Shadow Health and Wellbeing Board 4th September 2012 Part 1 Agenda Item 8 – Place Based Leadership Development Activity (Board Behaviours) Professor Laurie McMahon (Loop 2)

Yesterday’s Shadow Health and Wellbeing Board’s agenda and reports can be found on Wirral Council’s website. The meeting started later than planned. The Chair, Cllr Phil Davies said apologies had been received from Cllr Jeff Green, David Armstrong, Sheena and another. He also informed those present that unfortunately the Cabinet Member for Public Health, Cllr … Continue reading “Shadow Health and Wellbeing Board 4th September 2012 Part 1 Agenda Item 8 – Place Based Leadership Development Activity (Board Behaviours) Professor Laurie McMahon (Loop 2)”

Yesterday’s Shadow Health and Wellbeing Board’s agenda and reports can be found on Wirral Council’s website.

The meeting started later than planned.

The Chair, Cllr Phil Davies said apologies had been received from Cllr Jeff Green, David Armstrong, Sheena and another. He also informed those present that unfortunately the Cabinet Member for Public Health, Cllr Anne McArdle couldn’t attend as she was unwell. Cllr Phil Davies also referred to Dr. Jennings and Pete Naylor.

Councillors on the Board were Cllr Phil Davies (Chair) and Cllr Tom Harney. Also on the Board was the new Interim Chief Executive of Wirral Council Graham Burgess, Emma Degg and others from the public sector.

Agenda Item 8 – Place Based Leadership Development Activity (Board Behaviours)

Professor Laurie McMahon of Loop 2 gave a confidential presentation (with Powerpoint slides) to the Board (and public present) on leadership following the telephone interviews.

He explained that Wirral Council had been successful in bidding for funds to improve its leadership and the training he was providing was part of that.

He told those present about the interpersonal rules of engagement and how they need to “stop seeing the Health and Wellbeing Board as an organisation”. The Professor continued by saying they need to recognise it is not a new committee, he mentioned his concern at its purpose not being clarified, especially its relationship to other bodies and suggested they create a map to map out its relationship with other bodies such as the Local Strategic Partnership (and others).

If they didn’t do this he had concerns that it would be swamped or delegated difficult decisions. Lobbying of Board members was also an issue he flagged up as well as the need for a Communications and Engagement Strategy. He asked the Board to imagine all the questions people ask you and said that the Health and Wellbeing Board was about “establishing direction” for Wirral.

There were various formal processes he wanted them to adopt, such as the Council’s Code of Conduct, although he admitted he didn’t know what it looks like. He suggested they use the Nolan principles and adopt the Council’s COI procedure. The professor though that overt lobbying should be discouraged and reported and that they needed to sort out the process of cooptees, although the law required certain people (or organisations) to be on the Board.

The Professor said they had told his that they don’t like voting or delegated decisions, but they were keen on subgroups who would make recommendations back to the Board. Cllr Phil Davies (Chair) asked a question. The Professor referred to the Act and how they hold each other to account. Cllr Phil Davies (Chair) asked if it had executive powers? The Professor answered No, Wirral Council’s Chief Executive Graham Burgess said it did have powers of revision, but these were a “dynamite option”.

Corporate Governance Committee (Wirral Council) Questionnaire to Councillors (2011)

H:Corporate ServicesHuman ResourcesO DElected Member TrainingMTSG MeetingsCorporate Governance CommitteeBackground Reports & Action PlanSurveyv6 Elected Member Questionnaire.doc


Wirral Council Members Questionnaire

Dear Councillor,

We are all aware of the AKA Governance report. Almost all of us were present at a presentation by Anna Klonowski recently.

One if the areas for action identified by Anna Klonowski in her report was that of Councillor Development and Training.

The Corporate Governance Committee has agreed that myself, with the other members of the Member Training Strategy Group, Cllr Wendy Clements and Cllr Pat Glasman, will co-ordinate activity in this area.

