INCREDIBLE: £2,877.35 spent by Wirral Council last year in previously hidden payments on taxis for Labour councillors!

                                                              

Hackney carriage by Ed g2s

Hackney carriage by Ed g2s

Hackney carriage by ed g2stalkOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Every year, a legal requirement on Wirral Council means that they have to publish for each councillor how much was spent on travelling and subsistence allowances for each councillor.

The list published for 2013/14 is on Wirral Council’s website.

Last year I made a Freedom of Information Act request for a breakdown of payments made to three taxi firms (A.P. Contract Hire Ltd, Wallasey Cars Limited and Wirral Satellite Cars Limited) for taxi journeys made by councillors paid for by Wirral Council.

Here is the breakdown for each councillor, taxi firm and total amount for that financial year.

AP Contract Hire
Cllr Irene Williams £11.20
Cllr Phil Davies (Plus 3 Staff) £54.00
Cllr Steve Niblock £51.00

AP Contract Hire Total £116.20

Wallasey Cars
Cllr Bill Davies £25.00
former Cllr Brian Kenny £5.00
Cllr Christina Muspratt £10.10
Cllr Irene Williams £46.20
Cllr Joe Walsh £50.60
Cllr Moira McLaughlin £197.10
Cllr Pat Hackett £700.00
Cllr Steve Niblock £442.90
Cllr Tony Norbury £13.00

Wallasey Cars Total £1,489.90

Wirral Satellite Cars
Cllr Bill Davies £106.65
Cllr Chris Meaden £6.70
Cllr Christina Muspratt £159.40
Cllr Denise Realey £20.10
Cllr Harry Smith £25.20
Cllr Irene Williams £117.70
Cllr Joe Walsh £184.55
Cllr Moira McLaughlin £558.20
Cllr Phil Brightmore £7.30
Cllr Steve Foulkes £17.50
Cllr Steve Niblock £16.00
Cllr Tony Norbury £51.95

Wirral Satellite Cars Total £1,271.25

Grand Total £2,877.35

An amount of £10.20 for an Anne Davis for Wallasey Cars was also included in the response to my request, but as there is no councillor called Anne Davis, I have not included this amount in the figures above.

One thing to be noted is that all the councillors in this list are from the same party (Labour Party). Let’s take one councillor’s taxi expenses at random and compare them to the published list for 2013/14.

Cllr Moira McLaughlin’s taxi rides came to £197.10 with Wallasey Cars and £558.20 with Wirral Satellite Cars (total £755.30).

However next to Cllr Moira McLaughlin’s name on the published list of expenses are two entries. £40.10 for “expenses” and £167.29 for subsistence. This comes to a total of £207.39 that comprises the items detailed in the blog post expense claim forms for Councillor Moira McLaughlin 2013 to 2014. The taxi rides with Wallasey Cars and Wirral Satellite cars don’t appear at all despite regulation 15 requiring that Wirral Council publish the total annual sum paid by it for each councillor’s travel and subsistence allowance.

Taking another councillor from the list above, £700 was spent on taxi rides for him with Wallasey Cars. Yet when you read the published list for 2013/14 Cllr Pat Hackett’s are down as expenses £0 and travel expenses £0.

I would suspect that if I went through the list of councillors above I’d find that none of these taxi rides appear on the list that’s published each year. The response to my FOI request contains the line “The use of taxis’, and the associated costs, has been in connection with legitimate Council business.”

This all reminds me of that quote from Wirral Council’s former Chief Executive Graham Burgess of “We need to spend less on ourselves and more on services” and I wonder what the £2,877.35 spent on taxi journeys for councillors could have been spent on instead.

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EXCLUSIVE: 10 invoices paid by Wirral Council in 2013/14 for clarinets, conveyancing, court fees, legal advice, debt collecting, legal services and a temporary worker

                                                                

I have another batch of copies of invoices to Wirral Council I received as part of the audit scanned in. Instead of the last time when I posted 155 invoices in the same blog post I thought it would make more sense to split them up and do them in batches of ten (with some comments). So these are the first ten.

Up first is an invoice from Wirral Music Service from a John Packer Ltd for 30 clarinets with Eb nickel-plated keys costing £74+VAT each. Quite why Wirral Music Service order clarinet keys from a shop over two hundred miles away in Somerset, when there are to my recollection plenty of music shops on Merseyside, each of whom I’m sure would appreciate nearly £3000 of business (and in the process help the local economy) I’m not sure!

I quote from page 1 of Wirral Council’s Corporate Plan that was in effect then which stated “We will help to drive continued economic growth in Wirral’s economy”.

Wirral Council invoice John Packer Ltd clarinet keys £2664 6th February 2014

Wirral Council invoice John Packer Ltd clarinet keys £2664 6th February 2014

Next we have a £700 invoice for a payment. Well being more accurate, it isn’t an invoice, it’s a form for a CHAPS payment to DLA Piper UK LLP (although the form itself states it’s for a BACS payment).

This is where Wirral Council gets about as cryptic as a cryptic crossword clue as not only is the address of the property blacked out but the handwriting is hard to decipher too. From what I can gather £500 is for “Purchase price of freehold title to (blacked out) (blacked out)” and £200 for “contribution towards sewers in (the rest of this is nigh impossible for me to decipher)”.

Wirral Council invoice DLA Piper UK LLP conveyance £700 7th August 2013

Wirral Council invoice DLA Piper UK LLP conveyance £700 7th August 2013

Next we have a heavily blacked out Barclaycard statement. The £2,415 entry is for court fees for cases involving unpaid council tax.

Wirral Council invoice Barclaycard Council tax court fees £2415 20th December 2013

Wirral Council invoice Barclaycard Council tax court fees £2415 20th December 2013

Next is a curious invoice from Weightmans LLP for £748.80 for 5.2 hours work (at £120 per hour plus VAT) between February 2013 and April 2013 which is an interim invoice for “professional services” on the “local council tax support scheme”. For just over five hours work wouldn’t it have been better value for money to the taxpayer to have this done in-house?

Wirral Council invoice Weightmans LLP Local Council Tax Support Scheme £748.80 29th April 2013

Wirral Council invoice Weightmans LLP Local Council Tax Support Scheme £748.80 29th April 2013

Now we have the first of a series of invoices relating to Wirral Council’s “toxic debt”. For collecting Wirral Council’s debts Weightmans LLP is charging 10% of the debt collected + VAT. As the fee on this invoice is for £720.25 + VAT, presumably the amount collected was £7,202.50.

Wirral Council invoice Weightmans LLP Debt collection general £864.30 27th September 2013

Wirral Council invoice Weightmans LLP Debt collection general £864.30 27th September 2013

Here is another invoice for collecting debts on behalf of Wirral Council from Weightmans LLP. This time it’s for collecting two larger debts than the previous invoice, which as Weightmans LLP get 10% of what is collected comes to £1,592.58 + VAT.

Wirral Council invoice Weightmans LLP Debt collection general £1911.30 30th September 2013 6

Wirral Council invoice Weightmans LLP Debt collection general £1911.30 30th September 2013 6

Then there is another invoice from Weightmans LLP for £1,182.20 which is 10% (+VAT) for collecting five debts. The debts range in size from £93.60 to £6500.

Wirral Council invoice Weightmans LLP Debt collection general £1418.64 30th October 2013 7

Wirral Council invoice Weightmans LLP Debt collection general £1418.64 30th October 2013 7

The next invoice from Weightmans LLP is for £7,761.60. It is an interim invoice for the period 3rd September 2013 to the 30th October 2013 for “professional services”. Counsel’s fees of £1500 + VAT (total £1800) and 34.3 hours of legal work (at £120 an hour) are listed on the invoice. However what this is all really about is a bit of a mystery! There also is a mismatch between the total of the associate’s fees at £4,140 and the entry of £4,968 in the fees and disbursements column.

Wirral Council invoice Weightmans LLP professional services £7761.60 30th October 2013 8

Wirral Council invoice Weightmans LLP professional services £7761.60 30th October 2013 8

This is another invoice from Weightmans LLP for collecting money from one of Wirral Council’s debtors. Based on the amount charged the debt collected must have been in the region of £44,000.

Wirral Council invoice Weightmans LLP Debt collection general £5297.77 28th January 2014 9

Wirral Council invoice Weightmans LLP Debt collection general £5297.77 28th January 2014 9

Finally in this batch of ten invoices is an invoice for £963.60 from Team24 Limited (who are a Capita company). This is for a worker for 22 hours (at £36.50+VAT) to the Children and Young People’s Department at Wirral Council.

Wirral Council invoice Team24 Limited Worker for 22 hours £963.30 31st January 2014 10

Wirral Council invoice Team24 Limited Worker for 22 hours £963.30 31st January 2014 10

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Decision expected soon over whether to consult on plans to build new fire station on green belt land in Saughall Massie

Dan Stephens Chief Fire Officer, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service at Greasby Methodist Church Hall, Greasby Road, Greasby on 10th November 2014 at a consultation meeting on closure of Upton and West Kirby fire stations and merger at Greasby

Dan Stephens Chief Fire Officer, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service at Greasby Methodist Church Hall, Greasby Road, Greasby on 10th November 2014 at a consultation meeting on closure of Upton and West Kirby fire stations and merger at Greasby

Last year, one of the more high-profile stories was the consultation on plans to close Upton and West Kirby fire stations and replace them with a new fire station in Greasby village. In a dramatic U-turn last year Wirral Council decided to withdraw their offer of the land in Greasby part way through the consultation.

Next week a public meeting of the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority (which comprises 18 councillors representing the various districts in Merseyside including four from Wirral Council) will decide what happens next. The outcome of the consultation is agenda item 4 (Wirral Fire Cover consultation outcomes and what’s suggested to do next is agenda item 5 (West Wirral Operational Response Considerations (Post Consultation).

Councillors will choose from one of three options which are:

1) deferring a decision on the closure of West Kirby Fire Station and holding a further 12-week consultation starting on 2nd March. This consultation would be very similar to the last one with the main difference between this and the last consultation being that the new fire station would be built on a piece of land on Saughall Massie Road, Saughall Massie not Frankby Road, Greasby.

2) have a six-week consultation on the closure of West Kirby Fire Station and keep Upton Fire Station. Councillors would then make a further decision in April 2015.

3) have a six-week consultation on the closure of West Kirby Fire Station, reporting back to make a further decision in April 2015 whilst at the same time looking for an alternative site for Upton Fire Station before a further 12 week consultation.

Although no decision on which option to go for has yet been made, the proposed site for the new fire station can be found here thanks to a map given to the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority by Wirral Council and published as part of the reports for the meeting.

According to Wirral Council’s asset register this piece of land is down as “Saughall Massie Road Open Space” and is described as “public open space (amenity)”. It’s also in Wirral’s green belt.

What is also revealed in one of the reports for the meeting was that Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service spent £6,244.20 with a firm of architects on the aborted plan for a fire station in Greasby (these were the plans on display that were on display at the second Greasby consultation meeting).

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What was my reply when Wirral Council’s “Ministry of Truth” asked for 2 invoices on this blog to be erased?

Jenmaleo,
134 Boundary Road
Bidston
CH43 7PH
18th January 2015
by email to surjittour@wirral.gov.uk
CC: joeblott@wirral.gov.uk

Mr. Surjit Tour
Head of Legal and Member Services and Monitoring Officer
Department of Transformation and Resources
Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council
Town Hall
Brighton Street
Wallasey
Wirral
CH44 8ED

Dear Mr. Tour,

Thank you for your email of 15th January 2015 sent at 16:38 with the subject “Blog posting of invoices” which is attached for reference at appendix A. You also attached to your email ICO guidance to s.32 of the Data Protection Act 1998 titled “Social networking and online forums – when does the DPA apply?” which can be read on ICO’s website at https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1600/social-networking-and-online-forums-dpa-guidance.pdf .

Please class this as a formal response to the issues you have raised in it. I have no problem with you sending a copy of this response to Dr Gareth Vincenti.

