The Liptrot Mystery

Evans

Opposition councillors seem unusually curious about the recent controversial appointment of Council leader Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’Davies political ally , Martin Liptrot(sky) to the post of  ‘Interim’ Investment Lead .

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15173137.Special_meeting_heats_up_as_Wirral_councillors_clash_over_controversial_new_job_for_Labour_s_policy_chief/

And so they might be! The ongoing saga is worthy of an Agatha Christie murder mystery ….. but who knows where the bodies are buried !?

Of course we anticipated such an appointment long ago The Uncanny and the Corrupt

That’s not because we have second sight, it’s simply because, by now, we know all Wirral Council’s plot devices.

So before we get to the heart of the mystery, let us set out the story so far. Are you sitting comfortably? – because we guarantee you won’t be for much longer!

Remember when we exclusively announced Liptrot’s arrival at Wirral Council and questioned how his ‘Policy Advisor’ post came about?

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/all-hail-the-new-king-of-spin/

Remember when we questioned his apolitical credentials when he was appointed to a politically restricted post despite declaring his long held Labour Party affiliations all over social media ?

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/a-political-mr-liptrot/

Who can forget when Wirral Globe disclosed that leaked toecurling early morning email exchange between Liptrot and Pip?  Where the former, in full on diva mode, appears to be calling the shots – complaining about his pay and bemoaning the fact that he has to hand in time sheets to Super Duper Director  Joe Blott  – oh the shame!

“Apparently I’m supposed to work for 24 quid an hour and hand time sheets to Joe Blott [strategic director].Clearly that is both insulting and wildly unrealistic for the scope of the role we are discussing.There is no way I’m going to earn even less than I am now. We need to work out what we need to agree and you will probably have to just step up and tell everyone what you want doing in the end. Let’s talk tomorrow.’

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14306240.Emails_give_extraordinary_insight_into_Wirral_Council_s_controversial_hiring_of_former_Labour_spin_doctor/

And so having set the scene we move on to the latest chapter in the charmed life of Mr Liptrot and his latest ‘transformation'(!) as ‘Interim’ Investment Lead at Wirral Council.

An extraordinary series of extracts from leaked emails details the ‘bureaucratic machinations’ behind this latest appointment and provides us with even more plot twists……..

Firstly , we might recall that  24 councillors  issued  a ‘Notice of Motion’ in respect of, what was at the time, the creation of ‘a senior post of Investor Development Manager’ in response to the Labour Cabinet meeting held on 16 January .  This meeting was chaired by Power Boy Pip and included a report calling for the removal of ‘Call – in’ , thus denying opposition councillors the opportunity to ask any awkward questions about the post. The report stated :

‘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’.

Head of Law Surjit Tour clarified the situation : ‘Cabinet agreed to waive ‘call-in’ in accordance with the Constitution and the decision is therefore implementable immediately notwithstanding the request for an extraordinary council having been made and agreed. Council at the extraordinary council meeting is being invited to scrutinise the creation of the post and decide whether it is justified – but council would only be expressing its opinion/view in respect of the post and its justification. The decision maker remains the Executive and the decision in question remains implementable.’

The post was advertised via  Wirral Council’s temporary worker system (Matrix) . Matrix passed on the job specification to recruitment agencies at an equivalent day rate of £195.

Initially six applications were received. However according to Wirral Council’s HR  : ‘none of the applicants met the specification. We  have received feedback from the agencies that the remuneration is not sufficient to attract calibre candidates.Given the urgent requirement for the additional capacity and limited budget we are sourcing an Interim role – Interim Investment Lead on an interim rate, but for a shorter period of time’

HR went on to later add :‘The agencies feedback that they could potentially source some applicants at £350 day , but the calibre we required is likely to be £500 day. Given the urgent requirement for the additional capacity and limited budget we need to increase the day rate .’

Frankly it is simply an astonishing state of affairs when so-called committed, and no doubt ‘passionate’ public servants, don’t consider it worthwhile getting out of bed for less than £350 a day!  And of course the recruitment agencies are going to advocate such a hike in the daily rate because presumably it means more money for them! All of which means that public authorities are held a hostage to fortune!

