Who is on the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee to discuss the consultation over the closure of Walk-In Centres and what will be discussed at its public meeting tonight?

Who is on the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee to discuss the consultation over the closure of Walk-In Centres and what will be discussed at its public meeting tonight?

Who is on the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee to discuss the consultation over the closure of Walk-In Centres and what will be discussed at its public meeting tonight?

                                         

Arrowe Park Walk In Centre 8th November 2018
Arrowe Park Walk In Centre 8th November 2018

Updated 5:27pm 1.7.2019 to reflect Wirral Council’s changed position on webcasting the meeting.

On Monday 1st July 2019 starting at 6.00 pm in the Council Chamber (1st floor) at Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Seacombe, CH44 8ED the Wirral & Cheshire West and Chester Joint Scrutiny Committee meets for its second public meeting to consider the consultation (which ran from 12th September 2018 to the 20th December 2018) on the closures of walk in centres. This public meeting was originally supposed to happen in February 2019, was then rearranged to June 2019 (that public meeting was then cancelled) and finally rearranged to the 1st July 2019.

Councillors Yvonne Nolan (Labour), Tony Norbury (Labour) and Mary Jordan (Conservative) are the 3 Wirral Council councillors on it. Councillors Kate Cernik (Labour), Michael Edwardson (Labour) and Lynn Riley (Conservative) are the 3 Chester West and Chester councillors on it.
Continue reading “Who is on the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee to discuss the consultation over the closure of Walk-In Centres and what will be discussed at its public meeting tonight?”

Will Wirral Council start charging up to £25 a year for parking permits in resident parking scheme areas?

Will Wirral Council start charging up to £25 a year for parking permits in resident parking scheme areas?

Will Wirral Council start charging up to £25 a year for parking permits in resident parking scheme areas?

                                         

Cabinet (Wirral Council) 19th June 2017 Cllr Stuart Whittingham (left) Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport
Cabinet (Wirral Council) 19th June 2017 Cllr Stuart Whittingham (left) Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Wirral Council’s Cabinet will be asked next Monday morning to approve recommendations that include consulting residents on an annual charge for parking permits for those that live in the following resident parking scheme areas:
Continue reading “Will Wirral Council start charging up to £25 a year for parking permits in resident parking scheme areas?”

What do a car crash, road safety, A-boards, Wirral Council and the Merseyside OPCC have in common?

What do a car crash, road safety, A-boards, Wirral Council and the Merseyside OPCC have in common?

What do a car crash, road safety, A-boards, Wirral Council and the Merseyside OPCC have in common?

                                        

Councillor Michael Sullivan (Chair, Wirral Council's Business and Overview Scrutiny Committee) at a public meeting held on the 13th September 2016. His microphone is now... on!
Councillor Michael Sullivan (Chair, Wirral Council’s Business and Overview Scrutiny Committee) at a public meeting held on the 13th September 2016. His microphone is now… on!

Yesterday evening’s meeting of Wirral Council’s Business and Overview Scrutiny Committee was for once quite literally car crash TV.

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Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Wirral Council) 14th September 2016 (Agenda item 4 Road Safety – Reducing Pedestrian Casualties starts at 2m:21s) Part 1 of 5

However, the first main item at the public meeting was about reducing pedestrian casualties and road safety. You can read the reports for this agenda item that are linked to from this page on Wirral Council’s website.

Cllr Warren Ward reminded those present at the start of his declaration of interest by saying,

“Chair, I’ve got a declaration of interest.

In the report it mentions a quote from the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner.

In 2014, I was employed as a private secretary to errm the Police and Crime Commissioner Panel.”

 

I am of course welcome that Cllr Warren Ward brought this up, as Wirral’s criminal justice system caught up with Merseyside’s former Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner on the subject of road safety (although the embarrassing incident below wasn’t mentioned at last night’s meeting). At the time of the offence she was Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner.

Cllr Ann O’Byrne (who for the purposes of clarity and avoidance of doubt is a completely different councillor to the current Merseyside Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Cllr Sue Murphy) according to a report in the Liverpool Echo pled guilty at Wirral Magistrates’ Court to two driving offences which were

driving “without due care and attention”

and

failing to stop after a road accident

 

after crashing into an orange BMW Mini. She pled guilty, was fined and had to pay prosecution costs of £565.

