtue.

Robespierre’ Constitution of 1794 never implemented has much to say about the duties of civil servants and how the Terror was directed at Germinal against the venal ” Indulgents”.

We have had too much of indulgent pay offs and safe exits, of parachuting to new posts. It is Terror of falling into the tools of the Department of Work and Pensions that keeps the workforce quiescent  a Virtue for those in the riding seat. I think the “bourgeoisie’ need to feel the collar of Madame La Veuve.

Now we don’t profess to understand what  the bleedin’ hell all of this means but we do know we’re behind him 100%. And we particularly like the cut of Madame Le Veuve’s gibbet.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: ANNE ROUDAY <anne.rouday@eca.europa.eu>
Date: 8 September 2016 at 10:26
Subject: Case 33/2015

Please find a letter for your attention.

 

Best regards,

 

ANNE ROUDAY
Secretarial assistant – Directorate of the Audit Quality Control Committee

 

rouday-2

Deviation Wirral

WIRRAL-GOLF

Despite protestations to the contrary “Destination Wirral” appears to be a bid by Wirral Council to turn the peninsula into one great big golf course.

Of course “Destination Wirral” is not to be confused with “Destination Excellence” (stop sniggering) the monumental Foulkesy fail that followed the publication of Klonowski’s Independent Review.

Remember how we laughed as Foulkesy  promised to adhere to the recommendations of the Independent Review and the Corporate Governance Report that preceded it, with “bible-like” devotion?

However this latest feeble branding exercise at least has the benefit of a “Destination Manager” (which sounds like a Council rebranding of Foulkesy’s mayoral chauffeur).

But then again this person seems to have a loose grasp of geography when it comes to Wirral’s boundaries themselves. Witness the recent Wirral Folk Festival (Anyone heard about it? – No thought not!)

http://www.visitwirral.com/whats-on/wirral-folk-festival-p72541

Now please forgive us but when were Ellesmere Port or Whitby annexed by Wirral? and why would Wirral Council give money to venues to hold a Wirral Folk Festival there?

It has been suggested to us that this enables Wirral Council managers to tick a box in the pursuit of European Union funny money (European Regional Development Fund to be specific) We can only ask ourselves whether chasing the Euro will herald the return of “Eurowirral” ? – anyone remember that risible branding exercise undertaken by the Council ?

However it strikes us that if the Council were really serious about Wirral being a “destination” rather than a “deviation” that it would help if there was a Tourist Information Centre rather than relying on the likes Royal & Ancient website plugging hotel accommodation for the upcoming Open golf championships mainly out Chester way because nobody knows where “Wirral” actually is!……….

Meanwhile the Council’s obsession with golf continues unabated with news of them “consulting” about the flogging off of municipal golf courses. Except Hoylake of course !  – could this have anything to do with the postponed announcement mooted for the opening day of the Open when the Council planned to unveil the Last of the International Playboys funding partner they had lined up to thrill us all with news of a luxury golf resort coming to Wirral?

Needless to say the momentous event went the way of all Wirral Council drives down the fairway – in the rough and unplayable. Therefore we can’t help wondering whether this golf resort proposal doesn’t end up being Stella Shiu 2 and like the Wirral Waters project permanently lodged in a sandtrap.

Therefore can we humbly suggest to the Council’s Destination Manager that they may need to adjust their branding   –

“Wirral – Not so much crazy golf as golf crazy!”

The Others & The Extras

Ana

Now if there’s one thing that get’s under Foulksey’s skin even worse than a bad dose of scabies it’s the mention of the AKA report, Anna Klonowski,Independent Review ,Martin Morton etc;.

Which explains why he had to ,ahem,take matters into his own hands and put them into someone else’s.
However less of the cryptic comments and onto the latest development in the slowly unfolding story which gives us an opportunity to repeat all of Foulksey’s favourite phrases.

It would appear that an old friend (and not a pretend friend ) of Wirral Leaks  – Nigel “Highbrow” Hobro  – has been keeping his hand in, so to speak , and by applying his forensic accountancy skills has finally battered the Council into submission about the full costs of the  Independent Review of Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council’s Response to Claims Made by Mr Martin Morton (and Others) –  to give it it’s full title.

This investigation was undertaken by Anna Klonowski Associates and was famously referred to by Foulksey during a Council meeting, after he’d been deposed as Leader of the Council , as a “£250,000 ambush” by the Tory group. Thus proving once and for all that his suitability for the role as Leader of the Council and Mayor may be called into question but it can never be doubted that this man sure knows how to play the snivelling victim.

