PC David Phillips, killed in the line of duty, awarded Freedom of the Borough by Wirral’s councillors at emotional meeting

PC David Phillips, killed in the line of duty, awarded Freedom of the Borough by Wirral’s councillors at emotional meeting

                                         

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Video above is of the public meeting of Wirral Council held on the 20th May 2016 to award the Freedom of the Borough posthumously to PC David Phillips.

Mayor and Mayoress of Wirral presenting a Freedom of Borough award for PC David Phillips posthumously at the Extraordinary Council meeting of Wirral Council held on the 20th May 2016
Mayor and Mayoress of Wirral presenting a Freedom of Borough award for PC David Phillips posthumously at the Extraordinary Council meeting of Wirral Council held on the 20th May 2016

The highest honour Wirral Council can bestow on a Wirral citizen is called Freedom of the Borough. Wirral Council councillors decided last Friday evening to give this award posthumously to PC David Phillips and make him an Honorary Freeman of the Borough.

Last year PC David Phillips had been trying to stop two burglars who were fleeing the scene of their crimes in a stolen red Mitsubishi pick up truck. The truck was being chased at high-speed through the Wirral streets at night by police cars.

He had put a ‘stop stick’ (used to burst a vehicle’s tyres) across the Wallasey Dock Road in Seacombe and was waiting for the truck to go over the ‘stop stick’ to bring the high-speed chase to an abrupt halt.

The fleeing burglar avoided the ‘stop stick’ across the road by crashing the vehicle into PC David Phillips. PC David Phillips was struck by the front of the Mitsubishi pick up truck and his colleague PC Thomas Birkett jumped out-of-the-way. PC David Phillips then tragically died of his injuries. The driver, who didn’t stop at the scene was later convicted in Manchester Crown Court of manslaughter and sentenced to twenty years. He was also banned from driving for three years.

PC David Phillips left behind a wife and two young daughters.

The Bishop of Birkenhead Rt Reverend Keith Sinclair started the meeting with a prayer.

After apologies were given for councillors who couldn’t make it to the meeting, the Mayor of Wirral asked for a round of applause for the police band, who had been playing before the meeting started in the lobby to Wallasey Town Hall.

The Mayor of Wirral Cllr Pat Hackett explained the background to why the award was being considered. Leader of the Labour Group Cllr Phil Davies nominated the motion to award Freedom of the Borough to PC David Phillips.

Leader of the Conservative Group Cllr Jeff Green and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group Cllr Phil Gilchrist jointly seconded the nomination and both spoke in favour of granting the award to PC David Phillips.

PC Phillips’ father Robin Phillips spoke about how honoured and proud the family was that he was nominated for this award and described the goodwill his family had received following PC Dave Phillip’s death.

Sir Jon Murphy QPM (Chief Constable for Merseyside Police) described it as a “wonderful honour”.

Cllr Lesley Rennie (a former police officer) in an emotional speech spoke of the culture in the police force and how he would not be forgotten.

The scroll and mounted award was then presented to PC Phillips’ widow and children by the Mayor & Mayoress. A second duplicate mounted award was then presented by the Mayor and Mayoress to PC Phillip’s father Robin.

The Mayor of Wirral Cllr Pat Hackett and before ending the meeting thanked all those who had attended.

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133 photos of the 2016 Chinese New Year celebrations in Liverpool

133 photos of the 2016 Chinese New Year celebrations in Liverpool

                                                           

Yesterday I was in Liverpool for the 2016 Chinese New Year celebrations. This year it’s the Year of the Monkey.

I’ll start off by making clear what connection it has to Liverpool City Council (as this blog is about public bodies) and first state the role that Liverpool City Council played in the 2016 Chinese New Year celebrations.

Firstly, there are a series of road closures that they have to get right as a lot of Chinatown in Liverpool and the surrounding roads around it are closed to traffic. There are also extra litter pickers going round.

As you can see from what’s in the background photos below of Great George Square, there are banners up about the City of Liverpool and the Mayor.

There are large crowds that attend, so Merseyside Police have police officers patrolling the crowds.

Transport wise major events like these require a lot of planning too.

The public sector has a huge role in making sure major events like these run smoothly.