Needless to say when the post was advertised at the higher rate, 13 further applications were received !

5 candidates were shortlisted. One of the candidates was unable to make the interview date and one candidate withdrew. And in true Agatha Christie fashion :  ‘And then there were 3’. These interviews took place on 15 February 2017.

Initially we understand that Asif Hamid was due to be on the interview panel but he mysteriously withdrew to be replaced , inevitably, by Wirral Chamber of Commerce chum Paula Basnett. Clare Fish , Wirral Council’s Executive Director for Strategy was also a late absentee. This left :

  • Alan Evans, Strategic Commissioner for Growth (Chair of the Panel)
  • Stephen Butterworth, Interim Strategic Project Support
  • Sally Shah, Lead Commissioner: Place and Investment
  • Paula Basnett, Chief Executive, Wirral Chamber of Commerce
  • Ellen Cutler, Director Inward Investment, Liverpool Vision

Now as we know the successful candidate was our leading suspect Martin Liptrot who was awarded an an initial 4 month contract  @ £350 a day.

However the  mystery here is whether the panel made the appointment or was the final decision made by Power Boy Pip and his supine CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson?

The Extraordinary Council meeting held earlier this week was an attempt by some curious councillors to find the answer to this whodunnit and other mysteries surrounding the case. However the Labour group were anxious to shut this line of enquiry down with Cllr Brian Kenny squeaking up for a ‘guillotine’ thereby reducing the time available for debating the issue.

Perhaps curious opposition councillors should seek clues about the recruitment process from Alan Evans, the Strategic Commissioner for Growth, who chaired the selection panel?

We understand that Evans’ unsung team in Department of Regeneration have been doing some excellent work  behind the scenes  and we can only wonder what they must feel about the influx of Johnny-Come -Lately’s such as Liptrot  who ,under the guise of ‘transformers’ , appear to be muscling in on their act and potentially taking the credit for their work.

We await further plot developments with great interest!

Reference Point

 

Stewart halliday call

Reference busters : ‘Who ya gonna call? Call Kersten!’  pic courtesy York Press

The ‘Happy Halliday’ story certainly pushed a few buttons didn’t it?

Happy Halliday

Blotto?

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.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15145472.Wirral_Council_forks_out___1_3m_on_temporary_managers_and_consultants_amid_outcry_over_cuts/?ref=mr&lp=8

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.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/11/21/report_into_mega_capita_outsourcing_deal_identifies_performance_issues/

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!

 

 

A Tale of Two Martins

lombardy-poplar-012

Did anyone notice the fascinating juxtaposition on pages 26 and 27 of the print edition of this week’s Wirral Globe?

The story on the left concerns the dubious appointment of Martin Liptrot to a Wirral Council ‘non-job’ and the story on the right concerns the even more dubious situation of Martin Morton who has ‘no-job’ as a result of Wirral Council . The above picture is for illustrative purposes only. The stories behind the headlines can be found here :

Pip’s Pay Pal – THAT Liptrot Appointment

Truth Justice Accountability

Curiously we have found out that both Liptrot and Morton are both alumni of that hallowed educational establishment that was known as Wolverhampton Polytechnic – although we don’t know if they attended at the same time or whether their paths ever crossed or what faculty they attended. Although in Liptrot’s case we assume there was a Department of Dark Arts.

As a modern morality tale I don’t think we can get better than ‘ A Tale of Two Martins’.

The teller of truth and the spinner of truth and how we , as a society , value them.

Witness as Morton the teller of truth refuses to work with people in whom he has no trust and confidence . The corrupt liars ( Cllr Steve Foulkes, Cllr George Davies) and the cowardly enablers ( Cllr Phil Davies and all those council officers who sacrifice their personal and professional integrity on the altar of a lucrative career  – Blott, Tour, Armstrong , Robinson et al ) . This is detailed in a quite astonishing career-ending email sent by Morton to all 66 councillors and Birkenhead MP Frank Field in December 2014.

We’re not sure that as a spinner of truth that Liptrot would ever concern himself with the abuse of power , the corruption and the lies raised by Morton. Not when there’s £350 a day to be had anyway!

