Thursday, 22 September 2011

Wirral Council: Foulkes in hell!

A summary of the problems in Wirral Council. 

Please click on the title link for the full story.

Wirral Council not coping with disability cuts

Wirral has recently closed five local respite services and intermediate care homes as part of a project to outsourse its care to an independent organisation. It has also introduced a new charge of £4 a week for people who use local telecare services, which enable people to live independently with the help of technology. The council currently takes into account 75 per cent of a person’s income when working out how much they will contribute towards the cost fo their care. They are considering whether this should be increased to 100 per cent of a disabled person’s income.

My comment: Typical council, they can't run a service properly so they decide to outsource it. Problem is that many councils aren't fit to negotiate their way out of a paper bag let alone a large outsourcing contract. One only has to look at Barnet Council for further evidence of this. Why an earth pay senior staff who are so incompetent at running a service you have to consider outsource it. Sack the idiots concerned and employ someone who can do the job they are paid to do.

Wirral council must learn lessons

"THE details of a damning report into how a Merseyside council is run should make disturbing reading for us all."

Steve Foulkes says he welcomes the “highly-critical” report by Anna Klonowski Associates “because it is the ultimate wake-up call which gives all of us the chance to change.”

My comment: So Steve Foulkes admits he WAS sleeping on the job, otherwise there would be no need for a wake up call. Do we want councillors let alone leaders sleeping on the job?

Wirral Council leader under pressure

"Council leader Steve Foulkes admitted the authority had allowed a catalogue of failings to continue without being addressed."

Cllr Foulkes said: “As the investigation proceeded it became more and more evident that the problems were much wider and that there were serious weaknesses in the way we [my emphasis] manage and run the council.”

Jeff Green said he commissioned the report “because the former Labour-led administration had consistently refused our calls for an independent inquiry". He added: “Cllr Foulkes and his previous administrations have allowed the public service culture of the council to become warped into one of back covering, secrecy, intimidation and machination.”

My comment: £250,000 spent on consultants to tell them the they are a crap council! Most people who live on the Wirral could have told them that for free. 

Whistle-blower Martin Morton says findings show council's 'catastrophic failure'

"The former social services employee who blew the whistle on his bosses said there has been a "catastrophic failure" by the council.

Martin Morton's revelations in the Globe in 2008 triggered a chain of events that led to an independent consultant making a devastating assessment of his ex-employers."

The consequences of those revelations are beginning to rock the council to its foundations - and they are not yet fully played out as two further reports into the scandal are due to be published.

Mr Morton told the Globe: "I've experienced 11 years of denial.

 I have been consistently told by councillors, and I quote, that there has been "no hidden wrongdoing" and that council officers dealt "honestly and competently" with my concerns.

He continued: "For different reasons I am also astonished that (town hall watchdogs) Standards for England have decided not to investigate the role of councillors in this scandal. [My emphasis]

"They did comment that following the completion of the Anna Klonowski review that Wirral Councils standards committee should consider its findings.

My comment: Typical of most councils, deny the truth, try and bury the truth and hope it all goes away. Which it may well have done without Martin's tenacity. Who in their right mind would think it right that the council standards committee is fit for the purpose let alone impartial when it comes to considering the findings of an investigation into their own council? Only a Watchdog and idiots!

Wirral Council Leader, what care scandal? what recession? I'm off to China

Council leader Steve Foulkes is due to fly out to Jiangsu Province in the next couple of weeks, with senior council officers, to sign the twinning agreements.

Update: Steve Foulkes has decided not to go after all so he can take charge of the aftermath of the scandal. 

My comment: I hope he doesn't intend trying to sweep anything under the carpet, I think most would have preferred he wasn't going to China because he had resigned.

Whistleblower says Wirral council ordered care packages delay

Wirral Council's policy on organising care packages advised social workers to wait four weeks unless their line managers issued a waiver, according to Andy Campbell, who was employed by the authority as an assistant support officer in its adult social services department between August 2009 and August 2011.

When Campbell joined the council as a support worker in August 2009, he had little knowledge of adult social care. He was given one week's training before being asked to assess people's eligibility for care packages, he said.

When he first questioned the apparent policy on delaying care packages, he was told the orders came "from above". Colleagues advised him not to talk about it. [my emphasis]

My comment: Yes there was more than one whistleblower.

