What did 21 invoices show Wirral Council spent money on?

What did 21 invoices show Wirral Council spent money on?

What did 21 invoices show Wirral Council spent money on?

Cllr Jeff Green (right) is the current Chair of Wirral Council’s Audit and Risk Management Committee
Cllr Jeff Green (right) is the current Chair of Wirral Council’s Audit and Risk Management Committee

A few months ago I exercised a right under section 26 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 for invoices, credit card statements or requests for payment connected to various payments Wirral Council made during the 2018-19 financial year. Wirral Council is currently predicting it will overspend its agreed budget in 2019-20.
Continue reading “What did 21 invoices show Wirral Council spent money on?”

What’s going on at Wirral Council?

What’s going on at Wirral Council?

What’s going on at Wirral Council?

                                              

Madam Mayor and Surjit Tour (Annual Council) Meeting (Wirral Council) 16th May 2017
Madam Mayor and Surjit Tour (Annual Council) Meeting (Wirral Council) 16th May 2017

And so did councillors gather and the meeting got to “Leader’s Announcement”, otherwise known as the gospel according to Cllr Phil Davies.

Cllr Phil Davies gave a prayer of thanks for Councillor Jeff Green and asked for his appreciation to be recorded.

He set out his priorities for the next year which of course include the 2020 pledges.

Three new Cabinet portfolios would be created, “Delivering Differently”, “Transformation” and “Finance and Regeneration”.

However “issues” had arisen in Children’s Services according to Phil. The Director of Children’s Services had resigned and his Cabinet Member had “stepped down” which Phil felt was the “right decision”.

Cllr Phil Davies continued, but as this is an election period, we have to provide some political balance on this blog.

But before that, some words from someone who isn’t allowed to be party political Madam Mayor. She was asked why she decided to stop around sixty councillors from speaking on this topic towards the end of the meeting.

Madam Mayor said, “Council, I have exercised at my discretion, I do not have to explain that to you! I’ve accepted it. You or any other Member of the Council, this is how we will proceed now.

This is going to be the order of speakers, Group Leader for the Conservative Group Cllr Ian Lewis (5 minutes), Group Leader for the Liberal Democrat Group Cllr Phil Gilchrist (5 minutes), Deputy Group Leader for the Conservative Group Cllr Lesley Rennie (3 minutes), the spokesperson for the Liberal Democrat Group Cllr Alan Brighouse (3 minutes), the Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services Cllr Bernie Mooney (3 minutes), the Leader of the Council Cllr Phil Davies (5 minutes).”

Cllr Ian Lewis said he had, “no faith whatsoever that the lessons have been learned or that this department is being well-led” and went on to say, “Madam Mayor, it is our view that such is the chaos in this department, that expecting this problem to be managed in-house is no longer feasible. Nor is it acceptable to expect unelected individuals to manage the department under the guise of an Improvement Board that meets in secret.

Extra support and guidance to this Council is required. Not one person on this Council can hold the Improvement Board to account in public. That is not good enough!

For that reason Madam Mayor, the Conservative Group will be asking for government intervention as we’ve seen in other failing authorities with similar cases as we’ve seen in the Liverpool Echo and other media over the last 48 hours.

Madam Mayor, whether this happens or not, the Conservative Group will not sit quietly while those in authority such as Cllr Davies utter platitudes and wring their hands. We will hold this administration to account, before, during and after the serious case review and at every opportunity from now on.”

Cllr Phil Gilchrist said, “The minutes of the Improvement Board are available in public on the Council’s website if Members wish to look for them. They record the contributions of Members I think fairly and accurately.

I do think that the Chair Eleanor Brazil is determined that things should improve and is keeping a very weather eye on it. I’m not in the business of rocking the boat when work is in hand and in progress. The issue is that the work is in progress, but incomplete.”

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Annual Council (Part 2) Wirral Council 16th May 2017 Part 2 of 2

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6 month freedom of information battle almost over as government releases correspondence on Wirral View (Wirral Council’s controversial newspaper)

6 month freedom of information battle almost over as government releases correspondence on Wirral View (Wirral Council’s controversial newspaper)

6 month freedom of information battle almost over as government releases correspondence on Wirral View (Wirral Council’s controversial newspaper)

                            

Cllr Jeff Green (Conservative Leader) on the right speaking at the Extraordinary Meeting of Wirral Council to discuss Girtrell Court 4th April 2016
Cllr Jeff Green (right) (Conservative Leader) 4th April 2016 who has been lobbying the Conservative government about Wirral Council’s Wirral View publication

This story has been a 6 month freedom of information battle involving myself, the regulator ICO and the Department of Communities and Local Government involving correspondence between councillors on Wirral Council and MPs involving the controversial Wirral View publication published by Wirral Council.

