Wirral Council report lined up for Plain English Campaign's Golden Bull Award

The Campaign's prestigious Golden Bull Award

The Campaign's prestigious Golden Bull Award

First published in News
Last updated
Exclusive by , Geoff Barnes

Cash-strapped Wirral Council still has one commodity in ample supply - gibberish!

For the second time in two years, sections of a council report have sent officers from the Campaign for Plain English spluttering with amazement at the complexity of “gobbledegook” involved.

The campaign has being fighting jargon and strangled English for almost 35 years.

Manager Tony Maher said: “I have read this Wirral report three times and I am still none the wiser.

"What a load of gobbledegook.

“I think it will be consigned to the bin by whoever reads it.”

And he pledged: “I will enter it into this year’s Golden Bull award.”

The offending statement was part of a report on health and social care for a council meeting this week.

Under a heading of "background and key issues", it states:

“The former model for integrating the integrated arrangements for health and social care were dealt with through separate streams, reablement and carers funds paid to the CCG and a special social care transfer for improved health outcomes, the section 256 agreement, these arrangements are superseded by the Better Care Fund.”

Council leader Cllr Phil Davies said the statement was unacceptable for a public document.

“I wouldn’t begin to defend it,” he said. “I agree, it is gobbledegook.

“I intend to raise this with the chief executive (Graham Burgess) and get him to speak to heads of services to ensure that reports that go out to the public and intelligible and written in plain English.”

The council’s previous Golden Bull contender was a report indicating "CEOs must load their HHCs before issuing any PNCs that they acknowledged".

Translated from town hall-speak it meant traffic wardens must enter details into their hand-held computers before issuing parking tickets.

A Plain English spokesman said at the time: “When you read something like this you want to throw your hands up in despair.”

Comments (25)

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3:12pm Mon 10 Feb 14

ballacrain says...

They are very lucky,they don't have to live on the Wirral and put up with it every day

Ballacrain
They are very lucky,they don't have to live on the Wirral and put up with it every day Ballacrain ballacrain
  • Score: 7

4:31pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Growl Tiger says...

Clearly the Heads of Service haven’t received the message. Please take a look at the Council’s latest “consultation” document called “Green & Open Space Strategy Consultation – Strategy Paper”.

It is full of absurd clichés and platitudes eg. It states that the need for the Strategy paper is “To provide a compass to navigate by during the next decade”.

We are asked to read the documentation – some 32 pages long and then answer a questionnaire. I would need more than a compass to help me navigate the document – I would need a translator.

However, with the latest news regarding a director from Wirral University Hospital leaving in such similar circumstances to the way in which her husband left WBC ie initial suspension and then with no case to answer and the post being made redundant I wonder whether this Green & Open Space gobbledegook is more about Green spaces than Open spaces.
Clearly the Heads of Service haven’t received the message. Please take a look at the Council’s latest “consultation” document called “Green & Open Space Strategy Consultation – Strategy Paper”. It is full of absurd clichés and platitudes eg. It states that the need for the Strategy paper is “To provide a compass to navigate by during the next decade”. We are asked to read the documentation – some 32 pages long and then answer a questionnaire. I would need more than a compass to help me navigate the document – I would need a translator. However, with the latest news regarding a director from Wirral University Hospital leaving in such similar circumstances to the way in which her husband left WBC ie initial suspension and then with no case to answer and the post being made redundant I wonder whether this Green & Open Space gobbledegook is more about Green spaces than Open spaces. Growl Tiger
  • Score: 16

4:46pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Thepleb says...

Get M.P. Mcvey to present it at a big hotel in the country and she can say how great it is for Wirral council to win this award after years of **** and many more years ahead of this while her and her council/commerce cronies fleece the tax payers of the Wirral
Get M.P. Mcvey to present it at a big hotel in the country and she can say how great it is for Wirral council to win this award after years of **** and many more years ahead of this while her and her council/commerce cronies fleece the tax payers of the Wirral Thepleb
  • Score: 12

6:25pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Joeblogg85 says...