Interestingly enough Cllr George Davies was bemoaning at this week’s Cabinet meeting that Wirral Council’s woes were a result of ‘Thatcher’s children’ .  Although Gorgeous George may not be the most eloquent or insightful political commentators around and on the assumption that he didn’t mean Carol and Mark Thatcher , we have to say that we agree with him. Open your eyes Cllr Davies – the venal ,self serving and uncaring are all around you and are running the show at Wirral Council and indeed at institutions up and down the country. Might we suggest he’d do well to look beyond complaining about the austerity measures thrust on Wirral Council by central government and consider that some people are doing very well financially out of running down public services.

 

We may well look back one day and say that these were the best of times for the unholy alliance of middle class charlatans and working class chancers (Thatcher’s children indeed!) and the worst of times for everyone else.

Wirral Council – Where Transformation Means More Of The Same

york-010

A shout out to one of our many Wirral Council watchers who has sent us some news all the way from the charming city of York.

Here we pick out some of the most pertinent points from the following newspaper article published by The York Press ( who are like our own dear Wirral Globe only a little bit posher). Whilst the issues raised read like our back catalogue – serious failings, procedural breaches,cover ups, procurement issues, dodgy contracts, lack of monitoring, culture of fear , leaked reports and how City of York Council are more concerned about reputation management than exposing malpractice. Bear with us , there is a punchline :

The Press revealed yesterday, council bosses have been criticised for paying tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money without proper monitoring, and told to take “robust action” to avoid a repeat of serious failings.

The council refused to publish one of two auditors’ reports, but a copy has now been seen by The Press and adds more detail to the published report.

It alleges that another £150,000 was paid out, and a catalogue of other failures including the council official responsible not getting proper tenders, quotes or contracts for work commissioned, and not drawing up business cases or monitoring the work that was paid for.

According to the report, there was a series of policy breaches, but auditors have made clear there is no evidence of fraud or criminality.

It states:

  • Stewart Halliday, who held senior roles with the council, authorised a raft of payments to communications consultant Stuart Goulden without obtaining quotes
  • Mr Halliday sent council information to his own personal email address, and the personal email addresses of one serving and one former councillor
  • Contracts were awarded to other companies Mr Goulden was involved with, as well as to him personally
  • There was a “lack-of-recognition” in the council that Mr Goulden was being paid so much
  • Procurement staff and a former chief executive tried to challenge the troublesome contracts, but failed “possibly due to the culture within the area at the time”.

The auditors’ investigation included checking Mr Halliday’s email account after he had left the council, trying to check historic entry logs at the council headquarters, and exploring potential personal links between Mr Halliday and Mr Goulden. None were found.

The auditors said they could see Mr Goulden had carried out the work, but they could not find any evidence Mr Halliday had followed procurement rules by looking for other quotes, drawing up contracts and putting them on the council register, or monitoring the work.

Instead, the report lists ten alleged breaches including no paperwork being retained; no quotes or contracts for the work; one payment in advance of work being carried out; and a lack of contract monitoring.

Furthermore, auditors say they found emails containing council information which had been sent from Mr Halliday’s work account to non-council email addresses, including some information marked “confidential”.

The auditors raised concerns about the potential data protection implications of that.

Mr Halliday was the council’s assistant director for transformation and change in 2014, and had also held the title of head of strategy, partnerships and communications.

Mr Goulden and his company Like No Other worked for the council between 2013 and 2016.

A spokeswoman for City of York Council said: “The report was exempt from publication and our employees identities kept private because it identified individuals by name and this information related specifically to their financial or business affairs. As a responsible employer we have a fundamental duty to protect the privacy of our employees and former employees. We are taking this matter very seriously. An investigation into how this confidential report was released is being conducted and this will involve North Yorkshire Police.

The Press has made efforts to contact Mr Halliday, without success.”

http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/15098444.Council_payments_row__what_the_secret_report_said___/

Perhaps  The Press could contact a certain Mr  Stewart Halliday at Wirral Council  – stewarthalliday@wirral.gov.uk

Could this be the same  Mr Halliday  who is now responsible for Wirral Council’s  ‘Transformation Programme’ ?. I think we should be told!