You refer in your opening paragraph to section 15 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 (in its amended form as it was later amended by s.160 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007). This is attached in full for reference at appendix B.

You state You were provided with copies of certain invoices in compliance with Section 15 (a) of the 1998 Act, which entitles you to make copies of all or any part of the accounts and those other documents.”

The issue of copying of documents (as you can read for yourself in appendix B which is a copy of the legislation) is dealt with by the Audit Commission Act 1998 section 15(1)(b), as section 15(1)(a) deals with a right to inspect documents, not to copy documents. Therefore this sentence in your email should read Section 15(1)(b), not Section 15(a).

You go on to state “In redacting certain parts of those invoices, the Council relied on Section 15 (3A) of the Audit Commission Act 1998, as amended, which relates to personal information.”

If you read s.15(3A) of the Audit Commission Act 1998, as amended (attached as appendix B) you will find the definition of personal information in s.3A is “(3A) Information is personal information if–

(a) it identifies a particular individual or enables a particular individual to be identified; and
(b) the auditor considers that it should not be inspected or disclosed.”

It is important to note that the way the legislation is phrased it is not down to Wirral Council to make the ultimate decision as to whether information that may or may not fall within the definition of personal information as defined by section 3A should or shouldn’t be inspected or disclosed, but that decision is to be made by Wirral Council’s auditor who is for the financial year in question (2013-14) was Grant Thornton UK LLP.

It has not been determined yet whether Wirral Council asked its auditor Grant Thornton UK whether any of the information on the invoice in question should not be inspected or disclosed and if so what Grant Thornton UK LLP’s decision on this matter was.

Appendix C is a communication to Wirral Council’s external auditor in an attempt to clarify whether this took place.

On the 19th January 2015 I received a reply from Wirral Council audit Grant Thornton UK LLP. As you may or may not be aware the current engagement lead at Grant Thornton UK LLP is different to the engagement lead at Grant Thornton UK LLP for the 2013/14 audit. I can confirm that Grant Thornton UK LLP however are making enquiries and will respond as soon as they can.

If there has been an oversight and Wirral Council did not ask its external auditor to make a determination in relation to the many redactions it made to the hundreds of invoices I inspected and received copies of, I would hope that that arrangements could be made to inspect and copy the information I was incorrectly denied access to inspect and receive copies of last year.

You state later in your email:

The Council considers that it may be necessary to report this matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office and Dr Vincenti may wish to take his own action in connection with your disclosing his personal data

I will deal with the two interrelated matters raised here in relation to what you refer to as “personal data” of Dr Vincenti’s.

His surname “VINCENTI” is mentioned at the top of the invoice. Not redacted on the copy invoice supplied by Wirral Council is the phrase “Invoicing by Midex Pro for Dr Vincenti”. It is also stated that “cheques are to made payable to Dr. Vincenti”. Two addresses are also used on the invoice to send cheques to, one is a document exchange “DX 720874 Northallerton”, the sort code of 54-10-41 (which relates to a specific branch of a bank) is provided on the invoice for BACS payments and an email address of garethvincenti@btinternet.com is also given.

Dr Gareth Vincenti discloses his own email address, along with other contact details such as the address for correspondence on his website here http://www.drvincenti.co.uk/contact.htm . The document exchange address is published here http://www.expertsearch.co.uk/cgi-bin/find_expert?4052 and also elsewhere online.

Neither the sort code, nor the document exchange reference fall under s.3A as neither identify a particular individual or enable a particular individual to be identified as both would be used by multiple individuals.

You refer in my email to my right to inspect the invoice. Section 34 of the Data Protection Act 1998 deals with information available to the public under inspection by another enactment (in this case s.15 of the Audit Commission Act 1998).

As it is short I will quote it here:

34 Information available to the public by or under enactment.

Personal data are exempt from—
(a) the subject information provisions,
(b) the fourth data protection principle and section 14(1) to (3), and
(c) the non-disclosure provisions, if the data consist of information which the data controller is obliged by or under any enactment other than an enactment contained in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to make available to the public, whether by publishing it, by making it available for inspection, or otherwise and whether gratuitously or on payment of a fee.

As to the invoice in question, the “personal data” of Dr Vincenti as you put it was available for inspection because of s.15 of the Audit Commission Act 1998, therefore s.34(c) of the Data Protection Act 1998 applies. It has not been established whether the auditor made a determination that any of it fell within the meaning of “personal information” in section 3A. Therefore at this stage, as you have not provided any evidence that the auditor made such a determination it means such “personal data” is exempt from the non-disclosure provisions that you refer to in your email.

You also state in your email that “which additions include the address of an employee/or former employee of the Council which is capable of amounting to personal data and in the context of the invoice capable of amounting to the processing of sensitive personal data.”

The address you refer to was a partial address. Had it been a complete address including house number, it could be argued that it would fall under the definition of personal information (as defined by s.15(4) of the Audit Commission Act 1998 see appendix B) which states that in order to qualify as personal information, the information “relates specifically to a particular individual”.

There are 60 different addresses in Forwood Road and 22 addresses that match that particular postcode. Wirral has a average household population of 2.17 per a household. Therefore the partial address could potentially relate to one of an estimated 48 individuals.

A partial address, without a house number does not therefore “relate specifically to a particular individual” nor does it enable a particular individual who may live at one of these addresses to be identified. It relates to a large group of individuals. Therefore it falls outside the definition of “personal information” as defined by s.4(1)(a) as it is not information that relates specifically to a particular individual.

Section 32 of the Data Protection Act 1998 on journalism, literature and art also applies here. I state my belief as data controller that I believe that having regard in particular to the special importance of the public interest in freedom of expression, publication of both the original invoice, a copy of the invoice with some of the text from the original invoice highlighted in green and this response including appendices to the response is in the public interest.

A very similar complaint to ICO was made in 2011 about a blogger called Derek Dishman who blogs under the nom de plume of “Mr Mustard” by Barnet Council. The exchange between Barnet Council and ICO can be read here https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/94886/response/237295/attach/2/R%20IRQ0426076%20ICO%20Barnet%20correspondence%20re%20ENQ0391446.pdf . To summarise ICO disagreed with Barnet Council’s incorrect assertions about this blogger (which seem broadly similar to those made by Wirral Council).

Finally you state “I do not consider that your right to inspect and the right to have copies made of relevant documents, then entitles you to disclose such documents to the public”.

I hope I have outlined (in much detail above) as to why you are incorrect in that assertion. This issue of the purposes to which information obtained by third parties using their rights to inspect and have copies of information held by local councils during the audit has already been dealt with at a previous judicial review case.

I refer you to R (HTV Ltd) v Bristol City Council [2004] 1 WLR 2717 which I have recently read. I quote from Elias J, the High Court Judge in that matter:

55. The premise here is that the provision requires the information to be used for a limited purpose or purposes. As I have indicated, I accept that Parliament probably did envisage that the information would be primarily in order to enable electors to raise questions with the auditor and ultimately raise objections. But the fact that those who have access to this information extend beyond those who can make such a request, or raise such an objection, shows that it cannot be the only purpose.

56. In any event, there is no express limitation in the statute as to the use to which this information can be put. I see significant practical difficulties as to confining the use of the material once it has been acquired.”

Finally, my last two points are as Wirral Council is the data controller for the complaint made to it by Dr Gareth Vincenti which refers to me, please class this response as a request exercising my right under s.7 of the Data Protection Act 1998 for a copy of Dr Gareth Vincenti’s complaint.

I further point out that due to what is referred to above I am exercising my right under s.10 of the Data Protection Act 1998 and request that Wirral Council confirm it will immediately cease to process further any personal data about myself in relation to the complaint made by Dr Gareth Vincenti or your email for the reasons outlined above as raising this issue in the way it has been is causing distress.

Yours sincerely,

John Brace

 

 

Appendix A (email from Surjit Tour to John Brace dated 15th January 2015)

from:

Tour, Surjit <surjittour@wirral.gov.uk>

to:

john.brace@gmail.com

date:

15 January 2015 at 16:38

subject:

Blog Posting of Invoices

mailed-by:

wirral.gov.uk

Dear Mr Brace,

I refer to your inspection of documents under Section 15 of the Audit Commission Act 1998, in connection with the audit of the Council’s accounts for the financial year ending March 2014. You were provided with copies of certain invoices in compliance with Section 15 (a) of the 1998 Act, which entitles you to make copies of all or any part of the accounts and those other documents. In redacting certain parts of those invoices, the Council relied on Section 15 (3A) of the Audit Commission Act 1998, as amended, which relates to personal information.

I do not consider that your right to inspect and the right to have copies made of relevant documents, then entitles you to disclose such documents to the public nor does it entitle you to alter the Council’s redacted documents, which alteration constitutes processing of data. The Council has received a complaint from Dr Gareth Vincenti concerning a posting made on your blog on 1 December 2014 entitled:

Do you want to know what 6 redacted legal invoices paid by Wirral Council on employment matters (including one from a consultant psychiatrist) state?

This posting included the copy of an invoice from Dr Vincenti which had been redacted by the Council. You had posted a second copy of the invoice, having altered part of the redactions to include information in green. You state on the blog posting:

I’ve supplied both the original and a partly redacted copy of this as the original is heavily redacted. My additions are in green”.

I have had regard to the guidance of the Information Commissioner’s Office,Social networking and online forums – when does the DPA apply?”

I consider that by altering the Council’s redactions to include additions in green, you have potentially processed personal data in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998, which additions include the address of an employee/or former employee of the Council which is capable of amounting to personal data and in the context of the invoice capable of amounting to the processing of sensitive personal data. I do not believe that you are entitled to rely on the exemption contained in section 36 of the Data Protection Act 1998, in that I consider you are using social media for non-domestic purposes. Section 36 contains an exemption for personal data that is processed by an individual for the purposes of their personal, family or household affairs. I am therefore requesting that you remove from your blog both copies of the invoice from Dr Vincenti immediately.

The Council considers that it may be necessary to report this matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office and Dr Vincenti may wish to take his own action in connection with your disclosing his personal data and the address referred to above.

Yours sincerely

Surjit Tour

Head of Legal & Member Services

and Monitoring Officer

Department of Transformation and Resources

Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Town Hall

Brighton Street

Wallasey

Wirral

CH44 8ED

Tel: 0151 691 8569

Fax: 0151 691 8482

Email:surjittour@wirral.gov.uk

Visit our website: www.wirral.gov.uk

**********************************************************************

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and

intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they

are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify

the system manager.

This footnote also confirms that this email message has been swept by

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www.clearswift.com

Appendix B
Section 15 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 (as amended by s.160 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007)

15 Inspection of documents and questions at audit

(1)At each audit under this Act, other than an audit of accounts of a health service body, any persons interested may—
(a)inspect the accounts to be audited and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts relating to them, and
(b)make copies of all or any part of the accounts and those other documents.

(2)At the request of a local government elector for any area to which the accounts relate, the auditor shall give the elector, or any representative of his, an opportunity to question the auditor about the accounts.

(3)Nothing in this section entitles a person—
(a)to inspect so much of any accounts or other document as contains personal information within the meaning of subsection (3A) or (4); or
(b)to require any such information to be disclosed in answer to any question.

(3A) Information is personal information if–

(a) it identifies a particular individual or enables a particular individual to be identified; and
(b) the auditor considers that it should not be inspected or disclosed.

(4) Information is personal information if it is information about a member of the staff of the body whose accounts are being audited which relates specifically to a particular individual and is available to the body for reasons connected with the fact—
(a)that that individual holds or has held an office or employment under that body; or
(b)that payments or other benefits in respect of an office or employment under any other person are or have been made or provided to that individual by that body.

(5)For the purposes of subsection (4)(b), payments made or benefits provided to an individual in respect of an office or employment include any payment made or benefit provided to him in respect of his ceasing to hold the office or employment.

