Tory Voters in Wallasey and beyond. You’re being taken for fools

wallasey ward councillors in Bolton IV

***If you live in the North West and recognise any local Tory councillors’ faces in the following photographs, please tweet us @Wirral_In_It with the details.  Many thanks !!***

21st April 2017

Theresa May kicked off her 2017 snap General Election campaign with what could be the start of a whistle-stop tour of the UK.  The first visit was to Bolton of all places – a northern Labour stronghold.

Predictably, there weren’t many locals there to welcome her as the Prime Ministerial helicopter touched down in a field.  Which was good for them because crowds of interfering busybodies may have spotted the deception that was about to be played out behind the backs of the British public.

It appears the #ToryElectionFraud that you’re never going to hear reported on the BBC has not caused the media billionaires’, toffs’ and bankers’ party to break their stride when it comes to deceitful behaviour.

Wallasey Councillors on a day trip 

Three Wallasey Ward Tory councillors – Lesley Rennie, Ian Lewis and Paul Hayes must have received an urgent message from No 10 Downing Street or Tory Head  Office telling them to drop their brandy glasses, pull their sensible brogues on and hotfoot it to Bolton asap on 20th April 2017.

Presumably, transport will have been laid on to get them there, although we can’t be sure about that.  Maybe they shared somebody’s car and will reclaim the mileage and expenses?  But it appears from the photo below that numerous unknown Tory supporters (councillors also?) had received the same message and needed to drive, sprint or get taxis, pronto, to the Egerton church hall for the event.

wallasey ward councillors in Bolton

We imagine that wherever the next study in media manipulation is, a different Wirral Tory ward may receive their marching orders.  It makes you wonder what would happen to a councillor refusing to take part in such scandalous activity? Presumably, judging by the chumps packing the tiny church hall, Tory councillors possessing dignity and principles are pretty hard to come by these days.

We followed Councillor Paul Hayes, a Brian Blessed lookey-like, on Twitter, but very quickly the shutters came slamming down:

councillor paul hayes blocks me

We then tweeted Councillor Ian Lewis for his point of view, but so far he hasn’t responded:

So for now, we’d ask any Wallasey Tory voters reading this…

“Are you happy to see your party’s funds squandered whisking councillors off on a day out to Bolton to pull a fast one and pose for the cameras, masquerading as locals?  All for the sake of filling the local newspapers and their websites with fraudulent publicity shots conveying the false idea that the people of Bolton are falling over each other to grab 5 more years of austerity under the Tories.”

Reporters in attendance were not permitted to ask any questions.

Despite the BBC and their ‘reporters’ clamping down on any and all negative Tory news – and not just during elections – will you yourself still be prepared to give your personal mandate to the party of #ToryElectionFraud this time around?

Do you actually still trust these people?


Link to video from Bolton News (scroll down)

More shots…

If you live in the North West and recognise your local Tory councillor’s face here, please tweet us @Wirral_In_It with the details.  Many thanks !!

wallasey ward councillors in Bolton II


wallasey ward councillors in Bolton III

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Wirral Council ~ This Place Gets More Surreal by the Day

15th May 2017

15 04 17 - surreal wirral

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here…

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Using your skill and judgment…

…spot the lying councillor.

red face

Clue 1: Those spectacles are so hot, there’s steam comin’ off of ’em…


red face at LGC awards

Clue 2: Scene: Grosvenor House Hotel. Occasion: Award, most accomplished Austerity dodgers


red face in natural environment

Clue 3: Caught unawares – in his natural environment


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Toxicity Always Emerges

20170413_123532


 

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I was the Master of my fate,

I was the Captain, with no soul.

[Apologies to William Ernest Henley]

 

 

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McNicol: Mandelson’s undermining is ‘just holding an opinion’

The SKWAWKBOX

Iain McNicol’s performance – when he’s even here – as the most senior employee of the Labour Party stumbles from awful to culpable.

In February, Tony Blair’s oily right-hand man, Peter Mandelson, said he worked every day to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

mandelsonHe wasn’t subtle about it. He was speaking to the House of Lords. He wanted to be sure he got his message across, too – so much so that he said it twice, with a slight variation:

I work every single day in some small way to bring forward the end of his tenure in office..Something, however small it may be – an email, a phone call or a meeting I convene – every day I try to do something to save the Labour party from his leadership.