Ha ha ha. I don't even need to look and know this will be DASS! The BS that comes out of that dept is legendary. A local blogging site will have a field day. Oh the irony...
Ha ha ha. I don't even need to look and know this will be DASS! The BS that comes out of that dept is legendary. A local blogging site will have a field day. Oh the irony... Joeblogg85
  • Score: 9

6:42pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Mary Adair says...

“I wouldn’t begin to defend it,” he said. “I agree, it is gobbledegook. "

That sounds familiar Phil , are you sure you heard it right ? It wasn't inaudible ? "Gook, "you say Phil ? Isn't that a bit ...y'know ...like ...kinda racist ??? Couldn't defend that could ya
“I wouldn’t begin to defend it,” he said. “I agree, it is gobbledegook. " That sounds familiar Phil , are you sure you heard it right ? It wasn't inaudible ? "Gook, "you say Phil ? Isn't that a bit ...y'know ...like ...kinda racist ??? Couldn't defend that could ya Mary Adair
  • Score: 4

7:03pm Mon 10 Feb 14

PaulCa says...

Maybe this gobbledegook was a piece of written advice from the "IMPROVEMENT" Board?

And.... while Councillor Davies is making promises he's unlikely to keep, can he get somebody to write up the "IMPROVEMENT" Board meeting notes for November 15th 2013? (It was almost THREE MONTHS AGO... and there's still nothing there)

http://tinyurl.com/p
af8dy4

This was the meeting where Martin Morton addressed what was left of the panel (Phil Davies had vacated his chair and LEFT what he later described on the Roger Phillips phone-in show as a "LANDMARK meeting")

Maybe on 6th December 2013 it was his turn to SPEAK gobbledegook.

Graham Burgess certainly achieved that, mentioning the word "Mistakes" 7 times in half a minute.

http://tinyurl.com/n
m6pjkp
Maybe this gobbledegook was a piece of written advice from the "IMPROVEMENT" Board? And.... while Councillor Davies is making promises he's unlikely to keep, can he get somebody to write up the "IMPROVEMENT" Board meeting notes for November 15th 2013? (It was almost THREE MONTHS AGO... and there's still nothing there) http://tinyurl.com/p af8dy4 This was the meeting where Martin Morton addressed what was left of the panel (Phil Davies had vacated his chair and LEFT what he later described on the Roger Phillips phone-in show as a "LANDMARK meeting") Maybe on 6th December 2013 it was his turn to SPEAK gobbledegook. Graham Burgess certainly achieved that, mentioning the word "Mistakes" 7 times in half a minute. http://tinyurl.com/n m6pjkp PaulCa
  • Score: 10

7:26pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Thepleb says...

DESTINATION EXCELLENCE...need we say more
DESTINATION EXCELLENCE...need we say more Thepleb
  • Score: 7

9:25pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Joeblogg85 says...

Thepleb wrote:
DESTINATION EXCELLENCE...need we say more
Ha ha ha ha ha, that's another PR disaster. How much does the head of that service get to churn out that type of rubbish? What Matters, What Really Matters, Your Views Matter, Love Wirral blah blah blady blah!
[quote][p][bold]Thepleb[/bold] wrote: DESTINATION EXCELLENCE...need we say more[/p][/quote]Ha ha ha ha ha, that's another PR disaster. How much does the head of that service get to churn out that type of rubbish? What Matters, What Really Matters, Your Views Matter, Love Wirral blah blah blady blah! Joeblogg85
  • Score: 11

11:22pm Mon 10 Feb 14

bigfoot says...

Is it the Gokden Ugg?
Is it the Gokden Ugg? bigfoot
  • Score: 3

11:24pm Mon 10 Feb 14

bigfoot says...

Sorry can't redact it, it should read 'Is it the Golden Ugg?'
Sorry can't redact it, it should read 'Is it the Golden Ugg?' bigfoot
  • Score: 2

8:25am Tue 11 Feb 14

JohnON says...

Growl Tiger wrote:
Clearly the Heads of Service haven’t received the message. Please take a look at the Council’s latest “consultation” document called “Green & Open Space Strategy Consultation – Strategy Paper”.

It is full of absurd clichés and platitudes eg. It states that the need for the Strategy paper is “To provide a compass to navigate by during the next decade”.

