The dark days of Wirral Council and the "bureaucratic machinations" surrounding the Anna Klonowski Associates report

The dark days of Wirral Council and the “bureaucratic machinations” surrounding the Anna Klonowski Associates report

The dark days of Wirral Council and the “bureaucratic machinations” surrounding the Anna Klonowski Associates report


Councillor Steve Foulkes answers a question during the public question time section of a Council meeting in December 2011
Councillor Steve Foulkes answers a question during the public question time section of a Council meeting in December 2011

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The public question time element of the Council meeting on 12th December 2011

I thought I would write a blog post today on what was probably one of those nearly forgotten times in Wirral Council’s history (which you can watch above recorded by my wife).

I include a transcript below about what was said at that meeting and well worth watching is another video below which is a clip from when a discussion of the same issue was on the North West News in January 2012. It was around the time of the news clip that Leonora and I decided to leave the Liberal Democrats.

It’s also worth pointing out at this stage that in 2011 the Liberal Democrats (proposed by Cllr Pat Williams, seconded by former Councillor Ann Bridson) suspended me with one of the reasons given was that I had criticised Cllr Foulkes (a Labour councillor).

The rest as they say is history, shortly after Cllr Foulkes was removed as Leader of Wirral Council in a vote of no confidence and the Labour administration was replaced by a short-lived Conservative/Lib Dem one.

I will at this point, point out two of the Nolan principles which all councillors had signed up to as part of the Code of Conduct which are accountability “Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.” and openness “Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.”

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John Brace: There has been much public interest in the (as yet unpublished) AKA (Anna Klonowksi Associates Ltd) report into issues that need to be remedied at Wirral Council.

My personal view is that Wirral Council needs to publish the report, reassure the public what it’s doing differently now and restore its tarnished reputation as a result of the events that led to the report being commissioned.

Please could you answer:

a) what date the report will be published on and whether changes are to be made between the draft version and final version (if so the reasons why) and

b) an update on changes and decisions made since the report, as a result of the report becoming available in draft form, including progress (which includes consultation) already made and how the changes will benefit Wirral Council, its staff, its councillors and the public?

Cllr Steve Foulkes: [sighs] What a surprise seeing you here John! [laughter]

Well, can I just thank you for your question? And, and this is a genuine, genuine answer, errm which will be backed up by a errm official statement which has been circulated to all elected Members and it is a public document so I’m more than happy for you to have a copy of that.

If you haven’t got it yet you’ll receive it very, very shortly.

As long as I’ve been Leader, I’ve been pressing both Anna Klonowski and the officers to [inaudible] of the long awaited report. It’s not in this Council’s interests for this to drag out any longer.

But it is in the Council’s interests is that procedure is done properly and within err natural justice and err you know protection for the Council’s future err prospects and liabilities. Currently err Miss Klonowski and her independent solicitors are conducting a Right to Reply process.

The purpose of this and its current state of progress is fully explained in the Director of Law’s advice note which has been circulated to all councillors.

Like I just said a copy is on its way to you immediately and I cannot you know give a specific date for publication of the final report but I give you my assurance that I will do all I can to make this soon and as and as reasonably possible.

As I say it’s not in this Council’s best interests to drag on.

We want the department to move forward. We want the Council to move forward.

What we have done though in terms of of what reports are available.

We’ve insisted that the corporate governance issues are up and running and they are believed to be at the stem of some of the issues in the other report.

I can’t say any further than that.

So I can’t you know. It would be wrong to me to tell you lies, or or or to pretend I’m, but at this point of time I cannot given that the Director’s advice note.

I believe we’ll say it’s inappropriate to publish that report.

If we are true to our word that you know whistleblowers should be protected and are important within our Council’s processes, then therefore anyone involved in the whistleblower process should have the same rights as the whistleblower and my view is that individuals have the Right to Reply, have the right for natural justice and I don’t believe that we should hurry justice just for the sake of of of of err public you know public clamour.

If the report is correct, and final replies (inaudible) then we in public cannot in full conscience cannot act upon it.

It’s not at that state yet and that’s not through any fault or mine.