Many Labour members were outraged. At least one enough so to write to Iain McNicol, the party’s General Secretary…

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EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Wirral Council email: Discretionary Housing Payments Unlawful for 18 Months

Picture of Surjit Tour redacted email dated 31 10 2016

The leaked email. We’ve added the crucial date of the Hardy V Sandwell case in red

4th April 2017

See our recent blog post: Discretionary Housing Payments


As part of this Freedom of Information request, placed in February 2017, we asked whether Wirral Council had information to show that they had learned lessons from the Martin Morton / Department of Adult Social Services case a few years back – the implications of which were never fully explored or exposed to public view.

It appears they have not.

A quick calculation upon reading the above email reveals that despite a major change in the law on how Discretionary Housing Payments are assessed, Wirral Council “dropped the ball”, continued to use the old method of assessment – taking the care component of disability living allowance (DLA) into account – and were non-compliant for a period of 18 months.

For reasons only known to himself, Surjit Tour has chosen in his email not to include the crucial date of the Hardy v Sandwell case and of the change in law i.e. 30th March 2015.

It is highly likely that vulnerable tenants, families not qualifying, or in receipt of unlawfully reduced levels of DHP, will have been impacted adversely / fallen behind on their rent / been evicted by their landlords and possibly rendered homeless… as a direct result of Wirral Council’s unaddressed for 18 months departmental / council failure.


The following passage is an excerpt from our earlier post on Discretionary Housing Payments …………….

Here’s a link to some recent, publicly-released information detailing Audit Recommendations across five separate areas – including Discretionary Housing Payments.

First is a summary box, listing the completed areas covered during the Audit Recommendations Period; April 2015 to October 2016:

internal-audits-summary-box-april-15-to-october-16

On completion, the public would now expect recommendations to be made in all 5 areas.

Whilst the area of elections was vital to the Alison Mountney tribunal case, another area – Discretionary Housing Payments – apparently received no recommendations at all. Furthermore, whilst 4 areas listed the actions taken in the Outcome column, the DHP Outcome box was left curiously empty.  And further still, “no opinion provided” is the rather bland response to the crucial area of Organisational Risk.

Due to the glaring omissions, we’re left to wonder… what’s occurring here?

empty-outcome-box


The above excerpt serves as a reminder of how senior officers and councillors may have failed to correctly audit and scrutinise the area of Discretionary Housing Payments.

In light of the leaked Surjit Tour email and the above inconsistencies, we have to assume now that there was an awareness of the change in law, and of this ongoing failure, but there was either a lack of will or a calculated attempt to plough on regardless, concealing the detail and true extent of the failure / malpractice from councillor scrutiny.

We will reiterate; Wirral citizens claiming this benefit are not scroungers, they rely upon the embattled Welfare State, and need this benefit to cover their rent payments and to prevent landlords from evicting them and their families out onto the streets.


FOI request update

After we received an evasive response to our initial request, a subsequent request for internal review has been placed:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/benefit_discretionary_housing_pa#followup

Please follow its progress on www.whatdotheyknow.com

Posted in FoI Requests, General, Whistleblowing | 1 Comment

#MIPIM fun with PR Guy Mart – better late than never…

MIPIM white people

#MIPIM – “…very male, middle-aged and oh-so-white” says Marty Lipgloss

 

#MIPIM Fun With [former] PR Guy Martin Liptrot

 

The #MIPIM bash tops everything,

The Med sun’s rays are beating,

The cost of living’s up. Kerching!

Fine wines, al fresco eating,

The Wirral team sport golden bling,

On sunbeds they’re reclining,

This Halliday’s now in full swing,

PR guy Martin’s shining.

 

“Cannes harbour yachts to sea, ahoy!

Anchors aweigh, fair sailing!!”

A day’s cruise for the team, oh joy,

Wankers and winds prevailing,

These chartered yachts cost dear, it’s steep,

With prices rising, scaling,

But like the Med, our wallet’s deep,

PR guy Mart’s not bailing.