Up until now it has always been the received wisdom that this investigation cost Wirral Council an eye-watering £250,000 whereas the true figure is a truly mind-blowing £410,000.

According to this weeks response from Wirral Council on the What Do They Know website the extra costs are “for professional services and related travel /accommodation expenses”
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/anna_klonowski#comment-51417

We can now exclusively reveal how at least some of these extra costs were accrued. After reading the What Do They Know response one of the people interviewed by Anna Klonowski during the investigation let it be known that during the investigation they were asked whether they felt safe to give a statement in Wirral Council offices or at an Apart-hotel in Liverpool. This is a kind of accommodation with the facilities of an apartment (own cooking facilities etc; ) but with benefits of a hotel (servicing of rooms etc.)

We understand it was from here that Mrs Klonowski held court and would meet witnesses if they felt uncomfortable being observed giving statements in Wirral (hence we presume reference to “The Others” in the report’s title – making witnesses sound appropriately enough like the mysterious, ghostly figures from the Nicole Kidman movie of the same name).

If this is the case this alone is surely conclusive proof that there was ( and many still believe still is) a culture of fear within Wirral Council.  Furthermore it also reinforces former Director of Law Bill Norman’s comment to local political commentator John Brace that the anonymity in the report was about protecting junior staff from reprisals from senior staff.

The revelation of massive extra costs comes as no surprise to our source but what does surprise them is that their statement and supporting evidence and the evidence of others appears nowhere within the final report.

Instead Klonowski states : “Despite the time taken to deliver the review it has not been possible to conclude on all matters….”.
This comes as a surprise to our source as they claimed they were interviewed months before the report was published – though they never received a copy of their statement nor was their documentary evidence ever returned!

However as Klonowski concluded in her review this doesn’t mean there was a cover up or conspiracy of any kind whatsoever ! – ultimately only time will tell whether this theory holds up and whether £410,000 of public money was well spent.

Indeed Wirral Leaks invites our readers to identify 1 lasting* positive outcome of the Independent Review.

* The vote of no confidence in Foulkesy doesn’t count as his recent appointment as Mayor proves this was short lived.

Dear readers , a cash prize of £4.10 found down the back of a chaise longue at Leaky Towers could be yours !!!!

Mark your entries : Rep Mgmnt and send to wirralleaks@gmail.com

Lessons Learned

Wirral-Leaks-LessonsLearned

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”

As Wirral Council merrily continues to dismantle public services we note ruefully at Leaky Towers how quickly the “organisation” has returned to its bad old ways.

Firstly the libraries closure volte-face debacle of 2010 is seemingly making a comeback with Burgesski taking his turn to face the flak and issue a statement claiming there’s nothing untoward going on by reviewing the library service once again.
Of course such is the lack of trust and confidence in Wirral Council  that anything emanating from Wallasey Town Hall is instantly met with hostility and suspicion.

It seems to us that Super -Duper Director meetings must mainly consist of them drawing straws to see who is going to front the latest controversial Council press release. Funny we never seem to hear from bullet-dodger Clare Fish whose surname seems most appropriate , as considering her prominent role ,she seems to be about as elusive and vocal as Stringray’s Aqua Marina.

So having been spared the indignity of being overtaken by commissioners (thanks to Frankenfield’s intervention) and having hoodwinked the blinkered Improvement Board it would seem Wirral Council feels secure in returning to the familiar power bases and personalities. There’s Foulkesy ensconced as Wirral’s first citizen with sidekick George Davies still acting as his middle man and Matron McLaughlin back chairing a Council Committee. It’s like the Independent Review never happened – but then this is what happens when an investigator like Anna Klonowski only does half a job and there is no accountability ,no consequences and a politically apathetic public (witness the shockingly low turnout in McLaughlin’s Rock Ferry ward).

Inevitably we now have the return of all the issues which brought Wirral Council into such disrepute – the corrosive culture,the obsessive secrecy,the abuse of power.

There are only so many times the Department of Spin can rely on golf tournaments and Stella Shiu and artists impressions of Wirral Waters and pictures of the Mayor and Mayoress before the spin spirals out of control into sheer delirium

However the Department of Spin does contain at least one person who has learned the lessons of the past. They can certainly show those naive whistleblowers how it should be done. They have learned that knowledge is power – so use it to your advantage.

Keep your job and get a nice big cheque.Win-Win.

That now makes 2 people in the Wirral Council “Job for Life” Club.