Mayor Moira McLaughlin: OK, Mr. Brace, content with that?

John Brace: I have just one small supplementary.

Mayor Moira McLaughlin: Supplementary [inaudible] understand that.

John Brace: Yes, err can you give an approximate timescale, in the Spring of next year or you know something like that?

Mayor Moira McLaughlin: I think he has answered that Mr. Brace to be fair.

Cllr Steve Foulkes: I would would hope, I would hope it’s as soon as possible.

I’ve not been given an exact date.

But I have been informed, and as we’ve all been informed, that progress has been made on the Right to Reply. Err, there are some late Right to Reply issues come in come into the system as I think are detailed in Bill’s report.

Everything around this issue is within the report of the Director of Law and I think that once you will read that you will understand the difficult position he got in in this type of report.

As I say it’s not in the Council’s interests, or my interests or anybody’s interest for that report to be delayed any longer than it need be.

Because I think quite frankly people need to move on, the Authority needs to move on and rights need to err err wrongs need to be put right, and I’m interested in that happening.

But, I can’t give you an exact date and I’m not going to give you out an answer to this supplementary.

John Brace: Ok, thank you.

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Author: John Brace

New media journalist from Birkenhead, England who writes about Wirral Council. Published and promoted by John Brace, 134 Boundary Road, Bidston, CH43 7PH. Printed by UK Webhosting Ltd t/a Tsohost, 113-114 Buckingham Avenue, Slough, Berkshire, England, SL1 4PF.

12 thoughts on “The dark days of Wirral Council and the "bureaucratic machinations" surrounding the Anna Klonowski Associates report”

  1. Why are the names still redacted. Is it their “Right of Reply?”

    Christ this is like the Chilcott Report into Iraq – which is likely to take even longer to come out than the time UK troops spent there.

    Surely the abusers have f***in’ replied by now?
    Why are they still protected? Noone’s gone. Fowler’s gone. O’Brien’s gone. Wilkie’s gone. Bill Norman’s safely ensconced at bullying Herefordshire Council and has been for years.

    As a famous, bearded, bespectacled scouser would say…

    …Right of Reply MY ARSE.

      1. Right of Reply was the justification for withholding.

        How can the document be worthy of the title “Key to the names used in the AKA Report”…

        …if 160 of them are still obliterated MANY YEARS later, with no sign of them EVER appearing in the future?

        1. I refer you to the Strictly Confidential – Not for Publication Appendices to the Anna Klonowski Associates report published on this blog.

          Out of the Wirral Council 98 employees referred to in the report pages 400 & 401 state the start date (and in some cases leaving date & department) for 76 of those employees (apart from 5, 6, 8, 69, 70 & 71).

          So in theory, the employee start date/department information could be used in conjunction with Wirral Council HR information to easily figure out who the employees who aren’t named were.

          If you want to make a FOI request for that be my guest!

          1. Mr Brace, I know who is numbered, however I have written Evidence to produce to any Police or DCLG Investigation, they were that Cocky and Confident that they would Prevail they wrote it all down and sent it to me, they must of thought I was some sort of Prat. I myself and I am sure others have been Threatened/Abused/Stalked/Harassed/Told I am a Scumbag/ Offered Bungs to Go away/My Disability, according to the DWP
            at Liscard and Birkenhead Does not exist.

            So much so, everything has been taken off me, I have got to the stage with these Clowns of even telling them to Stick the N.I.
            Contributions up their, well where the Sun Does Not Shine. These people think that they’re Fire Proof.

            Gold, Cotton, Slaves and Molasses, Call in the Police and Administration and I have not even started with Info on those other People who claim Cabbie Expenses!!!!!

  2. Mr Brace, Mr Cardin, they can delay reports all they want, hide them abide by them or not. I know for a FACT (Evidence has been offered and can be produced – Refused on many Occasions – by Different CEO’s – and some of the Officers you mention).

    Big Dopey even Offered me just under £2,000 if I would go away, then tried to pass me about After telling me to stay Focused, after which he stated I had Compromised his Position and sent me to his QAU Manager and the Pretend Friend, who then passed me onto another Idiot and his colleague.

