My THIRD vexatious rebuttal from Wirral Council. Can this also be overturned?

15 02 14 - team vexatious

26th June 2014 – UPDATE – Wirral Council have capitulated, and have now withdrawn ALL their ‘vexatious’ refusals targetted against me.  Not content with this however, monitoring officer Surjit Tour, head of the legal “team” has made a veiled threat on the WhatDoTheyKnow website.

12th February 2014

Wirral Council has been struggling to extricate itself from its own self-inflicted woes for quite some time now.  With its reputation in tatters and plummeting headlong to ever deeper lows, the council is now desperate to clean up its blackened image – by putting it about that an LGA “Improvement” Board, reputedly “independent” and with no axe to grind, has found that the place is improving.  Well, they would say that wouldn’t they?

And with the spectre of WirralGate looming LARGE, and soon to blow sky high, it’s all a bit preposterous isn’t it?

The LGA happens to be the “trade union” for local authorites, with a long history of backing its 100s of local authority members to the hilt.  No matter what crookedness they’ve been involved in.  As long as our money rolls in to feed its gaping maw and build its rotten edifice, it will serve and protect itself and its crooked, self-serving subscribers.  So we’re left asking ourselves the question, “Do these people actually think we are stupid?”

The answer seems to be a resounding “Yes”.

Over the years, Wirral Council has been forced into a corner, not just by politically astute, actively engaged members of the public, but by:

  • fed up and embattled council tax payers
  • the local media (minus the curiously cowed, servile, got at and now obedient since Feb 2013 Wirral News)
  • dedicated thorn in the side blogs such as Wirral Leaks, John Brace and this one
  • its own incompetent, bungling, accountability dodging councillors
  • senior officers, attending committees in order to bamboozle rather than enlighten
  • the decision to invest the former leader of the abusive council with the office of Mayor – coming soon…
  • …and god alone knows how much more.  I won’t trot it all out again here

The council – myopic, upset, petulant, spurned, nursing a grudge, and with absolutely zero sense of self-awareness, has been hitting out with very ill-advised and reactionary Section 14 vexatious refusals to probing Freedom of Information requests.

And I’m not the only Wirral resident being clobbered by these.

Here are three of mine that met with Monitoring Officer Surjit Tour’s team vexatious “club over the head”:

Vexatious Request 1 – Overturned.  Details here

Vexatious Request 2 – Overturned.  Details here

Vexatious Request 3 – (not yet) Overturned.  Details here.

He was just asking to be shot down in flames, and I’ve obliged.  Here’s a reminder of Wirral Council’s recent shaming experiences…

  • Two periods of monitoring by the ICO following its extremely poor FoI / Data Protection performance
  • Mentioned before a Parliamentary Committee by the Information Commissioner Christopher Graham as a place he’d like to send in a team to sort out
  • Wirral CEO being made to sign an ICO undertaking to improve performance and make a public statement backing that up
  • Pride of place at the start of Liverpool think tank Ex Urbe’s recently released “Like Pulling Teeth” FoI report on local councils

The local public are hoping these experiences will make the penny drop and force the senior officers and councillors involved to buck up once and for all, do what’s needed and realise that they can’t carry on being spiteful, malignant, childlike, and irresponsible when it comes to discharging their statutory obligations.

Everything is Awesome, Everything is cool when we’re part of a…

…TEAM

The Council Leader, ever the one to reach for buckets of gloss rather than admitting to inconvenient truths, has been on a recent PR drive, ushering the public inside the council’s hallowed halls – for a virtual inspection of the “teams” who populate the recently refurbished offices in Brighton Street.

One of these “teams” is the very one that for many long years has been frankly hopeless when it comes to lowering the drawbridge and allowing us in to view our information.  But this infamous and seemingly unaddressed lapse in service has not been commented on by the Council Leader in the above blog post.

Whyever not?  And who could they be?

Step forward the inappropriately titled “Freedom of Information” “team”.  Why is it that a dedicated, professional and impartial   “team” of experts are plastering Section 14 vexatious notices everywhere when life gets too difficult for their masters?

Have they taken leave of their senses?  No.   It may be the case that they’re sub-servants, told what to do – and rather than stand up for what’s reasonable and correct, have chosen to concentrate instead on collecting the salary, meeting the mortgage, but most importantly …obeying orders.

This was found to be a bullying council, remember.  And we all know what has happened to its courageous former whistleblowers.

As for Legal Services,  any competent “team” of lawyers should be level headed, on task, analytical, fair minded and clear thinking. But this particular “team”, despite issuing torrents of legal jargon, appear to have developed a very poor collective grasp on what is right, and what is just.

One would hope that such a “team” would be led by a “team” leader who possesses the above qualities in spades, wouldn’t one?

Why am I repeating the word “team”?  I’ll be scaring all my thousands of readers away if I keep churning it out ad infinitum.

I’m going to give up on “team” now.  It was a brave effort, but sadly, I’ve fallen one short of the Council Leader, Phil Davies, who, desperate to reassure us that the people who work in the Town Hall are in fact human beings, repeated the word “team” 13 times in the above post on his blog.

08 03 14 phil davies 13 teams

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. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My THIRD vexatious rebuttal from Wirral Council. Can this also be overturned?

  1. charles hughes says:

    Can you tell me why do we have a mayor it cost money and with your cutbacks like kids school crossings street lights were life is more to me than a mayor and stairs I pads going to meetings manchester at a big cost i bet i will get no answer to the questions

    • I’m no constitutional expert Charles, but I think it’s done mainly from a sense of tradition, and because it’s always been done. You are right – it costs money – a lot of money, and to me only serves a few vested interests, rather than the general public at large.

      Ambitious councillors like to become mayor, and we’ve seen plenty of those on Wirral. I won’t name names, but some of these have survived very well-founded complaints into their behaviour, their declared interests and the true nature of the relationships they’ve built beyond scrutiny and public oversight, with people and businesses dependent upon council services.

      The position of mayor also exists in a ceremonial manner, or celebratory manner, attending 100th birthday celebrations, or providing photo opportunities to businesses (very often with publicity at the forefronts of their minds).

      The people who defend the role of the mayor are very often the ones who need looking at more closely and going over with a fine toothcomb – simply because there’s something in it for THEM. I agree with you, we could save a lot of money by getting rid of the mayor, and gain additional advantages by cleaning up the council’s reputation in the process.

      This year, the former leader of the abusive council becomes Mayor, which says it all.

      This should NOT be allowed to happen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s