Communication Breakdown

Thanks for all of you who kindly suggested that a member of the Wirral Leaks team should apply for the following post with Wirral Council . Hopefully an application from Leaky Towers will be winging its way over before today’s deadline :

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As one wag wrote to us “Good job for the Wirral leaks team. Get paid for your Wirral Leaks job maybe not as much as the consultants but over £500 a week lol…” 

Looking at the job advert we have to say we’d have our work cut out to match this BS:

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Perhaps we can discuss the issues that we have with some of the paragraphs at the interview :

Paragraph 1 : You had us at the opening lines:  “Big changes. No excuses…”  You also had us rolling in the aisles.Very gung-ho,very fridge magnet,very amusing.

Paragraph 2: No sorry,you lost us here and yet somehow think it’s appropriate to use the phrase : “Coherent narrative

Paragraph 3 : You want employees to have a ‘voice’ within the organisation? Yeah right that’s why they have to come to us time and time again to be heard.  You don’t really want employees to have a voice do you? Compromise Agreements/Non-Disclosure Agreements and Gagging Clauses suggest otherwise. You only want employees to have a ‘voice’ as long as it’s a reassuring and non-challenging whisper

Paragraph 4 : It’s laudable that you are determined to improve the way that you communicate with employees. Can we offer the suggestion that their sentient human beings and not a payroll number?

Paragraph 5:  Can we please issue the team with a t-shirt emblazoned with the words : NO HOLDING BACK. NO EXCUSES. JUST CHANGE WIRRAL. BRING IT ON.

Actually on second thoughts we’ll have to withdraw our application as we can’t hope to compete with such inspirational communications and what’s more we’re not buying into any of it…

 

The Usual Crap from Wirral Council

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Still one of our favourite pics sent to us by one of our devoted readers…

We’ve been asked for our thoughts on a couple of local news stories. The first concerns the pressing issue of dog crap. Now we have to declare an interest here or more accurately a lack of interest – we hate the thought that notorious bullying former Wirral Council CEO Steve Maddox is right when he once publicly claimed in a meeting held outside Wirral that the people who paid his wages (and ‘additional pension costs’) were only interested in ‘dog crap’.

So as you can see from previous posts such as this we’ve long applauded and supported responsible pet owners and campaigners such as ‘Wirral Good Dogs’ who don’t want to subsidise Wirral Council waste via the waste that comes out of their pet’s backsides but it is still particularly dispiriting to witness this week’s packed Council meeting about the proposed introduction of Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) to combat Wirral’s dog crap problem.

If only pet owners (and indeed non-pet owners) on Wirral were equally motivated to turn out to Council meetings and express their concern about what is done (or not done) in their name perhaps the punitive measure wouldn’t have been proposed in the first place!

But hey! as long as people are exercising their democratic right to challenge the powers that be that’s OK with us. However our interest in the matter lies elsewhere and is more concerned with the potential engagement of Kingdom Security to impose PSPOs and the political/financial motivations of Wirral Council’s ruling administration.

What can we say about Kingdom Security?  Lots actually since 2015 and none of it good. But the thought of their operatives loitering around playing fields and parks in pursuit of filthy lucre (pun intended) is surely the stuff of nightmares.

Our other point of interest is the sense of deja vu that accompanied this week’s Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday where it was decided to ditch the proposal by a single vote. The committee’s decision will now come before Wirral Council Cabinet and specifically the environment spokesperson Cllr Anita Leech, who will make a final decision on PSPOs. Could this be the same Cllr Leech who voted against the fire station development in Saughall Massie before changing her mind and allowing it to go ahead?

We’re left wondering whether ,with elections coming up in May, the ruling administration are playing the game of ‘listening to the people’  when it comes to dog crap or will financial necessity override political expediency?

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Sign the petition HERE

 

The Twelve Days of Christmas : Day Four – Protect Money

 

Protect whistleblowers

One of the advantages of this time of the year is that we can catch up on stories that landed in in our tray but we never got round to because we were distracted by another story and/or we needed to do some further research.