 

Our Eric Robbo wows the crowd, 

So much, they’re moved to bliss,

Mart’s LinkedIn blog looks rather proud,

10 comments | 10 likes | 1 kiss,

Meanwhile the demolition guys,

Are levelling Girtrell Court,

Still, Mart’s got £££££ signs in his eyes,

For when the land is bought.

 

There lies the rub for Public Jack,

Who’s forced against a wall,

With one arm twisted up his back,

Until he ££coughs, plays ball,

And on it goes, this morbid threat,

“Pay up and fund our plans,

Then we’ll sink you in grinding debt,

To pay for Mart’s sun tans!!”


 

martin liptrot is passionate

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Tories break electoral rules up to a MILLION times in W Mids mayoral campaign

This dubious conduct by the Conservatives is not new and keys in with Applied IF Ltd’s forensic investigations into the outcome of the May 2015 General Election (ongoing) which took everybody – the public, media commentators, journalists and professional pollsters – by surprise.  Nobody forecast a Tory majority.  The alleged fraud under investigation here is not restricted to one party.  Google #VotegateUK for more.

In 2005, Judge Richard Mawrey, upon investigating Birmingham-based postal vote fraud, said the UK’s antiquated postal vote system would disgrace a banana republic, and that postal vote fraud would continue unabated.

The SKWAWKBOX

In May, West Midlands voters will elect a regional (‘combined authority’) mayor for the first time. The Conservative party has made no secret of the fact that it sees success in the mayoral contest as a key to their fortunes in the area and is determined to achieve it:

bham mail toriesIt appears that ‘going all out’ includes a willingness to break electoral rules.

The Electoral Commission makes it clear that all political parties are expected to adhere to certain rules regarding their behaviour during election campaigns – including how they solicit postal votes and postal vote applications.

While parties are (surprisingly) allowed to invite voters to send applications for a postal vote to their party office, they must make it clear that the preferred application address is the local Electoral Registration Officer’s (ERO), to avoid the suspicion of tampering with applications and the potential for vote fraud:

postal conductAs the Birmingham Mail article…

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We met the Wirral Council leader for the first time today. We were not impressed

nigel hobro question and davies non answer

27th March 2017

We collared the council leader today as he briefly left the 10:00 AM cabinet meeting due to a conflict of interest (his wife is a pharmacist apparently).

We held the door open for him and once we were both outside, politely asked him why he’d broken a public promise made last year to Nigel Hobro.

The leader had said he’d respond to a question that WirralBiz whistleblower Mr Hobro had formally put to him during an official 19th December public meeting in the Council chamber.

This public engagement with Davies referred to a pack of lies the leader (and Burgess and Adderley and others) had been putting out there for a very long time – in a botched attempt at deceiving us.

The whole thing was an elaborate cover up, re: The Big Fund – and the string of businesses that went bust, in quick succession, one after the other, upon receiving public money grants of between £4,000 and £20,000.

The Davies lie was that only one company went under and all companies were continuing to trade, create jobs and contribute to the local economy.

IN REALITY, APPROACHING A DOZEN WENT TO THE WALL, NIGH ON £200,000+ OF YOUR CASH WAS PISSED UP THE SAME WALL, AND THE WHOLE THING FOUNDERED 

Three months later, the lying council leader (see our previous blog posts) has done nothing about Mr Hobro’s question, just sat on his hands, avoided it, and left his barrage of lies out there, untouched, unretracted and corroding the reputation of the borough.

We won’t be expecting a libel writ to thump onto our doormat from selectively-forgetful legal bod, copious note taker, and stroker of The Holy Bible, Surjit Tour, for two reasons:

  1. The truth is pure, hard as a diamond, and favours us
  2. Lying Councillor Davies has no reputation left to defend

Before he slunk away, schoolboy-like, with his bottom lip quivering, we took the opportunity to give the dishonest leader a timely reminder that he serves us, not the other way around. He said he would respond to Mr Hobro “in due course”. We told him we did not believe him because he’d not done a thing in three months.

He asked us our name (haha – like he didn’t know), which we gave him, along with the name of this blog – wirralinittogether (lol, again).

We then instructed him, “Do your job”, hoping he’d go away and have a ponder on this unplanned encounter.