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50038045/Delivering%20Wirrals%20Growth.pdf

If so Wirral Council were clearly impressed that Halliday can do a powerpoint presentation and utter council-speak at the same time.

Moreover we can almost guarantee he used the word ‘passionate’ if he had an interview. But then again we can’t understand how many of these people get appointed in the first place. Is it a Masonic thing ? Common Purpose? Knights of St Columba? or do they just have to like playing golf and support Everton FC?.

As for this bogus ‘transformation agenda’ it comes to something when even enriched municipal mandarins tell us it’s ‘time to stop the lies ‘. Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy chief executive, Rob Whiteman, and chief executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority, Martin Reeves say that local government should stop lying about its financial problems and give up pretending transformation will solve the massive underfunding it faces.

https://www.themj.co.uk/EXCLUSIVE-Time-to-stop-the-lies/206737

As far as we’re concerned at Wirral Leaks the ‘transformation agenda’ is nothing more than opportunists setting themselves up to benefit from the demise of public services. The hope being  that one day they will get a cushy number sitting on a trustee or management board. Locally one only has to check out the Wirral Chamber of Commerce and Magenta Living . Nationally there are Arm’s Length Organisations (ALO’s) and private enterprises which are awash with local government failures supplementing their engorged pension pots by picking at the corpse of local government.

So remember when you see or hear the word ‘transformation’ – be afraid, be very afraid.

 

 

Say ALO , Wave Goodbye

alo-pip

Power Boy Pip’s public services philosophy – not so much arm’s length as throwing them to the dogs and/or Wirral Chamber of Commerce

We are grateful to another contributor with inside knowledge and an enquiring mind. ‘Retired WBC Officer’ writes to us with the following observations:

Hi Guys
 
Reading Granty in the WG (Wirral Globe)  today led me to the following……….
 
 
 
I was struck by …………..
“A core aim of the team will be to encourage new businesses to set up shop in Wirral, and Cllr Davies believes the borough’s thriving visitor economy, maritime sector and reputation as a leading manufacturing hub will be among its key draws.
 
The company will also champion Wirral assets including the Wirral Waters regeneration zone, Hamilton Square, Woodside, Birkenhead town centre and the revamped Hoylake Golf Resort.
 
Cllr Davies adds: “I’m confident that these plans will enhance the opportunities on offer in areas like Wirral Waters. Obviously we work very closely with Peel and Wirral Waters is an enterprise zone so hopefully we’ll be able to promote that more effectively with these plans in place.
 
“There are a myriad of regeneration opportunities in the borough and I think this new company will be an excellent delivery vehicle to more effectively promote them.”
 
ALOs the new way forward?  Google the recent history.
Soon only the top brass will be employed at local authority,everyone else privatised.
We advise our readers to check out the above the links and we’d be grateful if someone   can tell us exactly what Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘ Power Boy Pip’ Davies means when he says:“Risks can be mitigated by looking ahead and using business intelligence and expertise out there in Wirral to ensure that we act in a timely and appropriate way.”
We tried Google Translate but they messaged us back to say they don’t do BS.
However whilst we know that Arms-Length Organisations (ALOs) are not-for-profit companies and, by establishing them, councils retain a discrete degree of control through funding agreements and boardroom influence we think they’re merely a staging post to full privatisation.  So say ALO and you can wave goodbye to public services! We are appalled (but not surprised) that a Labour council would embrace the move towards them quite so enthusiastically.  However we certainly understand why the current Wirral Council  administration would – as whilst they retain a measure of control over services the public accountability would be greatly diminished. And as we know they’re not great fans of any form of scrutiny or accountability.
‘Retired WBC Officer’ is absolutely right when they say that ‘ Soon only the top brass will be employed at local authority,everyone else privatised.’  Indeed it has been Wirral Council’s long stated intention to become a ‘Strategic Commissioning Hub’ . Talk about being hidden in plain sight!
 
