Advertising
 
Posted by: John Brace | 11th March 2016

What does the LGA Peer Review of Wirral Council state on overspending, agency staff, morale, consultation and leadership?

What does the LGA Peer Review of Wirral Council state on overspending, agency staff, morale, consultation and leadership?

                                                   

Cllr Ann McLachlan Cabinet Member for Transformation and Improvement at a Cabinet meeting on the 7th March 2016

Cllr Ann McLachlan (Cabinet Member for Transformation and Improvement) at a Cabinet meeting on the 7th March 2016

To very little fanfare, Wirral Council have published the 12 page peer review conducted by the Local Government Association last year. This was accompanied by a press release which glosses over some of the criticism in the peer review.

Here are some quotes from the peer review (followed by my comments in italics):

Financial Strategies

In past years the council has been overspending in some directorate revenue budgets and using its reserves to balance the revenue budget. This issue was reflected in the previous peer challenge in 2012 and the council needs to develop the 2016/17 budget and not divert from it. It is currently anticipating a £9.2m slippage on this year’s savings target of £38m.

Political leadership

The Leader’s role as Chair of the Merseyside City Region is seen as recognition of the important role that the Wirral is playing in the development of the city region.”

 

Well shortly after this peer review, Cllr Phil Davies resigned as Chair and Mayor Anderson is now Chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

“However, the Senior Leadership Team is not currently giving adequate corporate leadership and this needs to be much stronger if the Plan is to be delivered effectively. More connected leadership is needed from the top to the bottom of the organisation. The council must have the senior officer leadership resource to create capacity to deliver change. The peer team also had a concern at the current high use of consultants and interims who are providing temporary specialist support. This is not a concern about consultants/interims per se, but an observation about their number and duration. The council should continue to ‘invest to save’ – efficiently and effectively – using the right external help for specific time-limited purposes, but look to reduce the overall number of longer-term interims in key roles. The council needs to move quickly to a new organisational shape to support the Chief Executive, including providing the right kind of strategic level capacity.”
 

If I hadn’t written Why has Wirral Council spent £6,003,273.07 on temporary staff over the past 10 months? around a year ago, would this have even been mentioned in the peer review?

Relationship with residents

The council and its partner agencies recognise that they want to form a different relationship with residents in the future. There is general recognition that relationships with local communities has been negatively impacted by the past challenges the council has had to deal with. The new relationship will be based on a clearer Wirral narrative, a greater ability to listen to resident’s issues, making better use of the data and intelligence the council gathers across the Wirral and greater use of channels use as digital and social media.”

 

Ahh, listening to residents’ issues such as over 6,000 signing a petition against closure of Girtrell Court but you go ahead and decide to delegate closure to the Cabinet Member anyway? Or is this all part of listening to residents then doing the opposite of what they want?

The Council’s approach to partnership working

There is evidence of community involvement in the council’s budget processes, although more limited evidence that this has influenced
decision-making.”

 

So, this seems to imply that when Wirral Council have a budget consultation, the consultation has a limited effect on the decision after the consultation?

“There is also an opportunity for a more coordinated and cost-effective approach to community engagement amongst the Wirral Partnership members. This might extend to a more joined up approach to communications and campaign activities.”
 

Despite reading this a few times, I’m a little unsure what this means? Anyone care to hazard a guess? I thought the constituency committees were supposed to do community engagement?

New Models for Service Delivery

Delivering significant change must take account of some instances of low staff morale generated by the perception of indiscriminate universal cuts in service provision in recent years.”

In other words Labour councillors constantly going on about government cuts nearly every public meeting is damaging staff morale at Wirral Council.

“The move to new ways of working will need to be driven by a much more powerful Senior Leadership Team to collectively own and drive transformation.”
 

In other words, there’s going to be a senior management restructure and some managers are going to be leaving.

If you click on any of the buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people.


Responses

  1. “There is also an opportunity for a more coordinated and cost-effective approach to community engagement amongst the Wirral Partnership members. This might extend to a more joined up approach to communications and campaign activities.”

    I think it says that Council should be more closely connected to its residents.

    • Thanks, but surely that should be the role of the councillors and political parties at Wirral Council? Rather than have what people would generally class as the role of political parties being done at the local council taxpayer’s expense?

  2. I was interviewed for the Peer Review, and I think it may refer to the fact the Council didn’t bother to inform any of the Community Representatives (on any of the Constituency Committees) of their flagship 20/20 Policy. It made me wonder what else they hadn’t told us about, which why I follow John Brace’s Blog.

