UPDATED: Wirral Council U-turns on secrecy of Chief Officer’s early retirement in only 26 hours!

UPDATED: Wirral Council U-turns on secrecy of Chief Officer’s early retirement in only 26 hours!

UPDATED: Wirral Council U-turns on secrecy of Chief Officer’s early retirement in only 26 hours!


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Employment and Appointments Committee 22nd September 2015 L to R Surjit Tour (Legal), Cllr Adrian Jones (Chair) and Tony Williams (Human Resources)
Employment and Appointments Committee 21st September 2015 L to R Surjit Tour (Legal), Cllr Adrian Jones (Chair) and Tony Williams (Human Resources)

Correction/update An earlier version of this story linked the Employment and Appointments Committee decision to the departure of Malcolm Flanagan. The Employment and Appointments Committee decision was about the early retirement of another Chief Officer Strategic Director Kevin Adderley whose early retirement has been confirmed by Wirral Council.

Yesterday’s Employment and Appointments Committee meeting (see above) was another masterclass in how politicians will seemingly agree to anything that senior officers ask them to do (however nonsensical).

I asked to speak at the meeting to challenge excluding the press and public (a decision that affects me) for the early retirement item and as Mr. Tour stated during the meeting previously early retirements of chief officers (Jim Wilkie’s cost around £111k to Wirral Council) were considered in public. The request to speak was denied.

There is a slight irony to this as when Mayor Cllr Adrian Jones signed up to article 21. Article 21’s interpretation has meant that at other council’s public meetings the public get to speak … but not at Wirral Council when a decision is being made about them by the whole Committee.

I gave the Chair and Mr. Tour a bunch of public interest reasons (the high cost to Wirral Council of early retirement, the cost of recruiting to that post if it isn’t deleted, scrutiny of politicians etc) before the meeting. All ignored, the public were asked to leave and by around 7.30pm at a public meeting, after excluding the public at around 5.05pm, Wirral Council was announcing a name of a chief officer that was retiring (but not the one the Employment and Appointments Committee made an early retirement decision on). Malcolm Flanagan’s departure was announced but Kevin Adderley’s retirement was still a secret until the next day.

The Head of HR wasn’t present at the Employment and Appointments Committee meeting, she was also due to present a report on attendance management to the Transformation and Resources Committee later that evening, however she was absent from that meeting too (yes I do spot the irony in being absent from a meeting where you’re supposed to be presenting a report on why people are absent from work).

Councillor John Salter did ask the Wirral Council officer in her place at the later meeting about the “attendance management” of Emma Degg only to be told that Wirral Council don’t comment on individual cases.

This perhaps shows councillors that as far as officers are concerned they’re the ones running things and councillors can keep their nosy questions to themselves. If they do have the gall to ask them they will be brushed off. The official motto of Wirral Council is “By Faith and Foresight”.

Across the water Mayor Anderson referring to Liverpool City Council commented recently ‘for too long this Council was run like a toy town at Council and officers led the Council by the nose’.

At Wirral Council officers have been leading the Council since as long as anyone can remember (despite what the councillors may say to the contrary). Here are three examples (with the catchphrase of Churchill’s nodding dog).

Will councillors approve officer recommendations for parking charges for Fort Perch Rock car park?

Councillors: Oh yes.

Will councillors do a U-turn on parking charges for Fort Perch Rock car park?

Councillors: Oh yes.

Will councillors decide to close a much-loved special school called Lyndale?

Councillors: Oh yes.

Here are three examples when councillors or those tasked with corporate governance ask officers something.

Will you renegotiate the Schools PFI contract to save money and save having to make massive cuts to the education budget which will cut support for those with special education needs?

Officer: Oh… no.

Will you answer questions about why Emma Degg left?

Officer: Oh… no.

Will you stop using long Powerpoint presentations to deliberately take up so much public meeting time so that nobody on a scrutiny committee has time (or very little time) to ask you questions?

Officer: Oh… no.

So there you go, Wirral Council summarised concisely.

As it was pointed out to me recently by a councillor that I need to be more positive, I will end by wishing Malcolm Flanagan all the best for his retirement and point out that not all officers at Wirral Council are like those described above. Some are decent human beings that work hard in difficult jobs and don’t get nearly enough thanks from either the press, public or politicians.

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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.

13 thoughts on “UPDATED: Wirral Council U-turns on secrecy of Chief Officer’s early retirement in only 26 hours!”

  1. G’day Tarrantino

    You really do have skill with that little camera of yours.

    Above you got “The Pretend Friend” asleep and then waking with a start.

    Well done.

    These big headed buffoons are as deluded as “Phil the Dill”.

    They obviously don’t think the officers take the piss well and truly.

    They are so egotistical they don’t see it.

    “The Shyster” will thank you for the photo he looks well.

    Eight stone over weight but well.



    1. I have some footage of last night’s public meeting and a politician getting so … cheesed off with an officer that the Chair is trying to rein her in (I’ll publish it soon).

      As to officers taking the mickey. Well that’s my job isn’t it? Then again I shouldn’t taunt officers and politicians too much, otherwise people will think I’ve picked up your irreverent attitude to authority James!