Appendix C – Email to external auditor Grant Thornton

 

from:

John Brace<john.brace@gmail.com>

reply-to:

john.brace@gmail.com

to:

Robin Baker <robin.j.baker@gt.com>

cc:

“Chris Whittingham (Grant Thornton)” <c.whittingham@uk.gt.com>

date:

18 January 2015 at 18:48

subject:

query about whether Grant Thornton gave permission to Wirral Council during the 2013/14 audit for personal information on invoices should not be inspected/disclosed


Dear Robin Baker & Chris Whittingham,

During the 2013/14 audit I exercised my inspection rights to inspect various invoices and receive copies of them for the 2013/14 financial year under s.15 of the Audit Commission Act 1998.

Last Thursday I received an email from Wirral Council that stated “In redacting certain parts of those invoices, the Council relied on Section 15 (3A) of the Audit Commission Act 1998, as amended, which relates to personal information.”

S.15 (3A) of the Audit Commission Act 1998 was amended in 2008 to state:

“(3A)Information is personal information if—

(a) it identifies a particular individual or enables a particular individual to be identified; and

(b) the auditor considers that it should not be inspected or disclosed.”

Could you confirm that as Wirral Council’s auditor at the time whether a determination was made by the auditor that personal information on an invoice for £3,060 from a Dr Gareth Vincenti dated 31st December
2013 was made and if so which elements on the invoice the auditor considered should not be inspected or disclosed?

Could you also confirm as Wirral Council’s auditor at the time whether any determination was made by the auditor about personal information on any of the invoices I requested for the 2013/14 year was made and
if so the particular invoices and particular information that the auditor considered should not be inspected or disclosed?

If the auditor was not asked to make any such a determination could you state this too?

Thanks,

John Brace

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Councillors recommend that they chose who will receive £thousands for sitting on new Pensions Board

                                                                   

Above is video of the Pensions Committee meeting of 19th January 2015.

Pensions Committee Wirral Council Merseyside Pension Fund 19th January 2015 L to R Pat Phillips Cllr Geoffrey Watt Cllr Mike Hornby Cllr Chris Carubia Cllr Nick Crofts Cllr Harry Smith

Pensions Committee Wirral Council Merseyside Pension Fund 19th January 2015 L to R Pat Phillips Cllr Geoffrey Watt Cllr Mike Hornby Cllr Chris Carubia Cllr Nick Crofts Cllr Harry Smith

I’ll start this piece by declaring an interest as my father is paid a pension by the Merseyside Pension Fund administered by Wirral Council.

Wirral Council’s Pensions Committee (which form part of the governance arrangements for the Merseyside Pension Fund worth billions of pounds) met yesterday evening. The agenda and reports for this meeting are on Wirral Council’s website.

The first main item on the agenda was the creation of a Pensions Board which I’ve previously written about when it was discussed at a previous meeting of the Pensions Committee last year.

The original recommendation in the report had been “That Members consider the proposals for the Wirral Pension Board set out in this report and the draft Terms of Reference and advise officers of any required amendments before submission for approval and implementation by Wirral Council.”

The Chair of the new Pensions Board will receive £2,751 a year (plus travel & subsistence expenses) and the employer/employee representatives will receive £1375.50 a year (plus travel & subsistence expenses). Just before the meeting started a much more detailed recommendation was handed out. This was agreed at the meeting and is now a recommendation to a future meeting of all Wirral Council councillors. One of the implications of the revised recommendation is that three councillors (who are not on the Pension Committee) will form a selection panel to choose who is on the new Pensions Board.

The complete revised recommendation is below:

“1. Pensions Committee agrees and recommends to Council:

a) the establishment of a Pension Board pursuant to regulations (The Local Government Pension Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2014) in accordance with the Terms of Reference set out in appendix 1, subject to the membership being agreed by Council and the Terms of Reference being amended to confirm that the board shall be quorate providing a minimum of 4 members are present.

b) that the Pension Board shall have the authority to do anything which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the discharge of any of its functions.

c) the establishment of a selection panel by the Council in accordance with appendix 3 to consider and assess applications received and undertake interviews. The selection panel is to make recommendations to Council with regard to appointments to the Board.

d) that the Head of Pension Fund be authorised to implement the administrative arrangements required to undertake a recruitment exercise necessary for the selection and appointment of members to the Board.

e) that the definition of independent member for the purposes of the Board shall be agreed as:

  • not a current elected member or employee of a participating scheme employer
  • has not been an elected member or employee of a participating scheme employer in the past 5 years

f) that in respect of the two active member representatives, the initial appointment to the Board for one of the representatives shall be for a term of 6 years and the other for 4 years; that in respect of the two representatives of local authorities, police/fire/transport authorities and parish councils, the initial appointment to the Board for one of the representatives shall be for a term of 6 years and the other for 4 years.

g) that the Pensions Committee (and the Heads of the Pension Fund and of Legal and Member Services after consultation with the Chair of the Pensions Committee prior to the meeting of the Council in March 2015) may recommend to Council changes to the Board and its Terms of Reference having regard to the final form of regulations and statutory guidance.

2. that the Selection Panel’s Terms of Reference as set out in Appendix 3 shall be that:

  • it shall comprise 3 elected members
  • it shall not consist of current Pensions Committee members
  • There shall be two advisors to the selection panel: the Head of Pension Fund and a representative from the Fund’s external auditors.

3. That the following amendments be made to the Board’s terms of reference set out in appendix 1.

a) Section 3 “Members of the Board shall cease to be a member of the Board if they do not attend two consecutive meetings and fail to tender apologies which are accepted by the Board” be substituted for “Other than by ceasing to be eligible as set out above, a Board member may only be removed from office during a term of appointment by the majority agreement of all of the other members. The removal of the independent member requires the consent of the Scheme Manager”.

b) Section 3 the following shall be added: “In the event of the independent member not being available for a Board meeting, a Vice Chair for that meeting shall be determined by the Board members”.

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Wirral Council’s Cabinet disagree with Lib Dem concerns over how the Lyndale School closure decision was made

                                                            

Cllr Phil Gilchrist talking about Lyndale School at a public meeting of Wirral Council's Cabinet 16th January 2015

Cllr Phil Gilchrist explains his concern about the Lyndale School closure decision at a public meeting of Wirral Council’s Cabinet 15th January 2015

Cabinet – item 7 – Notice of Motion – The Corporate Plan’s Ideals in Practice

The mundanely titled motion The Corporate Plan’s Ideals in Practice was put forward for debate by two Lib Dem councillors at the Council meeting of the 8th December 2014. However no debate had happened then and it had instead been referred to Cabinet. The notice of motion was mostly about the closure of Lyndale School and how the decision had been made.

Cllr Gilchrist’s criticisms of how the decision had been made ranged from questions the parents had submitted in March 2014 which had not been answered, the way the consultation meetings had been chaired, how what was said at the consultation meetings had then been reported back to Cabinet, the imbalance between the financial resources of the Council compared to the financial resources of the parents to challenge the decision and the consultant’s report on the SEN Improvement Test (amongst other points he made).

Cllr Phil Davies responded that he had read that there might be a legal challenge so he asked Mr. Tour for advice. Surjit Tour said that they hadn’t received notification of a claim or a claim itself, but that a decision had been taken by Cabinet about the Lyndale School. He advised that councillors not to speculate in response to the specific points about the potential claim, bearing in mind that they were on notice that there may be a potential claim. Mr Tour asked them to stick to the Corporate Plan issues and engagement issues.

The Cabinet Member, Cllr Tony Smith thanked Mr Tour for his advice. He outlined the history of the decisions on Lyndale School, the consultation meetings and the visits councillors had made. The “significant amount of correspondence” on many issues about Lyndale School was also referred to by Cllr Smith, so was the consultant’s report and the equality impact assessment.

Cllr Phil Davies responded by saying “I do believe that we were faithful to our principles in listening to people. Phil can I just remind you that listening to what people say doesn’t always mean you have to agree with them?” He said he had read the report of the parents, visited Lyndale School, met with the parents and he repeated that he believed the Cabinet had listened but that they “came to a different conclusion than you did Phil but that doesn’t mean to say we didn’t listen.”

He said the decision was based on “sound evidence and thorough analysis” and that “we did understand what the community was saying to us”. Cllr Davies believed that they had been faithful to the principles in the Corporate Plan and that that was the Cabinet’s response.

Not unsurprisingly Cllr Gilchrist disagreed with whether the analysis had been thorough, he also pointed out that there had been issues about the creation of the funding formula and its application across various schools, but as the issue was “parked” he’d see what the outcome would be.

Cllr Phil Davies felt that they’d met the requirements, and whatever happened in the legal case they’d need to respond to that “in due course”. He thanked Cllr Phil Gilchrist for his attendance.

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EXCLUSIVE: 155 invoices paid by Wirral Council in 2013/14 for legal services, external audit, physiotherapy and psychological assessments

                                                              

Below are 155 of the invoices I requested during the 2013/14 audit. They range from invoices to the Council’s external auditor Grant Thornton UK LLP, criminal work, a couple of judicial reviews, appealing an ICO decision notice to the First Tier Tribunal (Information Rights) as well as a lot of times Wirral Council have taken parents to court about their children. Some of these invoices I’ve previously written about on this blog, such as about the invoice about appealing the ICO decision notice. Turns out now I look at it more carefully there was a further invoice for £1,008 from February 2014 in that matter too.

Some of the others I’ve already on the blog as I received them in August 2014. However I didn’t publish them in August because I’ve had to go through a process of blacking out all the names (and partial names) of children and parents.

Added in green to many invoices are the representative (where known) from the list of payments in 2013/14 greater than £500. I’ve also added back in (on some) text which has been obscured by information blacked out on double-sided pages and bled through.

There is an index to all 155 invoices that can be downloaded here. I’ve tried to use the following file format when naming each file “Wirral Council invoice” followed by representative/organisation, amount, date, page number where there are multiple pages for the same invoice followed by invoice number.

Invoices 73 & 74 aren’t published here as they were cancelled and replaced by invoices 75 & 76. There is another batch of invoices I have yet to scan in, which is a mix of invoices for legal services and other general invoices. Below you should find all 155 invoices.

Wirral Council invoice Capita Health and Wellbeing Limited £520 Page 1 of 3 18th March 2013 1

Wirral Council invoice Capita Health and Wellbeing Limited £520 Page 1 of 3 18th March 2013 1

Wirral Council invoice Capita Health and Wellbeing Limited £520 Page 2 of 3 18th March 2013 1

Wirral Council invoice Capita Health and Wellbeing Limited £520 Page 2 of 3 18th March 2013 1

Wirral Council invoice Capita Health and Wellbeing Limited £520 Page 3 of 3 18th March 2013 1

Wirral Council invoice Capita Health and Wellbeing Limited £520 Page 3 of 3 18th March 2013 1

Wirral Council invoice The Lucy Faithfull Foundation £699.31 28th March 2013 2

Wirral Council invoice The Lucy Faithfull Foundation £699.31 28th March 2013 2

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings £10,344 page 1 of 2 15th March 2013 3

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings £10,344 page 1 of 2 15th March 2013 3

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings £10,344 page 2 of 2 15th March 2013 3

Wirral Council invoice Peta M L Harrison St Johns Buildings £1,548 23rd March 2013 4

Wirral Council invoice Peta M L Harrison St Johns Buildings £552 15th March 2013 5

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings £1,320 18th March 2013 6

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings £1,320 18th March 2013 6

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings £3,792 20th March 2013 7

Wirral Council invoice David Garside St Johns Buildings £840 8th March 2013 8

Wirral Council invoice Remy Zentar St Johns Buildings £1,488 25th March 2013 9

Wirral Council invoice Kerry Daynes psychological report £680.04 29th January 2013 10

Wirral Council invoice Forepsych Limited psychological assessment report £688.35 3rd February 2013 11

Wirral Council invoice Forepsych Limited psychological assessment report £688.35 3rd February 2013 11

