Wirral Council’s external ‘independent’ investigator Richard Penn. Whose side is he on?

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Make up your own mind here.

The links below are by no means exhaustive and represent a quick selection taken from the net in a short time.

Much more compelling stuff on Richard Penn’s increasingly questionable contribution is here

A good starting point is this link:

Richard Penn unsuccessfully represents Sharon Shoesmith in Baby ‘P’ Case, May 2011 – http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Judgments/shoesmith-v-ofsted-others-judgment-270511.pdf

Please Google “INJUNCTION SOUGHT IN BRADMET SAGA” to access the following article:

October 1996 ~ http://www.lgcplus.com/lgc-news/injunction-sought-in-bradmet-saga/1521025.article

December 1998 ~ http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/archive/1998/12/15/Bradford+District+Archive/8070272.Stressed_City_Hall_chief_to_quit_early/

Please Google “Penn to help Chief Executives” to access the following article:

January 1999 ~ http://m.lgcplus.com/1438634.article

December 2005 ~ http://www.thescarboroughnews.co.uk/news/local/penn-report-should-be-made-public-mp-1-1366476

January 2006 ~ http://www.scarborough.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=9737

December 2006 ~ http://www.rottencouncil.co.uk/news/2006/december.htm

October 2009 ~ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/baby-p/6309119/Baby-P-Sharon-Shoesmith-in-pension-package-talks-before-suspension-court-told.html

May 2011 ~ http://www.publicservice.co.uk/news_story.asp?id=16377

December 2011 ~ http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-16285217

October 2012 ~ http://www.wirralnews.co.uk/wirral-news/local-wirral-news/2012/10/17/wirral-council-150-000-pay-off-for-director-of-law-bill-norman-80491-32052148

http://johnbrace.com/tag/richard-penn/

http://www.1in12.com/publications/archive/stories99/rpenn.html

http://www.zoominfo.com/#!search/profile/person?personId=134460541&targetid=profile

http://m.123people.co.uk/s/richard+penn#

http://wales.gov.uk/irpwsub/home/members/?lang=en

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/10133070.EXCLUSIVE__MP_Field_to_take_Wirral_Council_highways_row_to_Parliament/

The above links are by no means exhaustive and represent a quick selection taken from the net in a short time.

Much more on Richard Penn’s increasingly questionable contribution is here

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Wirral #FoI news. Whistleblower ‘accidentally’ identified on Wirral Council Website

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11th July 2012

The following FoI request was placed today, after the identity of a Highways Department whistleblower was ‘accidentally’ made available to the whole world via the Wirral Council Website.

This was in relation to the HESPE contract, awarded to COLAS in 2008 and later found to have been riddled with impropriety.  The Director involved, whose own brother used to work for the winning bidder, was suspended from his job back in March of this year.  He has since been cleared with ‘no case to answer’, courtesy of somebody who spends a lot of time defending senior council officers in trouble, and has also watched several colleagues being either cleared, gagged, paid off or all three since he hung his boots up.

The offending letter was taken down quickly, but too late…. the damage was already done.

The place is in turmoil, and seasoned observers of Wirral Council have interpreted this behaviour as a calculated ‘shot across the bows’ of any existing staff, who may have been considering following in the footsteps of Martin Morton, Andy Campbell and the person involved in this case, Gary Downey (who is one of a group of courageous and as yet unnamed whistleblowers).

As far as Wirral Council are concerned the watchwords are ‘Whistleblower Beware’, given that those prepared to act in the public good seem to have been branded as troublemakers, threatened and hounded out of their jobs, had their identities unfairly revealed or had their personal health and wellbeing put through the mincer.  Compare this if you will to the treatment given to abusive senior officers.  As the anniversary of the Anna Klonowski Report passes, the abusers’ real identities are still jealously guarded, having been replaced by numbers – which cleverly subverts the pesky little process known as ‘Accountability’.

So a big thank you to the LGA ‘Improvement’ Board – whom I assume must have been endorsing the council’s crazed, swivel-eyed, tongue lolling, anti-democratic practices.  More depressing legal news reaches me connected to the behaviour of this woeful bunch.

Watch this space for updates.  The request is currently with Surjit Tour, new boss of Legal who, along with 3 other staff, has taken up the department’s workload since Bill Norman, former Director of Law, was recently paid off.

Here is the FoI request:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/copy_of_letter_published_on_webs#incoming-330708

UPDATE   12th November 2012

As you’ll see, there’s no real urgency attached for them, and it’s taken four months to acknowledge receipt.   Once again, they’re in breach of the Freedom of Information Act.

“Tell us something new” I hear you saying.

UPDATE   29th November 2012

The ICO have been in touch, telling me that they’ve contacted Wirral Council by letter and given them 10 working days from receipt of the letter to either furnish the information or provide a valid reason for not doing so:

PROTECT

29 November 2012

Case Reference Number FS50475062

Dear Mr Cardin

Your information request to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Thank you for your correspondence dated 6 October 2012 in which you complain about Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council’s failure to respond to your information request which is outlined below;

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/copy_of_letter_published_on_webs#outgoing-216044

When considering complaints about delayed or failed responses to information requests our priority is to ensure requesters receive a response as quickly as possible (where one has not been provided) and to monitor any persistent trends which might indicate that a public authority was routinely failing to respond within the statutory 20 working days permitted under section 10 of the Freedom of Information Act.

We monitor complaints where a serious contravention of section 10 is recorded and where persistent contraventions occur we will consider placing a public authority on our monitoring programme (http://www.ico.gov.uk/what_we_cover/promoting_openness/monitoring_compliance.aspx ).

I have written to the public authority to provide them with a copy of your original request, reminding them of their responsibilities and asking them to respond to you within 10 working days of receiving our letter. I enclose a copy of my letter to the public authority for your information. The late response will be recorded and as described will form part of our ongoing activity to consider the performance of public authorities and the Freedom of Information Act in the future.

Should you wish the Information Commissioner to issue a decision notice for your specific complaint we are able to do so, however it is important to note that the Commissioner does not need to serve a decision notice in an individual case in order to use that case as evidence for enforcement action.

If Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council responds and refuses to release the information you have asked for and you are dissatisfied, you may, after exhausting their internal complaints procedure, complain to us again.

I have enclosed a fact sheet explaining more about our complaint handling procedures. At this point the case has been temporarily closed and I would like to thank you for bringing this these concerns to the attention of the Information Commissioner. If you do not receive a response within 10 working days please contact us quoting the reference number on this letter.

If you require any further assistance then please contact me on the number below.

Yours Sincerely

[Officer name redacted]
Case Officer
First Contact
Information Commissioner’s Office

UPDATE   18th January 2013

I gave them plenty of opportunity to respond (6 weeks plus), but nothing’s arrived – so I’ve sent the following to the ICO today:

From: Paul C
Sent: 18 January 2013 09:33
To: ‘casework@ico.gsi.gov.uk’
Subject: RE: ICO Response Re: Information request to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council[Ref. FS50475062]

Dear [Case office name redacted]

Wirral Council has failed to provide the information connected to this request, despite you writing to them several weeks ago.

In my own experience there have been several persistent contraventions and I thank the ICO for placing this organisation onto the current monitoring programme.

I would now request that you issue a Decision Notice with regard to this request in order to bring them into compliance with the Freedom of Information Act.

I look forward to receiving a response from you in good time,

Best regards,

Paul Cardin
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BREAKING: Wirral Council. Costs are in for the Richard Penn ‘investigation’

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BREAKING NEWS – 14th January 2013

Liverpool Echo

The figures are in for the costs of Richard Penn’s long term investigation into previously suspended officers David Green, Ian Coleman, Bill Norman and David Taylor Smith.

The total invoiced is a whopping £47,020.

This breaks down as £28,171 for the bulk of it which involved the complex acrobatics involved in reaching a conclusion that Green had ‘no case to answer’, and £18,849 for neatly avoiding the professed daunting ‘legal complications’ associated with Coleman and Norman.  As for Taylor Smith, he remains a man of mystery.

Councillors and senior officers will no doubt regard… what am I saying ‘regard’?…. will present this as money well spent.  But it’s not their money.  It’s our money.  And I can guarantee that not one member of the local public will agree that a further fifty grand shoveled into a yawning black hole, with absolutely no accountability or reckoning for any of the abuse or impropriety that occurred is ‘money well spent’.

In fact, in an honest, law-abiding, fully mature, grown up and civilised democratic arena, it would be more likely to qualify as malfeasance in public office – but they can all relax, because there’s nobody watching.

The train now departing from platform 1, Hamilton Square, is of the gravy variety….

UPDATE   27th December 2012

It’s official.  The Director who, in league with his assistant Nigel Jenkins, brought bogus “Gross Misconduct” bullying charges against me in 2003 which fell apart, but without any comeback, now has ‘no case to answer’ over allegations of impropriety associated with the letting of a £40 million Highways Maintenance contract back in 2008.

I’d say everybody concerned, whether externally investigating, still working for the council like Nigel Jenkins or Colin Hughes, or recently ££departed like Steve Maddox or Bill Norman or Ian Coleman or David Garry is as pure as the driven snow, and presumably the public will have had £100,000 + of their council tax money and £811,000 in gags and pay offs well spent on this and similar debacles – particularly that hefty 9 months’ chunk of salary channelled “into the coffers” of David Green while he was off work suspended through the summer.

Now move along please…  move along…  nowt to see…  But before you bugger off, here for your perusal is a link to…

An ‘independent’ Report by public servant Richard Penn

I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but what’s worrying about the sections of this report I have read is Richard Penn’s sloppiness – or is it deliberate?  He gives undue prominence to the rabid conjecture and unfettered, unevidenced opinions of senior Wirral managers (all close colleagues of David Green), whilst not bothering to quote at any length from the group of whistleblowers…

….so far, it’s looking like yet another stitch up.  Where the hell will this end up?

More links to news on Richard Penn’s background:

‘Tedious’ LinkedIn stuff

http://www.1in12.com/publications/archive/stories99/January99.htm

Excerpt: “With an annual pay packet of over £100,000, Penn was one of the highest paid Council bosses in the land. He is now tipped to pick up some lucrative part-time work with the Equal Opportunities Commission which is likely to see his retirement income come close to his former full time take-home pay.”

http://www.ncefloodmanagement.com/whos-speaking/richard-penn

Excerpt: “…has acted as a Designated Independent Person (DIP) in a number of local authority statutory officer disciplinary cases”

http://www.scribd.com/doc/50963141/Minutes-of-Council-14th-March

Excerpt: “RESOLVED-(a) That the Council finds that Mr Davies is guilty of misconduct by virtue of:(i) his over aggressive behaviour to staff (he was abrasive,rude and confrontational on frequent occasions); (ii) his lack of judgement in the events of March 2010 in drinking and driving; and (iii) contributing to the failure to maintain the necessary trust and confidence by reason of his aggressive behaviour.  Those voting in favour: 37  Those voting against: 0

http://www.lgcplus.com/lgc-news/kerrier-dc-chief-exec-faces-disciplinary-action-over-leisure-contract-award/1404936.article

Excerpt:  “Richard Penn, an adviser to the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives, said: ‘Mr Cox has consistently rejected the district auditor’s criticism.  ALACE will continue to represent his interests in this matter and defend any action which his employer may decide to take against him.'”

I don’t think much of the Local Government Association’s grasp of appointing the right person for the job….  I wonder if they were right to recommend that Richard Penn, who spends much of his time defending the interests of senior council officers in trouble, is a suitable person to conduct a crucially important investigation into contract impropriety – by a senior council officer in trouble?

Apparently, Mr Penn, before he started defending Local Authority Statutory Officers, was a statutory officer himself – CEO at Knowsley Council ~ between 1980 and 1989.  A little birdy told me a loooong time ago that David Green also used to work at Knowsley Council.  I don’t know if this is true or whether David’s tenure coincided with Richard’s, but I’m checking it out.

If they are workplace colleagues from old it would put an entirely knew slant on this decision, wouldn’t it?

When I arrived at Wirral in Autumn 1996, David Green was in place at the District Labour Organisation (later the ‘Operational Services Division’), based in the Dock Road Depot in Wallasey.  He moved to the newly titled Director of Technical Services position (not ‘Borough Engineer’ note) I think in 2002, when Andrew Rhodes left.

But when did he originally arrive at the Dock Road Depot?  And where did he come from?  Can anybody help with this?

UPDATE   25th December 2012

Happy Christmas to everybody !

Peace on earth and good will to all men.  Particularly to David Green, Director of Technical Services, suspended back in March, but who has torn the wrapping paper from a very special present today.  He has been cleared of any prospective charges and, like so many before him, given a verdict of  ‘no case to answer‘.

Apparently the post of ‘Director of Technical Services’ was deleted from the structure recently and another new management structure has now come to pass.

So, as abusive Wirral Council staggers forward into the New Year, it’s yet another swift kick in the teeth to council tax payers, just to keep them in line, and a timely shot across the bows of any future whistleblowers…  people who may still have the ‘gall’ to raise serious concerns about their broken, basket case of an employer in the near or distant future.

If you are a potential whistleblower, working at Wirral Council and contemplating reporting either criminal conduct, blatant impropriety or serious malpractice – WATCH YOUR BACK !  In July of this year one of the anonymous whistleblowers involved in this case had his identity revealed and posted globally over the internetA n d   n o w   t h i s !

Wirral’s senior public servants,entrusted with preserving good governance post Klonowski, and promoting fairness and probity seem to prefer lurching back into acting as they always have done………..

i.e. With scant regard for integrity and the public good and instead, flying in the face of the fine words trotted out in the newly-robust and newly touchy-feely policies and procedures.