For this story we are indebted to John Brace for having the patience to wade through Wirral Council invoices and publish the details on his website way back in August in a post titled  What has Wirral Council been spending money on in 2017 and 2018 (part 2)

The information that particularly caught our eye was the fact that Wirral Council have paid Public Concern at Work £11,250 for a whistleblowing advice line. Since the publication of these details the whistleblowing charity has since had a re-branding and changed their name to the snappier, if rather ambiguous, Protect.

Now you may be wondering as to why we took a particular interest in this payment . Surely you may think that  it would be money well spent ,even for cash-strapped Wirral Council, especially when you consider their chequered history when it has come to dealing with various high profile and damaging whistleblowing cases. Indeed Wirral Council first bunged the charity £10K + in 2012 when they involved them in re-writing their woeful whistleblowing policies and procedures. However what we take issue with is that Protect already offer a free whistleblowing advice line , so why are Wirral Council paying a premium for a dedicated advice line and how can this possibly be value for money?  It would be interesting to know how many workers have taken advantage of this advice line and what monitoring information that Protect provide to Wirral Council.

What’s more surely there are conflict of interest issues involved if Protect are supposed to be giving impartial, independent advice to Wirral Council workers who have concerns about their employer when ultimately Wirral Council are paying for that advice!

From what we’ve gathered from local whistleblowing sources Protect are not held in high regard anyway, often advising whistleblowers to leave their employment rather than risk the threat of victimisation for the heinous crime of telling the truth. Whilst this sometimes may indeed be in the workers  best interest it does nothing to address their whistleblowing concerns and ultimately it is not in the public interest to allow  employers to ignore the following disclosures that a worker reasonably believes are happening, has taken place, or is likely to happen in the future.

  • A criminal offence
  • The breach of a legal obligation
  • A miscarriage of justice
  • A danger to the health and safety of any individual
  • Damage to the environment
  • Deliberate attempt to conceal any of the above.

Which makes us wonder what’s the Protect money is for ? – to protect whuistleblowers or to protect the reputation of Wirral Council? We certainly know were we’d put our £11,250…

 

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what are Wirral Council trying to ‘protect’ their staff orwho is to protect

The Twelve Days of Christmas : Day Two – Pretty Green

 

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We don’t know about you filles et garçons but we feel as though our livers are being prepped for a catering size pack of pâté de foie gras.However we’ve hauled ourselves off the chaise longue to bring you some news that was sent to us in the run up to Christmas.

If you are driving past The Warren golf course, there might be a few photo opportunities, they have pulled in staff from all over to work on every green bunker and fairway to undertake repairs that have been neglected for years. All to make it appealing to the new sell off. Costing thousands . The work being done is unprecedented .It’s looking very, very good. Rebuilding all the bunkers. , renewing some tees, and reseeding sections of all the fairways .Can’t understand it , if they going to get rid,why spend all that money ?

Just heard that they are doing the same to Arrowe Park, these two are the ones that are going out next year, they are the only ones that show any private interest as they are used – after a fashion . The others are white elephants…
Were left wondering how long it will be after the prettification and all that lovely green land is wrapped up like a Christmas present that a property developer will realise there’s not a lot of  money to be made in this declining recreational pursuit and bungs in a planning application for luxury homes. Arrowe Park looks particularly ripe for development after the precedent of the Warrens medical centre and with the hospital already banging in a planning application for 400 car parking spaces , what’s a few residential units on an ever shrinking green amenity?

Defend Our NHS: Thank You and Happy Christmas!

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Dear friends of the NHS

Thank you! In fact 32,000 thank-yous. That’s the number (still rising) who signed petitions protesting against Wirral CCG’s plans for our walk-in and minor injuries services.

The petitions (from Defend Our NHS, all the centres and a number of patient groups) were collected at street stalls and in Wirral GP practices and hospitals and on-line.

They not only call for a total rethink of the CCG’s urgent care proposals but also demand a meeting in every single Wirral council ward. This is so that the CCG (and Wirral councillors) can explain just what they think they are doing to our NHS. There has never been any meaningful public engagement or consultation on the massive changes – as the Borough first became part of the ‘sustainability and transformation partnership’, then adopted ‘accountable care’, and then sneaked in ‘integrated care’.

Even councillors on the important scrutiny committee were kept in the dark. (We are challenging the legality of that.) And last week, at the packed meeting when the boxes and boxes full of petitions were presented, all the CCG could offer was ten minutes for protesters to have their say – and then promise to ‘listen’.