We plan to provide opportunities for us all to reflect on the issues raised by Anna Klonowski, together with appropriate training.

We have in mind to focus on -:

• the roles and responsibilities of Members and Officers
• our roles as individuals and as members of various Committees, including Cabinet.
• our role when holding the Executive and Officers to account.

We do however need to include the needs of everyone. Please could you help by filling in the attached questionnaire. There is of course a vast range of experience amongst Members both inside and outside the Council. Let us know how we can best use this in our programme.

We will keep you informed but in the meanwhile if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact myself or Pat or Wendy.

Cllr Tom Harney


The Questionnaire has two parts:-

Part One is a series of scenarios that ask you to consider how you would respond in certain situations.
Part Two asks questions about your skills and knowledge and how you like to learn.

Please complete the following questions and return your response either by e-mail to or directly to Melissa Holt who is supporting the process at the Organisational Development Team, South Annex, Wallasey, CH44 8ED

Please respond by return but at the very latest by the 16th December in order for the results to be used to inform a Development Programme ready to commence in the New Year.

Part One – Scenarios

Step 1

Please consider the scenarios below and the possible actions available to you.

Step 2

Once you have considered your response, rank them in preference order by placing a number 1, 2 or 3 next to each of them.

1 = this would be the most appropriate response
2 = this would be the next most appropriate response
3 = this would be the least appropriate response

Step 3
Add any alternative actions that you would take. Also please include any comments you would like to make on the scenario.

1) Some reports were due for a Scrutiny Committee. There is a briefing before the meeting and the papers are not available. This is the 3rd time this sort of event has happened.

What action would you take?

a) Talk to the Chairman in advance of the meeting asking that the report be deferred on the basis that it is not available for the briefing. In addition, agree with the Chairman that he/she will write to the Chief Executive cc the Cabinet Member asking for an explanation for the recent failures and remedial action that will be taken?
b) Talk to the Chairman in advance of the meeting asking that the report be deferred on the basis that it is not available for the briefing. Agree with the Chairman that he will raise the issue with the Chief Officer in the briefing seeking an explanation of the continued failures. If this explanation is unacceptable, agree with the Chairman that he/she will write to the Chief Executive cc the Cabinet Member asking for an explanation for the recent failures and remedial action that will be taken?
c) Write to the Chief Executive cc the Cabinet Portfolio holder asking for an explanation and seeking details of the action he/she proposes?

Other actions taken and your comments

2) The Key Performance Indicators reported for a particular Department show that in the 3rd quarter they have under performed but, states that they will have recovered the situation by the 4th quarter. It’s now the end of February (half way through the 4th quarter).

What action would you take?

a) Accept the report

b) Ask the Chief Officer attending the Committee to explain whether performance as of today’s date proves that they will achieve the outturn performance as per the report to the previous committee
c) On receipt of the report agree with the Chairman that he will write to the Chief Officer asking for updated performance information to be submitted in writing to the Committee if necessary on the night to prove that the performance promised in the 3rd quarter will be achieved by the end of the 4th quarter.

Other actions taken and your comments

3) A Chief Officer has submitted an improvement programme. Monthly reports appear to suggest everything in on track but from some feedback at local surgeries, members of the public do not appear to recognise the improvements and are still raising concerns.

How would you react?

a) Write to the Chief Officer detailing the concerns of the members of the public and asking for their response.
b) Write to the Chief Officer cc the relevant Cabinet detailing the concerns of the members of the public and asking for their response)
c) As for (b) but ask to meet the Portfolio Holder seeking proposals as to external verification of the delivery of the inputs, outputs and outcomes from the improvement programme.

Other actions taken and your comments

4) You are conducting a surgery when you are approached by a member of the public who happens to be an employee at Wirral Council. They ask if what they tell you can be kept confidential but then continue to relate a story regarding fraudulent behaviour within the team in which they work.