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings £576 2nd April 2013 12

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings £576 2nd April 2013 12

Wirral Council invoice Remy Zentar St Johns Buildings £1,800 27th March 2013 13

Wirral Council invoice Remy Zentar St Johns Buildings £1,800 27th March 2013 13

Wirral Council invoice Sharpe Pritchard £25,698 31st March 2013 Page 1 of 2 14

Wirral Council invoice Sharpe Pritchard £25,698 31st March 2013 Page 1 of 2 14

Wirral Council invoice Sharpe Pritchard £25,698 31st March 2013 Page 2 of 2 14

Wirral Council invoice Sharpe Pritchard £25,698 31st March 2013 Page 2 of 2 14

Wirral Council invoice Gail A Owen St Johns Buildings £2,928 9th April 2013 15

Wirral Council invoice Gail A Owen St Johns Buildings £2,928 9th April 2013 15

Wirral Council invoice Nicola Miles 7 Harrington St Chambers £2,130 9th April 2013 16

Wirral Council invoice Nicola Miles 7 Harrington St Chambers £2,130 9th April 2013 16

Wirral Council invoice Kate Burnell St Johns Buildings 9th April 2013 £792 17

Wirral Council invoice Kate Burnell St Johns Buildings 9th April 2013 £792 17

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings 11th April 2013 £864 18

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings 11th April 2013 £864 18

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings 16th April 2013 £720 19

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings 16th April 2013 £720 19

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings 16th April 2013 £1,032 20

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings 16th April 2013 £1,032 20

Wirral Council invoice Dr Jennifer Ashcroft JJ Ashcroft Clinical Psychology Services Ltd 7th April 2013 £900.75 21

Wirral Council invoice Dr Jennifer Ashcroft JJ Ashcroft Clinical Psychology Services Ltd 7th April 2013 £900.75 21

Wirral Council invoice Gail A Owen St Johns Buildings 26th April 2013 £591.36 22

Wirral Council invoice Gail A Owen St Johns Buildings 26th April 2013 £591.36 22

Wirral Council invoice Joanne Jade Abraham St Johns Buildings 20th April 2013 £600 23

Wirral Council invoice Joanne Jade Abraham St Johns Buildings 20th April 2013 £600 23

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Bellamy St Johns Buildings 25th April 2013 £511.68 24

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Bellamy St Johns Buildings 25th April 2013 £511.68 24

Wirral Council invoice Sara A Mann St Johns Buildings 26th April 2013 £528 25

Wirral Council invoice Sara A Mann St Johns Buildings 26th April 2013 £528 25

Wirral Council invoice Tim D N Kenward 7 Harrington St Chambers 19th April 2013 Page 1 of 2 £900 26

Wirral Council invoice Tim D N Kenward 7 Harrington St Chambers 19th April 2013 Page 1 of 2 £900 26

Wirral Council invoice Tim D N Kenward 7 Harrington St Chambers 19th April 2013 Page 2 of 2 £900 26

Wirral Council invoice Tim D N Kenward 7 Harrington St Chambers 19th April 2013 Page 2 of 2 £900 26

Wirral Council invoice Remy Zentar St Johns Buildings 23rd April 2013 £936 27

Wirral Council invoice Remy Zentar St Johns Buildings 23rd April 2013 £936 27

Wirral Council invoice Susan Edwards St Johns Buildings 2nd May 2013 £672 28

Wirral Council invoice Susan Edwards St Johns Buildings 2nd May 2013 £672 28

Wirral Council invoice DMM Psychology Ltd 8th March 2013 £1660.80 29

Wirral Council invoice DMM Psychology Ltd 8th March 2013 £1660.80 29

Wirral Council invoice Sara A Mann St Johns Buildings 8th May 2013 £823.68 30

Wirral Council invoice Sara A Mann St Johns Buildings 8th May 2013 £823.68 30

Wirral Council invoice Rebecca Smith St Johns Buildings 8th May 2013 £720 31

Wirral Council invoice Rebecca Smith St Johns Buildings 8th May 2013 £720 31

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings 9th May 2013 £1200 32

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings 9th May 2013 £1200 32

Wirral Council invoice Rebecca Smith St Johns Buildings 9th May 2013 £720 33

Wirral Council invoice Rebecca Smith St Johns Buildings 9th May 2013 £720 33

Wirral Council invoice Benjamin Lawrence St Johns Buildings 13th May 2013 £787.50 34

Wirral Council invoice Benjamin Lawrence St Johns Buildings 13th May 2013 £787.50 34

Wirral Council invoice Advanced Childcare Assessments Limited 30th April 2013 £2,641.20 35

Wirral Council invoice Advanced Childcare Assessments Limited 30th April 2013 £2,641.20 35

Wirral Council invoice Joanne Jade Abraham St Johns Buildings 15th May 2013 Page 1 of 2 £528 36

Wirral Council invoice Joanne Jade Abraham St Johns Buildings 15th May 2013 Page 1 of 2 £528 36

Wirral Council invoice Joanne Jade Abraham St Johns Buildings 15th May 2013 Page 2 of 2 £528 36

Wirral Council invoice Joanne Jade Abraham St Johns Buildings 15th May 2013 Page 2 of 2 £528 36

Wirral Council invoice Louis Browne Exchange Chambers 15th May 2013 £3445.74 37

Wirral Council invoice Louis Browne Exchange Chambers 15th May 2013 £3445.74 37

Wirral Council invoice Claire Grundy St Johns Buildings 14th May 2013 £1800 38

Wirral Council invoice Claire Grundy St Johns Buildings 14th May 2013 £1800 38

Wirral Council invoice Sharpe Pritchard 17th May 2013 £640 39

Wirral Council invoice Sharpe Pritchard 17th May 2013 £640 39

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Building 17th May 2013 £1200 40

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Building 17th May 2013 £1200 40

Wirral Council invoice Sara A Mann St Johns Building 17th May 2013 £528 41

Wirral Council invoice Sara A Mann St Johns Building 17th May 2013 £528 41

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Building 21st May 2013 £576 42

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Building 21st May 2013 £576 42

Wirral Council invoice Cerys Williams St Johns Building 22nd May 2013 £2454.72 43

Wirral Council invoice Cerys Williams St Johns Building 22nd May 2013 £2454.72 43

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Building 24th May 2013 £768 44

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Building 24th May 2013 £768 44

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Building 28th May 2013 £811.29 Page 1 of 2 45

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Building 28th May 2013 £811.29 Page 1 of 2 45

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Building 28th May 2013 £811.29 Page 2 of 2 45

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Building 28th May 2013 £811.29 Page 2 of 2 45

Wirral Council invoice Simon Maddison St Johns Building 23rd May 2013 £1260 46

Wirral Council invoice Simon Maddison St Johns Building 23rd May 2013 £1260 46

Wirral Council invoice Sara A Mann St Johns Buildings 31st May 2013 £607.48 47

Wirral Council invoice Sara A Mann St Johns Buildings 31st May 2013 £607.48 47

Wirral Council invoice Document Technology Limited 10th May 2013 £569.58 48

Wirral Council invoice Document Technology Limited 10th May 2013 £569.58 48

Wirral Council invoice Jennifer Lesley Scully St Johns Buildings 4th June 2013 £849.60 49

Wirral Council invoice Jennifer Lesley Scully St Johns Buildings 4th June 2013 £849.60 49

Wirral Council invoice Susan Edwards St Johns Buildings 10th June 2013 £993.60 50

Wirral Council invoice Susan Edwards St Johns Buildings 10th June 2013 £993.60 50

Wirral Council invoice Ginette Fitzharris St Johns Buildings 11th June 2013 £799.68 51

Wirral Council invoice Ginette Fitzharris St Johns Buildings 11th June 2013 £799.68 51

Wirral Council invoice Joanne Jade Abraham St Johns Buildings 13th June 2013 £2,208.96 52

Wirral Council invoice Joanne Jade Abraham St Johns Buildings 13th June 2013 £2,208.96 52

Wirral Council invoice Grant Thornton UK LLP 14th June 2013 £63,504 53

Wirral Council invoice Grant Thornton UK LLP 14th June 2013 £63,504 53

Wirral Council invoice Catherine Rimmer St Johns Buildings 17th June 2013 £504 54

Wirral Council invoice Catherine Rimmer St Johns Buildings 17th June 2013 £504 54

Wirral Council invoice Stephen J Bedford St Johns Buildings 17th June 2013 £1,584 55

Wirral Council invoice Stephen J Bedford St Johns Buildings 17th June 2013 £1,584 55

Wirral Council invoice Stephen J Bedford St Johns Buildings 19th June 2013 £1,584 56

Wirral Council invoice Stephen J Bedford St Johns Buildings 19th June 2013 £1,584 56

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings 25th June 2013 £552 57

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings 25th June 2013 £552 57

Wirral Council invoice The Association of Electoral Administration 14th May 2013 £3,556.25 58

Wirral Council invoice The Association of Electoral Administration 14th May 2013 £3,556.25 58

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings 1st July 2013 £960 59

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings 1st July 2013 £960 59

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 1st July 2013 £4,910.40 Page 1 of 2 60

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 1st July 2013 £4,910.40 Page 1 of 2 60

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 1st July 2013 £4,910.40 Page 2 of 2 60

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 1st July 2013 £4,910.40 Page 2 of 2 60

Wirral Council invoice Sara A Mann St Johns Buildings 1st July 2013 £523.20 61

Wirral Council invoice Sara A Mann St Johns Buildings 1st July 2013 £523.20 61

Wirral Council invoice Tim D N Kenward 7 Harrington St Chambers 19th June 2013 Page 1 of 2 £3,660 62

Wirral Council invoice Tim D N Kenward 7 Harrington St Chambers 19th June 2013 Page 1 of 2 £3,660 62

Wirral Council invoice Tim D N Kenward 7 Harrington St Chambers 19th June 2013 Page 2 of 2 £3,660 62

Wirral Council invoice Tim D N Kenward 7 Harrington St Chambers 19th June 2013 Page 2 of 2 £3,660 62

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 3rd July 2013 £849.60 63

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 3rd July 2013 £849.60 63

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings 28th May 2013 £3,264 Page 1 of 2 64

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings 28th May 2013 £3,264 Page 1 of 2 64

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings 28th May 2013 £3,264 Page 2 of 2 64

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings 28th May 2013 £3,264 Page 2 of 2 64

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings 12th July 2013 65 £1,440 65

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings 12th July 2013 65 £1,440 65

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 12th July 2013 £552 66

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 12th July 2013 £552 66

Wirral Council invoice Gaynor Lloyd St Johns Buildings 12th July 2013 £1822.08 67

Wirral Council invoice Gaynor Lloyd St Johns Buildings 12th July 2013 £1822.08 67

Wirral Council invoice Sharpe Pritchard 18th July 2013 £10,080 68

Wirral Council invoice Sharpe Pritchard 18th July 2013 £10,080 68

Wirral Council invoice Joanne Jade Abraham St Johns Buildings 25th July 2013 £696 69

Wirral Council invoice Joanne Jade Abraham St Johns Buildings 25th July 2013 £696 69

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings 25th July 2013 page 1 of 2 £7344 70

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings 25th July 2013 page 1 of 2 £7344 70

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings 25th July 2013 page 2 of 2 £7344 70

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings 25th July 2013 page 2 of 2 £7344 70

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Manning Arden Chambers 26th July 2013 £1,800 71

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Manning Arden Chambers 26th July 2013 £1,800 71

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Manning Arden Chambers 26th July 2013 £1,800 72

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Manning Arden Chambers 26th July 2013 £1,800 72

Wirral Council invoice Helen Roberts Forensic Clinical Psychologist 1st August 2013 £821.10 75

Wirral Council invoice Helen Roberts Forensic Clinical Psychologist 1st August 2013 £821.10 75

Wirral Council invoice Helen Roberts Forensic Clinical Psychologist 1st August 2013 £590.50 76

Wirral Council invoice Helen Roberts Forensic Clinical Psychologist 1st August 2013 £590.50 76

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 7th August 2013 £1392 77

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 7th August 2013 £1392 77

Wirral Council invoice Sara A Mann St Johns Buildings 5th August 2013 £639.36 78

Wirral Council invoice Sara A Mann St Johns Buildings 5th August 2013 £639.36 78

Wirral Council invoice Gaynor Lloyd St Johns Buildings 12th August 2013 £1822.08 79