Wirral Council pays out more than £335,000 in bed-blocking fines

Wirral are in the top 10 council areas which paid the most in bed blocking fines over the last three years, according to a BBC survey.

The councils were fined for delaying discharges as they were unable to provide adequate facilities for patients on leaving hospital.

My comment: If they hadn't wasted this money maybe they wouldn't have had to play delaying games with adult social care in order to save money. Council logic?

Wirral Council may do a South Tyneside Council re Twitter

A Twitter imposter has taken on the identity of Wirral Council leader Steve Foulkes and set up a social network page claiming to post his views.

Councillor Foulkes has warned that action could be taken against the person responsible for Twitter account ‘Foulkes World’ – if it is found to be politically motivated.

Extract from a Wirral Globe reader's comment: "Prosecuted for what ? Was Foulkes prosecuted for overseeing a corrupt administration which screwed over disabled adults to the tune of a quarter million quid...nope...yet he's getting his knickers in a twist over a spoof twitter account."

My comment: Couldn't have put it better myself.

Social care no place for secrets

IF SOCIETY’S wrongs are to be righted, if the problems that continue to simmer away undetected in many spheres of life are to be disclosed and resolved, then the importance of the whistleblower should not be underestimated.

In some misguided sections of society, those who “grass”, or “inform” to the police, are derided and cast into the wilderness.

This is an attitude which needs to change – and the case of Martin Morton, who spoke out about the scandal of vulnerable adults in the care of Wirral social services being outrageously overcharged, should help establish firm guidelines for how such incidents are treated in the future.

It was alleged that Mr Morton was bullied out of his job at Wirral council after attempting to highlight the wrongs perpetrated on needy service users, which again indicated how many people prefer to “cover up” rather than wash their dirty laundry in public. 

My comment:  Credit to Mr Morton for hanging on in there until he was vindicated. Where is the government support for whistleblowers?

Read all articles about Wirral Council on this blog or read all articles about our failing Watchdogs on this blog

FOOTNOTE: Where were the watchdogs? 

Mr Morton’s claims of bullying, cover-ups and maladministration have now led the independent inquiry to conclude that the authority needs a root and branch change in its culture.

The council was in the grip of a “corrosive” and “inward-looking culture where the needs and rights of residents had become submerged under its bureaucratic machinations. Read the full story here.

Check out the Local Government Ombudsman's view of Wirral Council

2010/11  34 complaints NO maladministration reported by LGO.

2009/10  166 complaints NO maladministration reported by LGO.

2008/09 43 complaints 1 finding of maladministration reported by LGO.

2007/08 87 complaints  1 finding of maladministration reported by LGO.

2006/07 95 complaints NO maladministration reported by LGO.

2005/06 100 complaints NO maladministration reported by LGO.

2005/2011 525 complaints against Wirral Council and only 2 findings of maladministration reported by LGO. Now I call that a statistical impossibility unless your objective is to hide the true level of council wrongdoing or like Foulkes you were asleep on the job!.

UPDATED 22/9/11: Council responds to critical report

Reacting to the report, Leader of the Council, Councillor Steve Foulkes said:

"An Independent Report was commissioned last year by the then Leader of the Council to investigate what had happened over a particular issue in a particular department. As the investigation proceeded it became more and more evident that the problems were much wider and that there were serious weaknesses in the way we manage and run the Council which make it likely not only that mistakes will happen, but that they could happen again if immediate action is not taken to put things right."

My comment: In summary, to save you reading all the spin, the two people responsible are not going to resign they are staying to sort the mess out they helped create. Just what does it take to get rid of a councillor and a CEO?

Read all the spin from the source Wirral Council 

Read all articles about our failing Watchdogs or all articles about whistle-blowers on this blog.


  1. This is not entirely true, Wirral Council did try to close five local respite services but one attracted a claim for judicial review during the consultation (and a large petition of over 1500 people).

    The Lib Dem/Labour administration then had a change of mind and didn't close the fifth as it couldn't be outsourced. The other four were closed, but the service was outsourced to the private sector.

  2. Just what does it take to get rid of a councillor and a CEO?

    Well one was removed as Leader by the Tories/Lib Dems, the second recently was awarded early retirement. Does that answer your question?

    The long answer is either losing an election or a motion of no confidence. The answer to the second part is a decision of the Employment and Appointments Committee and the CEO being old enough for Early Retirement.