We are asked to read the documentation – some 32 pages long and then answer a questionnaire. I would need more than a compass to help me navigate the document – I would need a translator.

However, with the latest news regarding a director from Wirral University Hospital leaving in such similar circumstances to the way in which her husband left WBC ie initial suspension and then with no case to answer and the post being made redundant I wonder whether this Green & Open Space gobbledegook is more about Green spaces than Open spaces.
One item I did spot squirreled away amongst the gobbledegook in the Green & Open Space Strategy was section 2.1b -

"POLICY 2.1b Consider alternative use of low amenity value green spaces in areas with a plentiful supply of green space."


Seems to me it's a policy that's already in full swing.
[quote][p][bold]Growl Tiger[/bold] wrote: Clearly the Heads of Service haven’t received the message. Please take a look at the Council’s latest “consultation” document called “Green & Open Space Strategy Consultation – Strategy Paper”. It is full of absurd clichés and platitudes eg. It states that the need for the Strategy paper is “To provide a compass to navigate by during the next decade”. We are asked to read the documentation – some 32 pages long and then answer a questionnaire. I would need more than a compass to help me navigate the document – I would need a translator. However, with the latest news regarding a director from Wirral University Hospital leaving in such similar circumstances to the way in which her husband left WBC ie initial suspension and then with no case to answer and the post being made redundant I wonder whether this Green & Open Space gobbledegook is more about Green spaces than Open spaces.[/p][/quote]One item I did spot squirreled away amongst the gobbledegook in the Green & Open Space Strategy was section 2.1b - "POLICY 2.1b Consider alternative use of low amenity value green spaces in areas with a plentiful supply of green space." Seems to me it's a policy that's already in full swing. JohnON
  • Score: 7

9:42am Tue 11 Feb 14

Growl Tiger says...

Well spotted JohnOn.

If I was a suspicious person I might think the globbledegook is a purposeful weapon for integrating arrangements for unwelcome alternatives to enable the Authority to redirect its vital resources into less improved amenities.
Well spotted JohnOn. If I was a suspicious person I might think the globbledegook is a purposeful weapon for integrating arrangements for unwelcome alternatives to enable the Authority to redirect its vital resources into less improved amenities. Growl Tiger
  • Score: 8

9:43am Tue 11 Feb 14

Hugo1008 says...

Wirral Borough Council are very good at gaining awards, for the past five years thy have gained title of the Worst run and "Governed Local Authority in Great Britain" they have also been mentioned in dispatches on numerous occasions by " PRIVAT EYE"
Now they have gained the reputation of writing and issuing most of the statements in "gobbledygook" Two Years Running.
The most prolific users of "White Wash" and the general air of pollution issued from Wallasey Town Hall reeking of Corruption, Deceit, Misinformation, and Maladministration, ever seen in a Local Government Authority over the past 20 years.
Please remember that when you next vote. "Pick a New Face"
Wirral Borough Council are very good at gaining awards, for the past five years thy have gained title of the Worst run and "Governed Local Authority in Great Britain" they have also been mentioned in dispatches on numerous occasions by " PRIVAT EYE" Now they have gained the reputation of writing and issuing most of the statements in "gobbledygook" Two Years Running. The most prolific users of "White Wash" and the general air of pollution issued from Wallasey Town Hall reeking of Corruption, Deceit, Misinformation, and Maladministration, ever seen in a Local Government Authority over the past 20 years. Please remember that when you next vote. "Pick a New Face" Hugo1008
  • Score: 6

10:16am Tue 11 Feb 14

Haddy Nuff says...

Grammar Police here... Wirral Globe, you should practise what you preach...

Quote:
“I intend to raise this with the chief executive (Graham Burgess) and get him to speak to heads of services to ensure that reports that go out to the public and intelligible and written in plain English.”

The above sentence does not make sense and I'm sure its not the way it was spoken. Should read:
"...reports that go out to the public ARE intelligible and written in plain English.”

