UPDATED: Wirral Council leader offers whistleblower Martin Morton his job back

Wirral Globe: Martin Morton Martin Morton

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.

 

 

Comments (22)

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4:45pm Fri 29 Nov 13

Joeblogg85 says...

No disrespect Mr Davies but offering one man his job back doesn't demonstrate Wirral Council has changed. Don't get me wrong, it is a good gesture but what lies beneath? May I suggest it's all part of a PR/legal strategy. Mr Davies already admits he doesn't have a clue where or what Mr Morton would do, so it all seems a bit wooly to me.

In the past Mr Morton has spoken about his mental health problems caused by his treatment. How would he feel returning to the place that started all this off? Also, he would have to come face to face with some senior officers and colleagues who besmirched his character by labelling him previously.

Trust me Mr Davies, Deep down Wirral Council has not changed its culture. The PR strategy says all the right things but the people who work there know that if your not "on message" then you're in trouble and will be sent into the long grass until you're beaten into submission.

There is still a strong element of who you know and not what you know resonating around the higher powers of Wirral Council. If you are liked by the senior management team then a career path is laid out for you. If you're disliked then forget it, it's all over for you.

I can hear the legal team now in the tribunal, "we offered him his job back mlud" If I was Mr Morton I would run a mile from Wirral Council 'cos nothing has changed of any significance.
No disrespect Mr Davies but offering one man his job back doesn't demonstrate Wirral Council has changed. Don't get me wrong, it is a good gesture but what lies beneath? May I suggest it's all part of a PR/legal strategy. Mr Davies already admits he doesn't have a clue where or what Mr Morton would do, so it all seems a bit wooly to me. In the past Mr Morton has spoken about his mental health problems caused by his treatment. How would he feel returning to the place that started all this off? Also, he would have to come face to face with some senior officers and colleagues who besmirched his character by labelling him previously. Trust me Mr Davies, Deep down Wirral Council has not changed its culture. The PR strategy says all the right things but the people who work there know that if your not "on message" then you're in trouble and will be sent into the long grass until you're beaten into submission. There is still a strong element of who you know and not what you know resonating around the higher powers of Wirral Council. If you are liked by the senior management team then a career path is laid out for you. If you're disliked then forget it, it's all over for you. I can hear the legal team now in the tribunal, "we offered him his job back mlud" If I was Mr Morton I would run a mile from Wirral Council 'cos nothing has changed of any significance. Joeblogg85

5:44pm Fri 29 Nov 13

bigfoot says...

"Welcome back Mr Morton,now if you will just sign this compromise agreement,we can brush everything under the carpet!"
"Welcome back Mr Morton,now if you will just sign this compromise agreement,we can brush everything under the carpet!" bigfoot

6:02pm Fri 29 Nov 13

hobroW says...

Bravo for Martin as this is a victory . That WBC should once again offer him his job back is correct and it has been a battle to get this so it is a defeat for the senior management.

Martin had publicly to ask for his job back-and I gritted my teeth as he did it but I remembered "Cool Hand Luke" who disgusts his fellow convicts be caving in to the "Baas" . Ultimately Luke gets one over the "Baas" and the viewer admires his courage in playing the abject conquered. Like Jame scCagnety in "angels with Dirty Faces" it takes a lot of courage to playact fear before the Electric chair so as to save the kids from crime!
Bravo for Martin as this is a victory . That WBC should once again offer him his job back is correct and it has been a battle to get this so it is a defeat for the senior management. Martin had publicly to ask for his job back-and I gritted my teeth as he did it but I remembered "Cool Hand Luke" who disgusts his fellow convicts be caving in to the "Baas" . Ultimately Luke gets one over the "Baas" and the viewer admires his courage in playing the abject conquered. Like Jame scCagnety in "angels with Dirty Faces" it takes a lot of courage to playact fear before the Electric chair so as to save the kids from crime! hobroW

7:44pm Fri 29 Nov 13

Llamedos 1 says...