Wirral Council invoice Gaynor Lloyd St Johns Buildings 12th August 2013 £1822.08 79

Wirral Council invoice Helen Wilson St Johns Buildings 12th August 2013 £2016 80

Wirral Council invoice Helen Wilson St Johns Buildings 12th August 2013 £2016 80

Wirral Council invoice Ginette Fitzharris St Johns Buildings 19th August 2013 £528 81

Wirral Council invoice Ginette Fitzharris St Johns Buildings 19th August 2013 £528 81

Wirral Council invoice Ginette Fitzharris St Johns Buildings 15th August 2013 £511.68 82

Wirral Council invoice Ginette Fitzharris St Johns Buildings 15th August 2013 £511.68 82

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings 22nd August 2013 £864 83

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings 22nd August 2013 £864 83

Wirral Council invoice Helen Wilson St Johns Buildings 21st August 2013 £703.68 84

Wirral Council invoice Helen Wilson St Johns Buildings 21st August 2013 £703.68 84

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings 4th September 2013 £576 85

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings 4th September 2013 £576 85

Wirral Council invoice Grant Thornton UK LLP 12th September 2013 £63504 86

Wirral Council invoice Grant Thornton UK LLP 12th September 2013 £63504 86

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 11th September 2013 £687.36 87

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 11th September 2013 £687.36 87

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings 11th September 2013 £1992 88

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings 11th September 2013 £1992 88

Wirral Council invoice Jennifer Lesley Scully St Johns Buildings 16th September 2013 Page 1 of 2 £1296 89

Wirral Council invoice Jennifer Lesley Scully St Johns Buildings 16th September 2013 Page 1 of 2 £1296 89

Wirral Council invoice Jennifer Lesley Scully St Johns Buildings 16th September 2013 Page 2 of 2 £1296 89

Wirral Council invoice Jennifer Lesley Scully St Johns Buildings 16th September 2013 Page 2 of 2 £1296 89

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 16th September 2013 £1230.72 90

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 16th September 2013 £1230.72 90

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 17th September 2013 £655.68 91

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 17th September 2013 £655.68 91

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 25th September 2013 £561.60 92

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 25th September 2013 £561.60 92

Wirral Council invoice Paul Burns Exchange Chambers 23rd September 2013 £930 93

Wirral Council invoice Paul Burns Exchange Chambers 23rd September 2013 £930 93

Wirral Council invoice Jennifer Lesley Scully St Johns Buildings 30th September 2013 £720 94

Wirral Council invoice Jennifer Lesley Scully St Johns Buildings 30th September 2013 £720 94

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings 2nd October 2013 £912 95

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings 2nd October 2013 £912 95

Wirral Council invoice Benjamin William Jones St Johns Buildings 1st October 2013 £900 96

Wirral Council invoice Benjamin William Jones St Johns Buildings 1st October 2013 £900 96

Wirral Council invoice Ginette Fitzharris St Johns Buildings 7th October 2013 £511.68 97

Wirral Council invoice Ginette Fitzharris St Johns Buildings 7th October 2013 £511.68 97

Wirral Council invoice Kate Burnell St Johns Buildings 10th October 2013 £1248 98

Wirral Council invoice Kate Burnell St Johns Buildings 10th October 2013 £1248 98

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 14th October 2013 £720 99

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 14th October 2013 £720 99

Wirral Council invoice Cater Walsh Media Services Ltd 25th October 2013 £528 100

Wirral Council invoice Cater Walsh Media Services Ltd 25th October 2013 £528 100

Wirral Council invoice Sara A Mann St Johns Buildings 21st October 2013 £831.36 101

Wirral Council invoice Sara A Mann St Johns Buildings 21st October 2013 £831.36 101

Wirral Council invoice Ginette Fitzharris St Johns Buildings 21st October 2013 £576 102

Wirral Council invoice Ginette Fitzharris St Johns Buildings 21st October 2013 £576 102

Wirral Council invoice Ginette Fitzharris St Johns Buildings 21st October 2013 £753.60 103

Wirral Council invoice Ginette Fitzharris St Johns Buildings 21st October 2013 £753.60 103

Wirral Council invoice Helen Wilson St Johns Buildings 30th October 2013 £3235.20 104

Wirral Council invoice Helen Wilson St Johns Buildings 30th October 2013 £3235.20 104

Wirral Council invoice Kate Burnell St Johns Buildings 30th October 2013 £1113.60 105

Wirral Council invoice Kate Burnell St Johns Buildings 30th October 2013 £1113.60 105

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 31st October 2013 £1128 106

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 31st October 2013 £1128 106

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 30th October 2013 £528 107

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 30th October 2013 £528 107

Wirral Council invoice Mark Senior St Johns Buildings 1st November 2013 £864 108

Wirral Council invoice Mark Senior St Johns Buildings 1st November 2013 £864 108

Wirral Council invoice Jennifer Lesley Scully St Johns Buildings 11th November 2013 £993.60 109

Wirral Council invoice Jennifer Lesley Scully St Johns Buildings 11th November 2013 £993.60 109

Wirral Council invoice Susan Edwards St Johns Buildings 8th November 2013 £591.36 110

Wirral Council invoice Susan Edwards St Johns Buildings 8th November 2013 £591.36 110

Wirral Council invoice David V Glasgow 30th October 2013 £740.37 111

Wirral Council invoice David V Glasgow 30th October 2013 £740.37 111

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 13th November 2013 £576 112

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 13th November 2013 £576 112

Wirral Council invoice Helen Wilson St Johns Buildings 18th November 2013 £753.60 113

Wirral Council invoice Helen Wilson St Johns Buildings 18th November 2013 £753.60 113

Wirral Council invoice Christine Johnson Atlantic Chambers 22nd November 2013 £2940 114

Wirral Council invoice Christine Johnson Atlantic Chambers 22nd November 2013 £2940 114

Wirral Council invoice Paul Burns Exchange Chambers 22nd November 2013 Page 1 of 2 £4210 115

Wirral Council invoice Paul Burns Exchange Chambers 22nd November 2013 Page 1 of 2 £4210 115

Wirral Council invoice Paul Burns Exchange Chambers 22nd November 2013 Page 2 of 2 £4210 115

Wirral Council invoice Paul Burns Exchange Chambers 22nd November 2013 Page 2 of 2 £4210 115

Wirral Council invoice Susan Edwards St Johns Buildings 25th November 2013 £696 116

Wirral Council invoice Susan Edwards St Johns Buildings 25th November 2013 £696 116

Wirral Council invoice Robin Hopkins kbw 12th November 2013 £1872 117

Wirral Council invoice Robin Hopkins kbw 12th November 2013 £1872 117

Wirral Council invoice Wilkin Chapman LLP 16th October 2013 £1598.40 118

Wirral Council invoice Wilkin Chapman LLP 16th October 2013 £1598.40 118

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 21st November 2013 £576 119

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 21st November 2013 £576 119

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 26th November 2013 £1272 120

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 26th November 2013 £1272 120

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 11th December 2013 Page 1 of 2 £3473.28 121

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 11th December 2013 Page 1 of 2 £3473.28 121

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 11th December 2013 Page 2 of 2 £3473.28 121

Wirral Council invoice Jonathan Taylor St Johns Buildings 11th December 2013 Page 2 of 2 £3473.28 121

Wirral Council invoice Mark Senior St Johns Buildings 3rd December 2013 £2399.04 122

Wirral Council invoice Mark Senior St Johns Buildings 3rd December 2013 £2399.04 122

Wirral Council invoice Mark Senior St Johns Buildings 4th December 2013 £672 123

Wirral Council invoice Mark Senior St Johns Buildings 4th December 2013 £672 123

Wirral Council invoice Susan Edwards St Johns Buildings 27th November 2013 £504 124

Wirral Council invoice Susan Edwards St Johns Buildings 27th November 2013 £504 124

Wirral Council invoice Grant Thornton UK LLP 12th December 2013 £51120 125

Wirral Council invoice Grant Thornton UK LLP 12th December 2013 £51120 125

Wirral Council invoice Ruth Stockley Kings Chambers 19th November 2013 £607.50 126

Wirral Council invoice Ruth Stockley Kings Chambers 19th November 2013 £607.50 126

Wirral Council invoice Cerys Williams St Johns Buildings 7th January 2014 £528 127

Wirral Council invoice Cerys Williams St Johns Buildings 7th January 2014 £528 127

Wirral Council invoice Jennifer Lesley Scully St Johns Buildings 8th January 2014 Page 1 of 3 £5096.64 128

Wirral Council invoice Jennifer Lesley Scully St Johns Buildings 8th January 2014 Page 1 of 3 £5096.64 128

Wirral Council invoice Jennifer Lesley Scully St Johns Buildings 8th January 2014 Page 2 of 3 £5096.64 128

Wirral Council invoice Jennifer Lesley Scully St Johns Buildings 8th January 2014 Page 2 of 3 £5096.64 128

Wirral Council invoice Jennifer Lesley Scully St Johns Buildings 8th January 2014 Page 3 of 3 £5096.64 128

Wirral Council invoice Jennifer Lesley Scully St Johns Buildings 8th January 2014 Page 3 of 3 £5096.64 128

Wirral Council invoice Nigel Lawrence 7 Harrington Street Chambers 11th December 2013 £27185.90 129

Wirral Council invoice Nigel Lawrence 7 Harrington Street Chambers 11th December 2013 £27185.90 129

Wirral Council invoice Tim D N Kenward 7 Harrington Street Chambers 7th January 2014 £2220 130

Wirral Council invoice Tim D N Kenward 7 Harrington Street Chambers 7th January 2014 £2220 130

Wirral Council invoice Grant Thornton UK LLP 11th December 2013 £63504 131

Wirral Council invoice Grant Thornton UK LLP 11th December 2013 £63504 131

Wirral Council invoice Damien Sanders St Johns Buildings 15th January 2014 £600 132

Wirral Council invoice Damien Sanders St Johns Buildings 15th January 2014 £600 132

Wirral Council invoice Leona Harrison St Johns Buildings 15th January 2014 £1536 133

Wirral Council invoice Leona Harrison St Johns Buildings 15th January 2014 £1536 133

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings 15th January 2014 £672 134

Wirral Council invoice Michael J Kennedy St Johns Buildings 15th January 2014 £672 134

Wirral Council invoice Catherine Rimmer St Johns Buildings 20th January 2014 £720 135

Wirral Council invoice Catherine Rimmer St Johns Buildings 20th January 2014 £720 135

Wirral Council invoice Helen Wilson St Johns Buildings 21st January 2014 £912 136

Wirral Council invoice Helen Wilson St Johns Buildings 21st January 2014 £912 136

Wirral Council invoice Joanne Jade Abraham St Johns Buildings 17th January 2014 £951.36 137

Wirral Council invoice Joanne Jade Abraham St Johns Buildings 17th January 2014 £951.36 137

Wirral Council invoice James Gatenby St Johns Buildings 20th January 2014 £607.68 138

Wirral Council invoice James Gatenby St Johns Buildings 20th January 2014 £607.68 138

Wirral Council invoice Helen Wilson St Johns Buildings 23rd January 2014 £816 139

Wirral Council invoice Helen Wilson St Johns Buildings 23rd January 2014 £816 139

Wirral Council invoice Joanne Jade Abraham St Johns Buildings 23rd January 2014 £696 140

Wirral Council invoice Joanne Jade Abraham St Johns Buildings 23rd January 2014 £696 140

Wirral Council invoice Anthony Gill Kings Chambers 28th January 2014 £1860 141

Wirral Council invoice Anthony Gill Kings Chambers 28th January 2014 £1860 141

Wirral Council invoice Sweet & Maxwell Ltd 2nd January 2014 £1041.60 142

Wirral Council invoice Sweet & Maxwell Ltd 2nd January 2014 £1041.60 142

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings 14th February 2014 £720 143