So I was wrong; David Green wasn’t gagged and paid off in a six figure sum like so many others before him.  He is returned to a shiny new as yet unnamed post with what looks like a clean bill of health.  And what of suspended Deputy Director of Finance David Taylor-Smith?  I don’t know, but will it be a similar fate?  No-one seems to know.

The update below this one speaks of a ‘Special’ meeting held last Thursday, at which the final item on the agenda was…

4.  Any Other Urgent Business Approved by the Chair.

I imagine this is where the dark deed may have been done.  It was announced today on BBC Radio Merseyside’s 9:00 AM news.  But that was it.  I waited, phone in hand on Christmas Day (how sad) to record the item on the 10:00 news, but it didn’t arrive.

I imagine a very practised and cynical opportunist, still safely ensconced in their miserable ‘communications’ role at the council, timed this announcement for release to the media, for consumption with our Christmas breakfasts.

It seems “No case to answer” is vying to become the dominant rallying cry for the gang of abusers still wielding the whip hand at woeful Wirral Council (see 7.1).

UPDATE   7th December 2012

A ‘Special’ Employment and Appointments Committee has been called for Thursday 20th December 2012.

This looks interesting because there are two senior officers still suspended: Director David Green (HESPE Contract suspension) and David Taylor Smith (suspended following release of Audit Commission’s report into the HESPE contract disaster).

Given the Council’s hyper-lenient treatment of:

  • Steve Maddox (£157,537)
  • Jim Wilkie (The council will pay more than £95,000 into Mr Wilkie’s pension fundIt is not yet clear if he will also receive three months’ worth of his £132,000 salary in lieu of notice
  • John Webb (£152,339)
  • Bill Norman (£151,416)
  • Ian Coleman (£82,500)
  • Howard Cooper (retired)
  • Rick O’Brien (moved)
  • David Garry (£46,584)
  • Mike Fowler (£109,496)
  • Maura Noone (£111,043)

TOTAL = £811,010

… and Anna Klonowski’s reluctance to lay any blame at the feet of councillors (and her very surprising reluctance to enquire into what happened at supported living accommodation in Balls Road, Birkenhead (“I don’t have the time”))…..

….what can we expect here?

It’s very close to Christmas.  Will Santa turn up with a bulging sack?  Definitely ONE TO WATCH.  Hopefully, pioneering members of the public will be allowed in to film it with their iPhones / Androids.

People who like to see senior abusers being paid off will be relieved to see that the Council Leader is in attendance.  Whilst publicly proclaiming, “We need get to the bottom of this, etc, etc”, if you check his and his colleagues’ histories, they’ve always  invariably voted in favour of allowing officers known to have been abusive, but with their identities concealed in the Klonowski Report, to leave, £weighted down and without too many questions asked.  Here’s the full list of attendees:

Attendee Role Attendance
Councillor Paul Doughty Chair Expected
Councillor George Davies Committee Member Expected
Councillor Phil Davies Committee Member Expected
Councillor Jeff Green Spokesperson Expected
Councillor Mark Johnston Spokesperson Expected
Councillor Adrian Jones Committee Member Expected
Councillor Peter Kearney Committee Member Expected
Councillor Ann McLachlan Committee Member Expected
Councillor Lesley Rennie Committee Member Expected

9th November 2012

I’ve been thinking back to that day in September 2003, when I returned to my work location at Bebington Town Hall for the last time.  I’d tendered my resignation from the Highways Department, and indeed from Wirral Council, and been invited to come in, empty out my desk and return whatever Council property I still had.  I also planned to say “goodbye” to colleagues and co-workers, something not on the official list of requirements.

There was a problem however with visiting the workplace, but not of my making.  During my 5 months’ absence on suspension (a neutral act), unnamed others had been taking the opportunity to generally trash my reputation.  And following an amateurish internal ‘investigation’ and the unsuccessful levelling of trumped up, gross misconduct ‘bullying’ charges, there were likely to be some embarrassed, unhappy individuals knocking about, feeling a bit done down and not wanting to see their vanquisher turning up unannounced.

In support of the fraudulent charges, I’d been told I was ‘out of step with everyone else’ – a default feature of the process of alienation otherwise known as ‘lodging a grievance’ at Wirral Council.  Admittedly, there may have been a grain of truth in this remark.  The everyday racist and disablist ‘banter’ certainly had me responding differently; either reaching for the car keys to get the hell out, or flaring up.

Maybe displaying a streak of independence, compassion or understanding for minorities, and some fire in your belly marks you out to any clique as ‘someone to be eliminated’.  I was later labelled ‘different’ at #QuackCWaC Council (neighbouring authority who ‘removed’ my statutory information querying rights) some time later, after lodging a complaint there.

I’ll concede this much ~ I always got by despite this, functioning and forming friendships, without the need for constant validation from managers and their sycophants, and succeeded in performing my job to a good standard.

Having a strong and supportive family and group of friends, I soon found I could breeze along easily without the shallow ‘support’ of paid up, on message, surplus to requirement drones, bending to the will of their seniors.

Despite the layer upon layer of crap that had been built up and thrown at me, there were still 2 or 3 stronger individuals left in the office *waves* who stayed committed to the facts throughout all this….. and who were astute enough to see through the bullshit.  The rest of the dumb hangers on, whether fully complicit or simply bystanding and keeping shtum, were happy to take the lies as read, not rock the boat and keep their own ambition of keeping out of trouble or climbing the greasy pole steadily on track.

So I arrived in work and parked up, noting that my UNISON shop steward’s car was there in the car park.  Not far away was the flashy number preferred by my line manager – and his manager’s car was there, parked in its numbered space.  A couple more colleagues’ battered jalopies were also in situ.

I strode in, works mobile and security pass in hand, ready to return them and prepared to confront whatever was awaiting me.  My ‘grandparent line manager’ greeted me nervously, looking a bit flushed.  He took my phone and pass and began to explain, as if it were needed, and as if he did this every day, how to empty the contents of my desk, then make myself scarce.

I then walked into an almost totally empty office.  It appeared my visit had  been announced earlier.  Despite all the cars, there was only one person in, who I’d worked with very happily for the last few years.  Of course, I had no idea what she’d been told or how complicit she may have been in my departure – probably not much, being further down the ‘pecking order’.  So this was left to one side and we had a good long friendly chat while I began to tip the contents of my desk drawers into a bin bag.

I did this at a very leisurely pace, expecting people to start drifting back to their work stations.  This was a busy office after all.  But nobody arrived.  So I went a bit slower.

Still…. no-one showed up.  Where had they all gone?   I continued to chat to my former colleague, but after about an hour and a half, I began to muse:  This is a ‘working office’, in the service of the public; there are jobs to do; street lighting columns (lampposts) to erect; old ones to take down…

These street lights wouldn’t look after themselves.  Yet my grandparent line manager (now back safely in his office) seemed happy to allow these public servants to come in, park up and hide somewhere else on site, away from their desks….

And that’s how it stayed.  Nobody turned up.  My grandparent line manager entered the office again and made noises along the lines “X has work to do… she can’t chat all day”.

So I left, and ambled back to the car park, my hypervigilant antennae noting that as soon as the door slammed the all clear was probably sounded and work on the maintenance and installation of Wirrals Street Lighting network kicked in, as normal.

http://www.easyvirtualassistance.co.uk/totwitter1.jpg

2 May 2012

From: Paul Cardin

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/suspension_of_director_david_gre

This FoI request was placed on 2nd May 2012, following the suspension of David Green, Director of Technical Services and head of the Highways Department, which occurred on 27th March 2012:

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/9614815.New_shock_rocks_Wirral_Council_as_highways_and_technical_services_director_is_suspended/

Some history

Back in 2003, David Green suspended me, when I was an Assistant Engineer, working for the Highways Department.  I’d been employed within the Street Lighting section at the Council since 1996 and had blown the whistle on long term irregularities attached to the carrying out of night time Street Lighting scouting rounds.

The Council presented my suspension as a ‘neutral act’.  However, very soon, a large recorded delivery envelope thudded onto the doormat.  It turned out there was to be an internal investigation and following this, the council levelled trumped up disciplinary charges, accusing me of a campaign of ‘bullying and harassment’.  Strangely, nothing had been recorded about this behaviour at the time it ‘occurred’ – probably because it hadn’t occurred.  But many months on, it seemed to me now that somebody’s creative juices had been flowing.  This pointed towards collusion between unknown parties, whilst I was safely out of the way.  The charges were poorly-evidenced at best, and magicked from thin air at worst…

My own original allegations regarding impropriety with public money were not acted upon and were quickly forgotten.  I suddenly found myself up to my eyes in refuting these fraudulent charges.  In the months spent away from work, I’d called upon my union, UNISON to help me in my predicament.  I’d provided my UNISON ‘representative’ with a dossier / diary of all the nasty stuff that had been going on in the lead up to my suspension, all carefully recorded with incidents, times, dates and locations.  Some of the detail of this was very unpleasant, even disturbing and I won’t go into that here.

When I handed this evidence across, I took the precaution of numbering the pages and glueing some of them together at the top.  This proved to be one of the the shrewdest moves I’d ever made.

When I turned up unannounced at the UNISON offices in Birkenhead one day to ask why they’d done nothing, the ‘representative’ tried to fob me off with empty excuses.  I then demanded the return of the dossier I’d left in his possession.  Sure enough, the pages were still glued together as I’d left them, several months before.

No-one had bothered to read it.

I decided to join what was then the Transport & General Workers Union (now UNITE) after being invited by the full time North West Regional officer (now sadly no longer with us).  He was a good friend of mine, a man of principle, and I’d known him since my schooldays.  He was disgusted by what the Council had done and was only too willing to offer guidance and support to me as a new member.

In summary, he wiped the floor with them.  When the September hearing arrived, attended by David Green, who was assisted by the then Head of Human Resources (and former UNISON full time officer), my union rep raised some very pointed questions.  He set about blowing the council’s counter-case full of holes, and enabled me to fill in with the facts, shoot it all down in flames, and finish them off.  Ultimately, David Green was forced to withdraw the falsehoods and to find another job for me at the council.  This was made all the more difficult by the fact that my reputation had been savagely trashed from within.

Certain middle managers who knew me, whom I’d worked under and who had until now valued my professional input, had suddenly located their yellow streak, closed ranks and fallen into step behind the spurious bullying accusations brought by their seniors.

Unknown to the council, while suspended, I’d naturally been spending my time busily looking for a job elsewhere – anywhere – to get me away from what I now regarded as something of a ‘hell-hole’.  This succeeded and I was delighted to move to a much better paid position in the private sector.  The timing of this had been exquisite for me – and for my long-suffering but very strong and supportive family!!

The new organisation was fairly local, but a world away from Wirral Council, being a professional and forward looking outfit, with none of the seedy, cloying, sexist / racist undertones, and certainly not steeped in unaddressed cultural backwardness.  In fact it was a very refreshing change.  Here was a modern workplace, where I didn’t need to spend all my time ‘looking over my shoulder’.  My input was encouraged, valued and well-rewarded.

Meanwhile Wirral Council, with its dreamt up allegations now lying in tatters, struggled on, promising to find me a position that didn’t involve a pay cut and further detriment.  While they did this, I took great pleasure in playing my trump card and resigning…… not forgetting to request a sum of back pay for work I’d done on Street Lighting scouting rounds that the council hadn’t paid me for – which didn’t go down too well with David Green.

Although many sister councils have now farmed out this sort of work, Street Lighting scouting rounds continue to this day to be carried out internally by Wirral Council officers.

Well, that’s at least some of my personal history in these affairs.

But to bring readers back up to date with the present…

There have been many twists and turns since David Green (whose brother used to work for COLAS) was suspended.  It started becoming clear that there were very serious and very clear failings within the HESPE contract that was awarded to COLAS back in late 2008.  This time around, there were a number of whistleblowers on the side of the truth, who’d turned to Frank Field after receiving short shrift and a predictable lack of support from inside the Council and then from the Audit Commission, who were consulted in March 2009.

Their allegations were compelling, serious and detailed – but the inertia that greeted them was profound and disturbing.  Frank Field for his part recognised that they were being fobbed off and seemed very appreciative of their contribution.  He was regularly quoted in the press, praising them to high heaven ~ a tactic which made some people, including me, feel very uncomfortable.  The public were not surprised when they very quickly saw Mr Field gushing in the media about the performance of the ‘new’ Labour council (the one that had tried and failed to cover up / minimise learning disabled abuse) and soon, the alarm bells began to ring:

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/9996154.EXCLUSIVE__Highways_whistleblowers_speak_out_following_departure_of_council_s_legal_chief/

The conclusion here is that politicians. simply. cannot. be. trusted.

I’m not going to go into forensic detail regarding the ins and outs of this situation, but it seems that at every turn, the council and its associated public ‘regulatory’ bodies have been found wanting.  Whether it’s Wirral’s so-called Internal Audit (formerly run by David Garry) and their bizarre act of giving “3 stars” (a ringing endorsement in anyone’s book) to the highly-flawed HESPE contract; or the contribution of District Auditor Michael Thomas, producing an initial review which very belatedly (September 2010) found little wrong with the HESPE disaster, before being compelled to ‘look again’, only to find in June 2012 after the imposition of delay upon delay by Wirral Council  that David Green ‘probably broke EU rules’ and much more…  link: http://fraudnews.eu/?p=2091 ;or the Serious Fraud Office turning Frank Field’s request down and failing to investigate the conduct of the contract.

