Why did Martin Morton call for three councillors to resign?

Why did Martin Morton call for three councillors to resign?

Why did Martin Morton call for three councillors to resign?


Before I go any further I will point out the following. This is with regards to Martin Morton’s statutory complaint of the 9th February 2010 involving Cllr Moira McLaughlin, Cllr Denise Roberts and Cllr Pat Williams. This was superseded by a more detailed complaint on 26th February 2010 which also included former Cllr Ann Bridson. This is about the former complaint, not the latter.

Ultimately the Standards Board for England in August 2011 issued decision notices on the complaint for Cllr Pat Williams, Cllr Moira McLaughlin, Cllr Denise Roberts and former Cllr Ann Bridson. All decision notices stated that no further action should be taken.

In each decision notice Standards for England stated “I would comment that it may be for the Council’s Monitoring Officer and Standards Committee to examine the findings of the investigation into the charging policy when if concludes and then consider the role of individual members.”

However the Anna Klonowski Associates report states on page 52 at 6.8.3/6.8.4 “A separate standards complaint had been submitted to Wirral Council’s Standards Committee in relation to certain Member conduct issues associated with this group and was referred to Standards for England” and “Whilst this matter was being investigated by Standards for England the consultant was specifically instructed by the Council not to prejudice the investigation, therefore matters relating to the conduct of Members in relation to this matter were deemed outside the terms of reference for this review.”

In a letter dated 31st March 2011 from Surjit Tour to Standards for England (reference ST/SfE2010/04) he states on page 2 “Following the May 2010 elections, the new Leader of the Council commissioned an inquiry into, inter alia, the issues raised by Martin Morton concerning the manner in which charges were raised by the Council. The Panel’s Chairperson was of the view, having liaised with members of the Initial Assessment Panel sitting on 8 April 2010, that the circumstances and facts involved in Mr Morton’s complaints, would overlap with those likely to be considered by the inquiry. Accordingly it was considered appropriate to await the outcome of the inquiry given that one of the options available to the Panel, namely to refer the matter for investigation, could potentially conflict with the inquiry.”

However back to what was alleged that councillors had done in Martin Morton’s original complaint. I’ll first deal with question 4 which is basically “Please explain in this section (or on separate sheets) what the member has done that you believe breaches the Code of Conduct.” Below is verbatim what was put in answer to that question.

I contacted Monitoring Officer Bill Norman seeking guidance in relation to this matter on 24th December 2009, having failed to elicit a response I have contacted Standards for England who have advised me to submit this complaint in accordance with Wirral Council procedures.

The full extent of the complicity of the named Councillors in the institutional financial abuse of people with learning disabilities has only recently become apparent following discovery of relevant documentation and by recent declarations of interest at Council meetings (see links below).

The specific details of my complaint are as follows:

Unlawful charges (currently identified at £241K but in reality at least double that sum) that were imposed upon people with learning disabilities at supported living establishments in Bermuda Road, Curlew Way and Edgehill Road and were levied with the full knowledge of the three Councillors identified in this submission.

However it should be noted that although many Councillors are implicated in this case Cllrs Williams I McLaughlin and Roberts are particularly culpable in terms of the Code of Conduct for Members for the following reasons:

An email sent by Jan Johnson on behalf of the director of Social Services on 27th January 2005 on behalf of the Director of Social Services at this time (Kevin Miller) indicates that he has chosen Cllrs McLaughlin, Williams, Roberts and Leslie Thomas to be part of “a members working group meeting to consider charging policy options”.

The minutes of the Charging Policy Consultation group dated 22nd August 2005 (see minutes) firmly establishes that each of the 3 Councillors were aware that the “Special Charging Policy” applied at the 3 properties named above were deemed as “unfair” (and therefore “unlawful”).

None of these Councillors saw fit to suggest that the people who had been unlawfully charged should be reimbursed and accepted that there was “unfairness in the system”* (Mike Fowler – Head of Finance DASS).

*It should be noted that this “unfairness” involved in some cases charges in excess of £100 per week and took place over a number of years. Meanwhile other vulnerable people in the same circumstance paid NOTHING.

That financial abuse took place has been firmly established following the publication of a Public Interest Disclosure Act report by the Audit commission in August 2008 and the unravelling of a cover-up at subsequent meetings of the Audit & Risk Management Committee between September 2008 – November 2009, however the specific substance of this complaint is as follows:

Cllr.Williams (ineptly) chaired a Grievance Appeal Hearing in July 2007 where one of the main issues of my grievance/whistleblowing allegations was the unlawful charges outlined above.