Wirral Council invoice Andrew Haggis St Johns Buildings 14th February 2014 £720 143

Wirral Council invoice Kate Burnell St Johns Buildings 18th February 2014 £511.68 144

Wirral Council invoice Kate Burnell St Johns Buildings 18th February 2014 £511.68 144

Wirral Council invoice Peta M L Harrison St Johns Buildings 18th February 2014 £888 145

Wirral Council invoice Peta M L Harrison St Johns Buildings 18th February 2014 £888 145

Wirral Council invoice Weightmans LLP 25th February 2014 £1360.80 146

Wirral Council invoice Weightmans LLP 25th February 2014 £1360.80 146

Wirral Council invoice Damien Sanders St Johns Buildings 26th February 2014 £528 147

Wirral Council invoice Damien Sanders St Johns Buildings 26th February 2014 £528 147

Wirral Council invoice Paul Burns Exchange Chambers 19th February 2014 Page 1 of 3 £1120 148

Wirral Council invoice Paul Burns Exchange Chambers 19th February 2014 Page 1 of 3 £1120 148

Wirral Council invoice Paul Burns Exchange Chambers 19th February 2014 Page 2 of 3 £1120 148

Wirral Council invoice Paul Burns Exchange Chambers 19th February 2014 Page 2 of 3 £1120 148

Wirral Council invoice Paul Burns Exchange Chambers 19th February 2014 Page 3 of 3 £1120 148

Wirral Council invoice Paul Burns Exchange Chambers 19th February 2014 Page 3 of 3 £1120 148

Wirral Council invoice Robin Hopkins KBW 10th February 2014 £1008 149

Wirral Council invoice Robin Hopkins KBW 10th February 2014 £1008 149

Wirral Council invoice Joanne Jade Abraham St Johns Buildings 5th March 2014 £543.36 150

Wirral Council invoice Joanne Jade Abraham St Johns Buildings 5th March 2014 £543.36 150

Wirral Council invoice Weightmans LLP 30th January 2014 £4982.40 151

Wirral Council invoice Weightmans LLP 30th January 2014 £4982.40 151

Wirral Council invoice Lexis Nexis Butterworths 3rd March 2014 £1659 152

Wirral Council invoice Lexis Nexis Butterworths 3rd March 2014 £1659 152

Wirral Council invoice Mark Senior St Johns Buildings 10th March 2014 £528 153

Wirral Council invoice Mark Senior St Johns Buildings 10th March 2014 £528 153

Wirral Council invoice Mark Senior St Johns Buildings 10th March 2014 £600 154

Wirral Council invoice Mark Senior St Johns Buildings 10th March 2014 £600 154

Wirral Council invoice Sharpe Pritchard 31st January 2014 £6468 155

Wirral Council invoice Sharpe Pritchard 31st January 2014 £6468 155

Wirral Council invoice Cerys Williams St Johns Buildings 13th March 2014 £816 156

Wirral Council invoice Cerys Williams St Johns Buildings 13th March 2014 £816 156

Wirral Council invoice Mark Senior St Johns Buildings 18th March 2014 Page 1 of 2 £1296 157

Wirral Council invoice Mark Senior St Johns Buildings 18th March 2014 Page 1 of 2 £1296 157

Wirral Council invoice Mark Senior St Johns Buildings 18th March 2014 Page 2 of 2 £1296 157

Wirral Council invoice Mark Senior St Johns Buildings 18th March 2014 Page 2 of 2 £1296 157

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4 Labour councillors agree salary for new Wirral Council Chief Executive at between £155,000 and £175,000

                                                                

Employment and Appointments Panel (Chief Executive) Committee Room 3, Wallasey Town Hall, 24th November 2014 L to R Martin Denny (LGA), David Slatter (Penna PLC), Cllr Jeff Green (Conservative), Cllr Lesley Rennie (Conservative) and Cllr Phil Gilchrist (Lib Dem)

Employment and Appointments Panel (Chief Executive) Committee Room 3, Wallasey Town Hall, 24th November 2014 L to R Martin Denny (LGA), David Slatter (Penna PLC), Cllr Jeff Green (Conservative), Cllr Lesley Rennie (Conservative) and Cllr Phil Gilchrist (Lib Dem)

Employment and Appointments Panel (Chief Executive) Committee Room 3, Wallasey Town Hall, 24th November 2014 L to R Martin Denny (LGA), David Slatter (Penna PLC), Cllr Jeff Green (Conservative councillor), Cllr Lesley Rennie (Conservative councillor) and Cllr Phil Gilchrist (Lib Dem councillor)

Video above is from the Employment and Appointments Panel (Chief Executive) public meeting held on the 24th November 2014 in Committee Room 3, Wallasey Town Hall, Seacombe . This write-up of the public meeting starts at 23:09 in the video above.

Wirral Council’s Employment and Appointments Panel (Chief Executive) met in Committee Room 3, Wallasey Town Hall, Seacombe on Monday afternoon at around 2.30pm. The councillors on the Employment and Appointments Panel (Chief Executive) which had previously been decided by the Employment and Appointments Committee on the 27th October 2014 are:

Cllr Phil Davies (Labour) Chair
Cllr Ann McLachlan (Labour)
Cllr George Davies (Labour)
Cllr Adrian Jones (Labour)
Cllr Jeff Green (Conservative)
Cllr Lesley Rennie (Conservative)
Cllr Phil Gilchrist (Lib Dem)

Continues from Labour councillors argue for increase in range of Wirral Council’s Chief Executives’ salary to between £155,000 and £175,000. This is continuing the write-up of a public meeting of the Employment and Appointments Panel (Chief Executive) held on the afternoon of 24th November 2014.

3. Appointment of Chief Executive, Head of Paid Service (including Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer)

There was a report and thirteen appendices for this item.

Cllr Adrian Jones said, “Yes Chair, I just want to make a number of comments on this and I do appreciate Jeff Green that you obviously want to make a big issue about this. I just want to understand and … , but the comments on the existing Chief Executive were way off the mark. He came here as a temp, he stayed a bit longer…. he now wants to retire and do whatever it is that retired chief executives do.

He oversaw transformation of what’s been described as a failed Council, I think it was still a failing Council in 2012 when he took over and he’s transformed that into a 1st class machine which is recognised elsewhere, simply by the National… as being a completely different and efficient Council from the failing one he inherited from you and from your predecessors including us Labour Parties.

Now I think that if we were to argue the price we aren’t going to get that again. That was a very lucky situation … but if Jeffrey [Green] was saying that he passed some moral indignation and objection to extremely high salaries.. then I would be the first to agree with him but this is the pond that we’re swimming in and we’ve got no other way to approach this other than to pay the going rate, if we want to get the best and it really doesn’t boil down to much other than that. I would have thought incidentally, it’s quite a good Conservative principle when you see it put like that.”

Cllr Jeff Green said that saving taxpayers’ money was his primary concern in principle.

Cllr Adrian Jones said he agreed with Cllr Jeff Green and then said something else to which Cllr Jeff Green responded.

Cllr Phil Davies asked if there were any other contributions and that he wished to move an amendment.

Cllr Phil Gilchrist said, “Still resting underneath the present Chief Executive there’s a whole raft and that’s another phrase as well, a series of strategic directors in post. Now they recruit and manage a slimmed down organisation and I’m not convinced everything’s beautiful in the garden and I’ve heard what Adrian [Jones] says and I haven’t got problems with the rest of it, but once the Administration attempts to bring in Superman in order to sort out the existing problems, but unfortunately you know we can’t even get anyone with errm Superman’s qualities.”

Cllr Phil Davies said, “or Superwoman!”

Cllr Phil Gilchrist continued “or Superwoman! … something with some kryptonite. Well probably Ghostbusters would be far…”

Cllr Adrian Jones interrupted, “Is that a proposition?”

Cllr Phil Davies said, “You’ve gone from Superman to Ghostbusters!”.

Cllr Phil Gilchrist said, “Well, all I thought was that the big lake of stuff under the Town Hall made everyone so bad-tempered in the film. I think it would be over the top to go with £155,000.”

Cllr Adrian Jones responded to the point.

The Chair (Cllr Phil Davies) said that Cllr Jeff Green have moved something but that he was going to move the following resolution:

“Given that we the 9th largest metropolitan authority in the country and given that the current salary of our Chief Executive I don’t believe is sufficiently competitive with the market as exists at the moment and given the external advice we’ve had from the Local Government Association and Penna, I’m going to recommend that the salary range for the Chief Executive be agreed between £155,000 and £175,000 an annum and I think as part of that, the second element of that should be that the final, the final salary for the Chief Executive would be within that range and be agreed by this Panel as part of the recruitment process.

He continued, “Could I just make the other comments that you’re abs.. you know.”

Cllr Jeff Green said, “Were you going to say I was right?”

Cllr Phil Davies replied, “You are right that we do need to make substantial savings as a result of your government’s austerity policies and the Chief Executive, whoever we recruit, one of his or her principal tasks will be to make the £70 million that we need to make over the two years and a lot more than that as we’re told that we’re told that the austerity is only halfway through beyond that.

So, I believe that we can get the good, the best outcome we can if he or she would more than pay for their salary ideally and I think if again, if you look at the authorities in Merseyside and Cheshire, this is, this is comparable with the salaries that they’re charging and we’re talking about authorities run by both the Conservative and Labour parties in terms of Cheshire West and Cheshire East. ”

He moved that, Cllr Ann McLachlan seconded it.

The Chair sought legal advice because there was an amendment. The legal adviser said that they would have to vote on the amendment first.

Cllr Jeff Green said, “Could I just make a couple of points? First of all we are comparing all these across the scale across the North-West as far I’m concerned there aren’t all vacancies there. So we’re not really competing with people to fill those posts.

Number two, I you know wonder whether given we are talking about as I say a million pounds over five years if we go along with the proposal you make, wouldn’t it be better to actually test the market? So instead, you know, you as the Leader of the Council, would it be the administration determining what the leader mark to be, because the first thing to do is to test the market. Again you know get three quotes to test it, so will we be actually be better off actually testing to see if the sort of candidates we might want are available at £130,000 and only then if someone can provide evidence that those candidates aren’t available, would we then seek to look at that situation?

That’s the way you’d normally, I think you would normally do it as opposed to make a whole series of assumptions that there won’t be people ever at that level, the level stops here and therefore bump it to what I think is an astronomical figure and I just have to say one that I think the public will find it difficult to understand given some of the measures that you as an administration are currently taking.”

Cllr Phil Davies disagreed, “Well I would errm, I would disagree with that as a way forward for the two reasons. One is we’ve had, we’ve got our experts who know the, who know the market for chief executives and senior officers and their advice is that our current salary would not get a high quality candidate because we are literally at either at the bottom or at the very lowest quartile.

So you know, we’ve had our external advisers who’ve given us that information given the current state of the market and secondly what you’re suggesting Jeff [Green] would build in a delay in the process if we had to jump through that particular hoop and I believe the priority now is to recruit the very best candidate we can, as soon as we can, after the current Chief Executive departs.

So I think for those two reasons I wouldn’t be in agreement with that as a way forward. So I think we’ve got an amendment which I will move, it’s been seconded by Ann [McLachlan], can I see all those in favour?”

For (4): Cllr Phil Davies, Cllr Ann McLachlan, Cllr George Davies, Cllr Adrian Jones
Against (3): Cllr Jeff Green, Cllr Lesley Rennie, Cllr Phil Gilchrist

The amendment (passed on a 4:3 vote) became the substantive motion.

The vote on the motion was:

For (4): Cllr Phil Davies, Cllr Ann McLachlan, Cllr George Davies, Cllr Adrian Jones
Against (3): Cllr Jeff Green, Cllr Lesley Rennie, Cllr Phil Gilchrist

The Chair Cllr Phil Davies said that it would be a recommendation to a meeting of Council on the 8th December [2014] and moved onto the job description and person specification.

Cllr Jeff Green asked how much extra the Chief Executive would get for being the Electoral Registration Officer on top of the £155,000 to £175,000 salary?