What we deeply resent at Leaky Towers is those being paid handsomely for dismantling public services are usually the same municipal mercenaries sitting in waiting to benefit from the deliberately underfunded demise ( see also the NHS).
If you want to know why bullying thrives in organisations such as Wirral Council you need to look no further than the self serving mediocrities making a good living overseeing the destruction of underfunded public services and woe betide any one who questions them!
Notwithstanding the fact that one of the reasons Liverpool’s Director of Social Services Samih Kalakeche  recently resigned included the desire to go travelling – oh to have that luxury!-  we give him kudos for acknowledging that the way things are going social care may not exist soon if we don’t defend our public services.
Therefore might we humbly suggest on Wirral that politicians of all parties , council employees , unions and council taxpayers join together in saying ALOs are not the way to go. And yes – that particularly includes Wirral Evolutions…………….

Tourism Awards : Wirral-style

tourist

Whilst talking tourism we’re not talking about Wirral Council’s Head of Law Surjit Tour and his own personal philosophy here – especially when we dread to think what that might be! No – we’re talking about tourists coming to Wirral or more accurately people who find themselves lost by taking the wrong exit on to the M53!

Now don’t get us wrong there are many lovely places to visit on Wirral but judging by recent reports some parts of the peninsula are submerged in a sea of deprivation and crime . So forgive us if we’re not taken in by the announcement of yet another glittering ceremony celebrating commercial enterprises favoured by the Wirral Chamber of Commerce. Indeed, we’re left wondering where does their CEO , pouting ‘Princess’ Paula Basnett , fit all her frocks ? The way things are going Wirral Council are going to have to hand over another building at peppercorn rent so she can store them all!

As a result of this announcement yet another correspondent joins us on the road to enlightenment to give us their considered views on the matter .

We just need to declare an interest here and let you know that we turned down a nomination for Leaky Towers in the ‘Hidden Gem’ award category as frankly we try to avoid any contact with riff-raff – no matter how well dressed or well connected! Moreover we wouldn’t want our readers to think that we received an award for the same reasons as ‘The Spotty Blue Teapot’ or ‘Mere Brook House’. Just sayin’……………..

Dear Julian,
Last night I read the Wirral Globe report on the upcoming Tourism Awards. I am
sure you are familiar with this back slapping piece of crap that appears to be
sponsored by Wirral Chamber of Commerce. (Asif in the photo, poor girl having to
pose with him!)

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15066440.Nominations_now_open_for_the_Wirral_Tourism_Awards/

What intrigued me were the financial details. £385,000,000.00 per year from
8,000,000 visitors for good old Wirral.
I ‘Googled’ tourism figures for Wirral and they appear to stand up, but only in
the greater Liverpool area and I can’t decide if the figures are for Wirral or
the greater Liverpool area!
Now I am sure you have a calculator at hand so you will see that the figures
quoted from Wirral are that 21917 people per week visited Wirral spending £43.75
each. What a load off bollocks! In the words of somebody famous ‘I don’t believe
it!’
I would suggest that these figures have been compiled from footfall figures at
bars, restaurants, soon to be closed leisure centres, Tranmere Rovers and the
odd hotel that does weddings and WCC black tie nights, pubs and anywhere else
that might have somebody pop in.
If that is the case then these are not tourism figures but local people going
about their daily business.
I leave my thoughts in your capable hands and would suggest you pop down to the
bookies and put a fiver on ‘The Wro’ in West Kirby winning ‘Bar of the Year’.
Once again, keep up the good work.

P.S. Forgot to say I didn’t realise that Tony Jones is the Wirral tourism champion,ha ha!

 

SPECIAL REPORT : Where Your Money Goes

where-your-money-goes

It must be this time of year, as we’ve been musing on money matters (or rather lack thereof). Clearly Wirral Council have been doing the same as they gear up to set their forthcoming budget and pursue a number of punitive charging regimes to offset central government funding cuts.

Yeah,yeah, yeah – we get it when they drone on about how badly they’ve been done to by central government and they have to make tough choices and priorities. But that’s what we take issue with Wirral Council here at Leaky Towers – it’s the choices that they make which indicate to us that their priorities are all wrong. Consequently they lose all moral authority when they start bleating about lack of finances.

