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Posted by: John Brace | 20th November 2013

Cllr Simon Mountney “There are major issues happening in this Council that are still being covered up”

Cllr Simon Mountney “There are major issues happening in this Council that are still being covered up”

                                   

Last Thursday as part of the consultation into the future of the Improvement Board, Wirral Council’s Audit and Risk Management Committee met. Whereas all councillors voted in favour of the motion on the report on Wirral Council’s response to critical reports 2010/2013, Cllr Simon Mountney voted against the earlier motion about the Improvement Board Review, this motion contained the phrase “it is clear that Wirral is now an outward looking Authority – open to constructive criticism and willing to address problems when they occur”.

I thought (for those who weren’t at the meeting) it would be interesting to report Cllr Simon Mountney’s comments here as from his comments it’s clear that not all Wirral councillors agree on the way forward. His comments start at 8:56 in the video below.

Cllr Simon Mountney said, “OK, politically are we ready, perhaps we are today Chair, are we ready post the elections should things change this year or the year after, I’m not sure and I don’t think we’re politically savvy or grown up enough yet to ensure that if that and when that change comes that we are politically grown up enough to make sure that that is the case.

I think there are elements of the Council that perhaps don’t want that to change and whether we are politically grown up enough or savvy enough to make sure that that happens, I’ll reflect on the answer to that.

Strategically are we grown up enough? No, I don’t think we are. This report is historic but clearly it’s about things that have happened, all true. The first point here that says it was the Council that was perceived as having a silo culture and a lack of corporate and strategic thinking.

You know when the Chief Exec sits in front of us and says the last two budgets have been fire fighting budgets because we’ve got other things to think about that demonstrates to me that we haven’t been planning operations strategically, we’ve had too many other things to think about and all we’ve been doing is fire fighting.

So, yes moving forward, we might develop and grow, but historically this document doesn’t reflect what’s happened and I’ll pick one area, FOI requests.

The number of FOI requests that this Council receive, I believe gives a really good indication of how open and transparent and therefore you could use the argument, I would, as to whether good means a Council we are.

There are still major issues that I know of and I’m working very hard to get the evidence and as soon as I do I’ll bring it to you. There are major issues happening in this Council that are still being covered up and you know it’s wrong and I don’t understand why as a Council we persist with that type of attitude and ethos.

This Council is only ashamed of the ethos changes and the culture changes that as yet I see no evidence that that has changed. I’m aware of three or four incidents that should appear in this final second report but don’t and they don’t as yet, because they will, they don’t as yet because they’ve been covered up, they’ve been kept from me!

Now why that is I don’t know, but I will find out and I’ll let people know but based on that alone, this report doesn’t reflect the Council that I currently see.

Yes we are some way down the road, yes we are improving, yes there is improvement and yes there are policies in place and politicians in place that are making a difference but there is some and there is the ethos and culture that persists from where we came from and until that changes I’m afraid this report doesn’t quite reflect the Council that I see.”

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Responses

  1. Refreshing to observe one councillor breaking ranks . Cllr Mounteney may perhaps have observed that in the matter that concerns myself the response of the council is merely a rehash of the Press Statement of 14th March 2013 nearly 8 months later. Really has nothing changed in their perspective on BIG/ISUS/Working Neighbourhoods in that time, or are they simply stone-walling? Has Garym Lambert’s investigations, and the cost to the Council of this self-employed contractor, simply been poured down the drain? Come on boys it is 1 year since Grant Thornton were appointed to lead the charge.

    • I think since it was referred to the police (see earlier Tweedledee/Tweddledum) there’s been no further progress on the issue at Wirral Council, except for implementing the recommendations in the BIG executive summary.


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