She failed to declare an interest despite her participation in ,the charging policy working group and should NEVER have chaired my Appeal “hearing” .

Her bias at this hearing is evidenced by the following opening exchange (there are partial minutes of this meeting corroborating this exchange):

Cllr W: “What outcome do you want from this hearing?”
Myself: “An external investigation by the Audit Commission” (which is
ironic because I eventually achieved this and was vindicated in ALL
aspects of my complaint)
Cllr W: Mr.Miller do Mr.Morton’s complaints warrant an investigation by
the Audit Commission
Kevin Miller: No they don’t
Cllr W; There, you have your answer Mr.Morton
Colin Hughes ( Wirral Council: Legal Dept) : Well I think we need to hear
the case first ….. ..

Subsequently (and revealingly) Kevin Miller on his last day of employment with Wirral Council on 31 st October 2007 left a “file note” on my personnel file stating thus:

“I can confirm that following the withdrawal of his grievance to members appeal by Mr Martin Morton I offered the Councillors who were on the appeal panel the opportunity of a briefing after the hearing.

At a later dated (sic) I briefed Councillor P M Williams to ensure that any concerns that she and her fellow members may had regarding issues raised by Mr Morton were not ignored. I also took the opportunitY to arrange for Maura Noone, Head of Service, Commissioning, Health and Wellbeing to join us to answer any queries”.

When I requested the same privilege that had been afforded to Mr.Miller and Ms.Noone and that I was given the opportunity to meet with Cllr.Williams and to disabuse her of the notion that there was nothing to be concerned about However this was DENIED to me in a letter dated 7th December 2007.

Cllr Williams recalls the briefing with Mr.Miller and Ms.Noone and states:
“During that briefing I was satisfied that the officers in the Adult Social Services Department had dealt honestly and competently with some very difficult problems ….. “.

As subsequent events have proven Adult Social Services senior management did not demonstrate honesty or competence in this particular case.

However what I did not know at the time was that Cllr.Williams had known about the unlawful charge since 2005 and was therefore was both implicated the institutional financial abuse of vulnerable people.

I therefore maintain that in failing to declare a prejudicial interest Cllr.Williams was complicit with a cover-up of financial mismanagement and gross maladministration.

I would suggest that Cllr.McLaughlin appears to have a friendship which precludes her from undertaking her role with due impartiality.

Wirral Council website records how Cllr.McLaughlin declares an interest at Council meeting 15/12/08 and Cabinet 6/11/08 on the following grounds:

“Prejudicial- due to a friendship with a potentially interested party”

This friendship has ears to preclude her ( as the Cabinet Member) from contributing to any debate relating to the financial abuse of vulnerable people, thereby sidestepping the issue that once again she was aware of the unlawful charges as part of the charging policy review group organised by former director Kevin Miller, whom I am suggesting is the friend to whom Cllr.McLaughlin refers to In her declarations of Interest.

Therefore Cllr.McLaughlin clearly regards her personal friendship to take precedence over her responsibility as Cabinet member to uphold the rights of some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Cllr.Roberts has only recently declared an interest.

She certainly didn’t declare an interest at full Council meeting on November 2nd 2009 where she moved an amendment to deny a full independent investigation into the abuse case with a speech (which she has kindly forwarded) which includes the following statements:

“We are not dealing with hidden wrongdoing and corruption that needs to be rooted out and punished …………… we are dealing ,in short, with a period of intense stress, high staff turnover, chaos and confusion, dating back ten years or more, some of which led to the Department being
placed in Special measures …… This is not to excuse what happened …….. There were clearly significant and serious management failings, which we all recognise ……… There is absolutely no reason to commission yet another Investigation into areas that have already been exhaustively
covered by the Council”.

Needless to say Cllr.Roberts fails to declare her involvement with the charging policy review group and the fact that she knew about the unlawful charges during this speech.

Moreover there has NEVER been an investigation into areas that have already been exhaustively covered by the Council”.

If they had Cllr.Williams, McLaughlin and Cllr.Roberts complicity would have been uncovered.

Cllr.Roberts motives becomes even more questionable when you consider that she has only recently declared an interest (alongside Cllr.McLaughlin at the Health and Well Being Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 19th January 2010) both citing “their friendship with an interested party”.

