Tricked or Treat ? Where the Abnorman is Normal
The Wirral Council Escape Club
First of all refresh your memories with regard to Rick “4 Week” Delay O’Brien HERE . It would seen having friends in high places has paid off… We are still flabbergasted at how this can be reconciled with implementing a 4 week delay.
PERSONAL ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING BRANCH
DATE: 6th JULY 2012
FROM: RICK O’BRIEN, HEAD OF PERSONAL ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING BRANCH
TO: PRINCIPAL MANAGERS, SERVICE MANAGERS, TEAM MANAGERS,
SUBJECT: NOTICE OF SECONDMENT
I am writing to advise you that I will be leaving the Department of
Adult Social Care to take up a secondment with the Department of
Health National End of Life Care Team at the end of this month. The
secondment is full time for a time limited period and may be extended
to a period of 18 months. As many of you will know I have a
particular interest in this area of work so this secondment will
provide further opportunities to take forward the national End of Life
Care strategy and national framework for social care at the end of
life nationally and regionally. My last working day will be Friday
Can I take this opportunity to thank managers and staff for their
support in the last 4 ½ years. It has been a genuine pleasure and
privilege to work in Wirral with those operational managers and staff
who have shown exemplary commitment and professionalism in taking
forward the service improvement agenda, implementing and
personalisation and developing new models of working with partners.
There is a strong foundation to make further improvements and I wish
colleagues every success in making this happen in the future.
Head of Personal Assessment and Planning
A Wirral Leaks Welcome
We’ll be watching
Wirral Council On Route 666
Judging by the Globe’s recent report [HERE]Lord and Lady Wirral Leaks will be keeping their whiskey shot monocled eyes on Wirral Council’s Technical Services Department as it would appear there’s yet ANOTHER whistle-blowing case about to, erm, “blow”.
And for a change it’s NOT the Social Services Department!!! [Gasp!] Apparently the Audit Commission are due to publish a much delayed and currently embargoed report into a multi-million pound Highways contract. You may recall Frank N. Field MP had called on the Serious Fraud Office to investigate the council’s handling of this contract following allegations made to him by a group of whistle-blowers.
It’s a report so secret even the leader of the Council hasn’t had sight of it yet and those involved in writing it have had their tongues cut out.. well not quite, that’s a tad old school Masonic and of course that couldn’t possibly happen in Local Government. I mean this day and age there’s no chance of a cabal of nipple bearing freaks taking over an entire Council is there ?
Because the report is owned by the audit commission Councillor Leader Jefferson Green is not even allowed to know who has actually seen it, rumours that it is to be presented to Wirral Council using the medium of “mime” have not yet been confirmed. Watch this space.
Another Storm A - Brewing over WBC …
Wirral vs SIL at the Court of Appeal on Jan 25/26.
“When You Walk Through A Storm….. You Get Wet”
A Wirral-based organisation called Salisbury Independent Living (SIL) provided accommodation and support for a number of vulnerable adults.
SIL said that they provided ‘exempt accommodation’. The usual housing benefit rent restrictions do not apply to exempt accommodation (for further details of the nature of exempt accommodation see issue 47 of the Journal of Welfare Benefits Law).
Claims for housing benefit were made to Wirral MBC by approximately 70 residents. The council did not make the decisions that SIL had hoped for. Wirral concluded that the accommodation was not exempt accommodation but, even if it was, many of the service charges included within the rent were ineligible for housing benefit.
The dispute has been protracted having lasted for some 8 years. It is also potentially expensive, SIL arguing that some £3 million in housing benefit is owed.
A number of the residents appealed, with SIL’s assistance, against Wirral MBC’s decisions. However about 8 residents had moved away and were not contactable. Another 2 were dead.
The issue was whether SIL had the right to appeal against the decision on these former residents’ claims. The matter came before the Upper Tribunal.
What did the Upper Tribunal decide?
The Upper Tribunal decided that SIL did have a right of appeal. This meant that it could itself challenge the council’s housing benefit decisions in respect of the dead or missing claimants. The Upper Tribunal reasoned as follows.
Legislation provides that a “person affected” by a housing benefit decision has a right of appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Schedule 7, para. 6(3), Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000).
Regulations set out persons who must be considered, for appeal purposes, to be persons affected by a housing benefit decision (reg. 3(1), Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations 2001). This did not include SIL.
The fact that SIL fell outside the Regulations was not fatal to SIL’s case. This was because the Upper Tribunal held that the Regulations do not contain an exhaustive list of persons affected by a housing benefit decision.
The Upper Tribunal decided that SIL was a “person affected” by the housing benefit decisions for the missing claimants.
However, the benefits authorities have now been granted permission to appeal against the Upper Tribunal’s ruling. The appeal is due to be heard by the Court of Appeal towards the end of this year or at the beginning of 2012.
Golden Cone II - Wirral’s Staff Incentive Scheme.
Remember our jawdropping “Golden Cone” story ? Wirral Borough Council’s positively Gervasian “Staff Incentive Scheme ? “ ( See HERE) Well it seems to have piqued the interest of somebody on the excellent What Do They Know? Website
Who put in this freedom of Information request
“Dear Wirral Borough Council
Following an employee posting a picture of ‘the Golden Cone’
Could you please disclose for what targets where members of staff
granted ‘The Golden Cone’ and which members of staff were awareded
‘The Golden Cone’ for 2010 and 2011.
Could you also please detail the ceremony of which staff were
awarded ‘The Golden Cone’
Could you please detail any policy that states that such a monthly
award ceremony was a good use of tax payers money.
The reply from Wirral ?
“Staff who were awarded the Golden Cone were presented with the Cone by either the Director (if he was available) or by the Principal Manager – Human Resources at the employees desk. There is no policy. The procedure was started by the previous Director of Adult Social Services and continued until January 2011. No awards have been presented since this date due to changes within the department.
The Golden Cone Award was for staff based at Westminster House. It guaranteed that person a parking space at Westminster House for a month. “
Not one for “having a nice smile and resembling a nodding dog “ or “never questions bad practice”
We have also been given exclusive seceret footage of the “ceremony” that took place when awarding the not paticulary sought after award HERE