Following the revelation just before Christmas that Wirral Council’s Adult Social Services had £5 million of “previously unnoticed bad debt” Graham Burgess, Wirral Council’s Chief Executive had this to say to last Thursday’s Cabinet on the subject.
He said, “I’ll summarise the comments in a formal email which I’ll send out to all ward councillors. Three actions have been taken in relation to this matter, one is in order to change the system essentially of debt recoverage so we’ve stopped the leakage due to bad debt, and we are following up bad debt as fast as we can. So we’ve stopped the previous practice which led to the situation.
Secondly, we’ve got a small team staff that are actively pursuing the bad debts to bring back to the Council as much as they can of the money which is owed to the Council. As I said some of it is actually more than six years old, some of it more than five years old, more difficult to bring back to the Council, nevertheless we have to be pursuing that now.
Thirdly, simply asking to undertake a review or investigation of this matter to establish how we got in this situation and to learn lessons from it. To this end I have commissioned Eugene Sullivan who until a few weeks ago was the Chair of the national Audit Commission to undertake this investigation, to give some independence to this review.
Eugene Sullivan has started the work, is interviewing some councillors who are still here, is going through records in some depth, is speaking to the District Auditor who has a role in this process and is expected to bring a written report to Members sometime in mid-February where we’ll bring the report back to Cabinet at that stage.”
So yet more bad news on the way for Wirral Council.