Consequently I believe that all three of the above Elected Members are in serious breach of ALL the The Ten General Principles outlined in the Code of Conduct for Members.
Additionally I would make specific reference to the general provisions of Wirral Council’s code In relation to:

5. “you must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or authority into disrepute”
12c. “you must not seek to improperly to influence a decision about that business”

Cabinet report of 1 December 2005
Social Care Select Committee of 14th Feb 2005-

Select Committee of 18th January 2005 –
Cabinet 24 January 2007

In answer to question 6 “Please indicate the remedy or remedies you are looking for or hoping to achieve by submitting this complaint.” Mr. Morton put “Consequences that are commensurate with the seriousness of the allegations, This ultimately means only one course of action: resignation.”

Attached to the complaint was the email below, speech of Cllr Roberts (also below) and the notes of the Charging Policy Working Group.

For information
—-Original Message—-
From: Jan Johnson (Social Services)
Sent: 27 January 2005 14:09
To: Moira McLaughlin (Councillor); Patricia Williams (Councillor); Leslie Thomas (Councillor): Denise Roberts (Councillor)
Importance: High

Sent by Jan Johnson on behalf of the Director of Social Services

Dear Councillors
The Director has asked me to arrange a members working group meeting to consider charging policy options (minuted at the last Select Committee). I would be grateful if you could let me know your availability for Tuesday 8th February following the Lib Dem briefing around 6.00 – 6.30 p.m.

Many thanks.


Jan Johnson
PA to Director
Tel: 0151 666 3650
Fax: 0151 666 4747

Denise Robert’s speech

This matter has now been the subject of intensive investigation by the Audit Commission and by the Council’s own Internal Audit.

A number of key reports have been produced and there are further reports for consideration on the Agenda of the Audit and Risk Management Committee tomorrow.

Let’s be quite clear what we are dealing with here, and what we are not dealing with.

  • We are not dealing with intentional fraud.
  • We are not dealing with decisions taken in malice.
  • We are not dealing with decisions taken for personal gain.
  • We are not dealing with hidden wrongdoing and corruption that needs to be rooted out and punished.

What we are dealing with, quite frankly, is a mess that needs to be sorted out.

  • We are dealing with honest decisions on charging taken at a time when there was no national guidance, which, in hindsight, could have been different.
  • We are dealing with decisions which were intended to improve the life of those moving from residential accommodation, where they had little disposable income, to supported living, where they had higher levels of disposable income.
  • We are dealing with decisions that, none the less, may have set charges too high, and then failed to review them.
  • We are dealing with people trying to do the best job they could, and that best job just not being good enough.
  • We are dealing with decisions not taken when the first opportunity to change things presented itself.
  • We are dealing with decisions taken, but not fully implemented.
  • We are dealing with a lengthy delay from the introduction of national guidelines on charges to their implementation in practice.
  • We are dealing, in short, with a period of intense stress, high staff turnover, chaos and confusion, dating back ten years or more, some of which led to the Department being placed in Special Measures.

This is not to excuse what happened. There were clearly significant and serious management failings, which we all recognise.

It is right and proper that these failings should be properly investigated, and we have formally thanked Mr Morton for bringing these to the Council’s attention.

It is also right and proper that every effort is made to ensure these failings cannot happen again, and that procedures are put in place so we can be absolutely sure they won’t happen again.

It is also absolutely right and proper that any individual who may have been overcharged should be compensated for that overcharging.

A recommendation has already been made by the Audit and Risk Management committee to reimburse service users at Bermuda Road, Curlew Way and Edgehill Road, Moreton for overcharging between April 2003 and February 2006 and we welcome that.

A further report is being heard by members of that committee tomorrow night which looks at whether or “not compensation should be paid for the period between 1997 and April 2003.

There is also a detailed report on the agenda from the Director of Social Services setting out the progress made in addressing the failures identified and ensuring they cannot happen again.

There have been allegations made of bullying against the whistleblower and Cabinet has already instructed the Director of Law, HR and Asset Management to initiate an investigation into these allegations and this will be carried out by an outside, independent person.

There is absolutely no reason to commission yet another investigation into areas that have already been exhaustively covered by the Council.

Measures have now been taken to put things right, and further measures have yet to be considered by the Audit and Risk Management Committee.

It’s time now to move forward, and look to the future and to much of the excellent work now being carried out by the Department of Adult Social Services.

Drawing this process out any further will serve no real purpose.
I urge you to support this amendment.