I personally would love to see Martin back in social services where he belongs.
He is the one man who could bring back some credibility to a department in crisis. Whether he could take up office or not is obviously his decision but would anyone dare to harrass or bully him.....I dont think so.
Martin, please consider such an offer.....our elderly, disabled and residents who need social services, need you
I personally would love to see Martin back in social services where he belongs. He is the one man who could bring back some credibility to a department in crisis. Whether he could take up office or not is obviously his decision but would anyone dare to harrass or bully him.....I dont think so. Martin, please consider such an offer.....our elderly, disabled and residents who need social services, need you Llamedos 1

10:13pm Fri 29 Nov 13

reliant22 says...

Martin,
In my opinion, do what your heart is telling you.
Consider too that you are owed recompense. WBC should pay for all the wrongs and for the abuse for which not one person has been held to account.
Make sure you get your entitlement first before you agree to an invitation to return to work, especially as...........the invitation is to make HIM LOOK LIKE HE CARES,
Trust is the real issue, and would you trust ANY of them again?
I know you should be re-instated as Director of Social Services and nothing less.
Good luck Martin.
Martin, In my opinion, do what your heart is telling you. Consider too that you are owed recompense. WBC should pay for all the wrongs and for the abuse for which not one person has been held to account. Make sure you get your entitlement first before you agree to an invitation to return to work, especially as...........the invitation is to make HIM LOOK LIKE HE CARES, Trust is the real issue, and would you trust ANY of them again? I know you should be re-instated as Director of Social Services and nothing less. Good luck Martin. reliant22

10:42pm Fri 29 Nov 13

Joeblogg85 says...

Llamedos 1 wrote:
I personally would love to see Martin back in social services where he belongs.
He is the one man who could bring back some credibility to a department in crisis. Whether he could take up office or not is obviously his decision but would anyone dare to harrass or bully him.....I dont think so.
Martin, please consider such an offer.....our elderly, disabled and residents who need social services, need you
I respect your view Llamedos but DASS will take more then Mr Morton to be turned around. Even if he comes back, he will be middle management at best and he won't be deciding policy or making high level decisions. Nothing has changed in DASS whilst he has been gone. Does Mr Morton want to put his head in the lions head once again.
[quote][p][bold]Llamedos 1[/bold] wrote: I personally would love to see Martin back in social services where he belongs. He is the one man who could bring back some credibility to a department in crisis. Whether he could take up office or not is obviously his decision but would anyone dare to harrass or bully him.....I dont think so. Martin, please consider such an offer.....our elderly, disabled and residents who need social services, need you[/p][/quote]I respect your view Llamedos but DASS will take more then Mr Morton to be turned around. Even if he comes back, he will be middle management at best and he won't be deciding policy or making high level decisions. Nothing has changed in DASS whilst he has been gone. Does Mr Morton want to put his head in the lions head once again. Joeblogg85

11:26pm Fri 29 Nov 13

PaulCa says...

I get the feeling the whole thing's a hideous ploy, and not genuinely held.

If you watch the latter part of the John Brace video of the very recent Public "Improvement" Board meeting at the Town Hall, you'll note that the seat on the far left next to the CEO is EMPTY.

That's Councillor Phil Davies' seat. The person who is now offering Martin a council role is the same person who got up and walked out before Martin gave a compelling and moving address to what was left of the panel. And the leader can’t say he didn’t know it was coming. It was on the agenda papers he held in his hand.

At least on Have I Got News For You a few years back, the absent Roy Hattersley was replaced with a tub of lard.... but sadly, the Wirral public don't even merit that.

After years of cover up, abuse, bullying and the loss of his livelihood, but at long last presented with a chance to speak up publicly, Martin was greeted by an empty chair.
I get the feeling the whole thing's a hideous ploy, and not genuinely held. If you watch the latter part of the John Brace video of the very recent Public "Improvement" Board meeting at the Town Hall, you'll note that the seat on the far left next to the CEO is EMPTY. That's Councillor Phil Davies' seat. The person who is now offering Martin a council role is the same person who got up and walked out before Martin gave a compelling and moving address to what was left of the panel. And the leader can’t say he didn’t know it was coming. It was on the agenda papers he held in his hand. At least on Have I Got News For You a few years back, the absent Roy Hattersley was replaced with a tub of lard.... but sadly, the Wirral public don't even merit that. After years of cover up, abuse, bullying and the loss of his livelihood, but at long last presented with a chance to speak up publicly, Martin was greeted by an empty chair. PaulCa

1:56pm Sat 30 Nov 13

Llamedos 1 says...