    Well you big Dope, I have stayed Very Focused and I will say ” Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Fraud and Perverting the Course of Justice, is that sufficient Mr Griffiths or would be much, much, More be needed because I can go on and on and on if you Wish.

    Like Mr Griffiths, it has taken a lot of time to be able to say, if I were you lot, I would start making appointments with the Police or the DCLG and admit your Guilt, as I have said before, your only making it worse for yourselves and for the Benefit of others who assumed a Greasy Pay out and a Gagging Order prevents you from being hauled back to face the Music.

    Think again and as Jimmy Cricket said ” and there is more “

    1. Mr Harper you may be the Deus ex Machina who resolves the drama and restores Unity of Time, Action and Place.

      The time 2011

      The place the Town Hall

      The action: the covering up of a multitude of errors and misdeeds

      The audience will finally comprehend after twists, turns and evasions played out by the main characters

      Cue APPLAUSE

      1. I see you’ve finally had your FOI request into the audit report by the Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA) on its investigation into the allegations received in relation to the Business Start Ups 2 Project (BSU2) turned down.

        Their response has a lot of similarities with a piece I wrote earlier in the week The dark days of Wirral Council and the “bureaucratic machinations” surrounding the Anna Klonowski Associates report.

        So as the GIAA are unlikely to budge on releasing the draft report, I think the main question is the one I asked Cllr Foulkes about the Anna Klonowski Associates report, namely when will the Government Internal Audit Agency report into the allegations received in relation to the Business Start Ups 2 Project
        (BSU2) be published?

        The pessimist in me puts forward a scenario whereby they could eventually send the report to Wirral Council but on the basis that it’s not released to the public leading to a behind closed doors meeting of the Audit and Risk Management Committee to discuss it.

        This can happen, see s.100A(3a) of the Local Government Act 1972 c.70 and in fact I was at a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority when that was the reason given by the Monitoring Officer for excluding the press and public for one of the agenda items was that a government department had given them information in confidence.

  3. G’day John

    The Nolan Principles.

    John these people would rather hide behind the conspiracy of silence knowing the political party will allow them to just continue feeding their ego’s.

    I think Russell Brand is right it all needs changing and it suits them to have party politics to hide behind.

    I just don’t get how the minority parties who will never beat the corrupt one’s don’t stand up and clean up the scum senior officers who have been doing the wrong thing for years.

    “The Shyster”

    “The Football Shirt”

    “Humpty Dumpty”

    “He who can talk for twenty minutes without breathing or saying anything” He he he didn’t get the job AGAIN. ha ha

    “The Chamber Potty”

    “The now Garbage Lady”

    And John if you don’t believe me now you will when they show the original audit report and the DCLG Report over 18 months old combined with the Grant Thornton Report.



    AKA Paul Davies plonker puller and Annony Mouse and My Ronnie’s best mate

    Ps I would be putting my hands up now if I was a clowncillor ahead of the shit hitting the fan…..but what would I know I am only a whistle blower who “Highbrow” compares to having a criminal record.

    Pps I’m almost out of here.

  4. G’day John

    From the rubbish paper from over “The Football Shits” Stella’s Wirral Stagnant Waters”

    Casino in New Brighton could be about to close owners admit

    Watched the video of “The Football Shirts talk bragging about all the business set ups and “Wirral Stinky Waters” so their will be 800 businesses queuing up to move in.

    I think I will have to buy some of his wife’s hormone patches.



    The fool is deluded.

    I guess he is still smoking he wouldn’t have the strength.

  5. Mr Brace, Also try the 8 Rules of Law, Lord Brightman to go with the Nolan Principles, Mr Griffiths, believe me when I say this I Believe You, but cannot say anything before your next attendance at the Tribunal. Have I got Evidence to give them, I do not think you will ever see the Bic Pens again!!!!!!! that is why I wanted the next date!!!!!!!!!

    1. My Lords, Mr Brace, let me apologize for a misquote. It is in fact the ” Rule of Law ” 8 Principles, Lord Bingham of Cornhill (Deceased) was an Eminent Scholar and Advocate of the Rule of Law (born 13/10/33 – died 11/09/2010).

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