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The meeting that no longer exists: Martin Morton’s Grievance Appeal

The meeting that no longer exists: Martin Morton’s Grievance Appeal

The meeting that no longer exists: Martin Morton’s Grievance Appeal


If you check Wirral Council’s website for meetings on held on the 2nd July 2007, you’ll find details of two other public meetings scheduled for that day, but not the Appeals Sub-Committee meeting to consider a grievance hearing.

The grievance hearing started on 23rd May 2007 (that meeting was adjourned to the 2nd July 2007).

However until now it hasn’t been widely known what happened at the meeting on the 2nd July 2007. Although the notes below taken by the committee clerk of the meeting are heavily redacted, they hopefully give a flavour as to what happened at the meeting itself.

Present: Councillors G Ellis
H Smith
P Williams (appointed as Chair for this meeting)

In attendance: P Bradshaw, Head of Human Resources
C Hughes, Assistant Borough Solicitor
B Ellis, Senior Committee Officer
K Miller, Director of Adult Social Services
T Ryan, Principal Manager, HR, Adult Social Services
Mr & Mrs Martin Morton

Mr Morton referred to the previous meeting of the Sub-Committee when his grievance appeal was adjourned to enable:-

(a) The Director of Adult Social Services to provide his written replies to the appellant’s original grievances, which were not contained in his replies to the appellant’s questions of 17 January 2007.

(b) The appellant to have an opportunity to reply in writing to the Director’s responses to the outstanding grievances.

Mr Morton commented that he had only received the agenda and paperwork for the appeal hearing today on 29 June, and this placed him at a disadvantage in preparing his response. However, he didn’t want to request a further adjournment. He had taken advice and was prepared to proceed without legal representation.

Mr Morton presented a written statement setting out the basis for his appeal (copy attached).

The Chair asked Mr Morton what he hoped to achieve from today’s hearing.

Mr Morton said that he wanted his allegations to be investigated by an external body. He had asked for this in his letter to Steve Maddox, Chief Executive. However, he was not satisfied with the response and wanted an Audit Commission investigation.

C Hughes advised that the Sub-Committee needed to hear this case first.

Mr Morton said that he wanted time to prepare his written response to K Miller’s letter dated 29th June 2007.

C Hughes reported that K Miller had other commitments but his staff could respond to Mr. Morton’s questions. The Director had also provided a detailed written submission.

Mr Morton called his first witness, (name blacked out), former Unit Manager for (organisation blacked out).

M Morton (MM) asked (name blacked out) for (initials blacked out) views on the way in which (initials blacked out) concerns about (organisation blacked out) (initials of organisation blacked out) were dealt with by the Adult Social Services Department and the impact on their clients.

MM – “Did you give a statement expressing concern about (initials blacked out)? – Did you maintain contact with me after you left the organisation?”


(initials blacked out) commented “other staff also had concerns”.

MM – “Have you written to K Miller regarding these issues?”

“Yes, but I am still awaiting for a response from the Director, and the outcome of a meeting held in 2005.”

MM asked (initials blacked out) to detail some of her concerns:-

(i) (name blacked out) (an 80 year-old (blacked out) – Service Manager called at (initials blacked out) home to collect money
(ii) Incidents involving the withholding of client’s money
(iii) Health and Safety issues.

MM referred to an internal departmental meeting held on 16th June 2005, when these concerns were raised and reported that some of the complainants who had attended this meeting were either sacked or had left under duress. He was trying to raise the profile of their concerns about (blacked out).

K Miller (KM) stated that MM was making allegations and presenting them as fact and he resented this on a personal level because they were defamatory statements.

He pointed out that the grievance procedure was about employment conditions.

KM stated that MM had presented information about the practices of another organisation which he fully accepted. His department’s approach in addressing these issues was being undertaken in conjunction with the Commission of Social Care inspections.

KM said that MM was looking for an external inquiry into the care practices of (initials blacked out). He pointed out that the contracting procedure with external organisations was a separate issue and not a matter for today’s grievance hearing.

(name blacked out) said that statements had been given to the police regarding the practices of the external organisation.

C Hughes (CH) referred to the terms of reference for the grievance hearing and asked MM for an indication regarding his treatment by Adult Social Services when he had raised these concerns.

KM reported that these concerns were matters for the police not the regulatory body – Commission for Social Inspection. His department was trying to address these concerns without de-stabilising client’s living arrangements.

(name blacked out) pointed out that (initials blacked out) was never employed by Wirral.

MM called his second witness: (name blacked out) – Manager for a company providing services for adults with learning disabilities. (initials blacked out) had previously worked for (initials blacked out).