How would you respond?

a) Listen but tell the individual that this outside of your remit and that they should report it to Internal Audit
b) Tell the individual you intend to discuss the allegation with the Monitoring Officer maintaining their confidentiality as far as possible.
c) Take the issue up personally with the Director of Finance

Other actions taken and your comments

5) In a Committee meeting a fellow Elected Member becomes frustrated by the Officer’s answers to their questions. The Elected Member begins to shout and make unreasonable requests for further information.

How would you deal with this situation?

a) Leave the situation to the Chair as it is their role to manage this kind of thing
b) Propose to the Chair a 5 min cooling off period explaining the Officer’s role

c) Nothing – the situation is indeed very frustrating and venting a little emotion is acceptable

Other actions taken and your comments

6) At a Committee meeting an unexpected report is handed out by an Officer.

What would you do?

a) Look to the Chair to approve the report as urgent and accept the report on the Officer’s recommendation that it is a “good news story”

b) Request an adjournment to understand the detailed and controversial information the report
c) Recommend that the Chair refuses to accept the report and articulate this strongly because you feel due process has not been followed.

Other actions taken and your comments

Part Two – Questions

7) What skills or knowledge could you bring to the work being done by the Council on the topic of Corporate Governance?

8) What are the key skills and areas of knowledge you think you need as a Councillor to practice in a way that shows good corporate governance?

9) Are there any other training or development needs that you have at present?

10) How do you like to learn?


Workshops/ face to face sessions

Reading materials

One to one coaching/ mentoring

11) Do you have any further observations or comments?

Thank you for your time.

High Court of Justice report The Queen on the application of John Michael Brace v Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council


In the High Court of Justice

Queen’s Bench Division

Administrative Court sitting in Manchester

In the matter of an application for Judicial Review

            The Queen on the application of




            Application for permission to apply for Judicial Review

            NOTIFICATION of the Judge’s decision (CPR Part 54.11, 54.12)

Following consideration of the documents lodged by the Claimant

Order by his Honour Judge Waksman QC sitting as a High Court Judge

Permission is hereby refused.


  1. The correct way for the Claimant to have proceeded on the basis of his complaint about other candidates’ non-compliance with s79 LGA 2000* was to have made an election petition within 21 days which he did not do and which, if he had, would have provided a safeguard in the form of provision for security of costs.


  2. Moreover this claim is out of time not only because just outside 3 months but because it was not made promptly given that the Claimant made the point before the challenged election took place. It is particularly important that if there is a JR claim at all in respect of such matters (see paragraph 1 above) that it is made very speedily so as to avoid any prejudice and costs incurred by the election having taken place. No extension is justified simply because the Claimant broke his arm.


  3. Accordingly, no arguable basis for JR.


Signed: D. ???????? Date: 23 August 2012

Where permission to apply has been granted, claimants and their legal advisers are reminded of their obligation to reconsider the merits of their application in the light of the defendant’s evidence.


Sent/Handed to the claimant, defendant and any interested party/ the claimant’s, defendant’s and any interested party’s solicitors on (date):


Ref No.

Notes for the Claimant

(1)       Where the Judge has refused permission a claimant or his solicitor may request the decision to be reconsidered at a hearing by completing and returning form 86B within 7 days of the service upon him of this notice.

(2)       If permission has been granted the claimant or his solicitor must within 7 days of the service upon him of this notice, lodge a further fee of £180.00 or a Fees exemption certificate if appropriate, to continue the proceedings. Failure to pay the fee or lodge a certificate within the specified period may result in the claim being struck out.

Notes to Defendants and Interested Parties

(1)       Where permission has been granted, a defendant and any other person served with the claim form who wishes to contest the claim or support it on additional grounds must file and serve –

(a) detailed grounds for contesting the claim or supporting it on additional grounds; and

(b) any written evidence,

within 35 days after service of the order giving permission. 

*Note although the judgement reads s.79 LGA 2000, I have linked to s.79 LGA 1972 as it appears to be an error in this judgement.