I totally agree Joe but any turnaround has to be started somewhere. I honestly believe that Martins passion and honesty for the job can have a serious influence in a department that is in very serious crisis. It is probably hope on my part rather than any expected reality but as they say "hope springs eternal"
I totally agree Joe but any turnaround has to be started somewhere. I honestly believe that Martins passion and honesty for the job can have a serious influence in a department that is in very serious crisis. It is probably hope on my part rather than any expected reality but as they say "hope springs eternal" Llamedos 1

6:28pm Sat 30 Nov 13

Joeblogg85 says...

Llamedos 1 wrote:
I totally agree Joe but any turnaround has to be started somewhere. I honestly believe that Martins passion and honesty for the job can have a serious influence in a department that is in very serious crisis. It is probably hope on my part rather than any expected reality but as they say "hope springs eternal"
It's a well thought out hope Llamedos. However, the place is poisonous and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, let alone Martin Morton. For me, this is a disingenuous offer and PaulCa hit it on the head in an earlier post when he said Mr Davies did not even give Martin the decency of listening to him in a recent meeting. I would run a mile personally.
[quote][p][bold]Llamedos 1[/bold] wrote: I totally agree Joe but any turnaround has to be started somewhere. I honestly believe that Martins passion and honesty for the job can have a serious influence in a department that is in very serious crisis. It is probably hope on my part rather than any expected reality but as they say "hope springs eternal"[/p][/quote]It's a well thought out hope Llamedos. However, the place is poisonous and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, let alone Martin Morton. For me, this is a disingenuous offer and PaulCa hit it on the head in an earlier post when he said Mr Davies did not even give Martin the decency of listening to him in a recent meeting. I would run a mile personally. Joeblogg85

10:18am Sun 1 Dec 13

MDRyUK says...

If this is a proposal which Martin wants to accept in HIS best interest, then good luck to him truly. For the rest of us let's not be under false illusions, there is a great deal of background to this episode in Wirral Council's bleak and sometimes panicked history (much of it reported thanks to the Wirral Globe), so I think it wise to tread very carefully and review what Councillor Phil Davies (currently Leader of Wirral Council - Labour Administration) has actually had to say to Martin and about Martin to others both right now AND in the past. I think that's very sensible and necessary, don't you?
All the very best Martin whatever you do, you'll succeed anyway in my humble opinion and it is my absolute pleasure to have met you.
If this is a proposal which Martin wants to accept in HIS best interest, then good luck to him truly. For the rest of us let's not be under false illusions, there is a great deal of background to this episode in Wirral Council's bleak and sometimes panicked history (much of it reported thanks to the Wirral Globe), so I think it wise to tread very carefully and review what Councillor Phil Davies (currently Leader of Wirral Council - Labour Administration) has actually had to say to Martin and about Martin to others both right now AND in the past. I think that's very sensible and necessary, don't you? All the very best Martin whatever you do, you'll succeed anyway in my humble opinion and it is my absolute pleasure to have met you. MDRyUK

1:21am Mon 2 Dec 13

Thepleb says...

The facts are mr Morton shouldn't be out of work now for pointing out the failures of his employer.
Would he really want to come back to an employer that is interviewing staff with twenty five years experience for their own jobs, intimidating staff into leaving their posts for fear of losing large amounts of severance, moving wirral staff to chester even though their systems are more advanced for the financial work needed.
This council is releasing statements that all is on the up but behind the scenes it is utter chaos with no clear plan for future services except more redundancies, save yourself more stress mr Morton and stay well clear.
The facts are mr Morton shouldn't be out of work now for pointing out the failures of his employer. Would he really want to come back to an employer that is interviewing staff with twenty five years experience for their own jobs, intimidating staff into leaving their posts for fear of losing large amounts of severance, moving wirral staff to chester even though their systems are more advanced for the financial work needed. This council is releasing statements that all is on the up but behind the scenes it is utter chaos with no clear plan for future services except more redundancies, save yourself more stress mr Morton and stay well clear. Thepleb

8:42am Mon 2 Dec 13

unbeleivable says...

