You may or may not be aware of a story emerging from Liverpool Crown Court which appeared in the local press earlier today.
As you can read above the story concerns the theft of petty cash money by a former Wirral Council employee. But when you consider that Wirral Leaks first revealed the story HERE in January 2016, following leaks from aggrieved Wirral Council whistleblowers, it becomes clear that there is much more to this story than has been reported in today’s press.
You will see from our original story that the person we coyly referred to as Mr T (and now revealed to be Carl Thompson) has indeed now been convicted for stealing £7,000+. However we don’t wish to focus here on Mr T especially as he has now faced justice and has been held accountable (which as we know is unusual for someone involved either in the past or the present with Wirral Council). Equally unusual is a rare example of openness and honesty from a Wirral Council senior manager . As a certain Simon Cuerden is quoted as saying this particular case ” had adversely affected the staff morale and the reputation of the authority and rebuilding trust and transparency is still ongoing”
If you look at our original story (re-published in full below) you can see why Mr Cuerden saw fit to make this comment. Consequently, and as was the case with former Labour councillor Jim Crabtree, we have to ask ourselves if whistleblowers hadn’t contacted us as to whether various crimes and misdemeanours would just have been buried by the council:
Now from what we’ve observed of an increasingly desperate Wirral Council leadership is that they’ve been told to do two things : a) praise council staff publicly even when treating them like crap and b) mention the utterly vacuous and meaningless window dressing that is their 20/20 Vision Wirral Plan at every opportunity ( “We have a plan ,we know what we’re doing – honestly”).
Well can we tell Wirral Council that judging by the increasing amount of correspondence we’re getting from the crime scene that is Wallasey Town Hall that council staff are getting increasingly pissed off with the fakery – seriously pissed off.
Nothing is pushing their badly-done-to button more than a case which in some ways is a microcosm of how Wirral Council operates. It’s a case which has been knocking about our inbox for some time and when one of our sources writes : ” I would appreciate anonymity as we all know what happens to WMBC whistleblowers…” This tells us everything we need to know about the poisonous culture which still seemingly infects the alleged “Most Improved Council in Britain” than any number of feelgood press releases.
Council staff are not so much singing like a canary but singing like Shirley Bassey and their song goes something like this:
“Lightfingered – he’s the man, the man with the petty cash , Council-tax payers cash……”
This doleful refrain concerns a certain Mr.T – T in this case stands for thief
We understand that Mr.T was suspended under that polite euphemism “misappropriation of funds” (something that Wirral Council have been quite adept at themselves) and although apparently Mr.T owned up the act, he was suspended on full pay during a lengthy investigation before he was recently dismissed.
However what is vexing Council staff is that it is alleged that this matter “was not reported to the police, central government, the audit commission or Wirral council tax payers and has been swept under the carpet in true WMBC style”.
No change there then you might say (no pun intended) – especially as this was someone caught with their hands in the petty cash till – as Wirral Council have an inglorious record of lurching towards the twin perils of “reputation management” and “cover up” when it comes to situations such as this.
We understand that the figure that has been filched is approximately £30,000 but common opinion among council staff is that as there was no thorough investigation that the actual figure could be much more than this.We understand that Mr.T could have been stealing money over a number of years and nobody knows the exact amount as Wirral Council only investigated what was stolen within a particular financial year.
Of course Wirral Council are welcome to deny any of these allegations…..
Questions and comments that have been put to us – although perhaps they should be put to Wirral Council leaders or even more pertinently to Merseyside Police are :
- Why was it so easy for Mr.T to steal thousands of pounds?
- Who countersigned any monies/petty cash? If not why not?
- I suspect this is due to the fact that said colleague had access to thousands of pounds in petty cash and was able to spend from the council budget until his heart was content as he was not managed for a minimum of 3 years
- Staff reviews should take place every year! but his line Manager left and he was then left to his own devices!! You have to ask why internal audit were not doing an annual audit? If they had this would have been picked up very early.
- It is now believed that he is working elsewhere and had faced no consequences for his actions besides dismissal
- This person has taken the Wirral taxpayers money and needs to be held to account.Where is the deterrent? Where is the accountability? Where is the public interest? Where’s our bloody money?
I think the only question we can actually answer is the one about Internal Audit.They were doing their usual job of obeying their political paymasters and/or being inept .However for the rest it would seem it is the usual tale of Wirral Council failing to take any responsibility for their own negligence in allowing this situation to arise in the first place.
We’re left wondering as to whether someone with £30,000 + of Council Tax arrears would avoid legal action quite so readily?. Indeed Wirral Council seem to be labouring (no pun intended again) under the misconception that the money they lose through their negligence/incompetence is THEIR money – so it can just be written off and forgotten about.
Consequently Wirral Council leaders rap sheet of cases where they protect their positions of power by protecting wrongdoers continues to grow.
Whilst some of the questions raised by one of our sources may have been answered , some haven’t, such as how come an “unsuspecting solicitor colleague” signed off some the petty cash slips – until suddenly a new member of staff joined his department? What the hell were Internal Audit playing at ? Did Wirral Council provide a reference for Mr T ? and whether being Mayor Foulkesy’s former chauffeur influenced the (in)actions of Wirral Council ?