Wirral Council Overcharges (again) Department of Law, HR and Asset Management

Interest Declaration: The writer was a candidate in the 2012 elections for the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral.
Interest Declaration: The writer sued the Birkenhead Liberal Democrats in the Birkenhead County Court over an alleged breach of s.7 of the Data Protection Act 1998. Deputy District Judge Ireland found in favour of the author in April 2012 and issued a court order in the author’s favour against the Birkenhead Liberal Democrats.
Interest Declaration: The writer is once again involved with litigation against the Birkenhead Liberal Democrats.

So there I was at work and I got handed 56 pages of election expenses returns from candidates in Birkenhead (cost to where I work was £11.20 (20p*56)).

It turns out though that Wirral Council however loves:

a) to cover things up,
b) doesn’t know what an individual is,
c) to overcharge and
d) has a very vague understanding of the law.

Hmm, doesn’t that all seem familiar? First however, a little bit of history. The Returning Officer for this election was Bill Norman. He got suspended on the 28th June 2012 shortly after the elections, to be replaced as Returning Officer on the 16th July 2012 by Mr. Surjit Tour.

However the day-to-day running of the electoral services is done by staff in the department that Mr. Surjit Tour is the Acting Head of (Department of Law, HR and Asset Management).

Last month I made a request to see various candidates election expenses returns, which include a donations page detailed where the money came from. I went to see them on Friday 31st August), I queried why the names, addresses and status of all donors had been “blacked out” from the copies I was inspecting. When I queried it I was told by an employee (who I won’t embarrass by naming here) that it was the law to do so. So I requested copies anyway.

I queried this “interpretation” with the Electoral Commission and I quote below from their response this afternoon:

“Hi John,

I’ve had a look into this and, although the addresses should be redacted for data protection reasons, the names of the donors should be made available. Paragraph 2.18 on page 6 of our guidance to Returning Officers explains this

Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any further questions.”

So I read the link, and sure enough on page 6 at 2.18 it states:-

“The addresses of individuals who have made donations to candidates, must by law, be removed from all inspection copies and copies supplied on request.”

Odd, I thought considering this candidate didn’t receive any donations from individuals, but from a political party (which is an unincorporated association not a living, air-breathing person like the individual writing this article). Then I remembered something, this candidate got herself elected, so the information on who donated the £984.33 to her campaign, is already in her published Register of Interests on Wirral Council’s website as Birkenhead Liberal Democrats. So Wirral Council in irony worthy of a Greek tragedy are ironically covering up some information already available on their website!

Sadly this only applies to twenty-two out of the hundred and nine candidates though. Ahh them, the Birkenhead Liberal Democrats, who lost to me in a lawsuit earlier on this year in the Birkenhead County Court. As agreed by all sides in that case (defendant and plantiff alike), they’re an unincorporated association, not an individual, but let’s move on.

Oh well, that’s 20p that Wirral Council owe me back then, plus an apology. However now somebody is going to have to re photocopy (from the originals) the donations pages of 109 candidates and I’ll have to rearrange another appointment to inspect them. Well at least this mistake costs them about £22 in photocopies and perhaps £20 in staff time and on the plus side it’s not as high as the extra £440,000 Wirral Council’s is having to pay back people it overcharged, but I’m hoping the refund of 20 pence won’t take twelve years to process! Perhaps I’d better not tell them I have a disability then. 🙂 Don’t worry Wirral Council I won’t charge you interest.

Merseyside Police Authority (30th August 2012) Part 3 Item 8 – Sustaining Excellence Programme Overview Item 9 – Officers on Restricted and Recuperative Duties

This continues from Part 2 of my report on the Merseyside Police Authority meeting of the 30th August 2012. The agenda and reports for item 8 and 9 could be found on the Merseyside Police Authority’s website but since the Merseyside Police Authority was abolished it no longer has a website.

English: A Merseyside Police patrol car.
English: A Merseyside Police patrol car. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reports of the Chief Constable
8 – Sustaining Excellence Program – Overview

The Chief Constable explained where they were up to and referred to the framework for savings  and frontline resources. He said there was continuous improvement and the plan detailed how it would be taken forward. He asked if there were any questions? The Chair asked anyone if they had any questions?
It was mentioned how it had gone to the Finance and Audit Committee and how officers on the front line had increased from 85% to 88%.

