OFSTED, CQC and HMICFRS require Wirral Council to prepare a written statement of action by 19th May 2023 addressing 4 areas of improvement in multi-agency safeguarding

OFSTED, CQC and HMICFRS require Wirral Council to prepare a written statement of action by 19th May 2023 addressing 4 areas of improvement in multi-agency safeguarding

OFSTED, CQC and HMICFRS require Wirral Council to prepare a written statement of action by 19th May 2023 addressing 4 areas of improvement in multi-agency safeguarding

                                                     

Left (foreground) - Chief Constable of Merseyside Police Serena Kennedy, Middle (foreground) - Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside Emily Spurrell
Left (foreground) – Chief Constable of Merseyside Police Serena Kennedy, Middle (foreground) – Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside Emily Spurrell

An joint inspection of OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills), CQC (Care Quality Commission) and HMICFRS (His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services) has found four areas in which Wirral’s safeguarding arrangements need to improve.

In a letter dated 16th February 2023 to Simone White (Director for Children, Families and Education (Wirral Council)), Simon Banks (Place Director (Wirral) (NHS Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership)), Emily Spurrell (Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner) and Serena Kennedy (Chief Constable, Merseyside Police) the following areas were listed as needing to improve:-

  • How effectively the early help offer is further developed to ensure greater consistency of access for children across the local authority area.
  • The proportion of children receiving early help who benefit from a coordinated multi-agency plan to coordinate that support and to help ensure that it is as effective as possible.
  • How well the early help needs of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities are met.
  • The coordination of early help between education providers and the wider partnership.

Wirral Council (as the principal authority of the Wirral Local Safeguarding Partnership which involves Wirral Council, Merseyside Police and the NHS) is now required to prepare a written statement of action by 19th May 2023 addressing how the Local Safeguarding Partnership will address the findings of the joint inspection.

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What happened when I tried to inspect candidates’ consent to nomination forms at Birkenhead Town Hall?

What happened when I tried to inspect candidates’ consent to nomination forms at Birkenhead Town Hall?

What happened when I tried to inspect candidates’ consent to nomination forms at Birkenhead Town Hall?

                                                             

By John Brace (Editor)
First publication date: Wednesday 12th April 2023, 14:00 (GMT).

Candidate consent to nomination (Elizabeth Anne Grey) Bidston and St James ward election of a councillor to Wirral Council in 2023
Candidate consent to nomination (Elizabeth Anne Grey) Bidston and St James ward election of a councillor to Wirral Council in 2023

During the election period (once the nomination period has ended and before polling day) the nomination papers and candidate’s consent to nomination are available to be inspected.

As it (usually) runs more smoothly if they know what I want to look at in advance rather than just it being a big surprise, there had been a series of emails between myself and Wirral Council about what I wanted to look at (the candidate’s consent to nomination forms for candidates standing in the election of councillors for Bidston and St James, Claughton and Heswall) and Wirral Council knew I ’d be there on Tuesday 11th April.

When I arrived at Birkenhead Town Hall, I went up to the first floor, to find that those working on the election were behind locked doors that could only be opened with a key card (which obviously I didn’t have) and there was no doorbell. I tried knocking on that door, but nobody answered. Going back down the corridor and turning left, I found another door with a piece of A4 paper stuck to the door with “Election Office” on it.

The door was locked, so I knocked on the door and waited. I was ignored, so I knocked again. The poem The Listeners by Walter de La Mere springs to mind at this point in this tale. Eventually my persistent knocking led to someone answering the door. I explained what I was therefore and was told to go to a different room which was next door.

There I explained (again) what I was there for. The person I’d previously been in email contact with was running a training session at Wallasey Town Hall and not answering their mobile phone.

However, I was then told I couldn’t inspect the candidates’ consent to nomination as the person speaking thought that they might contain home addresses (they actually don’t contain home addresses as you can see of the example of Elizabeth Anne Grey standing in Bidston and St James ward above) and to come back in an hour.

So I returned as requested an hour later, again knocking on the unanswered door. Eventually a person angrily answered the door and barked in a frustrated way, “I’m in a meeting!” at me.

This drawn out saga is now starting to become less like Walter De La Mere’s The Traveller and along the lines of Douglas Adams quote:-

“But the plans were on display‚Ķ”
“On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
“That’s the display department.”
“With a flashlight.”
“Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
“So had the stairs.”
“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”
  

Once again I explained why I was there and this time was told to wait in the corridor outside. Shortly after, a very apologetic Wirral Council employee appeared with the paperwork I had requested to inspect.

What did suprise when I calculated the average age of the candidates in Heswall, Bidston and St James and Claughton is (I’ve just included the four political parties already represented on Wirral Council in the analysis below and for clarity have included those who have withdrawn) is how similar the average age of a candidate standing was across different political parties. In the Labour Party the average age was 54.9 years, for the Conservatives 57.7 years, in the Lib Dems 57.3 years and the Green Party it was 57.8 years.


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Accountability failures by local government highlighted in report by Research for Action and High Court Judge

Accountability failures by local government highlighted in report by Research for Action and High Court Judge

Accountability failures by local government highlighted in report by Research for Action and High Court Judge

                                 

By John Brace (Editor)
and
Leonora Brace (Co-Editor)

First publication date: 28th April 2021, 05:48 (BST).

The three boxes on the left comprise the PFI fire stations contract
The three boxes on the left comprise the PFI fire stations contract

A 40 A4 page report published today (28th April 2021) by Research for Action titled Democracy Denied: Audit and Accountability Failure in Local Government looked at the experience of those who have tried (during a 30 working day period each year) to inspect the financial records of councils, as well as the experience of those who have asked questions of auditors or made objections using rights in the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 (in England) or the Local Authority Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 2014 (in Scotland). The report concentrates on requests to inspect, as well as related rights to ask questions to the auditor and/or object to the auditor. The report is mainly about requests in relation to PFI (Private Finance Initiative) schemes or LOBO (Lender Option Borrower Option) loans.
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What’s in the nomination papers for the Labour and Conservative candidates in Bebington?

What’s in the nomination papers for the Labour and Conservative candidates in Bebington?

What’s in the nomination papers for the Labour and Conservative candidates in Bebington?

                                            

Returning Officer for Wirral Council Eric Robinson 25th March 2019
Returning Officer for Wirral Council Eric Robinson 25th March 2019

Pictured above is Wirral Council’s Returning Officer Eric Robinson. The Returning Officer does have the legal power to determine a nomination paper is invalid (which has the effect of disqualifying a candidate) if either:

(a) the particulars of the candidate or the persons subscribing the paper are not as required by law; or
(b) that the paper is not subscribed as so required.
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What’s in the nomination papers of the 4 candidates in the Upton byelection of a councillor? (Wirral Council)

What’s in the nomination papers of the 4 candidates in the Upton byelection of a councillor? (Wirral Council)

What’s in the nomination papers of the 4 candidates in the Upton byelection of a councillor? (Wirral Council)

                                            

I’ll start by declaring a relative of mine is the proposer of candidate Alan Davies’, his name and other details appear on Alan Davies’ nomination paper below. I’m also an election observer.

Below are copies of nomination papers and candidates’ consent to nomination for the 4 candidates in the Upton byelection of a councillor to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council following the resignation of Matthew Patrick. Polling day is on the 22nd November 2018.
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