Who has the CCG’s ear? 32,000 Wirral residents? Or the few hundred (they can’t be specific) who they claim were ‘confused’ by current arrangements? In fact it’s the boss of NHS England. The man who has famously said, “The worldwide need for healthcare in ageing populations will lead to a demand for goods and services that can drive sales of American insurance, medical devices, and record-keeping technology.” (US health corporations already operate in Wirral. Did you know?)

Meanwhile Wirral Council (in the month when it has fulminated without any obvious effect against the CCG walk-in plans) has effectively amalgamated our health and care services and budgets with the same CCG. Without any of the required scrutiny (merely bombastic speeches) they have confirmed their acquiescence to the notorious ‘Section 75’. A minority of councillors stood on our side but they were outvoted by a majority coalition from three parties.

All of this means we will have our work cut out to DEFEND OUR NHS in 2019. There will be no let-up in our campaigning and we hope we can count on your active support. Tens of thousands of Wirral residents are with you.

Stay in touch.

AND have a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

On behalf of Defend Our NHS

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Fieldwatch 4 : ‘Vulgarity is the conduct of other people…’

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The Blott,Pip & Addled Caption Competition – answers to Wirralleaks @gmail.com

Vulgarity is the conduct of other people, just as falsehoods are the truths of other people – Oscar Wilde

We’re really sorry we started this but since we’ve been monitoring the local and national media appearances since Birkenhead’s Labour MP Frank Field became an ‘independent’ we could make Wirral Leaks a wall-to-wall Frankenfield-fest…but ain’t nobody got time for that.

However there are a couple of stories which have caught our attention this week which we think highlight his hypocrisies.

First up we have Field seeing fit to comment on the Daily Mail non- story Fury after Bake Off Sue compares PM to ‘s*** on a shoe’

The story concerns Sue Perkins ,ex Great British Bake Off presenter and leading media figure from the LGBTQXYZ community – we really try and keep up with the latest acronyms but apologies if this is not quite right – and her less than flattering assessment of Brexit in general and Theresa May in particular on a late night TV programme ‘The Last Leg’ on Channel 4 that about half a dozen people accidentally watch after they’ve got in from the pub. In response to the question How do you think Theresa May has handled this week? Do you admire her?’ Perkins replied :

‘In the same way I admire s*** on a shoe in that it endures and no amount of using a twig on it or power-hosing it will remove it, so her ability to cling on is the stuff of legend and I don’t want it near me.’

The Daily Mail reported :

Conservative and Labour politicians reacted with fury to the comments yesterday, including Ministers who demanded an apology from the star.

MP Frank Field said: ‘There is a worrying trend in public life that people are getting more and more obscene and violent in their comments and are being allowed to get away with it. What Sue Perkins said crosses the line. Channel 4 and other broadcasters should not let her on again.’

We’d have thought there were more pressing matters for MPs to comment on at the moment but it does allow us to reiterate a point we’ve made before about powerful politicians. Frankenfield, in particular, seems to be cursed with the delicate sensibility of a Victorian maiden aunt forever being offended by the vulgarity and lack of deference of the ‘others’ towards their ‘superiors’. But then Frankenfield has always had a particularly low threshold about what he considers ‘obscene’ . We must tell you ‘The Mary Whitehouse Story’ one day which concerns a poem the anti-obscenity campaigner once showed Field which described Jesus Christ having sexual intercourse with Mary Magdalene. Apparently he’s never got over it…but we’ll save that one for another time.

However back to the point that we wanted to make. We believe that  Conservative and Labour politicians reacting with ‘fury’ to the Perkins’  ‘shit on a shoe’ comment is all about powerful people wanting to control the language,control the political discourse and ultimately control everything. It’s not only as though freedom of expression doesn’t exist – and some might say it doesn’t- but as an expression of righteous anger goes it’s a far cry from the actions of France’s gilets jaunes!

We’re left wondering whether Perkins first encountered this earthy expression when mixing with Wirral Council reps at the Local Government Chronicle awards in 2015 ?

