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UPDATED: Wirral Council leader offers whistleblower Martin Morton his job back
THE leader of Wirral Council has said he would welcome back the whistleblower who exposed an overcharging scandal.
Phil Davies announced he would be interested in discussing a role for Martin Morton during a meeting of the Local Government Association’s improvement board at Wallasey Town Hall this afternoon.
Councillor Davies said: “Obviously, I recognise that Martin Morton has been through a very difficult time personally.
“In many ways it was Martin’s complaint and whistleblowing that lead up to us working with the improvement board.
“I would personally welcome Martin to come back and would love to see him back in a role at the council.
"We would need to talk with him about what that role might be.
“In principle, I think it’s a way of us really saying ‘we have changed our culture and I’d be delighted to see Martin return'.”
Mr Morton said today: "Instead of being played out at public meetings and in the press I think the time has come for meaningful face-to-face discussions to take place to finally resolve an unsatisfactory situation for me ,my family and the council."
Mr Morton, a former social services manager, blew the whistle in 2008 on systematic over-charging of rents paid by vulnerable adults in council care homes. Far from responding positively, the authority instead attempted a cover-up.
He was ostracised and bullied out of his job, having signed a gagging clause prohibiting him from making the scandal public.
However he came to the Globe with his story, and our exclusive reports eventually led to an inquiry being set up by independent investigator Anna Klonowski.
Her shocking findings set in train events that led to the improvement board being brought in to oversee the council as it strived to return to normality and regain its reputation.
A report by the board, chaired by former Wigan Council chief executive Joyce Redfearn, said the authority had made ‘significant progress’ and demonstrated it has the capacity to continue its own transformation.
Ms Redfearn said: "The progress that has already been made is impressive and the council must now maintain this momentum and focus on making continued improvements.”
The board’s external members will return to Wirral in March next year to check on the authority’s progress.
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