Private Eye, Issue 1326 ~ 2nd Nov 2012

Here, updating us further still, is a clip from the current issue of Private Eye – unlucky for some, page 13 – Rotten Boroughs:

Wirral Council are making a habit of appearing within these pages

UPDATED – Analysis of 14 Freedom of Information requests to Wirral Council – verdict is not good…

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I don’t profess to be an expert where Data & Information Governance are concerned.  I have a layman’s self-taught appreciation of FOIA and DPA.  Experts will find fault in the following analysis, but I hope I’ve covered the basics adequately.  As time goes on, I will update the times and insert more context and background information on each request.

14 x FoI requests to Wirral Council – 2011 to present day

The majority of these requests (10) contain multiple breaches of Statutory Law.

1.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/meeting_between_party_leaders_an#outgoing-220406

Summary: Requesting information around important initial meeting held between Anna Klonowski and all Wirral party leaders.

Date of request:     12th Oct 2011

Age of request in working days:      315 and counting

Response within 20 working days: reply on Day 20

Internal review requested:      9th Nov 2011

Working days for internal review to report:     281 and counting (breach of Statutory Law)

Request completed: NO

Note: Amid a background of proven malpractice, bullying and the targetting and disposal of a whistleblower, along with serious failures in governance, the council press office notified the Liverpool Echo to advise them of this meeting.  In response to this FoI request, Wirral described it as “an informal gathering that didn’t require minuting”.  Whereas the Liverpool Echo headline had screamed: “Wirral Council Leadership Hangs in the Balance”.  After 315 woring days, I still await a measured and reasoned response.

I still await an internal review, originally requested over a YEAR ago.

2.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/dass_recent_departure_of_two_sen#comment-30487

Summary: Requesting information around two ex DASS senior officers, gagged, paid off, allowed to leave, but never disciplined.

Date of request:     11th Jan 2012

Age of request in working days:      233

Answered within 20 working days: reply on Day 21 (breach of Statutory Law)

Appealed with ICO:      13th Apr 2012 

Working days for council to respond:     169 (breach of Statutory Law)

Decision notice:     Published

Request completed: FS50438500 – Click to read ICO Decision Notice

Rosemary Lyon requested a 14 day extension.  Surjit Tour requested a 7 day extension.  Both granted.  Both deadlines missed.

I’m currently waiting for the ICO to publish the Decision Notice on this.  It’s been presented to me by the ICO as a “complex” decision.  I regarded it as a pretty straightforward case of failure to discipline officers and the enablement of future abuse.

UPDATE   December 2012

The decision notice is now in.  The ICO appear to regard ‘personal privacy’ as more worthy of its attention than a dangerous threat to the wellbeing of learning disabled people.  But the least said about that the better.  The decision is being appealed to the First Tier (Information Rights) Tribunal.

3.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/senior_officers_requirement_to_d#comment-29981

Summary: Requesting information on Senior Officers’ register of declared interests.

Date of request:     20th Jun 2011

Age of request in working days:      344

Answered within 20 working days: reply on Day 27 (breach of Statutory Law)

Internal review requested:      13th Aug 2011

Working days for council to respond:   Internal Review  not carried out (breach of Statutory Law)

Request completed: NO

Appealed with ICO:     15th July 2012

Decision notice:     Published

ICO reference No.     FS50416628 (Click to read ICO Decision Notice)

Contempt of Court proceedings are potentially about to be issued, depending upon the response I receive to the following email, sent this evening:

From: Paul C
Sent: 04 September 2012 21:15
To: ‘casework@ico.gsi.gov.uk’
Subject: Freedom of information request re: Wirral Council Register of Senior Officers’ interests FS50416628

FAO [Senior Case Officer’s name redacted]

Dear [Senior Case Officer’s name redacted],

Further to the Decision Notice you issued to Wirral Council dated 13th August 2012, 35 calendar days have now expired, but I have not received any contact from Wirral Council specifying to me whether it holds further information which falls within the scope of my request as required by Section 1(1)(a) of the Act.

Neither have I received any further information contingent upon the Council’s consideration of any further information it holds for disclosure to me, the complainant, as required by section 1(1)(b) of the Act.

Neither have I had any indication that the Council has considered any information which it does hold for disclosure bearing in mind the First Tier Tribunal’s decision in the case of Greenwood v ICO (EA/2011/0131 & 0137).

I therefore request that you take this case to the next stage and also update me with the details of any action that you are taking,

Best regards,

Paul Cardin

11th October 2012

After 16 months, Wirral Council has finally and reluctantly provided some information on the declared interests of 26 x Senior Officers.  Given that Wirral are making frequent claims to a newly emerging climate of transparency and openness, I have no idea why it took them so long.  I haven’t yet checked whether the list is complete and includes all of the council’s officers above the pay level of £58,200  (a stipulation made at the Information Tribunal in the case of Greenwood v ICO (EA/2011/0131 & 0137), but will be doing so in the near future.

Here’s a link to the blog post specifically covering this and holding links to all the information that Wirral Council supplied.

The Council have now provided information, however it was provided piecemeal, over several days, in shoddily presented documents, and has not come up to standard.  I have now asked the ICO to consider issuing an Enforcement Notice.

The ICO, true to form, has backed the Council.  However I’m querying why they’ve allowed the Council to claim a Section 40(2) exemption on an obvious conflict of interest – which patently cannot  represent personal data in any shape or form.

4.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/copy_of_letter_published_on_webs#outgoing-216044

Summary: Requesting copy of a letter published on Council website “mistakenly” identifying Highways Contract whistleblower.

Date of request:     11th Jul 2012

Age of request in working days:      120 and counting

Answered within 20 working days:      no answer (breach of Statutory Law)

Internal review requested:      11th Aug 2012

Working days for council to respond:     89 (breach of Statutory Law)

Request completed: NO

Appealed with ICO:     6th October 2012

5.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/helpline_regarding_illegal_delay#outgoing-216036

Summary: Requesting information on results of a helpline set up following exposure of a hidden, illegal 4 week delay on care packages.

Date of request:     8th May 2012

Age of request in working days:      112

Answered within 20 working days:      reply on Day 66 (breach of Statutory Law)

Internal review requested:      6th July 2012

Working days for council to respond:     112 (breach of Statutory Law)

Request completed: NO (currently considering appeal to ICO)

Appealed with ICO:     Reply received from Wirral Council on 10th October 2012

Please see the following blog post for comment and analysis of the information received:

https://easyvirtualassistance.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/wirral-councils-unlawful-implementation-of-a-4-week-delay-on-social-care-packages/

6.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/agreed_departure_of_chief_execut#comment-29785

Summary: Request for information regarding the departure of CEO Jim Wilkie, again shrouded in secrecy, possibly gagged, paid off.

Date of request:     7th Jun 2012

Age of request in working days:      144 and counting

Answered within 20 working days:      no answer (breach of Statutory Law)

Internal review requested:      6th July 2012

Working days for council to respond:     no answer (breach of Statutory Law)

Request completed: NO

Appealed with ICO:     5th October 2012

7.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/consultant_anna_klonowski_declar#outgoing-210386

Summary: Request for information around Anna Klonowski’s declarations / costs / nature of association with Wirral Council.

Date of request:     12th May 2012

Age of request in working days:      162 and counting

Answered within 20 working days:      no answer (breach of Statutory Law)

Internal review requested:      11th July 2012

Days taken for council to respond:     no answer (breach of Statutory Law)

Request completed: NO

Appealed with ICO:     6th October 2012

8.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/suspension_of_director_david_gre#incoming-286811

Summary:     Requesting information relating to the procedure of suspending a Director and the potential consequences.

Date of request:     2nd May 2012

Age of request in working days:      170 and counting

Answered within 20 working days:      no answer (breach of Statutory Law)

Internal review requested:      4th September 2012

Days taken for council to respond:     no answer (breach of Statutory Law)

Request completed: NO

Appealed with ICO:     6th October 2012

9.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/out_of_hours_monitoring_of_stree#incoming-286806

Summary:     Requesting information on street lighting night-time scouting rounds; areas; frequency; responsible contractor, etc.

Date of request:     5th May 2012

Age of request in working days:      36 (completion time)

Answered within 20 working days:      reply on Day 23 (breach of Statutory Law)

Internal review requested:      N/A

Days taken for council to respond:     N/A

Request completed: YES

Appealed with ICO:     N/A

10.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/request_for_copies_of_correspond_2#outgoing-199397

Summary:     Requesting copies of corresondence between Council & DLA Piper UK LLP – law firm assigned work within AKA report

Date of request:     4th Feb 2012

Age of request in working days:      179 and counting

Answered within 20 working days:      no answer (breach of Statutory Law)

Internal review requested:      6th March 2012

Days taken for council to respond:     no answer (breach of Statutory Law)

Request completed: NO

Appealed with ICO:     21st April 2012

11.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/stephen_maddox_former_chief_exec#comment-26245

Summary:     Requesting information relating to early departure of former CEO Steve Maddox; payments, correspondence, etc.

Date of request:     3rd January 2011

Age of request in working days:      296 (Completion time)

Answered within 20 working days:      reply on Day 31 (breach of Statutory Law)

Internal review requested:      26th April 2011

Days taken for council to respond:     no answer (breach of Statutory Law)

Request completed: YES

Appealed with ICO:     26th July 2011

ICO Reference No.       FS50406724 – Click to read Decision Notice

Ultimately, although this took well over a year, the ICO made the council produce the following report:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/56617/response/256393/attach/html/3/ER.pdf.html

12.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/letters_sent_to_abused_learning#comment-23443

Summary:     Requesting copy of reimbursement letter to abused tenants of three supported living establishments in Moreton, Wirral

Date of request:     29th Oct 2011

Age of request in working days:      18 (completion time)

Answered within 20 working days:      reply on Day 18

Internal review requested:      N/A

Days taken for council to respond:     N/A

Request completed: YES

Appealed with ICO:     N/A

13.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/total_figures_for_referrals_to_p#incoming-206071

Summary:     Requesting information on how many times the Council had been referred to the Press Complaints Commission.

Date of request:     23rd Aug 2011

Age of request in working days:      7 (completion time)

Answered within 20 working days:      reply on Day 7

Internal review requested:      N/A

Days taken for council to respond:     N/A

Request completed: Yes

Appealed with ICO:     N/A

14.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/total_annual_figures_for_comprom_18#comment-19204

Summary: Requesting information on how many compromise agreements / gagging clauses issued by the Council in the last 6 years.

Date of request:     1st Jan 2011

Age of request in working days:      216 (completion time)

Answered within 20 working days:      reply on Day 64 (breach of Statutory Law)

Internal review requested:      31st March 2011

Days taken for council to respond:     40 (breach of Statutory Law)

Request completed: YES

Appealed with ICO:     Yes.  The Council eventually sent the information after a total of 216 working days.

Appealed with ICO:     N/A

The following spreadsheet, covering the above 14 FoI requests is provided to assist the reader in comparing the appalling average response times displayed here with those given in this cynical report, issued by Wirral Council dated 6th September 2012.

The average waiting time on these requests is 26 weeks / six months / half a year.  It seems the awkward and potentially “sensitive” nature of these requests has had an impact.  A subject like “Street Lighting night-time scouting rounds” has been a whole lot easier to deal with than  “pay offs and gags for senior officers, suspected to be involved in learning disabled abuse and disability discrimination”.

Click on the links in Column 1 to view associated press articles.

Subject Date Time Time Completed Links
summary originally Waited Waited
lodged (working (expressed
days) in weeks)
Info around important initial meeting held between Anna Klonowski and all Wirral party leaders. 12/10/2011   248   49   No   1.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/meeting_between_party_leaders_an#outgoing-220406
Info around two ex DASS senior officers, gagged, paid off, allowed to leave, but never disciplined. 11/01/2012   183   36   No   2.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/dass_recent_departure_of_two_sen#comment-30487
Info on Senior Officers’ register of declared interests. 20/06/2011   330   65   No   3.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/senior_officers_requirement_to_d#comment-29981
Copy of letter published on Council website “mistakenly” identifying Highways Contract whistleblower. 11/07/2012   53   10   No   4.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/copy_of_letter_published_on_webs#outgoing-216044
Info on results of helpline set up following exposure of hidden illegal 4 week delay on care packages. 08/05/2012   99   19   No   5.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/helpline_regarding_illegal_delay#outgoing-216036
Info regarding the departure of CEO Jim Wilkie. 07/06/2012   77   15   No   6.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/agreed_departure_of_chief_execut#comment-29785
Info around Anna Klonowski’s declarations / costs / nature of association with Wirral Council. 12/05/2012   95   18   No   7.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/consultant_anna_klonowski_declar#outgoing-210386
Info relating to the procedure of suspending a Director and the potential consequences. 02/05/2012   103   20   No   8.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/suspension_of_director_david_gre#incoming-286811
Info on street lighting night-time scouting rounds; areas; frequency; responsible contractor, etc. 05/05/2012   23   4.6   Yes   9.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/out_of_hours_monitoring_of_stree#incoming-286806
Copies of correspondence between Council & DLA Piper UK LLP – law firm assigned AKA report work. 04/02/2012   165   32   No   10.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/request_for_copies_of_correspond_2#outgoing-199397
Info relating to early departure of former CEO Steve Maddox; payments, correspondence, etc. 03/01/2011   296   59.2   Yes   11.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/stephen_maddox_former_chief_exec#comment-26245
Copy of reimbursement letter to abused tenants of three supported living establishments. 29/10/2011   18   3.6   Yes   12.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/letters_sent_to_abused_learning#comment-23443
Info on how many times the Council had been referred to the Press Complaints Commission. 23/08/2011   7   1.4   Yes   13.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/total_figures_for_referrals_to_p#incoming-206071
Info on how many compromise agreements / gagging clauses issued by the Council in the last 6 years. 01/01/2011   216   43.2   Yes   14.     http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/total_annual_figures_for_comprom_18#comment-19204
           
Average 136 27 5 completed
waiting times days weeks 9 outstanding

UPDATE – Wirral Council releases 26 x NAMED Senior Officers’ declared Interests

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All the old content has been moved across and nothing else has changed.