Well the only position that should be offered to Martin Morton is the Directors job. The people of the Wirral need Martin Morton at the helm. Social services should do the right thing now,this town would be truly grateful if they did.
Well the only position that should be offered to Martin Morton is the Directors job. The people of the Wirral need Martin Morton at the helm. Social services should do the right thing now,this town would be truly grateful if they did. unbeleivable

12:35pm Mon 2 Dec 13

Llamedos 1 says...

Unbelievable, I have been somewhat scolded for suggesting Martins return to WBC but my concern is for him and his family and I couldn't agree more with your sentiments. However it is ultimately Martins decision but I do agree..he would make a fantastic, honest, trustworthy Director.....if only we council tax payers had some influence over the rubbish they are choosing to employ at the moment
Unbelievable, I have been somewhat scolded for suggesting Martins return to WBC but my concern is for him and his family and I couldn't agree more with your sentiments. However it is ultimately Martins decision but I do agree..he would make a fantastic, honest, trustworthy Director.....if only we council tax payers had some influence over the rubbish they are choosing to employ at the moment Llamedos 1

12:39pm Mon 2 Dec 13

Llamedos 1 says...

Sorry I must clarify, I am specifically referring to the upper management levels.
I do not wish to denigrate the lower level employees who in general do a great job and incidentally must be totally and utterly demoralised with the performance of the lords and master.
Sorry I must clarify, I am specifically referring to the upper management levels. I do not wish to denigrate the lower level employees who in general do a great job and incidentally must be totally and utterly demoralised with the performance of the lords and master. Llamedos 1

4:48pm Mon 2 Dec 13

Positive thinker says...

A payout and his job back,if he refuses will his Jobseeker's Allowance
be stopped ?
A payout and his job back,if he refuses will his Jobseeker's Allowance be stopped ? Positive thinker

8:17pm Mon 2 Dec 13

Mary Adair says...

Positive thinker wrote:
A payout and his job back,if he refuses will his Jobseeker's Allowance
be stopped ?
Drooling oaf
[quote][p][bold]Positive thinker[/bold] wrote: A payout and his job back,if he refuses will his Jobseeker's Allowance be stopped ?[/p][/quote]Drooling oaf Mary Adair

9:42pm Mon 2 Dec 13

Positive thinker says...

You prat,It was a serious question
You prat,It was a serious question Positive thinker

12:25pm Wed 4 Dec 13

RL 1952 says...

Lets be under no illusion the culture that caused all this sad experience for Martin Morton is still very much in evidence and no more so than in adult social services. If Martin is to return then it must be in a very senior role that enables him to constructively highlight the ongoing deficiencies especially the cover ups over complaints. He must be allowed to make the long overdue improvements that are notable by their absence which front line users are all too aware of whilst the higher management pat themselves on the back and say improvements have been made - wake up and smell the coffee in the real world.
Lets be under no illusion the culture that caused all this sad experience for Martin Morton is still very much in evidence and no more so than in adult social services. If Martin is to return then it must be in a very senior role that enables him to constructively highlight the ongoing deficiencies especially the cover ups over complaints. He must be allowed to make the long overdue improvements that are notable by their absence which front line users are all too aware of whilst the higher management pat themselves on the back and say improvements have been made - wake up and smell the coffee in the real world. RL 1952

12:52pm Wed 4 Dec 13

Joeblogg85 says...