There are so many typos amongst Wirral Globe articles, I had started to log them but my log became far too long. Other media websites are just as bad including BBC, Echo etc... doesn't anybody proof read any more?
Grammar Police here... Wirral Globe, you should practise what you preach... Quote: “I intend to raise this with the chief executive (Graham Burgess) and get him to speak to heads of services to ensure that reports that go out to the public and intelligible and written in plain English.” The above sentence does not make sense and I'm sure its not the way it was spoken. Should read: "...reports that go out to the public ARE intelligible and written in plain English.” There are so many typos amongst Wirral Globe articles, I had started to log them but my log became far too long. Other media websites are just as bad including BBC, Echo etc... doesn't anybody proof read any more? Haddy Nuff
  • Score: 1

1:21pm Tue 11 Feb 14

rover600 says...

It just ably demonstrates some of the appalling people 'we' have working at 'our council'... I assume there was a contest to come up with that degree of BS? No right minded person would dream of putting together a string of nonsense like that. I'd fire them on the spot!
It just ably demonstrates some of the appalling people 'we' have working at 'our council'... I assume there was a contest to come up with that degree of BS? No right minded person would dream of putting together a string of nonsense like that. I'd fire them on the spot! rover600
  • Score: 5

4:00pm Tue 11 Feb 14

JohnON says...

What puzzles me is Council leader Cllr Phil Davies said the statement was unacceptable for a public document.
“I wouldn’t begin to defend it,” he said. “I agree, it is gobbledegook.

I would have thought that a document about health and social care would have been an important enough document for Cllr Davies to at the very least, give it the once over BEFORE publication; but apparently not.
What puzzles me is Council leader Cllr Phil Davies said the statement was unacceptable for a public document. “I wouldn’t begin to defend it,” he said. “I agree, it is gobbledegook. I would have thought that a document about health and social care would have been an important enough document for Cllr Davies to at the very least, give it the once over BEFORE publication; but apparently not. JohnON
  • Score: 3

8:23pm Tue 11 Feb 14

Cloud 23 says...

JohnON wrote:
What puzzles me is Council leader Cllr Phil Davies said the statement was unacceptable for a public document.
“I wouldn’t begin to defend it,” he said. “I agree, it is gobbledegook.

I would have thought that a document about health and social care would have been an important enough document for Cllr Davies to at the very least, give it the once over BEFORE publication; but apparently not.
The Leader doesn't have time to read reports before publication nor should he have to. In this case the Director of Adults should be checking what is being submitted to Committee but you can't be expecting the leader of the council to proof read documents.
[quote][p][bold]JohnON[/bold] wrote: What puzzles me is Council leader Cllr Phil Davies said the statement was unacceptable for a public document. “I wouldn’t begin to defend it,” he said. “I agree, it is gobbledegook. I would have thought that a document about health and social care would have been an important enough document for Cllr Davies to at the very least, give it the once over BEFORE publication; but apparently not.[/p][/quote]The Leader doesn't have time to read reports before publication nor should he have to. In this case the Director of Adults should be checking what is being submitted to Committee but you can't be expecting the leader of the council to proof read documents. Cloud 23
  • Score: -3

9:09pm Tue 11 Feb 14

Growl Tiger says...

Cloud 23 – Perfect World doesn’t exist on Wirral.

Graham Burgess doesn’t seem to exist either – is he on garden leave like all the rest of the ex leaders? Or is he in the reading room at Brighton Street still studying his new BMW handbook?

However of course one day soon he may emerge from behind his handbook and take an interest in what happens on the Wirral - apart from golf that is.

Hmm, no he won’t because he doesn’t live here and doesn’t give a toss about Wirral particularly as he now has his permanent post, his top of the range BMW and his pension/redundancy status ready for the future merge with Cheshire.
Cloud 23 – Perfect World doesn’t exist on Wirral. Graham Burgess doesn’t seem to exist either – is he on garden leave like all the rest of the ex leaders? Or is he in the reading room at Brighton Street still studying his new BMW handbook? However of course one day soon he may emerge from behind his handbook and take an interest in what happens on the Wirral - apart from golf that is. Hmm, no he won’t because he doesn’t live here and doesn’t give a toss about Wirral particularly as he now has his permanent post, his top of the range BMW and his pension/redundancy status ready for the future merge with Cheshire. Growl Tiger
  • Score: 4

10:30pm Tue 11 Feb 14

Cloud 23 says...