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18th October 2012

I made the following FoI request on 20th June 2011, approximately 14 months ago.  It went through the usual, tortuous procedure that’s become standard practice when dealing with the information governance team ensconced at Wirral Council.  They have, shall we say, a particular “mode” of working that’s quite unique.  They don’t do things quickly ~ and their repeated and flagrant disregard for service to the public indicates they’re not at all vexed or troubled by committing serial breaches of statutory law.

They also happen to be my local council and, as far as Freedom of Information is concerned, the people of Wirral are desperately unlucky in the lottery of life to be living within this jurisdiction.  It really is that bad.

Here’s the request:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/senior_officers_requirement_to_d

They’ve made an absolute dog’s breakfast of it and here’s a link to the ICO Decision notice (reproduced below), received yesterday:

View PDF of Decision Notice FS50416628

So, all in all, they made a mess, and now have 35 calendar days i.e. until 3rd September to respond…

UPDATE   6th September 2012

True to form… time’s up and I’ve heard nothing from either Wirral Council or the ICO on this.  Here’s an email sent on 4th September to hurry them up:

From: Paul C
Sent: 04 September 2012 21:15
To: ‘casework@ico.gsi.gov.uk’
Subject: Freedom of information request re: Wirral Council Register of Senior Officers’ interests FS50416628

FAO [Senior Case Officer’s name redacted]

Dear [Senior Case Officer’s name redacted],

Further to the Decision Notice you issued to Wirral Council dated 13th August 2012, 35 calendar days have now expired, but I have not received any contact from Wirral Council specifying to me whether it holds further information which falls within the scope of my request as required by Section 1(1)(a) of the Act.

Neither have I received any further information contingent upon the Council’s consideration of any further information it holds for disclosure to me, the complainant, as required by section 1(1)(b) of the Act.

Neither have I had any indication that the Council has considered any information which it does hold for disclosure bearing in mind the First Tier Tribunal’s decision in the case of Greenwood v ICO (EA/2011/0131 & 0137).

I therefore request that you take this case to the next stage and also update me with the details of any action that you are taking,

Best regards,

Paul Cardin

UPDATE   18th September 2012

15 months on, since I first lodged this FoI request, here’s the latest email from the Information Commissioner’s Office.  Another week of grace has been granted to the council:

18th September 2012

Case Reference Number FS50416628

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your email informing us that Wirral Council has not yet complied with decision notice FS50416628. I will write to the council and ask it explain why it has not complied within the specified time limit. I will also ask it to ensure that it complies with the notice within the next week.

Please write to me if you have not received a response by the end of next week.

Yours sincerely

[name redacted]

Senior Case Officer

19th September 2012

Wirral Council officers slammed over freebies

The above is a headline from today’s Liverpool Echo.  The article refers to “senior officers from Wirral accepting thousands of pounds of freebies without properly declaring them”.
Given the previous abuses of power and the abuse of disabled and vulnerable people going right back to 1997, is it any wonder at all that some officers appear to have been taking full advantage of the serial dysfunction and shocking lack of probity?

Here is an email, sent this morning, to the senior case officer dealing with my Freedom of Information request regarding a “Register of Senior Officers’ Interests”:

CARDIN PAUL
10:12 (5 minutes ago)

to casework

Dear [Officer’s name redacted],

In direct relation to case FS50416628, “Register of Senior Officers’ Interests”, please read the following article from today’s Liverpool Echo:

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2012/09/19/wirral-council-officers-slammed-over-freebies-100252-31863169/#.UFmG9yaqQhg.twitter

It appears that Wirral Counci’s lax systems around probity, backed up by weak information management and in a climate of abysmal performance around Freedom of Information have permitted senior officers to indulge in what look like abusive practices.

I would now like you to take note of this and amend your recent decision notice to include reference to this very unfortunate situation,

best regards,

Paul Cardin

19th September 2012

Foi Request to Audit Commission

Placed today: http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/report_into_wirral_council_offic/new

Foi Request to Wirral Council

Placed today: http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/senior_officer_freebies

A public-spirited person has forwarded me a link to the Auditor’s report on Wirral Council’s website.  Wirral are not the sort of organisation who will update the local public via their website when controversial matters are discussed; but luckily we have enough democratically engaged people who are prepared to do the work that becomes necessary in order to uncover and throw a spotlight onto the finer details:

UPDATE   27th September 2012
Reply received to last email:

27th September 2012

Case Reference Number FS50416628

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your e-mails regarding our recent decision notice on your request for senior officers declarations of interests.

I note your comments and the article and report which you have provided to us. Unfortunately however we are not able to amend decision notices once they have been issued.

I am sorry we have not been able to help you further in this instance.

Yours sincerely

[Name redacted]
Senior Case Officer.

11th October 2012
At long last, after 16 months, Wirral Council has finally and reluctantly provided information listing the declared interests of 26 x Senior Officers.  These are officers earning above £58,200 (a stipulation made at the Information Tribunal in the case of Greenwood v ICO (EA/2011/0131 & 0137).  I haven’t had time yet to check whether the disclosure is complete, meets the requirements of the Decision Notice, and all the relevant officers have been included – but have asked the Council to confirm that it does.  I’ll paste the info up here if and when any changes or additions are made.  Please watch out for these changes.  I’ve emailed the ICO to check whether they are satisfied with the information and asked whether it meets the requirements of the decision notice they issued.

But for now, here they are…… Wirral Council’s Senior Officers’ Interests:

Name Mrs Sue Talbot
Work title / Role   Strategic Service Manager Early Years & Primary Education
Section  Learning and Achievement Branch
Department Children & Young People’s Department
Name and Address of additional business or other employment   NONE
Nature of additional business or other employment    NONE
Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                      NONE
Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                    NONE
Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity            NONE
Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                                 NONE
Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                         NONE
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer             NONE
List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies          NONE
List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or association

West Kirby Grammar School Parents’ Association (secretary)

Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interest.          NONE

Name Stuart Bellerby
Work title / Role Strategic Service Manager (Secondary Education)
Section Learning and Achievement
Department  CYPD
Name and Address of additional business or other employment   NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment   NONE

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                      NONE

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                    NONE

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity           NONE

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                                NONE

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                         NONE
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer             NONE

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies National Union of Teachers
List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association   I am a governor at Birkdale Primary School in Sefton 
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests.  The Council considers that this information is exempt from disclosure under Section 40(2) of the FOIA as it contains personal data.  The council considers that it would be unfair on the individual concerned to disclose this personal data and therefore would be in breach of the 1st principle of the DPA 1998.

Name     Andrew Roberts
Work title / Role  Interim Head of Branch – Planning and Resources
Section     Planning and Resources
Department  Children and Young People
Name and Address of additional business or other employment  None
Nature of additional business or other employment    None
Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                      None
Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                    None
Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity           None
Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                                None
Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put  –                                                                     Home
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer            None
List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies  Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy
List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                      None
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests        n/a

Name Tracey Coffey
Work title / Role Strategic Service Manager
Section Social Care
Department Children and Young Peoples Department
Name and Address of additional business or other employment    NONE
Nature of additional business or other employment    NONE
Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                     NONE
Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                   NONE
Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity          NONE
Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                               NONE
Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                        NONE
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer            NONE
List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies Health Care Professionals Council. Unison
List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                      NONE
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests        NONE

Name Julia Hassall
Work title / Role Acting Director of Children’s Services
Section
Department Children & Young People’s Department

Name and Address of additional business or other employment   none
Nature of additional business or other employment    none
Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                     none
Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                   none
Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity          none
Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                               none
Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                        none
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer            none
List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies –     Thornton Hall Health Club, Wirral

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association –                                                                    none
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests

I provide coaching to a Local Authority Assistant Director in a North West Authority – I am committed to providing 8 sessions and the Council has received £2,000 from the Children’s Improvement Board for this work. I receive no personal remuneration.

I am a member of The College of Social Work Transitional Professional Assembly.

Name  Simon Garner
Work title / Role   Strategic Service Manager, currently Acting Head of Branch
Section  Children’s Social care
Department Children and Young People’s department
Name and Address of additional business or other employment  NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment   N/A

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                      N/a

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                    N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity           N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                                N/a

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                         N/A
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer             N/A

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies          N/a

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                       N/A
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests         N/A

Steve Pimblett

Work title / Role  Strategic Service Manager

Section  IYSS Social Care Branch   [Integrated Youth Support Services]

Department CYPD   [Children & Young People’s Department]

Name and Address of additional business or other employment  NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment   N/A

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                       N/a

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                     N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity            N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                                 N/a

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                          N/A
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer              N/A

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies           N/a

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                        N/A
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interest.

Name Fiona Johnstone
Work title / Role Director of Policy, Performance and Public Health
Section PPPH
Department PPPH
Name and Address of additional business or other employment NHS WIRRAL
Nature of additional business or other employment NHS Wirral
Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                      NONE

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                    NONE
Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity           NONE
name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                                NONE
Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put none other than permanent residence [no declaration]
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer            none
List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies         FPH [Faculty of Public Health] ADsPH [Association of Directors of Public Health]

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                      NONE
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests        NONE

Graham Hodkinson

Director of Adult Social Services DASS

Name and Address of additional business or other employment    None
Nature of additional business or other employment    None
Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                    None
Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                  None
Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity         None
Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                              None
Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                      Home Address only
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer          None
List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies       Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                    None
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests      Nil

Ian Brand

Head of Asset Management

Asset Management

Law, HR & Asset Management

Name and Address of additional business or other employment   NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment    N/A

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                   N/a

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                 N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity        N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                             N/a

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                      N/A
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer          N/A

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; ACES [local government surveyors’ association]; National Trust; British Canoe Union

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                    N/A
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interest        N/A

Name Chris McCarthy

Work title / Role  Interim Director of TS [Technical Services]
Department TS [Technical Services]

Name and Address of additional business or other employment    NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment    N/A

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                   N/a

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                 N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity        N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                             N/a

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                      N/A
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer         N/A

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies      N/a

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                   N/A
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests     N/A

Name Mark Smith

Work title / Role Head of Service, Streetscene & Waste

Section  Streetscene & Waste
Department TS [Technical Services]

Name and Address of additional business or other employment    NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment    N/A

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                  N/a

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity       N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                            N/a

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                     N/A
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer         N/A

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies      N/a

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                   N/A
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests     N/A

Jim Lester

Work title / Role  Head of Cultural Services

Section  Cultural Services
Department TS [Technical Services]

Name and Address of additional business or other employment    NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment    N/A

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                  N/a

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity        N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                             N/a

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                      N/A
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer          N/A

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies       N/a

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                    N/A
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests      N/A

Name Rob Clifford

Work title / Role SERVICE MANAGER
Section  Highway maintenance division
Department TS [Technical Services]

Name and Address of additional business or other employment    NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment    N/A

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                   N/a

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                 N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity        N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                             N/a

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                      N/A
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer          N/A

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies       N/a

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                    N/A
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interest        [No declaration given]

Name Mary Bagley

Work title / Role    Service Manager

Section  Cultural Services – Parks & Countryside – Support

Department TS [Technical Services]

Name and Address of additional business or other employment    NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment    N/A

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                   N/a

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                 N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity        N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                             N/a

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                      N/A
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer          N/A

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies       N/a

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                    N/A
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests      N/A

Name Caroline McKenna

Work title / Head of Safeguarding-Children and Adults

Department CYPD    [Children & Young People’s Department]

Name and Address of additional business or other employment    NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment    N/A

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                   N/a

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                 N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity        N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                             N/a

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                      N/A
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer          N/A

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies       N/a

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                    N/A
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests      N/A

Name David Armstrong
Work title / Role Deputy Director CYPD / Acting Deputy Chief Executive
Name and Address of additional business or other employment   Nil
Nature of additional business or other employment    Nil
Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                 None
Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                               None
Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity      None
Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                            None

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                     Nil other than Home Address
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer         None
List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies – West Highland Line Friends Group – Workington Heritage Society
List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                   Nil
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests     Nil

Name Chris Beyga

Work title Head of Personal Support

Section  Adult Social Care

Department DASS    [Department of Adult Social Services]

Name and Address of additional business or other employment   NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment    N/A

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                   N/a

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                 N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity        N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                             N/a

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                      N/A
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer          N/A

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies       N/a

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                    N/A
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests      N/A

Name : Graham Burgess

Work title / Chief Executive

Name and Address of additional business or other employment   NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment    N/A

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                  N/a

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity       N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                            N/a

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                     N/A
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer         N/A

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies      N/a

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                   N/A
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests     N/A

Name Kevin Adderley

Work title / Role Director of Regeneration, Housing and Planning
Section Strategic Development

Department rhp [Regeneration, Housing & Planning]

Name and Address of additional business or other employment   NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment    nil

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                  N/a

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity       N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                            N/a

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                     N/A
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the                          N/A

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies     N/a

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                  N/A
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests    N/A

Malcolm Flanagan

Work title / Role  Head of service Finanace [Finance]

Name and Address of additional business or other employment    NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment   N/A

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                  N/a

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                                N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity       N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                            N/a

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                     N/A
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer         N/A

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies      N/a

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                   N/A
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests     N/A

Name Peter Timmins

Work title / Role Interim Director of Finance
Section

Department

Name and Address of additional business or other employment   NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment   nil