Of course there will be many regular readers who will see parallels between this behaviour and that of some politicians.

In the past some councillors have been accused of failing to stop going on after political accidents (such as the library closure programme only halted by a government ordered public inquiry), of generally being politicians behaving “without due care and attention” and also in the process of being more interested in scoring petty party political points and damaging the peoples’ trust in democratic systems in the process.

But then I shouldn’t be too critical as there are plenty of good politicians too that unfortunately get tarred by the same brush by association!

Certainly there is a lot of car crash TV I have filmed at public meetings over the years!

Moving swiftly back to the subject of the current Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy. She was asking questions on Monday afternoon about the effect on jobs of a joint Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service project (involving consultants Deloittes are doing) at an eleven minute public meeting of the Police and Fire Collaboration Committee (see video of the meeting below). You can read the agenda and reports to do with that on Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority’s website.

As this is a committee of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, I had better declare an interest as an Appellant in a First-tier Tribunal case in which Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority are Second Respondent (case reference EA⁄2016⁄0054).

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Police and Fire Collaboration Committee (Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority) Monday 12th September 2016

On the subject of legal action, at the meeting of last night’s meeting of Wirral Council’s Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the subject of A-boards and pedestrian safety was raised with respect to a display outside a fruit and vegetable shop in Moreton which was previously covered by this blog in 2012 (including a photo of the shop display in question).

David Rees (a road safety manager at Wirral Council) made it clear at the meeting that Wirral Council hadn’t received any legal claims for compensation from pedestrians arising from A-boards on the footway.

Conservative councillor Gerry Ellis stated that the person who had raised the issue with Wirral Council about the A-board outside a Moreton shop had been threatened with legal action by Wirral Council and asked a senior manager at Wirral Council (the Head of Environment and Regulation Mark Smith) to explain why.

However the Labour Chair of the Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee Councillor Michael Sullivan intervened before Mark Smith had a chance to answer. I will also point out that from my recollection at least one Labour councillor expressed the view at the meeting that Wirral Council employees should not be criticised by Wirral Council councillors.

The Chair decided unilaterally that in his view the report was purely about pedestrian casualties and that as he knew of no recorded accidents known to Wirral Council involving A-boards, Cllr Sullivan told Cllr Ellis that Wirral Council’s Business Overview and Scrutiny Committee wasn’t the forum for discussing such matters and ended any debate on the matter.

Finally, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner have been in touch with me.

During the 30 working day inspection period this year (which finished mid-August 2016) I requested some invoices. However I challenged whether some of the blacked out bits were done properly in accordance with the legislation. Technically not providing the information inside the 30 working day inspection period is unlawful (although it’s a civil law matter).

So I challenged it and around a month later got back three invoices from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside with less redaction.

Can the citizens of Merseyside expect the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside to understand the law? Would that be expecting too much considering these invoices are to their “legal services department”? Or was this a genuine mistake? Or am I too robust in press scrutiny of the local public sector?

As it’s a related topic to the issue of police appeal tribunals I’ll point out that Cllr Mary Rasmussen is proposing at a meeting of Liverpool City Council tonight at the time of writing (14th September 2016 if you’re not reading this on the day it is published) a boycott by vendors and retailers selling the Sun newspaper in Liverpool over its reporting of matters involving the police Hillsborough. The three invoices are for the following:

1) An invoice from Drystone Chambers (based in London) for the services of Mr Gregory Perrins (a barrister) at a Police Appeals Tribunal held on the 4th December 2015 for £1,632.

2) An invoice from Mishcon de Reya (a London-based firm of solicitors) was for £6,000 for supply of legal services in the matter “Royal Mail – VAT Invoices for Postage Services”)

3) An invoice from Slater and Gordon UK LLP for £2,221.92 (a Manchester based firm of solicitors) for professional charges involving criminal defence and disbursements.

 

Each invoice is an A4 page and all 3 invoices involving the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for legal services 2015-2016 financial year are provided here.

I am of course grateful to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for resolving these issues so quickly in a month, rather than the over three years it takes Wirral Council to properly consider the redactions on an information request (request made 29th March 2013, information provided in redacted form 19th May 2016)! In the interests of openness and transparency I had better declare I was Appellant in that case where Wirral Council was Second Respondent.