As we know ,since the picture above was taken Kevin Adderley and Joe Blott have left the Wirral Council ‘shoe’ courtesy of being power-hosed off with vast amounts of public money whilst council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies is scraping himself off before he’s kicked to the kerb. Unfortunately the stain they all leave behind will be indelible and forever stink to high heaven.

As far we’re concerned another quote published this week by a different  national newspaper about their making Universal Credit work campaign (to which we not be providing a link) demonstrates the further hypocrisies at play:

Frank Field MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, also congratulated The S*n on its campaign.

Might we suggest that for many people on Merseyside any association with the tawdry rag following its campaign of hate after the Hillsborough disaster is more worthy of the word ‘obscene’ than a pottymouthed celebrity putdown of the PM.

Enter Stage Right

Red Right

One thing that we failed to mention in our Exit Stage Left story concerned with Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin’s bitter and twisted ‘personal statement’ at Monday’s full Council meeting was her mention of the threat of  the ideological driven ‘hard left’ and those who have ‘no ideology but will do the bidding’ . Like that’s never happened before! For far too long Labour councillors have been willing to back all kinds of abuses of power as long as they got an easy ride and the only ideology at play was pure self interest.

However Matron may want to do some research as to whether the ‘lefties’ are quite as ideologically pure and driven as she makes out.Also at Monday’s meeting Bromborough Labour councillors Jo Bird and Joe Walsh vote in favour of building a housing estate with a golf course attached on  Wirral’s Green Belt. Perhaps they think it’s for social housing and communal sporting facilities and not luxury homes and an exclusive private golf course?

Another example of Matron applying the blinkers when it came to having a pop at former Labour council leader Yvonne Nolan and her being ‘parachuted in’ to safe Labour ward was when it came to up and coming Labour councillor Liz Grey. As you can see from correspondence we’ve received below there is currently a ‘wrong’ and a ‘right’ sort of socialist. Which is which is becoming increasingly hard to tell!

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So as Frank Field prepares to embark on his new career as an ‘Educator’ with his new Free School for Birkenhead perhaps he has a position in mind for the rapidly rising star on Labour’s benches at Wirral Council

Elizabeth Grey ( Liz to the comrades) managed to convince the good members of Bidston St James to select her despite being another emigre . They also don’t seem to have a problem her being the Head of Religious Education at the prestigious (and private fee paying) Birkenhead School.

Comrade Grey obviously doesn’t see any problem with private education and would no doubt be an asset to Mr Field’s new school.Either way it’s reassuring that despite announcing his ‘retirement’ Phil Davies is still scrabbling around gettting as many of his place men (or women) into position as possible to try and force his Golf Course, Growth Company and privatisation of the NHS through before he leaves the people of Wirral to clean up his shitty mess…

Tipping Point

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It’s not an unusual occurrence when a concerned citizen writes to us out of sheer frustration after hitting a brick wall of politician’s indifference. Makes us wonder what Cllr Brian Kenny and Birkenhead MP Frank Field are being so coy about ? Yet another failure of planning and scrutiny by the ruling administration at Wirral Council? 

Sirs

I refer to the rubbish dump that has appeared at the end of Cleveland Street adjacent to the police station.

Apparently this rubbish dump has a license as a recycling centre, although seeing as it has no power source it is difficult to see what it can be recycling.
The whole area is full of old settees and caravans and black bags full of God knows what. It recently went up in flames on bonfire night as you probably know.
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I have contacted Councillor Kenny who informs me that he is lost for words and the Council is investigating as well as The Environment Agency.
Rats are regularly seen exiting the huge brick shed used as a rubbish store although I cannot remember any works being carried out on this derelict eyesore.
The council tip is one mile down the road, this official fly tip is being used to dump foul smelling bags and mattresses. It is 50 yards from a primary school, a church and residential housing.
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It shows utter contempt for the people of Birkenhead to allow this now stinking sealed site to exist. I have had replies from Councillor Kenny informing me of his outrage but nothing yet as to who gave permission for this so called recycling centre to begin operations.

Also attached is letter from Environment Agency, I am yet to hear from Councillor Kenny re: who approved this strange business.

It’s the strangest recycling plant I have ever seen, unless they’ve come across a three piece suite recycling machine. The brick building has been derelict for as long as I can remember and I am 60 years old! People are now dumping mattresses outside.