Not sure what you are,talking about? The article is about a poorly worded report which quite rightly has been highlighted. It's not good enough. I said that its the author not leader of the council's job to proof these things. Not sure what attacking the chief executive and his car got to do with it.
Not sure what you are,talking about? The article is about a poorly worded report which quite rightly has been highlighted. It's not good enough. I said that its the author not leader of the council's job to proof these things. Not sure what attacking the chief executive and his car got to do with it. Cloud 23
  • Score: -3

7:29am Wed 12 Feb 14

JohnON says...

Cloud 23 wrote:
Not sure what you are,talking about? The article is about a poorly worded report which quite rightly has been highlighted. It's not good enough. I said that its the author not leader of the council's job to proof these things. Not sure what attacking the chief executive and his car got to do with it.
As a general principle, I would agree with you that a boss should be able to leave this sort of thing to his managers but, given the appalling record of the council's health and social care over the previous years, I would suggest that taking a personal interest and keeping a watchful eye would, perhaps, be a good idea.
[quote][p][bold]Cloud 23[/bold] wrote: Not sure what you are,talking about? The article is about a poorly worded report which quite rightly has been highlighted. It's not good enough. I said that its the author not leader of the council's job to proof these things. Not sure what attacking the chief executive and his car got to do with it.[/p][/quote]As a general principle, I would agree with you that a boss should be able to leave this sort of thing to his managers but, given the appalling record of the council's health and social care over the previous years, I would suggest that taking a personal interest and keeping a watchful eye would, perhaps, be a good idea. JohnON
  • Score: 5

8:07am Wed 12 Feb 14

reliant22 says...

How will our `Hon`MP`s respond to this?

Oh, I forgot, 3 of them are wearing the same `T-shirts!
Come in Esther, let us hear your view and whether,( as is the general opinion) that a `sacking` is the answer for whomsoever is responsible for writing the `gobbledegook report` CEO Burgess needs to get a grip or get out.
Wirral residents can decide not to return the present useless elected incumbent at the next election.
How will our `Hon`MP`s respond to this? Oh, I forgot, 3 of them are wearing the same `T-shirts! Come in Esther, let us hear your view and whether,( as is the general opinion) that a `sacking` is the answer for whomsoever is responsible for writing the `gobbledegook report` CEO Burgess needs to get a grip or get out. Wirral residents can decide not to return the present useless elected incumbent at the next election. reliant22
  • Score: 4

3:08pm Wed 12 Feb 14

Joeblogg85 says...

IMO, you can't sack someone for writing a report! Also, tbh it will not have been the Director who wrote it. It will have been one of his immediate subordinates and he would put his name to it. Unfortunately, it is typical Social Services speak and really is old school. Regarding the comments about the CEO, he does seem to have taken a very low profile recently. In fact, since he was awarded with a full-time contract he has not been seen much apart from the Improvement Board debacle.
IMO, you can't sack someone for writing a report! Also, tbh it will not have been the Director who wrote it. It will have been one of his immediate subordinates and he would put his name to it. Unfortunately, it is typical Social Services speak and really is old school. Regarding the comments about the CEO, he does seem to have taken a very low profile recently. In fact, since he was awarded with a full-time contract he has not been seen much apart from the Improvement Board debacle. Joeblogg85
  • Score: 4

6:10pm Wed 12 Feb 14

Growl Tiger says...

Unfortunately with everything that is going on weather wise it does seem that blogging here is somewhat superfluous.

However, I do have to say to Cloud 23 who makes a comment about my criticism about the CEO is that the man came into office with a 2 year temporary contact. Without proving his abilities he changed that into a permanent contract. He has since gained a top of the range BMW which clearly he doesn’t use to inspect the Wirral and the only time we have seen him in action is in the most awful attempt at speaking to the “Improvement Board”.

