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#850530 - 15th Jan 2014 10:05am Wirral Council's : Top Secret
Mark Online   Reading


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Registered: 9th Nov 2003
Posts: 20963
Loc: Wirral
THE leader of Wirral Liberal Democrats has accused the authority of imposing a veil of secrecy over the identity of a senior councillor facing serious allegations of using "unacceptable language" against a chief officer.

Councillor Phil Gilchrist was asked to sign a form pledging his silence before being allowed to read a report into the claims.

He refused - and said that in 34 years of local government, he had never come across such “over the top” restrictions on an issue.

It is believed a recording had been covertly made of the alleged verbal attack, and the issue was raised at a meeting of the full council last month.

Council leader Phil Davies later wrote to all members disclosing that “no evidence was made available to the investigation to substantiate a serious allegation regarding inappropriate language.”

He indicated, however, that the independent investigator had twice written to the the people who had brought the matter forward and they had "refused to co-operate."

It also revealed the matter had been dealt with in a confidential manner at the request of the senior officer.

Councillor Gilchrist demanded to know what legal basis existed for keeping the accused member’s identity secret.

He said: “I was advised that all would be explained when I came to read the report (of the investigation).”

He was invited to a meeting with chief executive Graham Burgess when, he said, it was made clear he would have to accept certain conditions before he could read the report, which was placed on a desk three feet away from him.

He said: “I read the conditions and the agreement, which I refused to sign.

“This is the first time in 34 years that I have come across such over-the-top restrictions.”

The conditions would have compelled him to:

• Not take the report or any copies away from the meeting.

• Not make any copies of the report.

• Not disclose the report or any information contained in the report to any person.

• Not discuss the report with any person other than Joe Blott (strategic director transformation and resources) or Mr Burgess without express permission.

Councillor Gilchrist added : “I fully recognise the duty of care to staff so I can understand the need for an officer to seek some protection.

"However, in this case, the accusation is said to be about the conduct of a member towards an officer.

“Members are expected to abide by a Code of Conduct. All this does is fuel speculation about who might be being ‘protected’ and why.”

Councillor Davies said today: “I asked for an independent investigation to take place and found the allegations could not be substantiated.

“The member concerned accepted that an adverse comment was made and an independent investigation concluded that the appropriate action was a conciliation process with the member apologising to the officer.

“This took place and this was the end of the matter.”

He added: “There was no question of a cover up. At the request of the senior officer it was dealt with in a confidential manner

“We have a duty of care to officers which was why the report must remain confidential.

"I offered to share the report with the other two party leaders on the basis that it must remain strictly confidential and they could not reveal any details out of respect to the senior officer involved.”

*** *** *** ***

"SECRET TAPE"

Claims a secret tape on which a councillor verbally abused a senior officer to a third party surfaced when Tory leader Jeff Green used the question time session at December's meeting of the full council to ask about a recording of the alleged wrongdoing.

Councillor Green asked: “Is the leader of the council aware of a tape recording produced as recently as August this year in which it is alleged that a senior member of his administration can be heard using language about a senior officer that is totally unacceptable, and encouraging former council employees to smear me to take the pressure off his own colleagues and gain political advantage?”

A firm of solicitors was hired to carry out the investigation.

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#850555 - 15th Jan 2014 1:02pm Re: Wirral Council's : Top Secret [Re: Mark]
kamikazi Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 12th Jul 2010
Posts: 493
Loc: Wallasey
If only they could stop arsing about and get on with the task in hand, Facing massive cuts to core funds and they behave like this.

Most people work really hard in the Local Authority, its undermined however by this consistent feudal and amateur approach to managing the peninsula.

Guess who is picking up the legal bill?

K

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#850575 - 15th Jan 2014 2:34pm Re: Wirral Council's : Top Secret [Re: Mark]
BandyCoot Offline

Forum Veteran

Registered: 7th Dec 2008
Posts: 5336
Loc: Birkenhead
And that is one of the reasons Wirral is going down the pan, busy squabbling like kids in a playground instead of sorting out the real stuff. Recording each other?????
_________________________
Birkenhead........ God's own Room 101.

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#850583 - 15th Jan 2014 3:34pm Re: Wirral Council's : Top Secret [Re: BandyCoot]
red40 Offline
Newbeee

Registered: 7th Sep 2009
Posts: 42
Loc: wirral
Originally Posted By: BandyCoot
And that is one of the reasons Wirral is going down the pan, busy squabbling like kids in a playground


Exactly, when employees are losing their jobs!

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#851489 - 18th Jan 2014 4:40pm Re: Wirral Council's : Top Secret [Re: red40]
JuzDunn Offline
Newbeee

Registered: 1st Aug 2011
Posts: 12
Loc: Hoylake
I understand the tape - which Phil Davies has heard, despite what he says - contains a highly derogatory comment about a senior officer made by a senior councillor.

It also has a quite worrying example of how political parties try to stitch up their enemies.

The only topic at the town hall is "how we can feather our own nests and cover our own backs" rather than "how do best serve - yes SERVE - the people who pay for all of this?"

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#851733 - 19th Jan 2014 6:02pm Re: Wirral Council's : Top Secret [Re: Mark]
fish5133 Online   content
Forum Master

Registered: 22nd Mar 2010
Posts: 2576
Loc: Heswallish
sounds all like a smoke screen to dustract us from some other issue. "A good day to bury bad News" i think is the phrase

On the propaganda bulletin they put out called ONE they have a lovely story about all the new apprentice gardeners they have taken on but no mention of how many of the original properly paid gardeners rangers etc have lost their jobs.

Also an item on Job Seekers Claimants Down by a fifth (1648 people) in last 12 months. I wonder how many of that 1648 were struck off like my daughter he missed her signing on day because she had been sent on a course by the job centre on the same day. I know of others as well .

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