Best Regards
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Tree Lines

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There are a variety of subjects that Wirral Leaks has covered over the years that have engaged people on Wirral who have particular interests – be that litter,NHS, the Green Belt, whistleblowing etc; etc;

One subject that regularly strikes a chord with our readers is…trees. So as today (2 December) marks the end of National Tree Week we thought we’d publish some pertinent comments we’ve received on the subject. First of all , a dedicated Wirral tree preservationist has written the following to commemorate the occasion :

Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council (in NW England) is marking the UK’s National Tree Week by felling 19 healthy, mature trees in Ashton Park, West Kirby……and lopping off branches from another 24 healthy, mature trees. It appears that Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council has quite grasped the true purpose of the National Tree Week.
The tree felling and general usage of chain saws, in Ashton Park, should stop immediately. Tree felling in parks, across the whole borough, is under way. The chipped timber is sent to a bio-fuel plant in Wrexham.
Is the tree felling campaign linked to the roll out of 5G (fifth generation) mobile phone masts?
7,000 mature trees have been felled in Sheffield…..with many more lined up for felling.
Madness.
However this is only half the story. From what we understand Wirral Council thought they were ‘out of the woods’ when it came to a particular tragedy involving neglect of Wirral’s trees but a council insider tells us :
The tree situation is one of the most ridiculous you can imagine . Total mis- management and neglect based on ignorance,  stupidity and lack of competence within every level of the council.
Basically, the council made redundant, some years back, competent tree specialists , hence the situation became dangerous. Trees have fallen in parks, mainly in winds, very very few are diseased, but some are. One fell in Central Park landing on the site hut 18 months ago. That was swept  under the carpet . Another falling on a car with the unfortunate passenger losing her baby. Read here:  Heartbreaking tragedy as mum-to-be loses newborn baby after tree falls   
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have passed the investigation over to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).
Basically the contractor Man Coed name a tree for action, cut away and they are not questioned because no one (within Wirral Council) knows what they are looking for. The council are reactive not proactive and are now looking to employ two tree specialists following countless thousands of pounds wasted along with accompanying environmental destruction…

The High Cost of Recycling Trash

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From time to time we like to catch up on the local government garbage that have drained public resources on Wirral like a gold-plated sewage pipe.

You may have your own favourite receptacle of filthy lucre (Adderley? Norman?  – the list is endless!) You know the type – everyone knew they were rubbish, they failed spectacularly, cashed the Wirral Council cheque and yet they still managed to pick up another gig with a gullible/desperate council elsewhere or if they were really,really bad and/or a particularly good bullshitter they could always go and get a job with the Wirral Chamber of Commerce.

We have kept track of some of the most infamous Wirral Council cases in our occasional ‘Where Are They Know?’ updates. Someone who has featured in a couple of these updates has been Anna ‘Cash Cow’ Klonowski .  Read more here .

Admittedly Klonowski was never directly employed by Wirral Council but nevertheless made a cool quarter of a million for achieving the square root of fuck all when brought in to confirm what everyone knew then and still knows now – that Wirral Council is run by bullying,dishonest incompetents.

Klonowski went on to successfully cash in on the Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) scandal in Rochdale before rocking up at Bristol City Council and lasting about five minutes as their Chief Executive. We now understand from the wonderful ‘The Bristolian’ blog that Bristol City Council Mayor ‘the Reverend’ Marvin Rees knows how things work in concentric council circles :

News is also in, courtesy of the council’s external auditors, that the £100k the Reverend handed to departing Chief Exec Anna “Big Wedge” Klonowski last year was a GENEROUS PERSONAL GIFT with public money from the Reverend and not a legally required pay off for her notice period as he claimed.

Full story here

Perhaps Klonowski picked this little trick up from her time at Wirral Council where they bestowed £100K + GENEROUS PERSONAL GIFTS  which were not legally required to bullying, dishonest incompetents Mike Fowler and Maura Noone, prior to the publication of Klonowski’s “Independent Review ‘ in 2012. Needless to say as you can read here this didn’t adversely their future career prospects – because local authorities have targets when it comes recycling trash and unfortunately we’re the ones that pay…