The Chair commented that they had to plan for worse to come, as there was the Comprehensive Spending Review in the Autumn and that the Budget for 2013/2014 was only indicative. He said that public debt was still rising and he wondered if the Budget would be further cut in the next two years, the figures would come out in late October, but this issue would pass over to the Police and Crime Commissioner, but presented further challenges for the force.

Mrs Frances Street (Independent) asked if their staff were aware of what’s coming, how they were going to support this very painful moment and what support would they offer them with finding jobs?

A senior police officer answered that they were careful that staff were kept up to date and briefed. This was done through his team, Nicky and the intranet. He said that any questions were answered as quickly as possible, but it was a process with a decision phase in October/November. After this there would be the inevitable redeployment, which he said they “can’t make pain-free” but he “understands it’s a difficult time for people”.

Mrs Frances Street (Independent) asked if they got counselling or help if they were made redundant in finding a role in another organisation?

The answer given was that Scientiam were looking at what they provide.

The Chair said it was a long-standing principle and that they worked in a high stress environment. There were no further questions and the report was noted.

Reports of the Chief Constable
Item 9 – Officers on Restricted and Recuperative Duties

The Chief Constable gave Members of the Police Authority an update on the current profile of the 370 officers on restrictive and recuperative duties. He outlined the assessment process and the effect of the 2012/2013 Budget on thirty leaving (who would be replaced by forty). The officers on restricted and recuperative duties did mid and back office functions, but he wanted to make sure nobody on restricted/recuperative duties was fit to do a frontline job.

At this point he was heckled by a union rep.

The Chief Constable referred to a table in the report and the cost. The Chair asked for any observations or comments?

Professor Zack-Williams (Independent) said it was an analytic paper but that he was confused with some of the categories, he asked about officers who stayed a long time on restricted duties regarding offences?

The Chief Constable answered that it was just officers who were injured or ill, not those on restricted duties because of professional standards.

Professor Zack-Williams pointed out it was not clear in the report.

The Chief Constable accepted that it wasn’t.

Professor Zack-Williams asked about the H1 process?

The Chief Constable said that they were referred to a medical practitioner to see if they were fit to leave on a medical pension. Those on restricted duties were either incapacitated or not on front facing duties while under investigation.

The Chair asked for observations.

A Member of the Police Authority asked if those nearing retirement were declaring they were long-term sick and the Member wondered whether they found this happens in the police service?

The Chief Constable said they were difficult issues, but that there were isolated cases where it happens. They were focused on it and said that unfortunately that these people got a doctor’s note.
The Chair mentioned processes where they were referred on and it was not just the case that a medical certificate was OK and that it is chased up.
A police officer referred to the work of the Performance Improvement Unit, out of ten officers, all had returned to work except two that had resigned. He pointed out that when people weren’t at work it left more work for the people left behind, which caused more problems as there was “less fat in the system”.
Mrs Frances Street (Independent) referred to John Martin and how impressed she was by the handle he had on it. She compared it to the private sector and explained that if there was leadership from the top then good practice filters down quickly.
The Chief Constable said he felt he spent far too much time visiting people with serious illnesses, such as people with cancer wondering why the Chief Constable was seeing them.
Prof Zack-Williams asked a further question.

The answer given was that the Occupational Health Unit and Human Resources had worked hard for twelve months, but a lead from the Chief Officers ensured consistency. The details were in the report, there were good signs that restricted and recuperative duties of police officers were reviewed and they were looking to apply it to police staff too.

The report was noted.

The Chair said there was no AOB and moved a motion to exclude the public from the final item on the meeting’s agenda (Strategic Options Project (Wave 2b) – Force Contact Centre Update) on the basis that it would result in information relating to an individual being revealed. He thanked the public for their attendance.