(initials blacked out) had worked for (initials blacked out) for over a year as manager of a twelve-bed unit. (initials blacked out) said that (initials blacked out) had seen practices that were abusive emanating from top management. (initials blacked out) had raised these matters with a social worker and “whistle-blew”. The police were involved and a service user was interviewed. (initial blacked out) had reported the abuse to (name blacked out), social worker and (initials blacked out) had instigated action.

KM said that he was prepared to accept that these were legitimate concerns. He referred to the protection of vulnerable adults list – which records people who are unsuitable to work in this field. t was a national register kept by the Home Office.

MM reiterated that these concerns were not dealt with adequately or effectively by the department and they were not taken seriously enough.

(name blacked out)(initials blacked out) asked (initials blacked out) if (initials blacked out) had instigated action against staff who had abused residents.

(initials blacked out) said that (initials blacked out) service manager was involved and other people who were abusive were senior to (initials blacked out) in the (initials blacked out) organisation.

(initials blacked out) had taken (initials blacked out) to a Tribunal for wrongful dismissal and had won (initials blacked out) case at the Tribunal.

MM commented that this was evidence in support of his statement that there were serious concerns.

MM called his third witness, (name blacked out), Supported Living Officer.

(initials blacked out) reported that he was a registered social worker with responsibility for assisting people in finding suitable accommodation. MM was (initials blacked out) line manager and (initials blacked out) had worked closely with him and observed him at work on a daily basis.

(initials blacked out) said that MM had an open and sharing way of working and when the team had expanded from two to six people he encouraged team members to share information and bring forward their own ideas.

(initials blacked out) said there was no criticism of MM’s style of management and no criticism regarding his approach to staff in the department.

(initials blacked out) said that (initials blacked out) had regular supervision and training.

MM asked (initials blacked out) for (initials blacked out) views on MM’s response to criticism.

(initials blacked out) said there was sometimes criticism from other teams regarding completion of forms but MM always treated this in a professional way. (initials blacked out) reiterated that MM was always open to change and always acted in a professional way.

(initials blacked out) was asked about (initials blacked out) period of sick leave from September 2005 to May 2006. (initials blacked out) said that (initials blacked out) had received good support from the department at this time, with phone calls from (initials blacked out) and home visits from (name blacked out).

(initials blacked out) commented further on the role and responsibilities of MM’s team. (initials blacked out) said that there were difficulties regarding lack of direction regarding the role of the team, and they had therefore developed their own role. MM’s role was to facilitate the relationship between housing providers and social services, develop partnerships with other agencies and build up a relationship with them. Their role in supported housing was to find property for social services’ clients to enable them to have their own tenancy agreements.

(initials blacked out) asked (initials blacked out) the following questions:-

(i) “Have you ever been bullied at work?” Answer “No”.
(ii) “(name blacked out) was appointed as your line manager in October – have you any grievance against your line manager at the moment?” Answer “No”.
(iii) “What level of support did you receive when you were on sick leave?” – Answer – “Good” (see earlier note).
(iv) “Could you elaborate on the comment “MM was on his knees”? – MM responded by saying that the appointment process had taken six months and MM had already managed the team for twenty months and there was a further period of six months before a new team leader appointment was made.

Councillor Ellis referred to (initials blacked out)’s period of sick leave and asked if things had changed while (initials blacked out) was away from work. He asked (initials blacked out) for further clarification as to the reasons why MM’s grievances had not been satisfied, i.e. what is it that the Council hasn’t done?

(initials blacked out) responded by saying that MM had raised issues around the accreditation process and senior managers in the department were disregarding what he was saying. Other people also felt that their opinions were being ignored. In his position as Supported Living Development Officer, MM was one of the few people visiting external providers’ buildings and he could therefore see things “first hand”. In his opinion, clients weren’t getting the services that they needed.

CH asked for specific examples where MM’s advice was being ignored by senior management.

Answer: “MM’s advice was generally about particular organisations. With regard to (initials blacked out) he was giving advice on the accreditation process”.

CH asked for an example of the criteria that wasn’t accepted by senior managers.

(initials blacked out) responded by saying that certain companies who did not meet the criteria were still being included in the accredited list.

CH asked if it was part of MM’s responsibility to decide which companies were selected for inclusion in the list.

Answer: “Initially, yes, but MM had withdrawn from the selection process because he wasn’t being listened to”.

CH asked for clarification regarding the way in which MM’s advice was being ignored.