When The Sweet Smell of Success Stinks Like A Brown Bin

LGABullshit-Stamp

At first we didn’t know quite what to make of the Local Government Association (LGA) report titled ” Self-Serving or Self-Centred?” (or something like that anyway). It was recently published without any fanfare, no doubt in the hope was that it would pass under the radar without any further comment. This is especially surprising as Wirral Council is described as a “success” story. SEE HERE

Thankfully it was picked up by Wirral Globe who reveal how startlingly close that Wirral Council came to being taken over by government commissioners just like that other local government basket case Doncaster Council. SEE HERE

We also note from the Globe article that veteran whistleblower Morton still hasn’t run out of breath (oh how the Council must wish that gag was tied a bit tighter so that he was permanently deprived of oxygen).

What troubles us here at Leaky Towers is not so much the revelation about the Council near- takeover by outsiders but the bullshit industry that seems to have flourished in the wake of abject failure and the Council’s so-called “turnaround”. Talking of which does anybody know what happened to the Council’s  topnotch “Turnaround Team”?.

From reading the report we have a sense of a group of consultants performing a PR exercise on behalf of the LGA with the message :

Don’t send in commissioners to a Council in crisis , send in the crack LGA team and based on no evidence whatsoever they’ll pretend everything’s tickety-boo in no time. Their competitive  daily rate includes their own “no case to answer” rubber stamp and an unparalleled collection of patronising  platitudes such as “you’re doing jolly well – now keep it up chaps and chapesses”
 
The authors of this LGA promotional pamphlet concludes that : “We have already recorded that after close to two years, Wirral has made a significant recovery. Although our brief is not to conduct a detailed evaluation, there was a consistency and honesty in the interviews that gives us confidence in reaching this conclusion.”

This conclusion of course flies in the face of the evidence that we report week in,week out on this blog that Wirral Council has not returned to anything like resembling normality. It appears the fanciful conclusion was reached by interviewing no-doubt handpicked “stakeholders” guaranteed to be “on message”.
We can only assume the responses went something like this:

” The constant threat of redundancy ensures I keep my nose to the grindstone and say whatever I’m told to say to visiting consultants…”

” Power Boy Pip visited our office the other day.I felt as though I was in the presence of greatness and he left me feeling treasured and with a warm fuzzy glow .”

” I’m just so grateful I longer have to manage a team as they’ve all been made redundant…being a team player is so much easier when you’re the only one in the team”

” My working conditions have improved for the better now that I know that in the unfortunate event of a fire I can waltz town the shiny new staircase like a fairytale princess”.

Meanwhile back in the real world and not the LGA – fantasy version we have further examples that seems to indicate that the basket case’s return to full recovery may be somewhat premature.

First there is the news that nearly £400K has been squandered – SEE HERE
on what we identified was a hopelessly misconceived and ridiculously -named proposal called Co-Socious. SEE HERE

This proposal was meant to lead to sharing services with the 2 Cheshire Councils – which of course was promptly ditched when Power Boy Pip  espied a more compatible and prestigious hook-up with the Peoples Republic of Merseyside. SEE HERE

Meanwhile  more pungent example of continuing concern about how the Council conducts it’s business arrives in the form of a Brown Bin.

Apparently those experiencing delay in receiving their garden waste tag have been advised that because of the backlog of applications BIFFA have been told to empty all garden waste bins ( even if people have not paid) for the first collection in June! This apparently is because  the Council doesn’t have enough staff to handle the applications due to cutbacks in Streetscene. So Wirral Leaks advises, at the height of the grass cutting season, that everyone fills their boots and fills their brown bins……….after all it’s an ill-(smelling) wind that blows nobody some good.

We were also told that as Pest Control have had a 50% reduction in staff that if you find yourself singing: “There’s a rat in my kitchen what ‘amma gonna do” that as you are likely to wait another 2 weeks for any assistance. This is unfortunate as when Wirral Council are deemed to be a “success” many people automatically smell a rat !……

Strong Bonds

BONDS

The political views of Frankenfield (aka St.Frank) are often a thing of wonderment and bewilderment but his latest public pronouncement (and there’s been quite a few lately haven’t there boys and girls?) is simply jaw-dropping.

Here we find Blessed Frank bemoaning the “strong bond” between Wirral’s health authorities

See HERE

So what has vexed Frankie-baby to throw yet another public (and perfectly timed) hissy-fit?

Here are his concerns:

* The relationships between senior members of the CCG and Arrowe Park Hospital may have dented the “independence” and “integrity” of local health services.