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                 N/a

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                               N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity      N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                           N/a

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                    N/A
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer        N/A

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies     N/a

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                  N/A
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests    N/A

Name Peter Wallach

Work title / Role Head of Merseyside Pension Fund
Section

Department Finance

Name and Address of additional business or other employment   NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment   nil

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                 N/a

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                               N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity      N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                           N/a

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                    N/A
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer        N/A

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies     N/a

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                  N/A
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests    N/A

Name Geoff Paterson

Work title / Role Head of Merseyside Pension Fund
Section    Wirral IT Services Infrastructure Section

Department Finance

Name and Address of additional business or other employment   NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment   nil

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                N/a

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                              N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity     N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                          N/a

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                   N/A
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer       N/A

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies    N/a

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                 N/A
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests   N/A

 

Name Emma Degg

Work title / Role Head of Communications and Community Engagement
Department Corporate Planning Engagement and Communication

Name and Address of additional business or other employment   NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment   nil

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                N/a

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                              N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity     N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                          N/a

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                   N/A
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer       N/A

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies    N/a

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association                                                                 N/A
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests   [no declaration]

Name Tom Sault

Work title / Role Head of Financial Services
Department Finance

Name and Address of additional business or other employment    NONE

Nature of additional business or other employment    nil

Name and Address of Company, Firm or other body or individual
of whom consultancy is undertaken                N/a

Nature of the consultancy with an indication of frequency or
volume of such work                                               N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company, Firm
or other body of which you are a Director, with an indication of
whether it is in a paid or unpaid capacity       N/A

Name and address and nature of business of each company in
which you hold shares                                            N/a

Address or description of land or property in which you have
an interest, the nature of the interest and the use to which the
land is put                                                                     N/A
Name and address of organisations to whom you are engaged on a
retainer basis and nature of the retainer         N/A

List any organisations with which you have membership or
association, including clubs and societies      N/a

List any voluntary bodies of which you have membership or
association      N/A
Please give any further information you may wish to record
about your business or financial interests The Council considers that this information is exempt from disclosure under Section 40(2) of the FOIA as it contains personal data.  The council considers that it would be unfair on the individual concerned to disclose this personal data and therefore would be in breach of the 1st principle of the DPA 1998

→ (note: any typos / inconsistencies in the above information are the work of salaried staff, still retained at the Council)

14th October 2012

Today, I sent the following email to Jane Corrin, Information Governance Manager at Wirral Council:

Dear Corrin, Jane,

You have provided information for 26 officers.

Before I consider this information more fully, please confirm that
ALL Wirral (Chief and Senior) officers working for and / or
employed by the council and on a pay level above £58,200, whether
suspended or not, are included in the information you have
supplied, as stipulated by:

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct…

As this request relates directly to the original one, and will
assist with understanding the content, please do not treat it as a
new request,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

….in other words, I suspected the information provided was incomplete, and possibly not fitting the requirements of the Information Tribunal’s case in the John Greenwood versus Bolton Council case – which gave the public greater access in this area.

17th October 2012

I also emailed the ICO to let them know the situation.  Emailed response in from Senior Case Officer at the Information Commissioner’s Office:

Case Reference Number FS50416628

Dear Mr Cardin,

Thank you for your email. As I understand it, your view is that the council has not complied with the requirements of the decision notice and has not provided you with all of the information which it holds which should have been disclosed to you.

You are not able to appeal this issue to the first-tier tribunal as it is the Commissioner’s role to consider and enforce against non-compliance with a decision notice rather than the tribunals.

If you are concerned that the council has not complied with the decision notice please can you write to me providing your reasons for believing this to be the case, together with any evidence you have that that is the case. We can then investigate this to ensure that the council has fully complied with the notice.

If there is evidence that further information is held which should have been disclosed to you and the council refuses to do that then the Commissioner has the discretion to issue an enforcement notice requiring the council to disclose the information in order to ensure that it complies with the notice.

The power to take action against non-compliance with a decision notice is discretionary and although we will look into the matter, formal action may not be appropriate in all cases. You should therefore write to us providing your arguments that the council has not fully complied in order that we can ensure that any evidence or arguments are fully considered.

I hope that this is helpful to you.

Yours sincerely

[name redacted]

Senior Case Officer

18th October 2012

Ms Corrin tells me of a ‘discrepancy’…

Good Afternoon,
I have spoken to each department of the Council regarding your email below.
It has now become clear that some Officers returns have not been supplied to me and this is being rectified. I have asked for the details to be supplied to me as a matter of urgency. I will send the additional information to you tomorrow and apologise for this discrepancy and delay to your enquiry.
Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information Manager
Wirral Council

The next thing for me to do, once I think I have all the information is to run it through a quality check.  Already, I can see gaps… and areas that don’t come up to scratch e.g. liberal use of the term N/A (not applicable) in place of the required, more definite “No” or “None”.

do have better things to do, but I will encourage these public servants, working for an abusive council, to do their jobs properly.

The irony of apologising for a few days’ delay following a 16 month one is evidently lost on some of the guardians of our information.

19th October 2012

Message in from Jane Corrin.  Not sure what she’s up to, but six more officers added and still lots of gaps… the message itself is laid out in columns and not readable in WhatDoTheyKnow or when I attempt to download it.

There’s enough clarity to see that suspended Wirral Director David Green has declared a “contractual conflict” of interest with an employee of COLAS:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/76622/response/322799/attach/html/2/coif2.doc.html …

UPDATE   24th October 2012

Further message from the Council:

Good Afternoon,
Thank you for your further email below. Details with regard Ian Coleman are below.

Ian Coleman
Director of Finance (ex employee)
A conflict of interest exists as declared by Ian Coleman, when he was Director of Finance. The Council considers that this information is exempt from disclosure under Section 40(2) of the FOIA as it contains Personal Data. The council considers that it would be unfair on the individual concerned to disclose this personal data and therefore would be in breach of the 1st principle of the DPA 1998.

You have the right under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to ask for an internal review of the refusal to some of the information requested. Please would you direct any request for an internal review to Mr Michael Rowan, Legal and Member Services, Department of Law, HR and Asset Management, Town Hall, Brighton Street, Wallasey, CH44 8ED

You do also have the right to complain to the information Commissioner, if you are dissatisfied with the outcome of any internal review, whose office is situated at: Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF
Tel: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45
Fax: 01625 524510 www.ico.gov.uk <http://www.ico.gov.uk/>

In response to your question, the details which have been disclosed to you do not include:-
1. Some individuals who are employed through an agency and are not directly employed by the Council.
2. School/Teaching staff.

I hope this answers your enquiry.
Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information Manager
Wirral Council

I’ve responded, and in accordance with the Council’s advice, have asked for an internal review – although this was originally requested many months ago, during a period when the Council were not acknowledging or responding to my messages.  They don’t appear to be prepared to acknowledge that this request has already run much of its course and gone to appeal with the ICO, who issued the Decision Notice reproduced at the top of this blog post – back in August 2012.

Here’s the review request, sent on 25th October 2012:

From: Paul Cardin

25 October 2012

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of
Information reviews.

16 months since I first lodged this request, I am writing (for the
second time) to request an internal review of Wirral Metropolitan
Borough Council’s handling of my FOI request ‘Senior Officers’ –
Requirement to Declare and Register Personal Interests’.

I have asked you twice to confirm that all the officer details
provided thus far comprise ALL public servants working for the
council (which incidentally includes those working for agencies) on
a salary scale of greater than £58,200, in accordance with the
Bolton V John Greenwood Tribunal judgment. You have failed to give
a direct YES or NO answer to this. This is the first reason I give
for requesting an internal review. Please provide a yes or no
answer.

The second reason I give is as follows.
The piecemeal nature of your response is not just broken up across
a period of time, but also inconsistent with regard to the rigour
and quality of the information. Some of the officers have correctly
made clear, detailed, line by line declarations, but the
overwhelming majority have NOT.

The third reason I give is as follows.
Stating “N/A” is loose and ill-defined and not an adequate
declaration – because it leaves room for uncertainty. The
declaration should state clearly “NO” or “NONE” or “YES” as
applicable and go on to give the necessary details, if required.

The fourth reason I give is as follows.
Filing a “Nil return” is not acceptable. Presumably, many of these
officers will have a property interest, this being the home they
live in. Some have declared this. The overwhelming majority have
not. This scattergun approach is not good enough.

The fifth reason I give is as follows.
I believe you are wrong to class these “conflicts of interest”,
held by very senior officers (including a man serving as interim
Chief Executive) as personal information. By definition, any
conflict of interest declared by a public servant requires
immediate publication in the legitimate and compelling public
interest, which is of greater importance than the desire for
“personal” privacy.

The sixth reason I give is as follows.
The mode of delivery of this information has been slapdash in the
extreme. I have not been able to download the information in a
legible condition and much of it has gone “off the screen” due to
it being served up in columns of data. For this reason, despite my
best efforts, I may have missed important details.

I am currently corresponding with the Information Commissioner’s
Office regarding the quality of your response to this request. I
believe you have fallen short of the standards required at every
stage of this request. Moreover, a Decision Notice, which is a
legal document, has already been issued containing the ICO’s
conclusions. For this reason, I’m not sure that jumping back in
time to do an “internal review” at your behest will achieve
anything. However, I will comply with your advice regardless.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is
available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/se…

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Separate email to ICO sent today:

From: Paul C
Sent: 26 October 2012 10:24
To: ‘casework@ico.gsi.gov.uk’
Subject: FW: re your freedom of information complaint against Wirral Council. [Ref. FS50416628]

Dear [Senior Officer – name redacted],

I now have details for what the Council have described as the final missing officer.  This appears to conclude the information that they are prepared to provide.

However, they haven’t included school or agency staff, an unknown number of whom will be Headteachers and consultants / managers on salaries above £58,200.  Furthermore, there are several inconsistencies and failings within the information provided, as follows:

Incomplete declarations (a vicarious reference to “nil returns” – where the officers concerned, unlike their colleagues, have not actually submitted any personal details or evidence that can be checked)

  1. An unknown number of missing declarations. See Council reference to Agency and school staff
  2. Inadequate declarations. Uncertainty introduced in the minds of the public by stating “N/A” in place of “No”; “None”
  3. A failure by the information governance officer dealing with the request to give a positive or negative response to my question [asked twice] as to whether ALL officers working for the council had been included
  4. The piecemeal response, coupled with the poor methods used to supply the data, have caused omissions and problems with correctly interpreting, understanding and realising the extent of the information
  5. An unrealistic and unlikely number of officers appear to have no interest in any property.  Only a very small number have admitted to living in a house / home and therefore holding such an interest

Further to this, I am challenging the council’s engagement of section 40(2) of the FOIA.  These are senior officers, one of whom was Acting Chief Executive Officer of the council during the time the information was being supplied.  This adds greater importance to the need for openness and transparency in the public interest.  These are declared as “conflicts of interest” and are therefore of a compelling nature and within this background of ongoing scandal, failed probity regarding council contracts and the suspension of four senior officers, including Directors and an Acting Chief Executive, I believe the legitimate public interest is of greater importance than the need to protect what the Council classes as “personal privacy”.

The sloppy and incomplete response keys in with the very poor reaction to this request initially, which included only sparse details for 3 senior officers at the time.  I cannot see much evidence of a desire to be open and accountable to the  local public or to comply with your instructions on my behalf, and would appreciate it very much if you could now investigate the above issues and consider issuing an enforcement notice in order to achieve full compliance,

Best regards,

Paul Cardin

UPDATE   15th November 2012

From: Paul C
Sent: 15 November 2012 18:17
To: ‘casework@ico.gsi.gov.uk’
Subject: FW: re your freedom of information complaint against Wirral Council. [Ref. FS50416628]

Dear [Senior Officer name redacted],

Time moves on and I’d appreciate a response to the email below,

Best regards,

Paul Cardin

UPDATE   11th December 2012

From: Paul C
Sent: 11 December 2012 21:56
To: ‘casework@ico.gsi.gov.uk’
Subject: FW: re your freedom of information complaint against Wirral Council. [Ref. FS50416628]

Dear [Senior Officer name redacted],

I wrote to you back on 26th October further to the subject matter of this FoI request, but didn’t receive a response. I then sent a follow up to you on 15th November, but this also failed to elicit a response.

We are now 18 months on from the original request, and a decision notice has been issued on this as you will be fully aware.  The council in my opinion have failed quite conclusively, as detailed in the email below, sent to you over 6 weeks ago.

You may have spotted that Wirral Council are not prone to timely, open and transparent engagement, and tend to breach Statutory Law on a regular basis.  I would now kindly ask that you act upon the situation and issue an enforcement notice in order to achieve full compliance.

Please acknowledge receipt of this second follow up email at the earliest opportunity,

Best regards,

Paul Cardin

UPDATE   20th December 2012

Dear [Senior officer name redacted],

 

Please respond.

 

The council (assuming an internal review was called for in the first place) have now had 40 working days (the time allowed in exceptional circumstances) but haven’t responded.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/senior_officers_requirement_to_d

 

Please now acknowledge these messages and enforce the Decision Notice that was issued earlier this year.  Please DO NOT allow this council to ride roughshod again over the Act and the council tax payers of Wirral.  Currently, they are succeeding in making not just themselves but the ICO look rather foolish.  The public interest demands some action.