Councillor Smith asked (initials blacked out) for (initials blacked out) views as to why MM’s advice should be accepted when there were other people in the department who were equally knowledgeable in this area of work.

(initials blacked out) replied by saying that MM knew more about supported living than other people.

MM reported that he had devised an application form and contract document with (blacked out) Project Officer, and an accreditation process for checking the forms that were returned. He said that he would comment verbally on the letter from KM dated 29 June 2007. His comments covered four main areas:-

(1) National policy regarding supporting people. MM emphasised that it was not his aim to change Government policy and he acknowledged that this matter was outside his control. However he was allowed to challenge and criticise some of the department’s decisions and circumvent the allegation that he did understand the the contractual constraints which the department was working under.

(2) Application of that policy locally regarding supported living providers.

MM said that he had serious concerns about some providers, which amounted to a serious default by the department. There was no evidence that (blacked out) and (blacked out) were “Fit for Purpose”.

(blacked out) were assessed as not being “Fit for Purpose”. He was being asked to collude with poor practice by agreeing to their inclusion on the accredited list.

MM referred to his discussions with (black out) Adult Protection Co-ordinator and reported that her line manager, Mark Jones, did not support the view that Adult Services should do business with (blacked out).

MM referred to allegations regarding bad practice which applied to the (blacked out).

CH advised that the hearing today could not consider fresh grievances and that they would have to go through the normal process.

MM commented on the statement “This brings me to my concern over the insight you have over processes that need to be followed”. He pointed out that he had set up the accreditation process and therefore fully understood the way in which it should work.

(3) The way the organisation listened to you and the way it supported you in terms of conflict with those providers.

MM reported that he had been called a “dogsbody” in a departmental meeting and professionally humiliated in front of other people. He had also been excluded from Partnership meetings.

MM reported that he had been threatened with violence by a service user and his response to this situation had resulted in a complaint, which went to stage 1 of the Complaints Procedure. There were other examples of malicious complaints made against MM and he felt that he wasn’t supported by the department in looking at the reasons behind these complaints. He felt there was too much emphasis in the Director’s letter of him not accepting criticism, e.g. “your view seems to be that no-one should be allowed to criticise you and the department is at fault for not stopping it”.

Councillor Ellis said that officers could reasonably expect a certain amount of criticism from service users as part of their job.

MM referred to his attendance at a meeting with Maura Noone, when he was called a “Dogsbody”.

He commented that the Director seemed to regard this as an acceptable comment “in any work environment there is an element of the throwaway comment”.

The meeting was adjourned for a lunch break.

(4) Job Role

MM said that he had maintained an impossible workload for a long time and that the department had used his goodwill in covering the team manager’s role. He had done this on Grade PO6 but the new post of Adult Team Manager was now graded PO8. The comments about him being given the opportunity to apply for post of General Adult Team leader were irrelevant. He commented on the wording in the Director’s letter “had raised his profile within the department” and said that this showed a lack of insight as to what motivated him to do his job. He pointed out that he had never been subject to disciplinary or capability issues.

The offer of a sideways move was a recurring theme in the Director’s letter but redeployment was not a resolution to his grievance. He also had an issue with comments by the Director about his attitude “a more reasonable attitude”. He resented this criticism and suggested it could be reflected back to senior managers.


He was still concerned about the exist strategy that DASS were intending to deploy in relation to (blacked out)

(c) His concerns about contingency plans in relation to tenants within (blacked out) were set out in pages 22/23 of his Bundle.

(d) He had noted that the philosophy and strategy in relation to the future direction of supported living was unchanged, but his job role had changed and he had no job description. His original post had been deleted from the establishment.

(e) There was evidence to support his perception of lack of respect, e.g. name calling and being excluded from meetings.

MM said that he would provide a written response to the above issues.

(blacked out) reported that (blacked out) had been appointed to the post of General Adult Team Manager and that the grade of the post had been changed to PO8. He asked MM if supervision had taken place, and did he discuss training opportunities. MM reported that it was a requirement of the General Social Work Council with effect from 1 April 2004 that he must provide evidence of 15 days or 90 hours of approved training in order to maintain his social work registration.

MM acknowledged that he had infrequent supervision meeting with Mrs Sheila Finnegan-Jones, Service Manager, but was asked to concentrate on work-related tasks.

(blacked out) reported that the training requirements included an element where social work staff could develop their own training requirements.