* The body responsible for commissioning local health services may have taken decisions that do not reflect the will of all its members or the public.

* Arrowe Park has a long history of not being able properly to manage its budget.

* Closures, sackings and loss of patient services has been its traditional negative stance.

* The failure of the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) leadership to work together.

*  The status of the chair (of CCG) and his eligibility to hold this post”.

Does this sound familiar to anyone out there? Replace Wirral health authorities with Wirral Council and we have a carbon copy of the concerns raised by much maligned and mistreated whistleblowers who didn’t have the luxury of a direct line to a government minister like Jeremy Hunt.

Did we hear Frank Incensed ever raise concerns about :

* The relationships between Wirral Business Partnership or Lairdside Communities Trust and Wirral Council?

* Decisions made by Wirral Council which fly in the face of their own “surveys”?.

* The inability of the Council to manage it’s budget ( he was conspicuously silent on the matter of £31 million of toxic debt that the Council had managed to run up)?,

*  The loss of services and redundancies at Wirral Council?

* The eligibility of Foulksey to be Mayor and the status of chairs of some of the Council committees which simply defy belief?

But the Frank Incensed has his own “strong bonds” with Wirral Council doesn’t he? Perhaps we should call for a full independent public inquiry into those…and how would we do that?

Well we’d have to go through our one of our local MPs like ,er , the Right Honourable Frank Field! ……

Frankly Mr.Frankie

Frank-N-Field Judging by this weeks woeful media appearances it appears that Birkenhead MP Frank Field (why do we never hear from the other Wirral MPs?) seems to have embarked on a reckless kamikaze bid to restore Wirral Council’s tawdry reputation in his new role as the Unofficial Town Hall Apologist.

He seriously may need to reflect upon his decreasing credibility and ensure he doesn’t go down in flames with them.

We were breathless with anticipation here at Leaky Towers in the hope that Channel 4’s “Dispatches” programme would be a ruthless uncovering of exactly what has been going on at Wirral Council.

Instead we got a ” blink and you’ll miss it” slot which amounted to a couple of  shots of Wallasey Town Hall and some bumbling fool driving through the streets of Wirral and then (deep breath) at last on comes St.Frank to provide a excoriating analysis of the £ 40 million highways contract scandal.

First Frank helpfully explains to the rest of the country that Wirral is a “small place”  and then he went on to give the impression that because of that, it was quite likely that a Council Officer just might accidentally bump into a potential contract bidder during a tender process.

Well that’s alright then!!!! … we certainly heard nothing from Wirral’s numerous whistleblowers –  but as this part of the programme was about the £260 million of public money paid to Council workers to shut them up, one could argue that this seemed entirely appropriate!

However Frankie made a slip up – referring to Council officers who had been “found wanting” – we thought that the official version was that there was “no case to answer”!.

Does he know something that we don’t!?……….

However incredulity was replaced by hilarity with his tetchy appearance on Tony Snell’s  Radio Merseyside programme where he seemingly got up out of the wrong side of the coffin because he wasn’t allowed to turn the interview into another PR stunt and he started complaining he’d been brought onto the programme under “false pretences” before veering awkwardly into David Icke conspiracy theory territory and claiming Wirral Council’s woes were the result of a “campaign”  to “break down that part of the Council” responding to Freedom of Information requests.

http://wirralinittogether.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/frank-field-blames-too-many-people-making-freedom-of-information-requests-for-wirral-councils-ongoing-failure/

Making the few staff in the Wirral Council’s FOI office sound like GCHQ rather than a few under-resourced,overworked staff who rely on information from people who seemed to have forgotten they’re public servants, Frank seemed to be suffering, once again, from selective amnesia.

He seems to have forgotten that the Information Commissioners Office has been highly critical of Wirral Council’s performance when it comes to FOI requests and  he also seems to have forgotten Anna Klonowski’s reference to “obsessive secrecy” in her damning reports and the recent  £31 million Sundry Debts report where investigator Eugene Sullivan said he was “shocked” that the extent of toxic debt was “hidden” ( Power Boy Pip’s words) from Councillors.

What’s more I thought he said the other week that Wirral’s problems stemmed from local government re-organisation in the 1970’s – oh for goodness sake we do wish he’d make up his mind!

Care to evidence your allegation of a  “campaign”  Frank ? .

No thought not. You don’t seem to understand the rules of the game have changed – it would appear the years of a passive,docile electorate nodding meekly at your every utterance are sadly over.