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5 days after Lyndale School closes, Labour councillors on Wirral Council’s Cabinet will meet to decide on a further consultation on sale of Lyndale School and the playing fields

5 days after Lyndale School closes, Labour councillors on Wirral Council’s Cabinet will meet to decide on a further consultation on sale of Lyndale School and the playing fields

5 days after Lyndale School closes, Labour councillors on Wirral Council’s Cabinet will meet to decide on a further consultation on sale of Lyndale School and the playing fields


                                        

Cabinet 17th December 2014 vote on Lyndale School closure L to R Cllr Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Education), Cllr George Davies, Cllr Ann McLachlan
Cabinet 17th December 2014 vote to close Lyndale School L to R Cllr Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Education), Cllr George Davies, Cllr Ann McLachlan

Wirral Council’s Cabinet, who decided to close Lyndale School effective from the end of August 2016 (this month), will be making a further decision about Lyndale School at the first Cabinet meeting after it closes.

The decision to close Lyndale School was opposed by the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Green Party councillors on Wirral Council, but supported by Labour councillors.

At a public meeting of Wirral Council’s Cabinet to be held on the 5th September 2016, the Cabinet will be asked to declare Lyndale School a surplus asset and to seek permission from the government to sell both the Lyndale School site and the playing fields. If agreed there will then be a further consultation on disposal.

The review of commissioning of high needs places, promised to parents during the drawn out process of closing Lyndale School (which many parents stated would conclude after Lyndale School had been closed) will report back to Cabinet on the 3rd of October 2016 (around 5 weeks after Lyndale School will have closed).

As revealed by this blog exclusively in September 2014, Wirral Council’s asset register assigned a value of £1,788,103.00 to the buildings on the Lyndale School site and £908,000 to the land (total £2,696,103.00) in February 2013.

Elleray Park School (another primary school on Wirral in the special sector) has recently had internal alterations and an extension in a contract estimated at £1,028,109.84. It was stated by Wirral Council’s senior management that some of the remaining pupils at Lyndale School when it closed would be transferred to Elleray Park (although this appears now not to be the case as parents have chosen other schools) and an invoice for some of the recent building work (£170,798.74) at Elleray Park School is below.

Wirral Council Elleray Park Primary School Lyjon Company Ltd £170,796.74 28th September 2015 resized
Wirral Council Elleray Park Primary School Lyjon Company Ltd £170,796.74 28th September 2015 resized

Also in 2015 the former Foxfield School in Moreton (which is another special primary school on the Wirral but for clarity this is after the school was moved from Moreton to a new site in Woodchurch) was demolished (see invoice below).

Wirral Council Foxfield School Powell Demolition Ltd £82,050.25th November 2015 resized
Wirral Council Foxfield School Powell Demolition Ltd £82,050.25th November 2015 resized

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Notice of Motion on flooding in Moreton to be debated by Wirral’s councillors tonight

Notice of Motion on flooding in Moreton to be debated by Wirral’s councillors tonight

Notice of Motion on flooding in Moreton to be debated by Wirral’s councillors tonight

                                                             

Cllr Chris Blakeley (foreground centre) the proposer of the Notice of Motion on flooding in Moreton at a public meeting last month
Cllr Chris Blakeley (foreground centre) the proposer of the Notice of Motion on flooding in Moreton at a public meeting last month

Wirral Council has a sub domain (democracy.wirral.gov.uk) on its website which is used to publish information to do with public meetings.

Due to the way its configured, the search engines (at least the search engines that respect such rules) are barred from searching pages on its website.

I have to declare at this point that I earn money from Google. However to illustrate this point a quick search of the site in Google will only show one page even though there are many more pages than that.

So I used a program called Xenu Link Sleuth to create an index of pages on that part of Wirral Council’s website. This has thrown up many interesting (and some quite frankly dull pages).

For example, one of the larger files on that part of Wirral Council’s website at nearly 17 megabytes is the Mersey Heartlands Water Cycle Study (January 2014) (100 pages) which was done for Wirral Council and Liverpool City Council by URS Infrastructure & Environment UK Ltd. The report is connected to this