Chris Hyams said it was outlined in the appendices, appendix ten, she then changed this answer to appendix nine, page thirty-three.

Cllr Jeff Green asked what exactly was there? Chris Hyams said that the election fees are determined by which elections take place each year which are outlined in the appendix on page forty-three.

Cllr Jeff Green asked on top of that next year, with the assumption that they’re in post by May, there will be a further £12,605 on top of that and asked if it was one or if it got totalled up. So if it was Parliamentary you get £12,605, if it’s a local election as well you get £5,297.16. Would that be £17,800?

Chris Hyams replied that they are a combination of which elections there are. Cllr Jeff Green said that in May they’d get an extra £18k on top of £170,000 that they’d been talking about but normally as there are local elections the Chief Executive would get an additional minimum of £5,000 on top is that right?

Chris Hyams said that it was and that you could see from the appendices who actually sets that fee. Cllr Jeff Green said that he wasn’t saying that they were being particularly generous, just in terms of the overall package, it is £175,000 plus £12,000 plus £5,000.

Chris Hyams replied, “Yes it is.” and pointed out that the chief executive salaries provided were exclusive of Returning Officer fees.

Cllr Phil Davies said that in Cheshire West for example, their Chief Executive makes £180,000 plus they get this in addition. Chris Hyams confirmed this. Cllr Phil Davies asked if it was the same in every local authority to which Chris Hyams answered “yes”.

Cllr Jeff Green commented that it brought the remuneration to round about £200,000. Cllr Phil Davies said it was paid for by central government. Chris Hyams confirmed this.

Cllr Jeff Green asked if the £5,297.16 was paid for by central government? Chris Hyams confirmed this. Cllr Jeff Green said “Are we genuinely saying we can’t get anyone for less than £200,000?” and “I’ll tell you what, all that money I’ve paid to my trade union over the years, I wish they’d had this crowd in.”

The following recommendation was agreed:

(3) That the proposed process and timescales for appointment of a new Chief Executive (who shall also be appointed as the Head of Paid Service, Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer) as outlined in appendices two and eleven to the report, be approved.

Cllr Phil Davies moved the following:

(4) That this Panel recommends to Council at its meeting on 8th December 2014 that David Armstrong be appointed to the position of Acting Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service, with effect from 1 January 2015 until the newly appointed Chief Executive takes up the position and also David Armstrong becomes the Deputy Chief Executive from the 8th December to the 31st December 2014.

Cllr Jeff Green said, “I would be very supportive of that, I think David has done the job before so it’s good experience in those terms and I think as we know David is a first class officer that performs incredibly well in this role whatever he’s been asked to do so. What was the final bit?”

Cllr Phil Davies said, “Well, in case he needed err between the. Explain why we have to have a Deputy Chief Executive Chris?”

Chris Hyams replied, “OK”

Cllr Jeff Green asked if he got two salaries to which Chris Hyams replied “Not at all. The proposal around a recommendation from the 8th December is to ensure continuity. The Chief Executive leaves on the 31st December, that’s his last day, however he has outstanding leave. Should he not be in the Borough, there is a continuous Deputy that will be Acting Chief Executive from the 1st January. So there are differing management arrangements, it’s for continuity.”

Cllr Phil Gilchrist said, “I can’t think of anyone else, that’s what’s troubling me. I’m trying to think better than that. I am worried that there are enough problems in CYPD [Children and Young People’s Department] and Asset Management and everything else that needs tremendous amounts of attention. So I don’t know how safe it is to move David up to this position when there are all these little things that need tackling as well?”

The Chair, Cllr Phil Davies replied, “Well, look I mean errm, he’s got, he’s got sort of excellent err officers in asset management errm and I’m I’ve spoken obviously you will have expected me to have had a conversation with him … and he is confident that he’ll be able to play this role but still do his, still have the asset management working in good hands going forward. So I have had that conversation with him and he was confident that those arrangements would be put in place.”

Cllr Jeff Green said, “A reasonable plea to start … knowing the sort of person David is and I think this is kind of … Phil [Davies] as the new council, is to make sure that he doesn’t try to do too much.”

Cllr Phil Davies replied, “Absolutely.”

Cllr Jeff Green continued, “Because he’s the sort of guy that … going so you know just to help him focus”

Cllr Phil Davies replied, “Yeah.”

Cllr Jeff Green continued, “on the actual job.”

Cllr Phil Davies asked them to agree recommendation 4.

Cllr Phil Davies then moved recommendation 5:

” That this Panel recommends to Council at its meeting on 8 December 2014, the appointment of Surjit Tour as Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer and that Joe Blott is appointed as Deputy Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer, both effective from 1 January 2015 until the newly appointed Chief Executive takes up the position.”

This was agreed. There was no other business so the meeting closed. However a few weeks later in December 2014 the Wirral Green Party issued a press release on this which contained the line “How can Labour claim a commitment to fairness having just voting through an eye-watering 30% increase in the chief executive’s salary. Not only is this an insult to the council employees facing redundancy and reduced pay, it shows a leadership out of touch with reality and missing a glorious opportunity to set an example to others and rein in excessive pay in the public sector.”

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Labour councillors argue for increase in range of Wirral Council’s Chief Executives’ salary to between £155,000 and £175,000

                                                                               

Employment and Appointments Panel (Chief Executive) Committee Room 3, Wallasey Town Hall, 24th November 2014 L to R Martin Denny (LGA), David Slatter (Penna PLC), Cllr Jeff Green (Conservative), Cllr Lesley Rennie (Conservative) and Cllr Phil Gilchrist (Lib Dem)

Employment and Appointments Panel (Chief Executive) Committee Room 3, Wallasey Town Hall, 24th November 2014 L to R Martin Denny (LGA), David Slatter (Penna PLC), Cllr Jeff Green (Conservative), Cllr Lesley Rennie (Conservative) and Cllr Phil Gilchrist (Lib Dem)

Employment and Appointments Panel (Chief Executive) Committee Room 3, Wallasey Town Hall, 24th November 2014 L to R Martin Denny (LGA), David Slatter (Penna PLC), Cllr Jeff Green (Conservative councillor), Cllr Lesley Rennie (Conservative councillor) and Cllr Phil Gilchrist (Lib Dem councillor)

Video above is from the Employment and Appointments Panel (Chief Executive) public meeting held on the 24th November 2014 in Committee Room 3, Wallasey Town Hall, Seacombe . This write-up of the public meeting starts at 12:05 in the video above.

Wirral Council’s Employment and Appointments Panel (Chief Executive) met in Committee Room 3, Wallasey Town Hall, Seacombe on Monday afternoon at around 2.30pm. The councillors on the Employment and Appointments Panel (Chief Executive) which had previously been decided by the Employment and Appointments Committee on the 27th October 2014 are:

Cllr Phil Davies (Labour) Chair
Cllr Ann McLachlan (Labour)
Cllr George Davies (Labour)
Cllr Adrian Jones (Labour)
Cllr Jeff Green (Conservative)
Cllr Lesley Rennie (Conservative)
Cllr Phil Gilchrist (Lib Dem)

Continues from Cllr Jeff Green asks if Wirral Council are looking to spend £1,000,000 on their new Chief Executive (over 5 years)?. This is continuing the write-up of a public meeting of the Employment and Appointments Panel (Chief Executive) held on the afternoon of 24th November 2014.

3. Appointment of Chief Executive, Head of Paid Service (including Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer)

There was a report and thirteen appendices for this item.

The Chair, Cllr Phil Davies invited Cllr Ann McLachlan to speak. She said, “I think it’s important to recognise where we are in the local government family and what we want to attract here. We want to attract the best in England, so we’ve got to be somewhere in the parameters of being able to say ‘Oh we’re pitching our salary at such an appropriate level, to get the best field of candidates that we possibly can to attract the best in the business’.

I think also it would be fair to say and I’m sure we’ll be doing this, we will be setting, you will Phil within because consultation with the new Chief Executive, you’ll be setting some parameters for them to look at, you know senior management savings across err you know the period of their, their tenure here at Wirral. So and part of the role will also be about saving money, so sometimes you have to invest to save in the longer term and I think also that it’s worth saying that we need to look at comparisons with the rest of the public sector.

It was reported last week that a primary headteacher within an academy was on a salary equivalent to £200,000. The first 150 secondary academies have got heads on over £150,000. You’re talking about a primary head managing a school of two hundred and fifty pupils max, probably about forty staff. There’s no comparison between managing you know a multi-million pound organisation like Wirral!

So I think for those reasons for me, I’ll be saying we need to get this salary in the right range for you know the kind of calibre of the people that we want to work with us.”

Cllr Phil Gilchrist referred to the salary grades. He asked about the salaries of people on the next tier down from Chief Executive and that if they attracted someone who was currently a strategic director in another authority, how much of a salary increase it would be?

Cllr Phil Davies (Chair) replied that they’d have to wait and see what level of candidate they got, but he hoped that they would be attracting not just deputies and strategic directors but actually serving chief executives elsewhere with an “excellent track record” so they could “hit the ground running”. Cllr Phil Gilchrist said he understood.

Cllr Jeff Green said that his parents had told him that “two wrongs don’t make a right”. The other point he wanted to make was that unless they’re going to ask a primary head to run the authority, and there might be one paid £200,000 somewhere around the country, that it wasn’t really a reason for making decisions on the chief executive’s salary. Then again he said, “a primary head might be just what is required!”

Cllr Green continued that his understanding was that a set of proposals were being worked on that were going to save £1.5 million by the current Chief Executive. He said that [Cllr] Ann [McLachlan] had promised that would be delivered in December in terms of Council unless she’d changed her mind and then he revealed “Those savings were already in the works are due to be published in December”. So in terms of some of the points that councillors had been making Cllr Green felt were “extraneous”. He asked them to focus on what would be required, he referred to a saving of £730,000 and referred to a number of issues about the current Chief Executive. He didn’t understand why they’d have to increase it [the Chief Executive’s salary] to £175,000.

Referring to other salaries for Chief Executives in the North West, he said that “to increase to that much seems to be excessive”. He referred to the documents prepared for full Council, how £1.5 million of senior management savings had been identified and how all those things had been delivered off a salary of £130,000. He proposed they seek a Chief Executive on the current salary range of the current Chief Executive of £130,000.

Cllr Phil Davies asked councillors to look at the salaries in appendix 4. He referred to Liverpool City Council’s Chief Executive being paid £197,500, Cheshire West’s £180,000, Cheshire East’s £187,000, Knowsley a “much smaller authority than Wirral” £160,000, St Helens £140,000 and Sefton £152,000. He said “even councils on our doorstep are paying a substantially higher salary than Wirral does.

I think my kind of comments or my reflection on the discussion is, we need to be able to attract the best, but also retain them as well, what we don’t want to do is get somebody here and then because Cheshire West are paying you know a much larger salary, they’ll disappear to Cheshire West in a few years time. So I think we need to just have that in our forefront of our minds as well.”

Cllr Ann McLachlan said, “Completely disingenuous [Cllr] Jeff [Green], because what I was doing was giving a comparison with the public sector that wasn’t a local government chief executive, just to demonstrate that out there the salaries in the public sector in general at that level, you know to get the expertise you want at that level are much more higher than Wirral.

I’m going to ask Chris [Hyams] if she would give us a little bit of background on that £131 or £130 or whatever it is Graham [Burgess]’s in, because how long, what was the previous Chief Executive on? Coz Graham [Burgess] came to us and took his pension, I think he took his pension, .. or has pension arrangements in place or didn’t need to be paid the on costs that we would have to pay.

Well previous chief executives, what kind of salary was he on and how long ago was that? I mean in a sense I think we need to get a bit of a reality check here and get in the real world about what the real costs of salaries at this level are.

So, errm, yeah, I think it’s you know, our salary range here is at the bottom of the tree really. So what’s the history of that and also you know it’s not that two wrongs don’t make a right, it’s not anything like that but what we’re trying to do is demonstrate that here in this Authority we want to get somebody who is going to you know help us in the obviously very clear difficult financial circumstances we’re in, with the financial challenges we’ve got going forward as well and in remodelling and changing this Council. You know, so errm, I’m absolutely of the view that we will have to pay the appropriate level. Thanks Chris.”