Just for clarity, Wirral View is opposed by Conservative councillors, Liberal Democrat councillors and the Wirral Globe.

The ruling Labour Group on Wirral Council however supports the spending of taxpayers’ money on the project. Although it has to be pointed out that they have recently performed a U-turn and axed the issue that was scheduled to go out during the election period.

There have been repeated calls from the Labour Group on Wirral Council for the Conservative councillors to lobby the Conservative government. Although ironically they appear opposed to this sort of lobbying and have gone as far as to refer to this lobbying at at least one public meeting as inciting the government to take legal action against Wirral Council.

A series of recent decision notices issued by the regulator ICO (FS50646655, FS50646730, FS50651166) have dealt with information requests made to Wirral Council for copies of the legal advice they received on this matter.

Here are details of what has been released today. I will point out that some of the factual accuracy of what is in some of this correspondence is disputed.

However as editor I feel it is important that the voting public see what goes on “behind the scenes” on a politically sensitive issue in the lead up to a series of elections related to it (Claughton byelection, general election and Mayoral election).

An earlier name for the project was Wirral Today and its referred to that name in the email chain rather than Wirral View.

Document 1 – Wirral 1.pdf
Letter from Marcus Jones MP to Cllr Phil Davies (undated)
Metadata: created 28/6/16 modified 20/12/16

Document 2 – Wirral 2.pdf
Letter from Marcus Jones MP to Cllr Phillip Davies
(undated) but stamped 05 DEC 2016
Metadata: created 5/12/16 modified 20/12/16

Document 3 – Wirral 3.pdf
Letter from Cllr Phillip L Davies to Marcus Jones MP dated 28th July 2016
Metadata: created 1/8/16 modified 20/12/16

Document 4 – Wirral 4.pdf
Letter from Cllr Jeff Green to the Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP dated 1/8/16
Metadata: created 1/8/16 modified 20/12/16

Document 5 – Wirral 5.pdf
Letter from Marcus Jones MP to Cllr Jeff Green stamped 23 AUG 2016
Metadata: created 23/8/16 modified 20/12/16

Document 6 – Wirral 6.pdf
Letter (sent by email) from Marcus Jones MP to Cllr Jeff Green stamped 20 OCT 2016
Metadata: created 20/10/16 modified 20/12/16

Document 7 – Wirral 7 R.pdf
Letter from Cllr Jeff Green to Marcus Jones MP dated 4/11/2016 stamped 07 NOV 2016
Metadata: created modified

Redactions (note numbering is from top to bottom)

Page 1
Block 1 –
Block 2 –

Page 2
Block 3 –
Block 4 –
Block 5 –

Document 8 – Wirral 8.pdf
Letter from Marcus Jones MP to Cllr Jeff Green stamped 06 DEC 2016
Metadata Created 20/12/16 Modified 20/12/16

Document 9 – Wirral 9.pdf
Letter from Cllr Phil Davies to Marcus Jones MP dated 28th July 2016
Metadata Created 1/8/16 Modified 20/12/16

Note: this appears to be a redacted version of document 3.

Document 9a- Wirral 9a.pdf
Emails (various dates)

There have also been reported problems with distribution to Wirral residents of the first five editions of Wirral View (October 2016, November 2016, December 2016, January 2017 and February 2017).

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Was legal advice given to 9 Wirral Council councillors who abstained on car parking charges vote flawed?

Was legal advice given to 9 Wirral Council councillors who abstained on car parking charges vote flawed?

Was legal advice given to 9 Wirral Council councillors who abstained on car parking charges vote flawed?

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Council (Wirral Council) Extraordinary (Car Parking Charges) 6th March 2017 Part 1 of 2

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Council (Wirral Council) Extraordinary (Car Parking Charges) 6th March 2017 Part 2 of 2

Cllr Jeff Green (right) (Leader of the Conservative Group of councillors on Wirral Council) explaining why he is opposed to Labour's plan to increase car parking charges
Cllr Jeff Green (right) (Leader of the Conservative Group of councillors on Wirral Council) explaining why he is opposed to Labour’s plan to increase car parking charges

Wirral Council councillors met on Monday evening, following a request by 21 Conservative councillors for an extraordinary meeting of Wirral Council to call on the ruling Labour administration to withdraw its plans to:

a) increase charges at all existing car parks by 20 pence from next year and

b) introduce car parking charges in Wirral’s parks.

This follows a partial U-turn by the Labour administration on the original proposals, the revised proposals can be read in this Cabinet report.

The decision in that Cabinet report is on hold as the matter has been