So let’s take a quick look at where that money comes from and where it goes :

As we all know Wirral Council’s income stream is increasingly going to be us via Council Tax and any supplementary fund raising scams they can come up with.We look forward to their budget proposals now that they’ve been given the go ahead by central government to put up Council Tax by 3% to pay for the rising costs of social care. Rather frighteningly they also have the the opportunity to raise even more money via this route.Surrey County Council are looking at a total Council Tax rise of 15% but to do so they would have to put it to the local vote. We suggest that this is not something that the ruling group at Wirral Council wouldn’t risk but nothing ,nothing would surprise us about this shower of chancers.

David Hodge, Leader of Surrey County Council, announces proposal to seek a council tax rise of 15%

So , down to business –  we’ve previously discussed the charming operatives from Kingdom Secrurity and their cash for trash extortion agency for the Council. As anyone who has seen a Kingdom Security in action – they go after vulnerable people who don’t have the means to  retaliate . Much like the people they get their contract off.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2015/11/25/cash-for-trash/

It’s not  about caring for the environment. Neither are other money-making scams devised by an increasingly desperate council. Similarly their car park charging proposals have absolutely nothing to do with maintaining the roads or traffic measures. It’s all about the moolah. Your moolah! – so cash cows out there prepare your teats for action as they’re going to be bled dry.

Park and Get Taken For A Ride

We’ve already reported the squandering of £80,000 on the appointment of an Investor Development Manager – rumoured to be a shoo-in for current leading Wirral Council puppet master Martin Liptrot.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/the-power-abusers/

Which again begs the question as to why there isn’t someone on a humongous salary with the requisite skills at Wirral Council – because well ,apparently there just isn’t ! Let’s not even mention what the likes of David Armstrong, Clare Fish and Joe Blott  get paid  – if you throw in Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson that’s half a million big ones per annum between them.

Never mind the recent ridiculous ‘Are Wirral’s 66 councillors Value For Money?’ exercise conducted by themselves and to which the unsurprising answer was a resounding YES! – how about we have a VFM consultation on the above gang of four/flaw? – especially when we consider the damning Ofsted report into Children’s Services.

This has necessitated the appointment of troubleshooter Eleanor Brazil and former Children’s Commissioner for England Professor Maggie Atkinson as the new ‘independent’ chairwoman of Wirral Safeguarding Children’s Board. The appointment of such big hitters suggests us to that Children’s Services is in an even bigger mess than the Ofsted report indicated. Not that we’ll ever know because the Children’s Services Improvement Board meets behind closed doors. Lessons have obviously been learned from the last Improvement Board – no openness, no transparency, no public accountability suits the powers that be. We’re just asked to stump up the bill.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15032232.Government_troubleshooter_who_dealt_with_aftermath_of_Baby_P_scandal_to_lead_rescue_of_Wirral_children_s_services/

These consultants seem to be mainly tasked with finding out why Wirral Council can’t recruit and retain staff in Children’s Services. We can tell them free of charge : because it’s rammed with poor calibre middle managers who bully their staff on the instructions of passive/aggressive senior managers who earn a nice wedge spouting platitudes and duping councillors.Plus the fact that who in their right mind would want to do Child Protection work in Birkenhead. Think about that for a moment  – beyond grim.

Another drain on resources that we never to get to hear about are the court cases that Wirral Council get ensnared in because they simply don’t know the difference between right and wrong….but they’ve got plenty of well paid people particularly in the HR and Law Departments who are prepared to blur the lines between the two in return for a big fat salary. We understand that there’s a court case coming up at the end of this month that could prove to be the defining moment of how Wirral Council chooses to ‘move forward’.

We’ll keep you posted.

Crabby : Guilty as Charged

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After initially pleading not guilty to offences under the Communications Act 2003 a subsequent change of plea meant that today ex Wirral councillor Jim ‘Crabby’Crabtree was given a 12 week sentence (suspended for a year) plus asked to pay costs,compensation and a victim surcharge at Wirral Magistrates Court . The allegation of his offence was first reported on Wirral Leaks

Dial M for Mute : Update

Dial M for Mute

However for the full shocking story of today’s events in court read the Wirral Globe (you know the local newspaper that Wirral Council want to put out of business!) :

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15016582.COURT__Ex_Wirral_Labour_councillor_admits_making_death_threat_to_colleague_on_day_MP_Jo_Cox_was_murdered/

Finally we are able to publish the details of Crabtree threatening to kill Cllr Louise Reecejones if she didn’t pay him £19,000 . This incident happened on the same night Cllr Reecejones’ colleague and friend Jo Cox was brutally murdered.