Councillor Smith had noted that training issues were not raised with Mrs Finnegan-Jones and that discussions had centred on work-related areas. He asked MM if he had highlighted the requirement to discuss training issues in his discussions with Mrs Finnegan-Jones.

Councillor Williams pointed out that Mrs Finnegan Jones had taken note of her discussions with MM regarding training.

Councillor Ellis asked if Mrs Finnegan-Jones had worked through a training checklist and asked MM to identify any issues that he wanted to raise.

MM said that he had never received a copy of these notes.

Councillor Ellis pointed out that these were formal supervision meetings and staff were notified in advance to enable them to identify any relevant issues for the ensuing discussion.

MM acknowledged that there was a prescribed form for the session but it had never been used. He had asked for copies of the notes from these sessions but had never received them.

MM reported that there was a requirement for a twelve-monthly key issues exchange. He had never had a KIE but by that time he was disillusioned with the department and had not pursued this matter.

CH referred to the importance of KIE, the purpose of which was to bring such issues to the attention of managers.

Councillor Ellis asked MM if he could agree that the department had attempted to resolve his grievance – Answer “No.”

MM referred to a number of issues relating to the effect of the heavy workload and the strain on his health in pursuing his grievances, the way in which the process was conducted, and the suggestion by the department that redeployment provided an answer to these problems.

Councillor Ellis asked for further clarification concerning MM’s frustration with national policies.

MM said that he was more concerned about practice issues and the way these policies impact on Wirral.

Councillor Ellis pointed out that the Director was ultimately responsible for the implementation of these national policies.

MM said that some practice issues were untenable and he was therefore allowed to make these criticisms.

Councillor Smith stated that the purpose of the supervisory sessions was to devise a strategy to overcome some of these problems.

(blacked out) highlighted the following points in his opening remarks:

  • MM had 14 years local government service and currently held the post of Support Living Development Officer on grade PO6
  • In July 2006, Sheila Finnegan-Jones, Service Manager, had received an e-mail from him regarding his resignation
  • A meeting had been held in August 2006 involving M Noone, S F-Jones, Martin and his trade union (see page 24)
  • On 4 September 2006, Martin was signed off sick
  • The grounds for Martin’s grievances were set out on pages 29-49
  • MM had met with the Director on three occasions to discuss these issues
  • On 5 February 2007 a formal grievance had been held (see page 18)
  • Certain allegations made by MM regarding external service providers were not part of the grievance procedure
  • MM saw himself as a “Champion of Champions”
  • MM had access to confidential information and shared this outside the organisation
  • MM had proved to be a difficult employee to manage
  • MM had a deep-seated sense of frustration with national and Council policies
  • His colleagues had worked to bring about change
  • Both MM and the Director were committed to improving services

Members were invited to ask questions of fact to (blacked out)

Councillor Smith referred to the email dated 19/7/06 regarding MM’s resignation.
MM had been advised not to hand in his resignation and in discussions prior to this it appeared that he wanted to be considered for another post.

(blacked out) reported that the e-mail seeking clarification “are you handing in your resignation?” had no undercurrent. Whilst it was clear that was resigning, there was no indication as to when he intended to return to work.

Councillor Ellis referred to the allegations which had been made against MM – that he had broken people’s confidentiality. He asked if the Director was going to provide evidence regarding these matters.

(blacked out) referred to page 73 of the department’s submission and suggested that the reasons for MM’s concerns related to the Commission for Social Care Inspection visit. A meeting on 20 June had prompted discussions with the Director on the 17 July 2006.

MM said that he was not aware of any exit strategies that DASS were intending to deploy in relation to (blacked out) and options for supported living between July/September 2006.

MM had expressed his concern that at the time when more adult protection concerns were being raised, the department was still discussing how it could continue to do business with (blacked out).

(blacked out) referred to page 73 (paragraph 4) and asked MM if he had ever been subject to close supervision and whether managers were happy with his work. He referred to a letter from M Noone to (blacked out) making clear her views on MM’s continued work with the department (see page 79).

MM commented that it had taken five months to investigate this allegation and that the allegation had proved to be unfounded.

(blacked out) referred to page 43, highlighting praise from Maura Noone for the work that MM had done.

MM agreed that this was a positive statement.

(blacked out) referred to pages 73/74 and the comment that Sheila Finnegan-Hones had blown the case out out of the water.

MM answered that this was his view.

(blacked out) referred to page 76 and asked MM if the department had taken on board his concerns.