We figured if there was anything approaching reasonableness lurking beneath the frosty exterior, perhaps he’d reproach himself and think

‘Sheesh, Philly-boy, you must do a lot more to represent voters and channel the wishes and desires of the local population in the future. You are their servant after all, and Wirral is not your personal fiefdom’.

We then went back and retook our seat in the public gallery.

Sadly, we were soon to be left very disappointed, quickly realising our intervention had had very little impact.

He came back into the meeting looking extremely red-faced (see photo below and John “Tarrantino” Brace video), sat down and set about pleading poverty on behalf of the council, due to the nasty Tories (his ideological bedmates), egged on by the serried ranks of blind yes men, and lame yes women, lined up on either side – soul-dead, slaves to dogma, brown-nosing apparatchiks one and all.

This performance was given whilst sat next to the prostrate, supine CEO – he whom on arrival became the delighted recipient of an inflation-busting £45,000 pay rise – which at the time formed an obscene welcome gift from ‘cash-strapped Wirral’ – just when austerity was starting to bite deep for his startled and beleaguered workforce…

27 03 17 - tour davies robinson

It was also a double whammy, representing a thumping kick in the teeth to the rest of the population – elderly, disabled, vulnerable, jobless, homeless, poor –  those who’d long been in the council’s sharpened, ideological cross-hairs and on the receiving end of serial betrayals from the lacklustre team of hard right posturers and apologists – Messrs Davies, Davies, Jones, Jones, Foulkes, McLachlan, Whittingham, Williams, Patrick, et al. and on, and on × 65 (+1).

We had a similar encounter last year with the same ineffectual CEO in the same splendid – if corrupted and rotten to its very foundations – building.  We’d told him what it felt like for the forgotten Wirral public – the world beyond his plush, sumptuous, comfortable quarters.

He responded by going, “Ner, ner, na, ner, ner” and blocking us on Twitter.

So in summary, we’re stitched up so tight the Pips are squeaking (no pun intended councillor) – by rogues, scoundrels, hard right ‘Labour’ Tories, central government enablers and “corporate serving vermin”.

Living a lie, free of dignity, free of principles, one and all.

Rant not over.

Posted in General, Whistleblowing | 11 Comments

Wirral Council. New Customer Service System soon… BUT… will it be bullied into position?

 

As a follow-up to our earlier post, here’s a link to a Wirral Council meeting called for this Monday 27th March 2017, where plans will be put forward for the implementation of a new Customer Services management system, known as Access Wirral.

The process has serious implications for both staff and public, some of which are not yet public knowledge.  Wirral In It Together have been privately advised that the council are planning to ‘trim’ the workforce by approximately 100 full time customer service jobs.  This important figure has yet to be released publicly.  Further, compulsory redundancies have not been ruled out.

With Wirral Council ticking all the boxes for abusive, bullying, “basket case” council – like Herefordshire County before them (see above) – and also being replete with dishonest senior staff, including the council leader, there’s a possibility – we would say even a likelihood – that the innocuous sounding Access Wirral may be implemented or crowbarred into position in similar fashion to that of Herefordshire’s new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system back in 2012.

And what happened at Herefordshire County Council was not just regrettable, it was shameful, callous and a complete and utter disgrace.

A number of disabled employees, qualifying to receive standard employment provisions under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, could not use the system because it could not be adapted for visually impaired disabled users.  Furthermore, the inflexibilities of the new software put all end users at risk of foreseeable and avoidable upper limb injuries, which had not been foreseen or catered for when the software was commissioned as early as 2011.

The subsequent bullying by able-bodied seniors arose when disabled staff reasonably – but unsuccessfully – tried to assert their workplace rights under DDA.  But this fell upon deaf ears and the sheer inflexibility of the system, coupled with workplace harassment was all in direct contravention of their statutory DDA protections.

The bullying was focussed and intense, and one member of staff was treated so badly, he attempted suicide – but was fortunately saved by a doctor just in time.

Three very senior staff left Herefordshire as a result but in a massive affront to bullied junior staff, were paid off a figure reputed to top £300,000 and gagged inside compromise agreements.

Meanwhile the disabled whistleblower, who’d reported the bullying incidents in January 2014, along with:

  • purchase cost of £1.5 million
  • process not signed off by Scrutiny Committee
  • £35,000 annual maintenance costs

…had their own reasonable adjustments removed, and failed to receive any of the “protections” promised inside the PIDA 1998 (Public Interest Disclosure) Act.