As shocking as this – sadly it comes as no surprise to us. Not only did we know about the incident but we’ve been well aware of Crabtree’s increasingly worrying conduct over a number of years.

Astonishingly for a man who was once appointed to be Chair of Wirral Council’s Audit & Risk Management Committee, we’ve always known his communications haven’t always been in keeping with someone destined to hold high public office.

Who can forget his response Jim O’Neil the campaigner wanting  to keep Wirral’s libraries open when they were under threat ? :

“Jim, I’m fed up with all your childish crap, please keep it too[sic] yourself and don’t send me any more – I’m fed up deleting your trash.”

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/councillor-childish-crap-email-blast-3461816

Now it would appear that the contempt he had for members of the public also extended to elected members and over time escalated and became much more sinister.

We think the big lesson that needs to be learned from this case that if politicians  and officers think that they’re untouchable this is where it ends up  : Court 6 of Wirral Magistrates Court .

For many years Crabtree was one of the gang , the inner ring that rules Wirral Council. We’ve always maintained that the trouble with the local Labour group is that there is a small cabal of Labour councillors who for far too long were used to getting their own way both in and out of the council chamber  ( we understand that the question ‘Do you know who I am ?’ has got them out of many a scrape ). And of course they had the abiding support of an influential , national political figure in Birkenhead MP Frank Field – someone who has turned the three wise monkey act into an art form when it comes to the conduct of certain local Labour councillors.

The frightening thing is we don’t even think Crabtree was the most heinous member of this cabal . So our message goes directly to council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies  : This is what happens when there are no sanctions, no accountability and nobody takes responsibilities for their actions. You have a duty of care to protect all your party members not just those who are part of ‘the inner ring’….and by protect we don’t mean ‘cover up’ !

Indeed it is highly unlikely that Crabtree would ever have been suspended by the local Labour group if it wasn’t for concerned party members repeatedly raising their concerns about his conduct with Wirral Leaks . No wonder the Labour Party North West Regional Director Anna Hutchinson later decreed :

“That the leadership of the Labour Group are required to undertake training in order to ensure that any future issues raised with them that are of serious concern are dealt with in a prompt and appropriate way “

To which we can only respond by saying that the local Labour group don’t need training when it comes to addressing serious issues – they need a moral compass!

It remains to be seen whether the party faithful will rally round Crabtree after today’s ruling as  Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes previously did (see above) when Crabtree was having troubles over his suspension and subsequent de-selection ……

Jim Crabtree : A  selected Wirral Leaks history

Dark Night of The Soul

Cry- Bully Crabtree – Updated

Eulogy for Jimbo

The Curse of Leaky Towers

Fiddling the Meter

Master of Suspense

Rotten To The Core

No News is News

missing-wirralview

Don’t know about you good people but we’re still waiting for the first print edition of Wirral View to arrive.

However, in preparation for the grand arrival it seems that the lamentable Wirral News is dutifully clearing the path of least resistance in readiness for the first print run of the Wirral Council propaganda sheet.

As if by magic and a week after the Wirral View hit the internet if not the streets, the parent paper ,the Liverpool Echo , turns Wirral News into a bi-weekly newspaper. Although we have to say we use the term ‘newspaper ‘lightly as we think Wirral News gave up trying to be a proper newspaper a long time ago. It now seems to us as though it merely served as a less flashy dry run (and boy do we mean dry ) for Wirral View. 

Apparently from the end of November the current Wirral distribution of  Wirral News of 82,500 will increase to 115,000. However rather than being a weekly newspaper, it will become a bi-weekly newspaper, allegedly focusing on community news and events.