    • Yep, the Wirral Council Plan: A 2020 Vision is just the new name for what used to be called the Corporate Plan.

      However you’re right, I don’t remember it being on the agenda of any of the constituency committees.

  3. My take is that ‘coordinated’ and ‘joined up’ both mean working together, while ‘cost effective’ means cheaper. So expect communications to be grouped together in some way, perhaps all done through one partner. And expect it to cost less.

  4. G’day John

    So where is Ecca the Blinking CEO, “Legweak” and “The Shyster going?

    “The move to new ways of working will need to be driven by a much more powerful Senior Leadership Team to collectively own and drive transformation.”

    “Ecca hid under his desk when Paul Cardin said g’day.

    “The Shyster” can’t fit in his back o(rif)fice with all the reports he is hiding and we won’t mention asset stripping.

    “Legweak” is just an angry little man they use and abuse to act CEO, the officers equivalent of the councillors “Crapapple” but without a bus with square wheels to take them to the pub after meetings.

    Ooroo

    James

    And good riddens

  5. G’day John

    You know how organisations are controlled from the top and the workers follow the example.

    If there is a gang mentality like local government including Wirral then gangs develop below to eventually take over.

    My example this morning when I was walking through Liverpool city centre was Misery Travel.

    I thought that’s odd big bus queues early Saturday morning.

    Then along came 4 no82 buses all at once, then 3 no86 buses and then a bit later 3 more no82’s.

    Fortunately they were all going the same way or gang warfare may have broken out.

    Why John?

    Does everyone on Merseyside have to be in a gang, keep their heads down and follow mindlessly, are they scared to go alone, stand up and have an opinion.

    Ooroo

    James

    Lets all vote labor because they have the biggest ugliest gang in town take a peep at “Ankles”, Crapapple”, “The Pretend Friend” and “Uncle George” in action.

    • Well I was at Birkenhead bus station not so long ago. A bus that was supposed to arrive was missed out, then the next one went through without stopping because it was full.

      So people (frustrated by this) start building up at that stand in the bus station.

      One of the passengers complained to the staff at the bus station who got on the phone to the bus company to sort it out. Something similar might have happened in Liverpool city centre to you (if it was a bus station you’re referring to).

  6. G’day John

    Probably a combined effort from “Phil the Very Very Deluded Dill” and Misery Travels “Ankles” the ex “Dunny Chain Wearer” two birds with one stone.

    Closing Liscard job centre gets more people on “Ankles” Misery Travel to “Phil the Very Very Deluded Dill’s” wanna look like a BUSIER BirkenBloodyHead.

    They are so clever.

    I also heard Cameron mention a 20/20 Vision it won’t be as good as “Phil’s” 20.200 vision with a blind dog as he didn’t mention one golf course.

    Ooroo

    James

    IF THEY VOTED TO CLOSE LYNDALE AND GIRTRELL COURT

    DON’T VOTE FOR THEM

    By the way John you may have heard on the grape vine of MY CAMPAIGN

    IF THEY VOTED TO CLOSE LYNDALE AND GIRTRELL COURT

    DON’T VOTE FOR THEM

    I have asked/TOLD, I am running it like Wirral BC not a democracy, that Lord Leaky is my campaign manager and young John I am asking/TELLING you that you are my press manager.

    IF THEY VOTED TO CLOSE LYNDALE AND GIRTRELL COURT

    DON’T VOTE FOR THEM

    There will be no lying, cheating, asset stripping, abuse of power, hurt feelings, big payouts, in MY Campaign.

    None of the usual clowncil misdemeanour’s because “Highbrow” will be finance officer/auditor and he is open, honest and transparent unlike them, he doesn’t know yet of his new position yet. he he he

    If we can get rid of one voter for the closures it will be a win.

    If we can get rid of her, who is vile, and, thinks they named an art gallery after her it will be a bonus.

    IF THEY VOTED TO CLOSE LYNDALE AND GIRTRELL COURT

    DON’T VOTE FOR THEM

  7. As you know James, I steer clear of party politics and political campaigns these days!

    There’s a police and crime commissioner election on the same day this year, but if I remember correctly you need a £5,000 deposit to stand in that (refundable if you get x% of the votes).

    Surely a law and order platform is a little more to your taste than local politics?


Categories