15 months on, an answer is in for my FoI request about former CEO Jim Wilkie

Like previous favoured ex-employees, former Chief executive Jim Wilkie is having his personal information AND privacy jealously guarded by his former employer, Wirral Council.  In fact they’ve gone way beyond the extra mile once again.

Remember when it took over a YEAR to discover that former senior officers Mike Fowler and Maura Noone struck the jackpot with a roughly equal share of £220,000 in public dosh?

Well, Mr Wilkie’s info took even longer to emerge – a brain-frazzling 15 months for the organisation to get its act together and release.  In fact it seems to me that given a second ICO monitoring period followed by a negative slur from the Information Commissioner himself, followed by an as yet non-committal response to a formal ‘ICO undertaking’, it’s looking like an uphill struggle if we’re to whip these people into shape and get them moving any quicker.

Here are the headlines…

  • Mr Wilkie was not disciplined, and no disciplinary action was even planned, despite shocking levels of failed governance, and his organisation being found to have corporately bullied the whistleblower Martin Morton.  So, bizarrely, no gross misconduct charges were brought, despite Mr Wilkie turning up at Martin’s house to apologise to him in person some time ago, when still in post.  What was he ‘apologising’ for?  Where was the comeback for the campaign of mobbing?  It’s all a bit strange isn’t it?  Is there one rule for one, and a diametrically opposite rule for another?  When I whistleblew, and was accused of ‘bullying and harassment’ back in 2003, my collar was very quickly felt, my feet left the ground, and I was unceremoniously dumped in a corner, and forced into resigning…  even though I’d done absolutely nothing wrong.  Plus, there was no comeback for the director who brought the spurious charges at the time, David Green, along with his henchman and trusty ‘investigator’ Nigel Jenkins – unless “accountability” arrived in the welcome form of £103,000 into David Green’s back pocket last May following alleged contract impropriety; continuing top dollar salary payments into his bank for 13 months; a subsequent whitewash “report”, and an ongoing, uninterrupted, stellar career for Nigel, with no questions asked…
  • Mr Wilkie did not receive a clean bill of health when he departed.  Or if he did, the council have lost it.  Suffice to say, at this point in time, they “don’t hold this information.”  Luckily, it seems the lack of an employer reference was not enough to stand in the way of Jim quickly picking up a position as a non-executive director on the board of the Countess of Chester Hospital.  Neither was it an obstacle to debar Jim from taking up a role within his local community as a councillor at Neston Town Council.  In both new positions, he’s now known as “James”, rather than “Jim”.  Meanwhile, the main target of Wirral’s extensive corporate bullying, whistleblower Martin Morton, remains unemployed, with his career in tatters.  As a direct result of years of council abuse, he is now under serious threat of losing his home.
  • The actuarial cost of allowing Mr Wilkie to leave his job was £111,054.
  • Mr Wilkie did not sign a compromise agreement.  Er… of course he didn’t.  WHO, within this basket case, orders the CEO, known to have evaded member scrutiny in the past…  to sign a full and final settlement with conditons attached?  Some weeks after the two abusive staff had done one, here was the stable door being firmly bolted… “Senior Management Changes” is the description – indeed…  er, and “resolved” doesn’t quite cut it for me this time around…
59.

Senior Management Changes PDF 68 KB

Minutes:

The Chief Executive reported upon senior manager changes within the Council. The post holder of the Head of Support Services, Finance Department [Employee A, Mike Fowler] had left the Council on 6 January 2012 by mutual agreement. The post holder of the Head of Community Services, Department of Adult Social Services [Employee B, Maura Noone] had left the Council on 9 January 2012 by mutual agreement.

Resolved – That the report be noted.

  • The council have pleaded an exemption within the FOI Act and will not be providing details of any emails, letters, aide memoirs, etc. pertaining to Mr Wilkie’s departure.  Apparently, there is no need to apply a ‘public interest test’ to all of this.  Hmmmm.  Why on earth should there be any ‘public interest’ in a council that was found to have corporately bullied staff; unlawfully taken £700,000 plus from disabled people’s bank accounts over a 9 year period; put an unlawful 4 week delay on emergency care packages, causing one or more avoidable deaths; put the skids under the whistleblowers who exposed them, exonerated and reinstated the two public servants (employee A and employee B, AKA Fowler and Noone) who were up to their necks in this abuse, and who then felt vindicated, and carried on doing it, filling their boots, for a good while longer?

Notably….

“Councillor Gilchrist expressed the view that as Mr Wilkie had made known his views that he didn’t feel he was the best person to take the Council forward it would not be helpful to have any uncertainty over the post of Chief Executive and therefore he could not support Councillor Green’s motion [to investigate the circumstances of the hurried departure of Fowler & Noone, days before the release of the full Klonowski Report].”

In other words….

fancy that

About Wirral In It Together

Campaigner for open government. Wants senior public servants to be honest and courageous. It IS possible!
This entry was posted in FoI Requests, General, Whistleblowing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 15 months on, an answer is in for my FoI request about former CEO Jim Wilkie

  1. John Brace says:

    So has this invoice got anything to do with it?

  2. John Brace says:

    As the invoice isn’t showing properly, I’ll try again!

    Wirral Council invoice Eversheds £15276.96 15th March 2013

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