 

Today is an important day because there is every chance that suspended director David Green – mentioned as having a conflict of interest (withheld under a section 40(2) claim to ‘personal data’) within this request – may receive a Christmas bonus in the form of a gag and a large pay off at a ‘special’ meeting:

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=197&MId=4259&Ver=4

Rewards for abuse of disabled people and failure are now approaching £1 million on Wirral, whilst “regulatory bodies” sit stranded on the sidelines,

 

Best regards and have a good Christmas,

Paul Cardin

UPDATE   21st December 2012

From: casework@ico.gsi.gov.uk
To: <paul.cardin@ntlworld.com>
Subject: re your complaint about Wirral Council&apos;s compliance with Decision Notice FS50416628 [Ref. FS50416628]
Date: Fri, Dec 21, 2012 15:42

 

PROTECT

 

21st December 2012

 

Case Reference Number FS50416628

 

Dear Mr Cardin
 I am writing concerning your further complaint about Wirral Councils response to your FOI request. You have argued that the council has failed to comply with decision notice FS50416628.
 
The first thing to say is that the Commissioner can take action for non- compliance with a decision notice at his own discretion. The Commissioner does not act on behalf of complainants. He is an independent regulator of the Freedom of Information Act. Therefore if he notes that non-compliance with a notice has occurred it will not always be the case that he will consider that further regulatory action is necessary for that particular case. Although a complainant may disagree with the Commissioner’s decision on enforcement, enforcing against non-compliance with a decision notice is a power of the Commissioner rather than a duty.
 
Following on from this, the Commissioner’s enforcement action is not taken directly ‘on behalf’ of complainants. Enforcement notices are issued as a result of the Commissioner, in his role as the regulator of the Act finding that a particular authority has not complied with the requirements of the Act and he considers that his best recourse to achieve compliance is via the formal enforcement action. Alternatively he may approach an authority and resolve a compliance issue with it on an informal basis.
 
If formal enforcement action is taken the Commissioner publicises the fact that he has taken action against an authority. This may not always be through the issue of an enforcement notice.
 
The above being said, I can inform you that the Commissioner has today named Wirral Council as an authority which is to be monitored over aspects of its compliance with the Act. Further details of this are available at http://www.ico.gov.uk/news/latest_news/2012/ico-announces-latest-list-of-authorities-for-foi-monitoring-21122012.aspx.
 
I understand your concerns regarding Wirral Councils response to decision notice FS50416628. In summary, although your individual complaint does not warrant enforcement action being taken individually, factors such as lateness in complying with a notice have been noted, and this may be referred to as evidence should it become necessary to take further formal action at some point in the future.
 
Turning now to your specific concerns regarding the decision notice, I will address these in turn.
 
 

  1. An unknown number of missing declarations. See Council reference to Agency and school staff

The council has confirmed that it does not hold information relating to school staff. It states that this information would be maintained by the schools themselves. Schools are separate authorities for the purposes of the Act.
 
As regards agency staff, you asked for information relating to the registered interests of ‘senior council officersl’. Agency staff are not council employees and will therefore fall outside the scope of your request.
 
The Commissioner therefore considers that there are no grounds for questioning this aspect of your complaint further.

  1. Inadequate declarations. Uncertainty introduced in the minds of the public by stating “N/A” in place of “No”; “None”

The council has confirmed that the information it has provided to you is an accurate reflection of the recorded information which it holds. If an individual officer has made a declaration stating ‘N/A’ then this is the response which the council should provide to you under the Act. The Commissioner cannot require the council to check with individual officers what the officer meant by stating N/A on their form as the Act does not require it to do so. Although you may consider that this leaves the council in a position where its records are unclear this is not a matter which the Commissioner has the powers to investigate. This is also applicable to information where the council has confirmed ‘nil’ or ‘no return’.
 
The Commissioner therefore considers that there are no grounds for questioning this aspect of your complaint further.

  1. A failure by the information governance officer dealing with the request to give a positive or negative response to my question [asked twice] as to whether ALL officers working for the council had been included

I assume that in this question you are referring to senior officers only as the request which you made was limited to senior officers. The Council has confirmed to the Commissioner that all information which it holds which falls within the scope of your request and which the decision notice required to be disclosed has now been provided to you.
 
In complying with the notice the council simply needs to provide you with the forms of officers if they are held at the time that it received your request. If it does not hold forms of particular officers there is no duty on the council to obtain that information purely in response to your request.
The Commissioner therefore finds no grounds to issue an enforcement notice as the council has complied with the requirements of the decision notice in this respect.

  1. The piecemeal response, coupled with the poor methods used to supply the data, have caused omissions and problems with correctly interpreting, understanding and realising the extent of the information

I appreciate that this may have caused you concerns. The decision notice stipulates that a disclosure of relevant information should be made to you within 35 days. The council did not provide all of the information to you within this timescale. It has however subsequently disclosed the information it holds to you and so an enforcement notice at this point, requiring a disclosure of information which has already been provided to you would seem to serve no purpose. You already have the information which an enforcement notice would require the council to disclose to you.
 
We have written to the council and passed on your concern in respect of the delay however, and do appreciate that the council should have provided the information to you in a more timely manner. The fact that it delayed its response beyond the timescales required by the decision notice has been noted and could be used in enforcement action against the council if it becomes apparent that this is a regular occurrence.

  1. An unrealistic and unlikely number of officers appear to have no interest in any property. Only a very small number have admitted to living in a house / home and therefore holding such an interest

I understand your concerns over this however the Commissioner has no powers to require the authority to re-approach its officers and confirm that they have filled their forms in accurately. The Commissioner has questioned whether the information which was disclosed to you is an accurate reflection of the information it actually holds and it has confirmed that that is the case. Under the Act he does not have the legal powers to require the council to provide you with information which it does not already hold in recorded form. The council has not specified to the Commissioner that any information has been exempted regarding the property holdings of individual officers.
 
The Commissioner therefore considers that there are no grounds for questioning this aspect of your complaint further. In this respect I would add however that a home addresses would be likely to be excluded under section 40(2) of the Act in any event. There would therefore be no reason for the council to deny the existence of this information given that it would be likely to be exempt information.
 
Again you may question whether the council should be collecting information of this sort in order to assure itself that there conflicts of interest are known about. That is not however a question which the Commissioner has the powers to consider.
 
Finally, you also questioned the general application of section 40(2) to the information. I can confirm that the withheld information is personal data and that following the guidance provided in the Bolton tribunal the redactions are appropriate. The information relates to family relationships with individuals who do not work for the council. There is 1 other redaction relating to a contractual conflict of interest however I understand that the fact that this exists and the company which it relates to has already been disclosed to you.
 
The Commissioner has considered the withheld information and is satisfied that the council would breach the provisions of the first data protection principle if it disclosed this information. The individuals concerned are not council employees, and may have no knowledge that information about them was held by the council on conflict of interest forms. A disclosure of this personal information to the whole world due to its inclusion on a conflict of interest form would not lie within their expectations and would therefore be unfair. It would also be an unwarranted intrusion into their private lives for the purposes of schedule 2 of the first data protection principle. Section 40(2) is therefore applicable to the information.
 
In conclusion therefore the Commissioner considers that there are no grounds for him to take formal enforcement action against the council as a result of your complaint regarding non-compliance with this decision notice. Whilst this is the case, individual factors may be taken into account should it become necessary to take formal action against the council in the future. Again I would highlight that Wirral Council is currently on a list of authorities which is currently being monitored by the Commissioner.
 
I hope that this has satisfied your concerns as regards the council’s response to the decision notice.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
 
[Senior officer name redacted]
Senior Case Officer


So that…. is the end of that….

OR IS IT?

Hidden in the mountains of information above is this item:

“These are senior officers, one of whom was Acting Chief Executive Officer of the council during the time the information was being supplied.”

And this…. (my emphasis)

From: Corrin, Jane
Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

24 October 2012

Good Afternoon,
Thank you for your further email below. Details with regard Ian Coleman are below.
Ian ColemanDirector of Finance (ex employee)

A conflict of interest exists as declared by Ian Coleman, when he was Director of Finance. The Council considers that this information is exempt from disclosure under Section 40(2) of the FOIA as it contains Personal Data.

The council considers that it would be unfair on the individual concerned to disclose this personal data and therefore would be in breach of the 1st principle of the DPA 1998.

Whilst remarking on suspended David Green’s declared conflict of interest with COLAS (his brother used to work for them), the Senior Officer at the ICO now appears to have glossed over another one.  He is happy for Acting Chief Executive Officer Ian Coleman’s undeclared conflict of interest to be described as ‘exempt from disclosure‘, and as ‘personal data‘.

This sidelining of the public interest by the ICO cannot be allowed to happen.

This could be the right time to ring Christopher Graham.

Watch this space…

Site Meter

Is this ‘death by bureaucracy’? Exposing Disability Discrimination at Wirral Council

This site is moving to a new web address.  If you’re a follower, please browse to the new site and register again to continue to receive updates or email notifications.  The old ones will cease to work in around a month’s time, when the old blog is taken down.

All the old content has been moved across and nothing else has changed.

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www.wirralinittogether.wordpress.com

X ray photograph of person s hands on keyboard uid 1278716

Two years ago, back in 2010, I approached my MP, Angela Eagle, with concerns that there had been systematic disability discrimination at Wirral Council.  She contacted the Equality and Human Rights Commission in order to pass on these concerns.  In December of that year, she received the following letter in response:

As is spelled out clearly in the letter, Mike Smith found that there had been Disability Discrimination committed by Wirral Council.  This discrimination was financial and it had occurred for a period of up to 9 years, despite whistleblower Martin Morton informing his seniors early on that it was going on and that it was wrongIn return for his good faith, public-spirited actions, he was bullied, allegedly mobbed and forced from his job.

In the West Wirral case, there were 16 learning disabled residents affected, who over the period in question, had approximately £500,000 deliberately and unlawfully taken directly from their bank accounts.  When referring to these issues, the council, the media and various “watchdogs” consistently use the word “overcharging”.  However this word is inappropriate, unhelpful and simply keys in with the desire by those still in power to minimise, deflect and dilute the seriousness of what happened.

Following the exposure of this discrimination, the council put in place a “retrospective charging policy” (in itself legally dubious) which was supposed to ensure that the affected tenants, five of whom have since died (their estates), would receive a proportionate share of £243,000.  Here is the original FoI request asking for a copy of the form that was sent to tenants for them to claim back the unlawfully deducted sums.  However the alarm was quickly raised that these sums were to be treated as “windfalls” by the Department for Work & Pensions, and would adversely impact on tenants’ existing benefits.

It’s now uncertain how much of this money has in fact been reclaimed or whether the tenants were made to suffer twice through no fault of their own.  I’m currently planning to contact LGA troubleshooter Michael Frater and / or Wirral’s new CEO Graham Burgess in order to discover the actual amount reclaimed.  If this isn’t successful, I’ll make another FoI request through the www.whatdotheyknow.com website.

Wirral Council’s Director of Law, Bill Norman, mentioned in the above letter – and since suspended from his job, before departing the organisation with a large pay off – believed that there had not been any disability discrimination:

…but Mike Smith disagreed with Wirral’s (now former) Director of Law, and requested that the issue be passed to Anna Klonowski Associates – the external investigator who had been commissioned to carry out an independent enquiry by one time council leader Jeff Green.  AKA in turn, commissioned a large law firm, DLA Piper UK LLP, to carry out the disability discrimination element of her investigations.  The full version of the Klonowski report was published in early January 2012.  It found that there was no disability discrimination.  Link to section on disability discrimination here:

AKA Discrimination issues

However, this issue is not dead, because the opinion of Mike Smith of the EHRC cannot be written off or sidelined in this way.  This sort of question is a regular consideration for him, is straightforward in this case, and does not allow for motive and intent.  He stated quite categorically that disabled people had been overcharged (and therefore had been discriminated against).

I believe on a clear reading of the above letter that Mr Smith established there was disability discrimination and went on to recommended that it was passed to the AKA enquiry to enable them to:

A. Assess how far it extended

B. Assess the impact it may have had

C. Assess how it could be addressed

But DLA Piper UK LLP somehow got hold of the wrong end of the stick, were badly instructed or completely misunderstood the contents of the Mike Smith EHRC letter, opting instead to pass a judgment on the “existence or otherwise” of disability discrimination, rather than establishing the true extent of proven discrimination, rooting it out and dealing with it.

The fact that Director of Law Bill Norman, who with then CEO Jim Wilkie visited the offices of the EHRC on 13th July 2011, was later suspended from his role casts further doubt upon the safety of the DLA Piper conclusion of “no disability discrimination”.

Councillor Simon Mountney had attempted to present copies of the above EHRC letter for consideration by the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee when it sat on 18th January 2011.  However this was blocked by the chair, Moira McLaughlin for the reason that she hadn’t been advised about it before the start of the meeting.  Upon taking advice from a solicitor seated next to her, and reading the contents of the letter, she was heard to say to the room in general, “You don’t believe everything you read in the newspapers  do you?”  This was a reference to the following news article, which had appeared in The Wirral Globe that week:

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/8788691.Watchdog_accuses_Wirral_Council_of_discrimination_against_disabled_people/

I am hopeful that since the LGA have set up an “Improvement Board”, which is reportedly aiming to discover where it all went wrong, and to turn around the performance of this failed council, there may be a chance to:

A. Re-establish and re-invigorate Mike Smith’s original finding of disability discrimination

B. Dispense with the bizarre DLA Piper UK conclusion

C. Progress towards making the real perpetrators accountable

I made a serious and comprehensive standards complaint against Councillor Moira McLaughlin some time ago, but by the time these issues came up for consideration, she had become Mayor and the complaint was unsuccessful.  Here is a copy of the decision:

The now suspended Director of Law, Bill Norman played a leading role in this failed complaint.  Since his status and former position has come under question, I will consider applying to resubmit this complaint.  There is currently an anticipation of a number of separate serious charges being brought against him (now departed from the council) and his suspended colleagues, Ian Coleman (now departed from the council), David Taylor-Smith and David Green.  This will be in response to their potential involvement in massive failings in corporate governance, accompanied by huge losses of public revenue.

