#FOI request. The meeting between public servants Frank Field MP and Graham Burgess CEO

2nd November 2014

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/please_provide_details_of_meetin/new

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

For background and context, please follow Link No. 1 to a recent
article in the Wirral Globe, and Link No. 2 to an article in the
Liverpool Echo covering the same subject matter.

Link No. 1
http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/115497…

Link No. 2
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/live…

Many interested members of the public / council tax payers will be
reading this, and I will attempt to describe for them some of the
background and reasoning behind this FOI request.

The subject of both of the above articles is public servant Frank
Field MP’s decision to make new representations on behalf of an
unstated number of HESPE (former Colas Highways Contract)
whistleblowers.

Within both articles, public servant Frank Field suggests openly
that these whistleblowers have suffered damage to their careers and
severe hardship since blowing the whistle, and accordingly should
be paid the same amount as an anonymous public servant female
officer who it is reported received a payout of £48,000 in public
money for “hurt feelings” roughly a year go, in officially
undisclosed circumstances.

These scandalous events, rather than being closely tracked,
monitored and explained to the Council Tax paying public through a
process of democratic public oversight, were instead actively
covered up by public servant CEO Graham Burgess in concert with
democratically elected leader and public servant Councillor Phil
Davies.

Then, as a heavy concealing blanket was drawn across each of the
potentially scandalising issues, what would have been perfectly
justified questions were discouraged within the text of a global
email sent by public servant Graham Burgess to all councillors.

A question that eventually did arise in the council chamber
regarding the £48,000 payment was not answered by the
democratically elected leader and public servant Councillor Phil
Davies, who instead referred the questioner (public servant
Councillor Jeff Green) to public servant Burgess’ silencing email,
which appears to have decreed from on high that the subject matter
could not be talked about or explored – despite leader and public
servant Phil Davies’ frequent appearances in the local media, where
he has repeatedly described Wirral Council as “improved” or “open
and transparent”.

I might suggest that this deliberate action enabled the matter to
remain hidden from the electorate, and the participants to remain
one step ahead of any notion of accountability.

Within Link No. 1 article, public servant Frank Field goes on to
state how he will be meeting public servant Graham Burgess on
Friday 24th October in order to “hammer out” some sort of
agreement.

The following important details were not volunteered in either
article:

o the number of whistleblowers
o whether £48,000 is requested by public servant Frank Field as
payment for each whistleblower i.e. if there are 5 whistleblowers,
a total of £48,000 x 5 = £240,000
o whether £48,000 is requested by public servant Frank Field as
payment for ALL whistleblowers i.e. if there are 5 whistleblowers,
£48,000 / 5 = £9,600 each.

The article at Link No. 1 suggests that a meeting was scheduled to
occur between public servant Frank Field MP and public servant
Graham Burgess on Friday 24th October 2014

However, the article at Link No. 2 suggests that the two public
servants would meet “Today, i.e. 23rd September, the date of the
article.”

Assuming the meeting between these two public servants has now gone
ahead, please provide documents you hold containing the following
information:

1. The date, time and location of the meeting that was held between
public servant Frank Field MP and public servant Graham Burgess
addressing the subject matter of “pay outs to a number of former
HESPE (COLAS Highways contract) whistleblowers”

2. The number of whistleblowers who are being represented / spoken
for by public servant Frank Field

3. The number of persons who attended the meeting?

4. State whether all of the whistleblowers were invited to the
meeting?

4. State how many whistleblowers attended the meeting?

5. State what was / were the outcome(s) of the meeting?

6. State how much public money in total was agreed would be paid to
the whistleblowers?

7. State how much public money was agreed would be paid to each
whistleblower?

8. State whether each whistleblower signed a compromise agreement?

9. State whether there was a gagging clause within the compromise
agreement?

10. State whether there was a confidentiality clause within the
compromise agreement?

11. State whether there were any penalty clauses within the
compromise agreement?

12. State whether each whistleblower signed a confidentiality
agreement?

13. State whether there was a gagging clause within the
confidentiality agreement?

14. State whether there was a confidentiality clause within the
confidentiality agreement?

15. State whether there were any penalty clauses within the
confidentiality agreement?

16. State whether each whistleblower received a reference / clean
bill of health for future use, in recognition of occupational
services rendered / time spent working for the council?

17. I am purposely not requesting names, addresses, job roles or
any information which could risk identifying personnel. With this
in mind, please carefully redact any information which is provided
in line with the Data Protection Act. However, please do not
overstep the mark and conceal money totals i.e. payment amounts
made to individuals. This is public money and the Wirral Public
have a strong, legitimate and compelling interest in knowing how
much of their council tax money may have been thrown at this
problem on the whim of public servant Frank Field MP and public
servant Graham Burgess.

18. Please provide the reasoning behind public servant Frank
Field’s sudden wish to attempt to satisfy the cases of these
whistleblowers, after doing nothing for yonks.

19. Please provide copies of meeting minutes and/or non-verbatim or
verbatim notes of the meeting between public servant Frank Field MP
and public servant Graham Burgess.

Please do not lurch to secrecy in the same way public servant
Graham Burgess did when he sent the silencing email to 66
councillors which concealed the fact that £48,000 of our money had
been “flushed down the toilet” during a time of austerity for many,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

About Wirral In It Together

Campaigner for open government. Wants senior public servants to be honest and courageous. It IS possible!
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