MM said that his concerns about (blacked out) should have been taken up much earlier, that the police investigation was compromised and that financial information was not provided to the police.

(blacked out) referred to page 74 (item 9 – Social Care Standards) and asked for clarification of the statement that compliance had been put at risk.

MM said that there were still issues ongoing regarding external providers and that this had put compliance at risk.

(blacked out) referred to the notes of a meeting held on 6 November 2006 (page 6) where MM had agreed to return to his supported living post (page 11) and the Director had agreed to this.

He referred to a subsequent meeting on 28 November 2006 to discuss issues raised at the first meeting and reported that MM had then said that he didn’t want to revert to his former role. Other options were discussed with (blacked out) but MM did not consider that they were suitable alternatives.

MM said that the emphasis always seemed to be on redeployment to resolve his grievance issues, but what was being offered had no relationship to his previous experience.

(blacked out) asked MM where he thought he was going to work.

MM said that whilst he was off work on sick leave he was very stressed. He felt that he should be given the opportunity to return to work and do his job properly.

(blacked out) reported that the Director was still working on solving this problem prior to a letter dated 16 January 2007, when MM had asked to be considered for severance.

MM replied that he had taken this action because he had become frustrated with the grievance process and wanted an end to this.

(blacked out) asked if the Director had put forward severance as an option – Answer “No”.

(blacked out) referred to page 20 – MM was asking for severance but then indicated that this was not the way forward.

MM referred to page 18 and comments from the Director that “accounting to you is not going to happen”.

Councillor Ellis referred to page 73 and pointed out that only 6 minutes had elapsed between two completely different e-mails and the subsequent request for severance.

(blacked out) asked if MM’s trade union representative had raised the issue of redeployment on 11 August 2006. He also reported that the Director was trying to arrange for MM to return to work.

MM said that this was the first meeting that he had attended and he didn’t fully understand the grievance procedures but regarding them as preliminary discussions. He regarded this as a problem-solving meeting.

(blacked out) pointed out that his trade union representative was experienced in grievance procedures and should have been able to advise him.

He said that MM had been advised that the quality and assurance unit would be located at Westminster House and he had accepted that he would not be excluded and appointed to the same grade of PO6.

(blacked out) referred to MM’s allegation (page 20) that “the Chief Executive pays off whistle-blowers”. He had therefore quoted something that was completely untrue.

CH reported that this was a serious allegation which MM had made against the Chief Executive.

MM stated that this was his view.

MM referred to spurious allegations made against him by representatives of (blacked out) (pages 151-156. He had been subject to intense cross-examination at a Tribunal by the Authority’s opponents ~(page 157), and asked what protection he had been given against such accusations.

(blacked out) had noted that MM had attended the Tribunal whilst he was on sick leave and asked for his GP’s view on this matter.

MM said that his GP was prepared to allow him to attend the Tribunal. His line manager had agreed to him doing this and the Borough Solicitor and Secretary and contacted Sheila Finnegan-Jones to ask for MM to attend the Tribunal.

(blacked out) referred to page 45 and an extract from the Wirral Globe newspaper regarding the management of the Department and K Miller’s early retirement. An article from the Leader of the Council was published a week later to clarify the position. (blacked out) referred to allegations on page 50 and said they were a slur on managers’ characters which had no foundation. MM replied by saying that when officers are on friendly terms with external providers there are sometimes shared loyalties.

(blacked out) asked if there was any evidence to show that these relationships were bringing the Council into disrepute. MM replied that there was no such evidence to suggest this.

(blacked out) referred to page 49 and to comments made by M Noone “that people need a good wash”, and asked MM whether he would ever make such a statement. MM replied by saying that these comments were in poor taste.

(blacked out) referred to MM’s comments about the calibre of staff – paragraph 3, page 44, and pointed out that his statements could be taken out of context.

CH was asked for his views on arrangements for the continuation of this hearing.

He reported that arrangements could be made to resume the hearing tomorrow afternoon to finish (blacked out) cross-examination and allow him to call his witnesses. This would also allow MM to reply in writing to the Director’s letter dated 29 June.

CH reported that the Appeals Sub-Committee, on 23 May 2007, had given MM an opportunity to respond to the Director’s response to the outstanding grievances but owing to late delivery of the Director’s letter, MM needed an opportunity to respond.

It was agreed that the Sub-Committee would adjourn until 2.00 p.m. tomorrow and assess the situation and the end of that session.

*Footnote: This arrangement was overtaken by the decision of MM to withdraw his grievance appeal.

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