I took 133 photos of the 2016 Chinese New Year festivities in Liverpool which you can view below. The photos below have been resized to 500 pixels wide so they display properly on this blog, but you can view the original high-resolution photos in this Flickr album.

Chinese New Year Liverpool 2016 Black-E 7th February 2016 photo 1
Chinese New Year Liverpool 2016 Black-E 7th February 2016 photo 1

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SATIRE: What do Star Wars and elected mayors have in common?

SATIRE: What do Star Wars and elected mayors have in common?

SATIRE: What do Star Wars and elected mayors have in common?

                                                       

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George Lucas imagines a fictional meeting of politicians

Star Wars gives a vision of what elected Mayors will be like
Star Wars gives a vision of what elected Mayors will be like

The following is parody/satire protected by this legislation. Star Wars is of course owned by Disney.

(dramatic music)

Tagge: Until Wirral Council is fully operational, we are vulnerable! The opposition parties are too well equipped. They’re more dangerous than you realise!

Motti: Dangerous to your political party, not to Wirral Council!

Tagge: The tax credits rebellion will continue to gain support in the House of Lords!

Elected Mayor: The House of Lords will no longer be of any concern to us. I have just received word that Prime Minister Cameron has dissolved the House of Lords permanently. The last remnants of the old democracy have been swept away.

Tagge: But that’s impossible! How will Prime Minister Cameron maintain control without the bureaucracy?

Elected Mayor: The elected Mayors now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the locals in line, fear of Wirral Council.

Tagge: And what of the rebellion? If the rebels have obtained a complete technical readout of Wirral Council, it is possible however unlikely that they might find a weakness and exploit it!

Lord Vader: The plans you refer to will soon be back in our hands.

Motti: Any attack made by the opposition parties against Wirral Council would be a useless gesture, no matter what technical data they’ve obtained.

Wirral Council is now the ultimate power in the universe! I suggest we use it!

Lord Vader: Don’t be too proud of this Wirral Council you’ve constructed. The ability to collect council tax is insignificant next to the power of politics.

Motti: Don’t try to frighten us with your sorcerer’s ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to politics has not helped you conjure up the stolen plans, or given you enough clairvoyance to find the rebels’ hidden fortress…

[Lord Vader makes a pinching motion and he starts choking]

Lord Vader: I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Elected Mayor: Enough of this! Vader, release him!

Lord Vader: As you wish.

[He does]

Elected Mayor: This bickering is pointless. Now Lord Vader will provide us with the location of the stolen plans by the time Wirral Council is operational. We will then crush the opposition parties with one swift stroke.

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16 Wirral Council invoices for temp senior managers (IT & SEN), other temps and catering

16 Wirral Council invoices for temp senior managers (IT & SEN), other temps and catering

16 Wirral Council invoices for temp senior managers (IT & SEN), other temps and catering

                                                       

Below are sixteen invoices (among many) that I requested from Wirral Council during the short inspection period when local government electors can inspect and receive copies of contracts and invoices for the last financial year. Each thumbnail image links to a higher resolution copy of each invoice.

I made a trip on Friday afternoon to pick up copies and thought I would start with ones that relate to the recent story in the Wirral Globe Wirral Council freelance staff and consultants are costing taxpayers millions which follows on from my blog post in March Why has Wirral Council spent £6,003,273.07 on temporary staff over the past 10 months?. All except one of the invoices below are for agency staff.

Eleven of the sixteen invoices (various numbers below) are from Odgers Interim who describe themselves on their website as “a leading UK interim management recruitment firm”. These are for the services of an Interim Head of IT (the previous Head of IT took redundancy in March 2013 as the Head of IT post was deleted in a senior management restructure) and an Interim Strategic SEN Lead (the previous SEN Lead Paul Ashcroft left Wirral Council in December 2013, just before it was made public that Lyndale School could close).

The Interim Head of IT (bear in mind the Head of IT post was deleted in the 2012 management restructure to produce “savings”) provided by Odgers Interim cost Wirral Council a daily rate of £695+VAT/day according to the monthly invoices.