      If I didn’t have a sense of humour about all this, I’d have probably changed careers.

  2. The scenario surrounding some departures would not go amiss in a Jackie Collins,RIP, ‘bonkbuster’!

    1. Just because a former employee had an allegedly a "close working relationship" with some of her former colleagues, doesn’t mean we should condemn a person for that does it?

      Considering all the FOI requests blocked by Wirral Council, employees obviously need a way to unwind afterwards.

      Public service can be so detrimental to family life and relationships…. however I wish whoever these allegations are allegedly about all the best and if the former employee wishes to comment he (or she) can!

      Then again, I’m not under any contract of confidentiality. Maybe I should start writing my political memoirs… then again some very powerful people would probably get very cheesed off with me if I started writing the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…

      1. Absolutely right John. Wise words indeed! A man or a woman, all are equally capable of promiscuous activity and indulging in sneaky behaviour in order to satisfy their physical and sexual needs, are all capable of cuckolding their blindly loyal and lovingly faithful loved ones whilst in pursuit of personal sexual gratification. My wife, a keen and active member of a local Dogging Association assures me that this is a fact and I for one believe her.
        Just because they happen to be public servants it doesn’t mean they are abnormal and should be held to account and subject to folk like us commenting on stuff we know nothing about.
        Romance, infidelity and acts of sinful love that perhaps cast doubt on the sincerity of their marital oaths before God to remain faithful, are no reason for people like us to have and express an opinion on a matter that’s got bugger all to do with us. It’s simply none of our business and when I read men and women, all sexes have an opinion on this, that and the other, I tend to think less about the terrible rash around my loins that develops whenever my wife comes home late at night humming, ‘Do you think I’m sexy’ and worry more about why she’s cuddled me up and lovingly whispered in my ear, ‘you poor silly gullible fat bastard’.
        I say, if you are a man or a woman employed in public service, both sexes are equally capable of diligently recycling their rubbish, and they happen to find each other attractive there is nothing wrong in engaging in acts of love just as long as it doesn’t interfere and impact upon the positive outcomes that we the service users demand but don’t really expect to receive.

        1. My reply was somewhat tongue in cheek bobby47.

          Wirral Council’s former head of their press office Emma Degg (official job title Head of Neighbourhoods and Engagement) left the employment of Wirral Council in the recent past and there was the ongoing mystery of a £48,000 payment to a senior officer. Wirral Council recently confirmed that the £48,000 payment was to her (she was on a salary of between £77k and £86k and is a former Labour councillor).

          The details to do with the payment are the subject of an appeal of an ICO decision to the a First Tier (Information Tribunal). There is a hearing next month on the October 16th 2015 over in Liverpool. Therefore the matter is sub judice and there is not much more I can state until the Tribunal meets, although I can state that it is an appeal against this ICO decision notice FS50522678 dated 11th November 2014 based on a FOI request of Paul Cardin.

          There are many rumours about what the £48,000 payment is in relation to.

          My wife recently commented that I was "like the FBI" (I hope tongue in cheek). However I don’t have much more detail than the above that I could put in the public domain at this time as it would either compromise confidential sources or be even possibly be classed as contempt of court.

  3. Public service was never detrimental to me because I served the public and not myself.


    It only became detrimental when I acted in the public interest and blew the whistle, because I stumbled across criminality and was quickly targetted by those who had deliberate malfeasance to conceal all of a sudden in order to save their own sweaty, stinking, purulent skins.

    Anyway, when is somebody going to reveal the name of the senior officer who left the most improved council yesterday?

    And whether there was a compromise (settlement) agreement?

    And whether there was a gagging clause within that?

    And whether the officer got a clean bill of health to flourish when he jumps back on the money-go-round at another council at a safely distant location?

    And the exact amount of the six figure public money bung?

    Or do we have to place an FOI request, sit back and wait through the seasons turning, the leaves falling, the snow dropping, the glint of spring, the long summer days, the council ‘improving’ further, before finally the leaves turn to brown once again and the first response arrives on WDTK?

    1. If we had councillors and officers willing to discuss these matters in public, well FOI requests wouldn’t have to be made because they’d all be published on Wirral Council’s website!

      However I do notice in response to one of your FOI requests that Wirral Council have stated that the £48k went to Emma Degg.

      As that matter is however sub judice until the Tribunal meets again next month I will not comment further.

  4. I second that Wirral in it together. I too put the public first and it became detrimental when I blew the whistle upsetting the concealment plandof a rather big poo-poo on the carpet. I think James had the same experience too. O and Martin Morton , and the Social services delay whistle-blowers. For some time the Colas whistleblowers were complaining…that is all the whistle-blowers of whom I have had knowledge in Wirral over the past four years.

    Like BIG where all 6 files made available to me stank no doubt sometime soon WBC will claim they looked at the other 37 and in a statistical miracle no fault was found in these anonymous files, just as the other whistle-blowers gone home content ad happy will remain anonymous.

  5. Adderley head of regeneration so would know the ins and outs of the calamity that is the redundancy of myself and colleagues from council’s Emergency Control Room.
    The third senior officer allowed to leave in relation to this flawed and hugely deceived decision.

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