I would welcome news on what new aspects regarding openness and transparency he has brought to Wirral, but to date it would seem that all he has done is feather is own nest. I have nothing more to say.
Unfortunately with everything that is going on weather wise it does seem that blogging here is somewhat superfluous. However, I do have to say to Cloud 23 who makes a comment about my criticism about the CEO is that the man came into office with a 2 year temporary contact. Without proving his abilities he changed that into a permanent contract. He has since gained a top of the range BMW which clearly he doesn’t use to inspect the Wirral and the only time we have seen him in action is in the most awful attempt at speaking to the “Improvement Board”. I would welcome news on what new aspects regarding openness and transparency he has brought to Wirral, but to date it would seem that all he has done is feather is own nest. I have nothing more to say. Growl Tiger
  • Score: 6

12:59am Thu 13 Feb 14

Cloud 23 says...

Growl Tiger wrote:
Unfortunately with everything that is going on weather wise it does seem that blogging here is somewhat superfluous.

However, I do have to say to Cloud 23 who makes a comment about my criticism about the CEO is that the man came into office with a 2 year temporary contact. Without proving his abilities he changed that into a permanent contract. He has since gained a top of the range BMW which clearly he doesn’t use to inspect the Wirral and the only time we have seen him in action is in the most awful attempt at speaking to the “Improvement Board”.

I would welcome news on what new aspects regarding openness and transparency he has brought to Wirral, but to date it would seem that all he has done is feather is own nest. I have nothing more to say.
'Without proving his abilities HE changed that into a permanent contact' no HE didn't the employments and appointments Commitee did. They offered it. He accepted it. Your issue should be with them.
He has since 'gained' a BMW,...what?? The council don't give them out. How can someone gain a car? He had a BMW before anyway. So he changed it. Is that significant?
I am not pro the CEO or anyone else as it happens but why do people come into here and make things up. Pathetic.
[quote][p][bold]Growl Tiger[/bold] wrote: Unfortunately with everything that is going on weather wise it does seem that blogging here is somewhat superfluous. However, I do have to say to Cloud 23 who makes a comment about my criticism about the CEO is that the man came into office with a 2 year temporary contact. Without proving his abilities he changed that into a permanent contract. He has since gained a top of the range BMW which clearly he doesn’t use to inspect the Wirral and the only time we have seen him in action is in the most awful attempt at speaking to the “Improvement Board”. I would welcome news on what new aspects regarding openness and transparency he has brought to Wirral, but to date it would seem that all he has done is feather is own nest. I have nothing more to say.[/p][/quote]'Without proving his abilities HE changed that into a permanent contact' no HE didn't the employments and appointments Commitee did. They offered it. He accepted it. Your issue should be with them. He has since 'gained' a BMW,...what?? The council don't give them out. How can someone gain a car? He had a BMW before anyway. So he changed it. Is that significant? I am not pro the CEO or anyone else as it happens but why do people come into here and make things up. Pathetic. Cloud 23
  • Score: -2

1:31pm Thu 13 Feb 14

hobroW says...

Even at the Improvement Board meeting Mr Burgess though nervous did speak plain English. He was also courteous and that is because he did inherit a mess. defending the indefensible would make you pull at your own collar as he did repeatedly. I am told by an honourable person that Mr Burgess works long hours to try to reform this institution.

He has been terse with myself and other whistleblowers but never has he offered gobbledegook. or anything other than plain English.

I just wish he would not have stated that no officers are to blame nor ,given the delays and obfuscation in the investigations, have stated in September 2012, "this should have been dealt with in April". They are clear statements but transparently misguided. An honourable man no doubt but struggling to deal with the barnacles impeding the course of the good ship WBC.
Even at the Improvement Board meeting Mr Burgess though nervous did speak plain English. He was also courteous and that is because he did inherit a mess. defending the indefensible would make you pull at your own collar as he did repeatedly. I am told by an honourable person that Mr Burgess works long hours to try to reform this institution. He has been terse with myself and other whistleblowers but never has he offered gobbledegook. or anything other than plain English. I just wish he would not have stated that no officers are to blame nor ,given the delays and obfuscation in the investigations, have stated in September 2012, "this should have been dealt with in April". They are clear statements but transparently misguided. An honourable man no doubt but struggling to deal with the barnacles impeding the course of the good ship WBC. hobroW
  • Score: 0

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