Phil Ward (SEN Lead) who chaired the Lyndale School consultation meetings
Phil Ward (SEN Lead) who chaired the Lyndale School consultation meetings

The Interim Strategic SEN Lead Phil Ward (see the photo) was also provided by Odgers Interim. He cost Wirral Council (surprisingly) more than the Interim Head of IT. Odgers Interim were charging Wirral Council £775+VAT/day for his services.

Four of the rest of the invoices (numbers 497-500) are also for agency staff. Invoices 497 to 499 are from Badenoch & Clark. Unfortunately I only have been given the first page of these two page invoices (presumably the second missing pages are timesheets). Each of the Badenoch & Clark ones are marked “STRICTLY PRIVATE & CONFIDENTIAL” . I presume that the rates (£348.10, £345 and £348.10) are daily rates, so these invoices are just for short-term cover mainly for a week, but the last invoice is for three and a half days.

There is also a CIPFA (invoice numbered 500) (Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy) invoice for 19 days of interim cover at £710 a day for an “associate” (total including VAT £16,188).

Finally invoice 889 is for £1,303.25 + VAT (total £1,563.90) is from Carringtons Catering Limited for the catering at the public meeting on the 2nd June 2014 at the Floral Pavilion. This was the meeting last year at which Cllr Steve Foulkes was made Mayor.

Having these long-term temporary arrangements has to be more expensive to Wirral Council than recruiting new people. I do realise that in the Wirral Globe article that Joe Blott explains that they’re had trouble recruiting to the SEN post. It also makes you wonder why in the first place in 2012 that the Head of IT post was deleted and whether the “savings” of that 2012 management restructure (slightly offset by the three new strategic directors posts) were achievable?

Wirral Council invoice 67 Odgers Interim March 2014 Interim Head of IT 19 days @ £695 + VAT £15846 thumbnail
Wirral Council invoice 67 Odgers Interim March 2014 Interim Head of IT 19 days @ £695 + VAT £15846 thumbnail

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Expense claim forms for Councillor Cherry Povall, JP 2013 to 2014

Expense claim forms for Councillor Cherry Povall, JP 2013 to 2014

Expense claim forms for Councillor Cherry Povall, JP 2013 to 2014

                                                   

Councillor Cherry Povall is a Conservative Party councillor for Clatterbridge ward and is also a magistrate (also known as Justice of the Peace). However these expense claims are to do with her work as a councillor and not as a magistrate. It does give me the opportunity to ask, will any of her expenses claims be ruled “out-of-order” or is the bench “above reproach”?

Will the “court of public opinion” approve of Councillor Cherry Povall’s expenses or criticise her? Well that’s enough of the legal jokes! Her expenses claims are for going to pension conferences, more pensions meetings, Council meetings, foster panels, training for people on foster panels, overview and scrutiny committee meetings and the Youth and Play Service Advisory Committee.

However not all her expenses claims were allowed! In March 2014, she tried to claim £6.40 for travel (16 miles ~ 40p/mile) to a dedication to HMS Birkenhead (which from leaving her house to coming back she spent three and a half hours at). This £6.40 claim was rejected. Pictures (which include former Mayor Councillor Dave Mitchell) and a write-up about the new memorial to HMS Birkenhead can be read on The Sixth Form College (Birkenhead)’s website as it was one of their students who designed it.

I presume as this wasn’t classed as an “approved duty” that this is why it was turned down (however presumably all councillors received an invite to the unveiling of the memorial).

Her expense claim forms are below (the rejected claim for travel expenses to the HMS Birkenhead memorial is on page eight).

Cllr Cherry Povall expenses claim page 1
Cllr Cherry Povall expenses claim page 1
Cllr Cherry Povall expenses claim page 2
Cllr Cherry Povall expenses claim page 2
Cllr Cherry Povall expenses claim page 3
Cllr Cherry Povall expenses claim page 3
Cllr Cherry Povall expenses claim page 4
Cllr Cherry Povall expenses claim page 4
Cllr Cherry Povall expenses claim page 5
Cllr Cherry Povall expenses claim page 5
Cllr Cherry Povall expenses claim page 6
Cllr Cherry Povall expenses claim page 6
Cllr Cherry Povall expenses claim page 7
Cllr Cherry Povall expenses claim page 7
Cllr Cherry Povall expenses claim page 8
Cllr Cherry Povall expenses claim page 8

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