Cabinet (Wirral Council) 29th March 2012 AOB: Pacific Road Arts Centre, Transport Museum & Tramway, Birkenhead, Compromise Contracts

There were two AOB items introduced at the Cabinet meeting on the 29th March 2012. The first was about the future of the Pacific Road Arts Centre/Tramway/Museum and the second was on Compromise Contracts. As the reports aren’t on the Council’s website links are included below.

Pacific Road Arts Centre, Transport Museum and Tramway Birkenhead: Outcome of Tender Exercise
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Compromise Contracts

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Wirral LGA/Improvement Board 30th March 2012 Part 1

I attended a meeting (the first I could attend as only every third meeting was held in public) of the Wirral/LGA Improvement Board.

The first I heard about the “public meeting” of the Wirral/LGA Improvement Board was Monday evening at the Council Excellence Committee Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting.

If you check the calendar of public meetings for March on Wirral’s website, it’s not there.

As far as I know the notice board outside the Town Hall doesn’t list it either.

Even the agenda for this meeting, wasn’t published five working days before the meeting and the agenda as published on the Council website, which I finally found on the Council website after the meeting, had been published late (it’s supposed to be published five working days before the meeting) and only published the day before the meeting itself.

However on the agenda on the Council’s website (which is a copy of a fax), it’s very difficult to read the date, time and place of the meeting due to the coloured background. The one 4-page report to this public part of the meeting (Agenda Item 2), wasn’t published before the meeting and had exempt written all over it and “NOT FOR PUBLICATION”.

However, this is ironic considering the “NOT FOR PUBLICATION” bit as it was the already previously published notes of the meeting held on the 3rd February 2012 and notes of the meeting held on the 2nd March 2012 with two words added at the top “Progress Report”, and an extra one page, previously unpublished appendix 1 detailing “Wirral Improvement Priorities”. Sadly the Wirral Improvement Priorities weren’t published with the agenda before the meeting, but they are as follows (I’m basically typing up verbatim the original document below, although on the original the priorities are in a table). To be honest despite reading these a few times since returning from the meeting, actually understanding what the below truly means is eluding me. I understand the meaning of some but not all of it. Even the automatic proofreading flags up priorities 3 and 4.


1. Corporate Plan

To put in place an agreed Corporate Plan that sets clear priorities reflecting a good understanding of citizens and customers views through consultation, participation and localism. Underpinned by rigorous performance management and performance appraisal arrangements.

2. Focus on critical service, areas safeguarding and developing the local economy.

Ensure that there is a clear organisational focus on critical service areas such as safeguarding (children and adults) and developing the local economy and ensuring that we improve the skills of local residents and stimulate the private sector to grow and create jobs.

3. Budget and financial stability

Clear longer term financial plan, linked to the Corporate plan, setting out how the Authority will respond to reducing levels of resources including the development and enhancement of the Strategic Change Programme and the development of a clear commissioning strategy for the Authority.

4. Corporate governance and decision making

Risk, whistleblowing, audit are strong. Agreed protocol on sharing information with Members. Clear Scheme of Delegation. Culture of openness rather than secrecy.

5. Leadership – political and managerial

Trust/respect between politicians and senior management. Strong strategic leadership and oversight of delivery. Development needs for Members and management identified and addressed. Strong corporate culture and cohesiveness.

Anyway the report on the meeting itself will form the basis of another blog post, well the three items the public were allowed to stay for.

Council Excellence Overview and Scrutiny Committee 26/3/2012 part 1 (exempt bit)

Well apart from about seven minutes of exempt session, I was present during the whole of the Council Excellence meeting last night.

During those seven minutes (spent in the lobby), the Deputy Mayor of Wirral, Cllr Gerry Ellis arrived (the picture below isn’t from last night but a recent Area Forum that he chaired).

Deputy Mayor Cllr Gerry Ellis

After the Deputy Mayor left to a Mayor’s dinner for Wirral Award recipients, Mike Collins of the Wirral Council’s Community Patrol arrived with a 13-year old youth in tow, who was there to apologise to the a member of the facilities staff because it was alleged he (that is the youth, rather than Mr. Collins or the Deputy Mayor) had thrown stones at cars in the car park.

Mike Collins, Community Patrol said to the youth, “I’m not going to do anything else today, if I come across you again, or the staff have a problem with you again, I’ll be knocking on your door and I’ll be knocking on the school’s door so I’ll speak to the headteacher as well if anything happens with you. Go on and tell your mates to do the same.”

Delivery of nomination papers – Independent candidate Bidston & St. James ward

Well today, myself and my election agent delivered my nomination papers to the Town Hall for the election of a councillor for the Bidston & St. James ward, with polling day held on 3rd May 2012. They were checked and found to be OK and my agent should get official notification through the post.

I’ll find out who the other candidates are at the end of the nomination period (I am assuming this election will be contested as it would be highly unlikely for it not to be), but I’m expecting there will be at least Labour candidate, a Conservative candidate and a Lib Dem candidate.

So thank you to the ten people who proposed, nominated and assented to my nomination. Oh and thanks to my election agent Leonora Brace too, who also proposed my nomination (which I accepted).

Certainly it was easier filling out the nomination papers this year as I didn’t have to get a Designated Nominating Officer’s signature or decide on emblem/description and local people seemed to be somewhat disillusioned with one (or more) of the mainstream political parties.

Employment and Appointments Committee 22/3/2012 Wirral Council

As it was a short meeting I’ve already uploaded it to Youtube. It’s in two parts, part 1 (the first twelve minutes) and part 2 (the last eight minutes), which are also below.

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The agenda and reports can be found on Wirral Council’s website except at the time of writing this, the AOB item entitled “Proposed Change to Senior Management Position”. It’s four pages which I’ve scanned in, Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 and Page 4.

The result of these changes will be that:-

(a) David Armstrong is appointed Acting Deputy Chief Executive,
(b) Surjit Tour becomes Deputy Monitoring Officer and stops being Scrutiny Officer (Head of Legal and Member Services) and
(c) Shirley Hudspeth, Democratic Services Manager stops being Democratic Services Manager and becomes Scrutiny Officer (Head of Legal and Member Services).

The Committee agreed to recommend (a) and (c) to Council and noted (b).

Items 5 (Chief Executives Office) and 7 (Department of Regeneration, Housing and Planning: Senior Management Structure) were deferred to a future meeting.