 

With Wirral News/Wirral View /Wirral Globe/Wirral Life/Wirral Echo/Wirral Leaks – the people of Wirral should never have to complain to nosy pollsters from Ipsos MORI that they’re suffering from an ‘information deficit’ ever again !- not that they did in the first place! However we still can’t see the number of Freedom of Information requests decreasing as a result – which probably tells us more about the quality of information from Wirral Council that’s made available by the communications control freaks at Wallasey Town Hall.

Talking of which we note that Wirral Council placed an advert in the November 5th print edition of the Liverpool Echo (obviously!) for a ‘News and Content Officer’.

http://www.fish4.co.uk/job/5887665/news-and-content-officer/

We are left wondering whether the council are making yet another ‘ News and Content Officer’ appointment or has the officer that helped out with the first online edition of Wirral View saw the writing on the wall (and the local websites) and scarpered ? . If it’s the former then it’s increasingly looking like the Communications and Marketing Department is heading to be all that is left of Wirral Council. It can only be a matter of time before the council will be ‘a commissioning hub’ with a PR department attached churning out endless press statements about why they can’t provide information to the public because of commercial confidentiality or because it’s classed as personal data or because it’s subject to legal professional privilege.

However considering Wirral Council’s ‘policy advisor’ Martin Liptrotsky’s faithful assistant Kev is such a fan of our blog , perhaps one of our interns could apply for the post as long as they promise to leave their Superman pyjamas at home? A touch of Wirral Leaks would certainly liven and lighten up Wirral View dontchathink? !……

News Travels

wirral-view-map-021

Well , we didn’t expect our Friday night badinage with Wirral Council’s Head of Communications Kev to have quite the impact it has. We just thought it was a bit of blogfodder whilst we researched a few other stories.

Little did we know it would lead to our first mainstream media headline http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/14834014.Eyebrows_are_raised_over_council_media_chief_s_email_exchange_with_Wirral_Leaks_website/

As you can see we are described as  a ‘caustic website’ by Wirral Globe and ‘barely literate’ by one commentator. But then if you dish it out – you should expect to get it back. However we’ve decided to take a leaf out of Wirral View and accentuate the positive, and thank the no doubt delightful Ms. Natasha Eubank who we think sums up our raison d’être :

“Whilst Wirral Leaks has always been a satirical blog, it has previously raised , and continues to raise some very serious concerns regarding the conduct of Wirral’s Council”

Indeed , as we’ve said before , we swear by that old adage  : “If you want to tell people the truth, you’d better make them laugh or they’ll kill you” . . .

However we were distracted from following the Wirral Globe story when a glossy local magazine dropped through our letterbox. We thought at first it might be a priceless first edition of Wirral View . However it turned out to be a copy of Wirral Life  – billed as Wirral’s No.1 free premium lifestyle magazine . Some of you might remember that the publishers of this magazine beat Wirral Council to the punch over the Wirral Life title .

wirral-view-map-015

We were so disappointed that we endeavoured to find out when we might receive a copy of Wirral View itself. We went on to discover, appropriately enough via a circuitous route, that the company who will be printing the newspaper, Cliffe Enterprise Partnership , appear to be based in Eastbourne.This might explain why the first print edition has been so slow to reach Wirral !.

Apparently there are very few printers who can produce such a snazzy publication so Wirral had to go all the way to the South -East of England. Although we have to say we find it a bit perplexing to discover that a cash-strapped North West council is supporting  a business in the affluent and thriving South-East.

The print costs for the first edition of Wirral View are £8,100 with a further £9,000 for distribution costs. Distribution is to be provided by a company which is at least based up here. Well when we say up here – LDS Ltd are based in Liverpool !.

It’s hard to see where these arrangements fit with the pledges in the Wirral Plan and specifically Pledge 8 – ‘Greater Job opportunities in Wirral’ ,  Pledge 10 – ‘Increase Inward Investment’ and Pledge 11 – ‘Thriving Small Businesses’.

You’d have thought that , if anything , Wirral View would at least be a publication printed and distributed by Wirral companies. The fact that it’s not and Wirral Council are prepared to pay a premium for style over content further suggests to us that this newspaper is nothing more than a sophisticated and expensive PR tool and is not about ‘keeping people informed’.