I placed an FoI request with Wirral Council in February 2012 asking for copies of all correspondence between DLA Piper UK LLP and Wirral Council, but it’s followed an identical path to that of numerous other requests, and has been added to a lengthening list of requests that are quite simply not being addressed or acknowledged.  These now have an average response time of over 6 months:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/request_for_copies_of_correspond#outgoing-193727

Here is a link to an associated Freedom of Information request made to Wirral Council, regarding law firm DLA Piper, which requests 8 separate and relevant pieces of information, but which has also run long overdue:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/he_who_pays_dla_piper_calls_the

The man previously in charge of Freedom of Information at Wirral Council is the now departed Acting Chief Executive Ian Coleman.

UPDATE   2nd August 2012

I recently sent an email to Wirral’s Director of Adult Social Services Graham Hodkinson to request figures for how many of the financially abused tenants of the three Moreton Supported Living establishments had received what was termed “reimbursement”.  Originally, approximately £500,000 was unlawfully taken, however only about half of this was returned due to the imposition of what many people regarded as a legally dubious “retrospective charging policy”.

Here are the figures, supplied this afternoon.  At this stage, it’s uncertain whether the tenants were ‘clobbered’ again by having their benefits reduced due to receipt of a so-called “windfall” (most people would regard this as outrageous, as the money was taken unlawfully in the first place – and why on earth should people be made to suffer twice through no fault of their own?)

I’ve thanked Mr Hodkinson’s staff for providing this information, and have asked for further information to clarify whether the recipients’ benefits were adversely affected.  I’ve been told that the information is held, and it is being prepared for publication in a report to the Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee in September, which will be made accessible on the Council website.

UPDATE   24th August 2012

Angela Eagle has been in touch today by letter:

Letter to David Armstrong, Acting Chief Executive of Wirral Council:

Letter to Mike Smith, Chair of the Disability Committee of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission – most relevant letter with regard to the subject of Disability Discrimination:

In addition to the above ongoing threat of abuse, caused by the council’s concealment of identities within the AKA report, and its reluctance to discipline its own officers, in his letter dated 29th December 2010 (see above), Mike Smith of the Equality and Human Rights Commission asserted that there had been disability discrimination committed by Wirral Council when for a period of many years they unlawfully debited sums from the bank accounts of 16 tenants living in supported accommodation in Moreton, Wirral.

This conclusion was in my opinion inescapable.  Mr Smith then asked Anna Klonowski Associates to “identify whether there are other issues or systemic problems that need to be addressed.”

However, for whatever reason, Anna Klonowski may have been forgetful, negligent or may have instructed DLA Piper Solicitors incorrectly.  How is this even possible, given the subject matter?  They appear to have addressed this matter with entirely the wrong purpose; that of finessing a position where Mike Smith’s verdict of disability discrimination could be refuted – which ultimately, it was.

Within the AKA Report, DLA Piper Solicitors duly arrived at the opposite conclusion to Mike Smith.  Wirral Council have now breached Statutory Law in not responding to give a reason why they are not supplying copies of the correspondence that passed between DLA Piper Solicitors and themselves.

I am now hopeful that Mr Smith will re-read his original letter to Angela Eagle MP, and digest the relevant appendix to the AKA report, along with compelling evidence I am planning to supply, before reasserting his original finding – that there was disability discrimination committed by Wirral Council – and not just in Angela Eagle’s constituency.  It also occurred in a number of other Wirral Supported Living establishments.

I still await Wirral Council’s response to the DLA Piper freedom of information request, which was lodged back on 4th February 2012:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/request_for_copies_of_correspond

In it, I requested copies of all correspondence between Wirral Council and DLA Piper UK LLP Solicitors, but the Council have been dragging their feet for an awfully long time now.  I have been forced to appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office once again.  I do wish the penny would drop, and Wirral Council would realise that their blanket refusals are only putting off the inevitable.

Smearing 10 members of the Wirral public in order to mask your own poor performance (which the council have now done in this report) won’t wash with the ICO.

UPDATE   30th August 2012

Email trail forwarded to Joyce Redfearn, chair of Wirral Council’s ‘Improvement Board’.  She passed this on in turn to the Acting Chief Executive at the time, David Armstrong – who failed to respond

From: Joyce Redfearn

Sent: 30 August 2012 15:07

To: Paul C

Cc: David Armstrong; Graham Burgess

Subject: Re: Disability Discrimination
Dear Mr Cardin
I am acknowledging receipt of your email as you requested.
The issue you raise is one to which Wirral Council should respond . Mr Frater has now left the Council so I am forwarding your email to the acting Chief Executive Mr David Armstrong who will ensure that your email receives appropriate attention.
Best wishes
Joyce Redfearn


On 27 Aug 2012, at 22:20, Paul C wrote:
Dear Ms Redfearn,
There’s an important issue covered in the emails below; that of Wirral Council’s historical disability discrimination, carried out deliberately over several years – raised with the Equalities and Human Rights Commission some time ago, and with Mr Frater last month.
However, despite being “remunerated” a reported £1,200 per day, he has failed to acknowledge the original email, nor the reminder sent recently. I’d appreciate it if you could acknowledge receipt of this one with me, and then discuss and action the matters raised with Mr Frater, possibly during the Improvement Board sessions which you are privileged to chair. You may wish to remind him that the issue has now been taken up again with my local MP Angela Eagle, in part due to his ongoing failure.
I was told today that Paul Burstow MP, the minister concerned, is writing to me this week to update me on the related issue of an ongoing threat of abuse to vulnerable people – on Wirral and further afield, created and enabled by Wirral Council’s quite calculated failure to safeguard their wellbeing,
Best regards and thank you in advance,
Paul Cardin


From: Paul C

Sent: 23 August 2012 14:26

To: ‘michaelfrater@wirral.gov.uk’

Cc: ‘graham.burgess@blackburn.gov.uk’; ‘Green, Jeff E. (Councillor)’; ‘phildavies’; ‘eaglea@parliament.uk’

Subject: FW: Disability Discrimination
Dear Mr Frater,
We are approaching a month since I sent the email below, but I haven’t received a response.
When you have the opportunity, I would very much appreciate an acknowledgment and response,
Many thanks,
Paul Cardin


From: Paul C

Sent: 26 July 2012 23:36

To: ‘michaelfrater@wirral.gov.uk’ Cc: ‘Anna Klonowski’; ‘grahamburgess@wirral.gov.uk’; ‘Green, Jeff E. (Councillor)’; ‘phildavies’ Subject: Disability Discrimination
Dear Mr Frater,
Back in 2010, I visited one of Angela Eagle MP’s surgeries and raised the subject of Wirral Council’s unlawful charging policy. This was something that I regarded as systematic disability discrimination.
This discrimination had been committed both prior to and since Social Services’ senior staff ignored the detailed submissions of a whistleblower (Martin Morton), who had told them it was wrong and unlawful. But the Adult Social Services Department continued to deduct payments from the bank accounts of 16 learning disabled residents of three supported living accommodations in Moreton, Wirral. It is believed this unlawful charging occurred for a period of up to 9 years, perhaps longer. As you will be aware, Mr Morton, in return for his public-spirited actions was forced out of his job, and I believe he is now unemployed.
Quite apart from the proven bullying and alleged mobbing of Mr Morton, I viewed the taking of this money from vulnerable people as disability discrimination, as did Mike Smith, the Chair of the Disability Committee of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. In addressing Angela Eagle’s initial query, Mike Smith had written to her on 29th December 2010, confirming this and I attach his letter for you to read.
Within the letter, Mike Smith states that this was disability discrimination, because he disagrees with Bill Norman’s opinion on it. He goes on “…Mr Cardin’s concerns should be included in the inquiry (Anna Klonowski inquiry), in order to identify whether there are other issues or systemic problems that need to be addressed.”
In other words, disability discrimination was “a given” – and the inquiry should now focus on looking for other issues or problems needing to be addressed.
However, whether through breakdown of communication, malpractice or incompetence, the law firm assuming the “disability discrimination role”, DLA Piper UK LLP (see pp. 240 to 249 of AKA report), did not address Mike Smith’s concerns at all. They were either instructed, or took it upon themselves to adopt a much narrower remit, determining whether or not there HAD BEEN disability discrimination throughout a number of different time periods, eventually deciding overall that there hadn’t. Which flew in the face of Mike Smith’s opinion and failed to address his stated requirements.
Prior to this letter, the now suspended Director of Law Bill Norman had reached his own conclusion, in Mike Smith’s opinion wrongly, that there hadn’t been disability discrimination. I am concerned that a reasonable assumption by any third party would consider this arrangement to be suspect, given that Mike Smith’s concerns weren’t addressed, and that large amounts of public money in the form of solicitors’ fees were involved.
As I’m sure you will appreciate, unaddressed disability discrimination is an extremely urgent, serious and compelling subject, and I would be very grateful if you could acknowledge receipt of this email and then make enquiries of Anna Klonowski, Bill Norman, Surjit Tour and any other officers who may have been in a position to allow sloppiness or malpractice to creep in where it should not be permitted to,
Best regards,
Paul Cardin
<AngelaEagle1.pdf><AngelaEagle2.pdf><AngelaEagle2a.pdf>

<<<<<<<<<<18th November 2012 Annotation: David Armstrong has NEVER responded, to this or any other email I’ve sent with the subject line “Disability Discrimination>>>>>>>>>

UPDATE   25th September 2012

This afternoon, I rang The Information Commissioner’s Office for an update on the above freedom of information request.  I was told that the case was escalated in July 2012, but the team dealing with such cases are currently dealing with those escalated in May 2012.

So, given this rate of progress, in another two months’ time, my case will be dealt with.  Not exactly heartening is it, given the subject matter?

I will ring the senior ICO manager in an attempt to get him to promote it and have it dealt with quicker.  This is unaddressed disability discrimination after all.

UPDATE    26th September 2012

Email to Complaints manager, Information Commissioner’s Office

Case FS50445302
FAO [Manager’s name redacted]
Dear [Manager’s name redacted],
I spoke with your colleague [investigating officer name redacted] yesterday regarding this case.  It is another one in which Wirral Council, through unexplained delays, appear to have breached Statutory Law.
The case relates directly to disability discrimination and to the finding of Mike Smith of the Equality and Human Rights Commission that the Council discriminated against at least 16 learning disabled people across an 11 year period, the result of which was £700,000 plus being unlawfully debited from their bank accounts in charges.  This finding was reached in early 2011.
The independent Anna Klonowski reported in January of this year, finding that there was no disability discrimination – however, in my opinion, it was not within the remit of the law firm DLA Piper UK LLP, the firm assigned to this area of work, to arrive at this conclusion.  I complained to my own MP, Angela Eagle originally in late 2010 about disability discrimination and I am hoping to have Mike Smith’s finding verified in order that the council can be made legally liable to recompense the recipients of what was calculated discrimination.
I am aware that the ICO complaints department is extremely busy and under-resourced, but in order to bring a decision about as soon as possible, expediency in aiming to access the important correspondence between the council and the law firm is crucial, and I would be very grateful if you could use your power as complaints manager to advance the case and have it dealt with more quickly.
If you need to discuss this issue my mobile phone contact number is [contact number redacted]
yours sincerely,
Paul Cardin
UPDATE   4th October 2012
Good news.  I’ve had an email from a senior case officer at the ICO:

PROTECT

 4 October 2012

 Case Reference Number FS50445302

 Dear Mr Cardin

Further to our letter of 9 July 2012, I write to inform you that your case has now been allocated to me to investigate and to inform you of how I intend to resolve the matter.

It is clear that Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council have failed to provide a response to your request despite the ICO’s intervention in June 2012. I therefore intend to issue a decision notice requiring Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council to provide you with an adequate response in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I hope to issue the decision notice within the next 2 weeks. 

I trust this is satisfactory.

Yours sincerely

[Name redacted]
Senior Case Officer

It’s not the required outcome, at least not yet…. but it’s another Decision Notice (which is a legal document) to add to the ever-growing pile.  This is likely to shine the spotlight onto Wirral Council’s methods, and is potentially another nail in the coffin of the disability discrimination, perpetrated for over a decade by this council.
UPDATE 10th October 2012
The decision notice FS50445302 was received today and is reproduced below:

This Decision Notice is now up on the ICO website, and can be linked to here:

http://www.ico.gov.uk/~/media/documents/decisionnotices/2012/fs_50445302.ashx

I noticed today that Wirral has received 17 Decision Notices so far.  For comparison purposes, Birmingham City Council – the largest UK Local Authority – has received only 10.  Kent County Council, another biggie, has received only 6.  This would seem to indicate Wirral are getting something wrong.