RL 1952 wrote:
Lets be under no illusion the culture that caused all this sad experience for Martin Morton is still very much in evidence and no more so than in adult social services. If Martin is to return then it must be in a very senior role that enables him to constructively highlight the ongoing deficiencies especially the cover ups over complaints. He must be allowed to make the long overdue improvements that are notable by their absence which front line users are all too aware of whilst the higher management pat themselves on the back and say improvements have been made - wake up and smell the coffee in the real world.
Mmm, the problem we have here is that the Council and in particular DASS will tell you that those problems that existed in Martins day no longer exist and everything in the garden is rosy. Do people believe that Martin will be welcomed back with open arms or that senior staff who believe they are doing a great job, will resent his presence? Also, whose job will he take? It all seems a bit messy to me and not that well thought through.
[quote][p][bold]RL 1952[/bold] wrote: Lets be under no illusion the culture that caused all this sad experience for Martin Morton is still very much in evidence and no more so than in adult social services. If Martin is to return then it must be in a very senior role that enables him to constructively highlight the ongoing deficiencies especially the cover ups over complaints. He must be allowed to make the long overdue improvements that are notable by their absence which front line users are all too aware of whilst the higher management pat themselves on the back and say improvements have been made - wake up and smell the coffee in the real world.[/p][/quote]Mmm, the problem we have here is that the Council and in particular DASS will tell you that those problems that existed in Martins day no longer exist and everything in the garden is rosy. Do people believe that Martin will be welcomed back with open arms or that senior staff who believe they are doing a great job, will resent his presence? Also, whose job will he take? It all seems a bit messy to me and not that well thought through. Joeblogg85

1:35pm Wed 4 Dec 13

PaulCa says...

No offer can exist.

This is the place that welcomed into its arms Rob Vickers, post "independent" investigations, at an eye watering £100,000+ per annum, after he came up with the goods...............
..........

Two no holds barred whitewashes (featuring no inconvenient interviews conducted with any pesky whistleblowers whilst the great man deliberated and worked steadily towards his momentous finding.

"No case to answer"
No offer can exist. This is the place that welcomed into its arms Rob Vickers, post "independent" investigations, at an eye watering £100,000+ per annum, after he came up with the goods............... .......... Two no holds barred whitewashes (featuring no inconvenient interviews conducted with any pesky whistleblowers whilst [bold] the great man [/bold] deliberated and worked steadily towards his momentous finding. [bold]"No case to answer" [/bold] PaulCa

4:17pm Wed 4 Dec 13

rover600 says...

I'd suggest Martin Morton is offered the Chief Execs job instead of Mr 'Smoke & Mirrors' Burgess. I'd rather have a man with ethics, morals and principles running us knowing he would be diligient in his decision making than what goes on now behind close doors, under tables and lord knows where else.

The other option I'd suggest is stand in the next elections as an 'independent' and see what a resounding majority you win with! That in itself might just send a message to the cronies who think they have a right to be there.

I'd love to see a credible independent candidate stand in every election ward, people standing on a ticket of principles before personal greed and push the 'incumbents and their snouts out of the trough'..
I'd suggest Martin Morton is offered the Chief Execs job instead of Mr 'Smoke & Mirrors' Burgess. I'd rather have a man with ethics, morals and principles running us knowing he would be diligient in his decision making than what goes on now behind close doors, under tables and lord knows where else. The other option I'd suggest is stand in the next elections as an 'independent' and see what a resounding majority you win with! That in itself might just send a message to the cronies who think they have a right to be there. I'd love to see a credible independent candidate stand in every election ward, people standing on a ticket of principles before personal greed and push the 'incumbents and their snouts out of the trough'.. rover600

10:06am Thu 5 Dec 13

Whitby says...

The culture has NOT altered within DASS.Same Complaints Department,same contracts quality department;same "independent" complaints resolution that decided what evidence it will hear and what it won't.Solution: Close alll of these management positions and insert Mr Moore as a completely independent complaints and contracts manager employed directly by the councillors and not by the chief exec. Unuusual perhaps but unusual is what is need to bring WBC into the modern era.
The culture has NOT altered within DASS.Same Complaints Department,same contracts quality department;same "independent" complaints resolution that decided what evidence it will hear and what it won't.Solution: Close alll of these management positions and insert Mr Moore as a completely independent complaints and contracts manager employed directly by the councillors and not by the chief exec. Unuusual perhaps but unusual is what is need to bring WBC into the modern era. Whitby

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