PIDA’s fine words of bogus reassurance are still ringing hollow 5 years later as the whistleblower finds themselves still employed, but off work for approaching 3 years, without pay for the last 13 months and facing the prospect of workplace retribution should they return.

In other words, unlike the senior bullies of disabled people, who swanned off with a sack of public cash for their troubles, and onto the local authority merrygoround with a choice of new senior roles, the whistleblower is suffering precisely the kind of harsh detriment that the 1998 Act was supposedly designed to protect against.

It will be exceedingly cold comfort for this brave person to be told that 100s if not 1000s of UK whistleblowers – from all sectors – will now be in similar positions, in this, our supposedly democratically advanced UK 21st century world of work, where case law fails again and again to be written in favour of anybody with the courage to put their heads above the parapet and do the right thing in the public interest.

The ‘gatekeeping’ PIDA Act appears only to be succeeding in protecting abusers, and its 19 year litany of failure must be due for a serious and comprehensive overhaul.

Link to Herefordshire County Council PIDA report

Another issue with the Herefordshire software was that it wasn’t compatible with other IT systems, so didn’t interact with Highways – Amey at the time – and then later Balfour Beattie.  This meant staff struggling on with it couldn’t effectively communicate with council contractors, causing workload to increase for everybody.

The upshot was Balfour Beattie having to take calls direct from the public for highways faults.  All completely unforeseen due to senior management incompetence and lack of foresight.

Also, at Herefordshire Council it is only possible to report such serious issues to line management, i.e. those actively engaged in the bullying and the cover up of their own failure.  A change to the constitution is needed to allow whistleblowers to go above the perpetrators and approach the Monitoring Officer directly.  This and the previous foreseeable software failures are what Wirral Council’s senior officers and Councillors need to guard against now in order to cater for the protection and advancement of good faith whistleblowing.

We’ve already noticed on Wirral that the local printed newspaper, which has admittedly made great strides with the reporting of abuse and malpractice in the past, is nowhere to be seen yet on this issue, i.e. the already publicly reported threat to Customer Services jobs.

The prospect of 100 jobs going was exclusively reported to the public here on Wirral In It Together, but all the Wirral Globe could muster was a fawning ‘tribute’ article, which despite the new challenge of the council’s own competitor ‘Pravda’ newspaper, simply granted acres of column space to the authority, allowing them to wax forth on how the new idea should be viewed as an “opportunity” – and one which apparently carried no threat to staff.

We’d advise any Wirral Council Tax payer (tax hiked by 4.99% this year) to get themselves down to the Town Hall, Brighton Street, Wallasey, CH44 8ED, on Monday 27th March at 10:00 AM sharp if they want to see what’s being done by ambitious young Councillor Matthew Patrick – all in their name, and all with an undeclared amount of their money, but probably way over £1 million.

Here are the minutes for this item from Monday 27th March 2017

We hope this article gives people food for thought and some early pointers on a number of important lessons that could be learned.


Note to self:  Memorably for me, this was the very subject matter on which I rang Mr Andrew White – very senior pen pusher at the ICO – a few years ago.

I’d placed an FOI request asking for the amount paid to the three senior staff – which despite the seniority of those receiving presumably large amounts of public money – his organisation had withheld as ‘personal data’ – if disclosed, went the party line, it “risked identifying the recipients”.

Over the phone, in response, I put a hypothetical scenario to him, as follows:

  1. Council declares £345,678
  2. [Mysterious process]
  3. Senior officers are identified
  4. Andrew, please explain 2 – the ‘mysterious process’

This was greeted by the ‘longest’ 10 seconds of silence I’d ever heard in my life, soon followed by Mr White’s spluttering delivery of a jumble of nonsense words, basically amounting to streams of hideous jargon punctuated by gobbets of tired cliche – and precious little of substance.

I thanked him and put the phone down on his six-figure-salaried-voice.  Whilst feeling genuine pity for the man and his difficult day job, I then mentally chalked up another very small victory for the ongoing cause.

Posted in General, Whistleblowing, Workplace trouble | 4 Comments