Chris Hyams, Head of HR responded by saying, “OK, thank you. The current Chief Executive is paid top of the salary range. As the Deputy Leader’s just intonated, it is in the public domain that he left his last council with a pension which is why we didn’t incur the on costs. So in terms of remuneration, there was an additional salary arrangement through his last job through gaining his pension.

Before that, the salary range that was in place for a previous Chief Executive had his spot salary within that range of £130,000. The range has not been reviewed for a number of years and certainly not reviewed as such or changed previously to this in the time that I’ve been here in the last five years.”

Continues at 4 Labour councillors agree salary for new Wirral Council Chief Executive at between £155,000 and £175,000.

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Looking back to 2014 on this blog at the 3 most popular stories for each month

                                              

Cabinet 17th December 2014 vote on Lyndale School L to R Shirley Hudsepth Surjit Tour Cllr Phil Davies Graham Burgess

Cabinet 17th December 2014 vote on Lyndale School L to R Shirley Hudsepth Surjit Tour Cllr Phil Davies Graham Burgess

The lists below are of the top three most viewed stories in each month in 2014. To be selected each story also had to be published in that particular month.

January 2014
1 Why did Martin Morton call for three councillors to resign?
2 Birkenhead Market Limited Accounts: Is This The Reason Behind Neptune’s Masterplan?
3 The letter Wirral Council wrote gagging Councillor Gilchrist

The year started with a look at why Martin Morton had called on Cllr Pat Williams, Cllr Moira McLaughlin and Cllr Denise Roberts to resign. I also published the accounts for Birkenhead Market Limited (who lease Birkenhead Market from Wirral Council) and a letter gagging Councillor Gilchrist.

February 2014
1 Exclusive: Incredible £88,174 loss made by Merseytravel on sale of Liverpool pub
2 Incredible: Lyndale School call in causes second constitutional crisis for Wirral Council!
3 District Judge Woodburn grants Wirral Council possession order: pony club given a year to leave Fernbank Farm

After the Merseytram matter hit the buffers, Merseytravel was left with property that it didn’t want or need. The first story is about what happened when they tried to sell it off. The second story is the first about Lyndale School and how when the first Cabinet decision got called in, the call in committee had to ask Council to add extra people to it who’d been left off in a “constitutional oversight”. The third story was about the court battle between Wirral Council and Upton Park Pony Association. Upton Park Pony Association were given a year to leave Fernbank Farm (which is owned by Wirral Council).

March 2014
1 Will you comment on the government’s new public meeting filming law before consultation ends on the 12th March?
2 Wirral Council show how “open and transparent” they really are
3 Mark Latham of Wirral Street Pastors tells Wirral’s councillors graphic stories about Birkenhead’s boozy night life

Mark Latham from Wirral Street Pastors told councillors on Wirral Council's Licensing Act 2003 Committee about his experiences of Birkenhead's night life and alcohol (19th March 2014)
Mark Latham from Wirral Street Pastors told councillors on Wirral Council’s Licensing Act 2003 Committee about his experiences of Birkenhead’s night life and alcohol (19th March 2014)

It may seem strange now, but in March the government were consulting on changes to the filming public meetings law. Some changes were made to the draft regulations and a right to live commentary during meetings was removed. Some new criminal offences were also added to the same legislation (but not to the section about filming). The “open and transparent” story was about the Chief Executive, in a 4 page letter, upholding an earlier decision at internal review to refuse a Freedom of Information Act request for the minutes of the Standards Working Group of the 17th December 2013. The last story was about the Wirral Street Pastors organisation and what Mark Latham had to say at a public meeting about Birkenhead’s night life.

April 2014
1 Who are the 113 candidates in the 2014 Wirral Council elections?
2 Liverpool City Region Combined Authority choose Cllr Phil Davies as Chair
3 How much evidence does there have to be of wrongdoing at Wirral Council before an apology is given?

113 candidates stood in the Wirral Council elections and only 23 of these were later elected. However if you’re interested who they were then there’s a list of names. The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority met for the first time on April 1st and chose Cllr Phil Davies as Chair. The third story is my rebuttal of a (mainly) false complaint made about me by a Lib Dem.

May 2014
1 Election results for North West Region (European Parliamentary Election 2014)
2 Election results for Wallasey (Conservative hold), West Kirby and Thurstaston (Conservative hold) and Upton (Labour hold)
3 Election results for Leasowe and Moreton East (Labour Gain), Hoylake and Meols (Conservative hold) and New Brighton (Labour hold)

May had two elections in it. The first was where one councillor to Wirral Council was elected for each ward (except one that elected two due to a recent resignation in Greasby, Frankby and Irby). The second election was for 8 Members of the European Parliament for the North West region. The Lib Dems lost their only MEP in the region Chris Davies and ended up with no Members of the European Parliament in North-West England. Brian Kenny (Labour) lost his council seat in Birkenhead and Tranmere to Pat Cleary (Green Party). Ian Lewis (Conservative) lost his council seat to Treena Johnson (Labour) in Leasowe and Moreton East. Labour also gained in Pensby and Thingwall (the seat was held by an independent formerly a Lib Dem who wasn’t standing).

So the net result was that Labour increased its number of councillors from 37 to 38 (a majority of seats on Wirral Council is one party having 34 or more councillors). The Conservatives decreased their number of councillors from 22 to 21. The Lib Dems stayed on six and the Greens increased from no councillors to one.

June 2014
1 Wirral Council: It’s time for some answers over Fernbank Farm and filming!
2 Horses or 100 houses at Fernbank Farm? Liverpool City Region Combined Authority agrees to list it for housing
3 If Lyndale School closed: what might happen next?

In June I started publishing some of the court papers to do with the Fernbank Farm case including Wirral Council’s particulars of claim. During filming a public meeting of the Licensing Act 2003 Committee Cllr Steve Niblock insisted on me stopping so I moaned to Surjit Tour about it. The last story was warning about the effects on the health of the children at Lyndale School if the Lyndale School were to be closed.

July 2014
1 Wirral Council takes 5 minutes to U-turn on libel threat over Graham Burgess golf email to councillors
2 Graham Burgess invites Wirral Council councillors to 5 days of the Open Golf Championship
3 Councillor Walter Smith “I must say I enjoyed lavish hospitality”

Wirral Host of the Open Championship 2014

July was all about golf because of the Open Golf Championship. First the email of Graham Burgess was claimed to be “fraudulent” by Surjit Tour (who referred to it as the “Open Gold Championship”). Then five minutes later Surjit Tour tried to recall the email. Then BBC Radio Merseyside had a caller asking about the story. Wirral Council’s press office then managed to tell BBC Radio Merseyside two contradictory versions of events over a short period of time. However don’t worry Cllr Walter Smith came on the radio and told everybody how in his day job as a tailor he had enjoyed “lavish hospitality” at the golf!

August 2014
1 Lyndale School Consultation branded “white-wash” & 1 officer is singled out for criticism for lack of impartiality
2 UPDATED: EXCLUSIVE: 90 Incredible Lyndale School Closure Consultation responses
3 Why did Wirral Council spend an incredible £1,872 on a London barrister to prevent openness and transparency?

Treasury Building (Wirral Council), Hamilton Square, Birkenhead, 19th August 2014 (you can click on the photo for a more high-resolution version)
Treasury Building (Wirral Council), Hamilton Square, Birkenhead, 19th August 2014 (you can click on the photo for a more high-resolution version)

Phil Ward came in for criticism for the way he’d chaired the Lyndale School consultation meetings. As part of the 2013/14 audit I made public the £1,872 Wirral Council had spent on Robin Hopkins of 11KBW to make sure that they didn’t have to give out information to a Freedom of Information Act requester in response to ICO decision notice FS50474741.

September 2014
1 Expense claim forms for Councillor Tony Smith 2013 to 2014 reveal mysterious Lyndale School meeting in February 2013
2 The 25 ways in which the Wirral Council Cabinet decision about Lyndale School is flawed
3 A letter to Wirral Council about the 29 ways they allegedly got the Lyndale School decision wrong

Councillor Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services) at the Special Cabinet Meeting of 4th September 2014 to discuss Lyndale School L to R Cllr Stuart Whittingham, Cllr Tony Smith, Cllr Bernie Mooney and Lyndzay Roberts

Councillor Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services) at the Special Cabinet Meeting of 4th September 2014 to discuss Lyndale School L to R Cllr Stuart Whittingham, Cllr Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services), Cllr Bernie Mooney and Lyndzay Roberts

The mileage claim forms for councillors threw up some interesting visits, including one by Cllr Tony Smith to Lyndale School back in February 2013. Once again the Cabinet decided to go ahead to the next stage of consultation on closure of Lyndale School, Surjit Tour got sent another of my letters pointing out the flaws in the decision-making process. The decision was called in.

October 2014
1 Marvin the Martian returns to try to understand the incredible Lyndale School situation and the £1 million SEN budget cut
2 Whistleblowers assembled in Committee Room 1 to hear apologies from Wirral Council over a toxic whistleblowing saga involving secrecy, national, local and regional government, internal and external audit, the private sector, ££££s, senior managers, contracts and Wirral Council
3 Graham Burgess (Chief Executive) announces he will retire from Wirral Council on 31st December 2014

Marvin the Martian from Disney's Looney Tunes
Marvin the Martian from Disney’s Looney Tunes

Marvin the Martian returned to discuss Lyndale and cuts to the SEN budget. The special Audit and Risk Management Committee meeting (twice adjourned from July 2014) finally met on 8th October 2014 to discuss the BIG/ISUS issues and hear from Nigel Hobro. Graham Burgess also gave in his three-month notice and announced his retirement from 31st December 2014.

November 2014
1 Merseytravel’s Head of Internal Audit brands some whistleblowing as “Mickey Mouse” & “complete nonsense”
2 Trade unions march on Wirral Council, only to hear how wonderful the 2014 Open Golf championship was
3 Dan Stephens answers questions at 4th public consultation meeting on Greasby, Upton & West Kirby fire station plans

Dan Stephens Chief Fire Officer, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service at Greasby Methodist Church Hall, Greasby Road, Greasby on 10th November 2014 for consultation meeting on closure of Upton and West Kirby fire stations and merger at Greasby

Dan Stephens Chief Fire Officer, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service at Greasby Methodist Church Hall, Greasby Road, Greasby on 10th November 2014 for consultation meeting on closure of Upton and West Kirby fire stations and merger at Greasby

A Merseytravel public meeting to discuss whistleblowing led to an interesting turn of phrase. The trade unions marched on Wallasey Town Hall, to have to first sit through a Cabinet meeting discussing how wonderful the Open Golf Championship had been. A consultation on a possible new fire station in Greasby village led to a packed public meeting in Greasby, with Dan Stephens (Chief Fire Officer) doing his best to answer questions from the public about Wirral Council’s involvement.

December 2014
1 8 Labour councillors on Wirral Council vote to close Lyndale School from 31st August 2016
2 Wirral Schools Forum member expresses concern at proposed £600,000 cut for children with special educational needs
3 7 Wirral Council councillors, 1 appointment to be longlisted & an HR consultant from Penna PLC; what could possibly go wrong?

December’s stories start with the sad news that just before Christmas the Cabinet decided to close Lyndale School (from 31st August 2016). A member of the Wirral Schools Forum expressed concern at the scale of cuts to special educational needs and Wirral Council councillors decided on a long list for a Head of Specialist Services (the outgoing Head of Specialist Services leaves on 31st December 2014).

Cabinet 17th December 2014 vote on Lyndale School L to R Shirley Hudsepth Surjit Tour Cllr Phil Davies Graham Burgess

Cabinet 17th December 2014 vote on Lyndale School L to R Shirley Hudsepth Surjit Tour Cllr Phil Davies Graham Burgess

So that’s it for the 2014 round-up! See you in 2015!

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