Another telling area is that of “complaints”.  An appeal can form 1 complaint, or if more complex be broken down into a number of separate ones.  Wirral’s 17 Decision notices make up a total of 38 complaints.  36 of these have been upheld or partially upheld on behalf of the complainant.
Turning to the subject matter, once again Wirral haven’t responded since February this year, and are in breach of Statutory Law, having failed to meet their obligations under the Act.
I suspect they will eventually plead legal privilege on this. (Did you know that data controllers are allowed to change their reasoning for withholding information as the process pans out?  That’s right.  If the first, second or third excuse doesn’t fit the bill, let’s try a fourth)….. is it any wonder the process can become SO painful and drawn out for requesters?  The chances are Wirral will soon end up back under the Information Commissioner’s own particular version of  ‘special measures’, having learned nothing since the last time this happened.
They now have until 14th November 2012 to provide the information or issue a valid refusal notice under Section 17(1).
UPDATE   14th November 2012
Nothing in yet.  Tomorrow, I’ll pick this up again and take it on to the next stage with the ICO.
UPDATE   9th November 2012
the following link contains some rather disturbing news about the Disability Committee of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and Mike Smith’s future as chair:
UPDATE   18th November 2012
Second emailed reminder sent this morning to David Armstrong, former Interim Chief Executive.  He was contacted in August on my behalf by Angela Eagle MP, but has never responded:
From: Paul C

Sent: 18 November 2012 09:54
To: ‘davidarmstrong@wirral.gov.uk’
Cc: ‘grahamburgess@wirral.gov.uk’; ‘joyceredfearn@gmail.com’; ‘eaglea@parliament.uk’; ‘Tour, Surjit’
Subject: RE: Disability Discrimination

Dear Mr Armstrong,

Have you responded yet to my local MP’s urgent letter, dated 23rd August 2012, sent to you months ago?

This ongoing lack of response doesn’t bode well and is not in keeping with your role / responsibilities as a senior public servant.  Please check again the subject matter of this email.  Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council are entrusted with important obligations where the welfare of vulnerable and disabled people are concerned.  However, all the evidence taken together seems to point to them being near the ‘bottom of the pile’ where the council’s priorities are concerned.

I look forward to hearing from you this coming week,

Best regards,

Paul Cardin

From: Paul C
Sent: 22 September 2012 23:25
To: ‘davidarmstrong@wirral.gov.uk’
Cc: ‘grahamburgess@wirral.gov.uk’; ‘joyceredfearn@gmail.com’; ‘eaglea@parliament.uk’
Subject: Disability Discrimination

Dear Mr Armstrong,

I still await some acknowledgment or response to the issue that was raised with you recently in a letter from Angela Eagle and also in an email from Joyce Redfearn (both attached).  If the matter has been passed onto somebody else, please advise who,

best regards,

Paul Cardin

UPDATE   19th November 2012
Email in today from the ICO:

PROTECT

19 November 2012

Case Reference Number FS50445302

Dear Mr Cardin

I am writing in response to your email of 15.11.12.

I have called the council today to enquire why it has not yet complied with the decision notice dated 16.10.12. This will be looked into by the council and it will get back to me later today or tomorrow.

The Commissioner has discretion as to how to deal with public authorities who have not complied with a decision notice and whether to deal with such a failure as contempt of court pursuant to section 54 of the FOIA. Once I have heard back from the council I will contact you again to inform you how ICO intends to deal with this matter.

Yours sincerely
[officer name redacted]
Senior Case Officer
____________________________________________________________________

This refers to the FoI request FS50445302 (asking for correspondence between Wirral Council and solicitors’ firm DLA Piper.  This one is now 9 months old and the process of extracting responses and answers has become slow and painful.

Recently, the Council finally did come up with a Section 41 Exemption (Protecting the confidentiality of information belonging to a ‘person’ (DLA Piper)).
However, I believe this exemption to be inappropriate and unsatisfactory – and also not engaged as regards correspondence which the Council has generated (which is simply not covered by a Section 41 exemption).
The Council’s attempt to engage Section 41 is detailed here:

Link to this

My response was as follows:

From: Paul Cardin

23 November 2012

Dear Lyon, Rosemary A.,

Firstly, please provide all correspondence generated by yourself
(under the terms of the original request).

I don’t believe the information that the council generated with
regard to this can be covered by a Section 41 Exemption. Having
already travelled as far as the Information Commissioner’s Office
and received a legal document in the form of a ‘Decision Notice’
instructing you to act, I look forward to receiving this forthwith,
without any need to internally review or put any further obstacles
in the way (I don’t think the FOI Act permits an internal review
AFTER a decision notice has been sent.)

Secondly, as for the information generated by DLA Piper UK LLP, I
believe there is an overriding public interest attached to the
release of the information.

• Wirral Council has a statutory duty to protect its vulnerable
people – for the good of society. It has quite deliberately failed
in this through unlawfully taking at least £700,000 from the bank
accounts of many disabled Wirral people over a period of many
years. When informed in great detail about this internally by
Martin Morton, the council failed to stop it, bullied him out of
his job, and carried on doing it – see the findings of the Martin
Smith and Anna Klonowski Independent reports. The Equalities and
Human Rights Commission found that this amounted to disability
discrimination – the very subject matter of this request

• As a result of this disability discrimination, vulnerable members
of the public have had their wellbeing adversely affected. Flowing
directly from this, their ability to defend themselves against the
threat of abuse has been severely diminished, because their
confidence in their statutory protector – the local council (who
now deny them access to information) – has been so badly damaged.
The council itself has been forced to admit to abuse of learning
disabled tenants

• Despite this admission, there has been no reckoning or
accountability yet for any of the councillors or senior public
servants directly involved in these scandals – indeed currently,
there is a drive (originating with the Council’s legal head) to
keep the names within the investigation reports hidden. The public
are still waiting for ‘right to be done’ – for the good of society.
But whilst they wait, there have been pay offs and there have been
gagging clauses, used to stop former employees talking, concealed
within compromise agreements. And there have been six figure sums
paid to silence people who were found by independent investigations
to have been connected to abusive behaviour towards vulnerable and
disabled members of society

• Given the history of failed governance, which has also spread
into other council departments, vulnerable people and their carers
now need to be able to seek redress and rebuild their confidence in
the body which is entrusted with looking out for their welfare.
They can do this by gaining access to information and to areas that
appear to have been deliberately closed off through confidentiality
– the written exchanges between the council and the law firms whose
services are continuing to be purchased with large amounts of
public money. Confidentiality is a factor; I don’t deny this; but I
believe it is dwarfed by the urgent need for transparency, for the
legitimate and compelling public interest to be satisfied, and
ultimately for the good of society

• I don’t believe in this case that confidentiality can be a
justified obstacle to openness and transparency and the good of
society. There are now some very compelling questions that need to
be asked of the law firm DLA Piper. Such as, how they arrived at a
finding that there was no disability discrimination? How did the
EHRC suggestion that disability discrimination, once confirmed, and
investigated to see where it occurred, and how far it spread –
become completely subverted – and changed to a remit which failed
to acknowledge and recognise the EHRC finding, and looked simply
for whether disability discrimination had occurred or not – only to
find that it “hadn’t occurred”?

• On Wirral, where so much suffering has been caused over such a
long period of time (10 years plus). I don’t believe that grave
matters such as systematic abuse and disability discrimination, and
the correspondence surrounding this, can be blocked through a
Section 41 exemption on the grounds of ‘confidentiality’. The good
of society is paramount and needs to be served in this case

I will be contacting the Information Commissioner’s Office for
further advice,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

UPDATE   25th November 2012

Updating email sent to the ICO this morning:

From: Paul C [mailto:info@easyvirtualassistance.co.uk]
Sent: 25 November 2012 07:30
To: ‘casework@ico.gsi.gov.uk’
Subject: FW: Response to email of 15.11.12[Ref. FS50445302]

Dear Deborah Clark,

Thank you for your email of 19th November 2012.

On 22nd November 2012 I received a response from Rosemary Lyon, a solicitor at Wirral Council, who informed me that the council was relying upon a Section 41 Exemption within the FOIA.  Whilst I regard Confidentiality as an important factor, given the circumstances, I do not accept this as adequate justification to continue withholding the information in this case.

In accordance with ICO Awareness Guidance 2, I also believe Wirral Council is incorrect in applying Section 41 to information generated by the council itself.

 

“The exemption does not cover information which the public authority has generated itself, although it may cover documents (or parts of documents) generated by the public authority if these contain confidential information provided by a third party.”

The ICO Advice note clearly disallows the blanket withholding of this information.  Section 41 is therefore not engaged with regard to the majority of the content of this correspondence.  I would now like you to enforce my subsequent request and require Wirral Council to publicly disclose their own generated correspondence in accordance with ICO Awareness Guidance 2.

As for the correspondence generated by DLA Piper, I have advised Wirral Council that I am not happy with their response and that I plan to return to the ICO for advice.  I have set out my reasoning in a reply which is reproduced on the WhatDoTheyKnow website at the following link.  This reasoning is also provided to the ICO in order to help you further my case for disclosure:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/request_for_copies_of_correspond#outgoing-193727

In light of the ongoing controversy surrounding two independent investigations which found bullying; abuse of power; abuse of disabled people; serious failures in corporate governance, but no accountability for those involved – followed by the subsequent attempted suppression of information, my justification for disclosure of this correspondence is set out in the terms:

“The need for Confidentiality v The Public Good”.

Disability discrimination by Wirral Council (who have a statutory obligation to protect the welfare of disabled people) was originally found by Mike Smith, Chair of the Disabilities Committee of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission in December 2010, and has been taken up on my behalf by my representative in Parliament, Angela Eagle MP.

I look forward to receiving your advice on this matter in the near future,

Best regards,

Paul Cardin

UPDATE   26th November 2012

An answer has arrived and its not good news!  This looks like ‘back to square one’.  Is this what’s known as death by bureaucracy?

PROTECT

26 November 2012

Case Reference Number FS50445302

Dear Mr Cardin

Further to your email of 25 November 2012, as the council has now responded to your request but applied an exemption to withhold the information, a new case will be set up to deal with the complaint and you will be contacted by our First Contact department in due course.

Yours sincerely

[Officer name redacted]
Senior Case Officer
_____________________________________________________

I recently received a response from James Baldwin, who appears to be Angela Eagle’s parliamentary assistant.  He sent me a letter he’d received that day from Vivienne Stone of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Here is the letter:

29 11 12 - Vivienne Stone EHRC page 129 11 12 - Vivienne Stone EHRC page 2

29 11 12 - Vivienne Stone EHRC page 3

What’s really perplexing about this letter is in the underlined section above, Vivienne Stone appears to be denying the contents of Mike Smith’s original letter, sent in late December 2010 (see the top of this post).  Mike Smith’s letter never advised Wirral to appoint anybody to ‘look for disability discrimination’.  It had already been found.  We also can’t satisfy ourselves on what transpired between Sheila Kumar, Jim Wilkie and Bill Norman on 13th July 2011.  Are there any minutes for this meeting?  Was Mike Smith’s opinion ignored or overriden?

There is no absence of detailed information – because Mike Smith received enough information in 2010 to confirm that there had been years of disability discrimination towards learning disabled Supported Living tenants.

It was then a case of Anna Klonowski going away, investigating and seeing how this had impacted and how far it extended.

Chief Executive Jim Wilkie was later forced to leave the council.  Bill Norman was later suspended, along with three of his colleagues and, although ultimately he had ‘no case to answer’, I believe that from this point, his historical opinion that there was ‘no disability discrimination’ became tarnished.

It is time to reaffirm Mike Smith’s original findings,  and act upon over a decade of disability discrimination, carried out by Wirral Council, a body which has a statutory obligation to protect the welfare and interests of its own disabled people.

UPDATE   6th December 2012

David Armstrong replied today to the letter that Angela Eagle sent him on my behalf back in August.  Remember August?  No, thought not.

My comments are in black.

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your emails.

My understanding is that the new Chief Executive wrote to you in October advising that there would be a single point of contact with the council, Surjit Tour, the Acting Director of Law in order to provide a focused point of communication on the matters you are raising with the council.  (But did the new Chief Executive write to Angela Eagle, to acknowledge the original letter? If not, why not?)

Prior to ceasing to be the Acting Chief Executive on September 3rd and reverting to my base position in the Children and Young people’s Department I tried to deal with the outstanding matters from my period in the Acting Chief Executive post.  I can only advise you to raise outstanding matters with Surjit as requested by the Chief Executive.  (Why didn’t you advise both Angela Eagle and me of this course of action back in August?) I will also speak further with Surjit on this matter.

I felt that the new Chief Executive’s email was very clear re future contact.  If you felt it needed additional confirmation of the position from me and I did not provide that, then I apologise. (Thank you.)

In respect of the matters raised, I feel that only Surjit can answer the question from yourself and Angela Eagle, MP re the redaction of some names in the AkA report,.  I was present when this matter was discussed at council and my recollection is that some changes were made to redacted material following consideration of the report. (Surjit Tour has not made any attempt to answer this point.  It is preventing those complicit in abuse / disability discrimination from being identified.  Do I have to send all my emails again or being met with a wall of silence, somehow fathom their whereabouts and exactly whose in-tray they may be sitting in?)

In respect of your allegation re council staff, current or former being a threat to people with disabilities and represent a threat to their safety, Angela Eagle MP asked you to share the evidence you had with her and the Police.  In your reply of the 25th August you said you would need some time to gather evidence together.  I am not in a position to know whether this has happened but it does seem to be the logical next step in relation to the situation as you set it out in your emails. (It has happened.  I am waiting for Angela Eagle to respond and have been since September.  So much for ‘urgency’.)

I will discuss the matter further with Surjit Tour and am sharing this reply with him and Angela Eagle, MP.

Tina Lloyd on behalf of

David Armstrong

Deputy Director CYPD and

Assistant Chief Executive

Wirral Council

UPDATE   13th January 2012

Reminder to the ICO:

From: Paul C [mailto:info@easyvirtualassistance.co.uk]
Sent: 13 January 2013 22:52
To: ‘casework@ico.gsi.gov.uk’
Subject: RE: Application of exemption[Ref. FS50445302]

Dear [Senior officer name redacted],

I have not been contacted in a very long time by your ‘First Contact Department’.

Please can you re-acquaint yourself with the issues and respond, with advice on what is happening?

Many thanks,

Paul Cardin

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