UPDATED: Wirral Council takes 'brave' decision to ditch plan for sharing services with Cheshire

FLASHBACK: Councillors Mike Jones and Phil Davies signing the 'Concordat' to share services watched by chief executives Steve Robinson and Graham Burgess

FLASHBACK: Councillors Mike Jones and Phil Davies signing the 'Concordat' to share services watched by chief executives Steve Robinson and Graham Burgess

First published in News
Last updated
Wirral Globe: Photograph of the Author by , Editor

A PLAN for Wirral Council to share “back office” services with neighbouring authorities looks set to be put on ice.

Last August, it was announced that merging certain council functions could help reduce costs by around £70m.

But today, following detailed analysis, Wirral’s chief executive Graham Burgess has made what he described as a “brave” decision to call a halt to the scheme.

However the U-turn was blasted by Wirral's Tory group leader Jeff Green, who said it was a "massive governance failure."

Councillor Green stormed: "I warned that this was going to happen.

"The basics should tell you that you do the business analysis first, then make the announcement. Not the other way around.

"I've written to Mr Burgess asking how much taxpayer money and staff time has been wasted.

"Once again, the taxpayers of Wirral are having to pick up the bill for failure."

Mr Burgess said: “We are dealing with unprecedented levels of cuts, with more to come from 2015.

“So it’s important that we consider innovative and different ways to deliver the best possible services to our communities and limit the impact on front line services.

“The work we are doing to review and remodel all of Wirral council’s services is vital to determining the best delivery models for the future and we have said all along that we would not share services with other authorities unless there was a strong business case for doing so.

“It is right to thoroughly investigate an opportunity and have the bravery to say it isn’t right for us at the moment.

“The work we have already done is not wasted and puts us in a much stronger position to deliver our internal service reviews.”

The plan had envisioned sharing a range of functions - from finance and human resources to information technology and legal services – with Cheshire West & Chester and Cheshire East Councils.

Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Phil Gilchrist said he was "disappointed" by the decision to call a halt.

"The last Government urged councils to share back office functions and cut costs in March 2010, exactly four years ago," he said.

"Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but had Wirral started all this earlier we might have got farther down the road. I suspect Wirral is trying to wrestle with many competing projects.

"It is proving difficult to get everything done after Wirral’s difficulties and upheavals over the past five years."

The recommendation to pause the process will be made to the council's ruling cabinet next Thursday.

It will coincide with the start of a major project to “redesign” the way all services are delivered to the public.

Last summer, council bosses signed a “concordat” declaring their intention to merge £69m of services.

A joint statement at the time said: “Reducing duplication, bureaucracy and making the most of economies of scale and increased efficiency will create considerable cash savings for both authorities, and secure the protection of front line services.”

Comments (15)

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9:31am Thu 6 Mar 14

hobroW says...

"Brave" ...PLEEEASE
"Brave" ...PLEEEASE hobroW
  • Score: 18

9:56am Thu 6 Mar 14

Growl Tiger says...

Has this brave statement been released now to take our attention away from carpet-gate?

“Redesign the way all services are delivered to the public" – this sounds like the IT department will be busy setting all data to “computer say NO”.
Has this brave statement been released now to take our attention away from carpet-gate? “Redesign the way all services are delivered to the public" – this sounds like the IT department will be busy setting all data to “computer say NO”. Growl Tiger
  • Score: 16

10:19am Thu 6 Mar 14

PaulCa says...

This, from the man who said "We need to spend less on ourselves to mitigate the impact of the cuts on our most vulnerable people." The man who seamlessly switched his er, "loyalties" from UNISON to management in the blink of an eye. The man who then went on to lavish £hundreds of thousands of OUR council tax money on...

o Town Hall refurbishment with top of the range furniture
o Town Hall executive fire escape
o Town Hall dishwasher and shower
o Town Hall luxury carpet
o Town Hall new windows / fittings / desks

Cuts???? What cuts???!!!
This, from the man who said "We need to spend less on ourselves to mitigate the impact of the cuts on our most vulnerable people." The man who seamlessly switched his er, "loyalties" from UNISON to management in the blink of an eye. The man who then went on to lavish £hundreds of thousands of OUR council tax money on... o Town Hall refurbishment with top of the range furniture o Town Hall executive fire escape o Town Hall dishwasher and shower o Town Hall luxury carpet o Town Hall new windows / fittings / desks Cuts???? What cuts???!!! PaulCa
  • Score: 20

10:27am Thu 6 Mar 14

PaulCa says...

Joe Public: "Brave??!! Shurley shome mishtake!!"

CEO: "No mistake... and don't call me Shirley."

Frank Drebin eat your heart out.
Joe Public: "Brave??!! Shurley shome mishtake!!" CEO: "No mistake... and don't call me Shirley." Frank Drebin eat your heart out. PaulCa
  • Score: 18

11:54am Thu 6 Mar 14

bigfoot says...

Some senior officers must have felt threatened and ultimately spoke to some of their 'friends'
Some senior officers must have felt threatened and ultimately spoke to some of their 'friends' bigfoot
  • Score: 16

12:06pm Thu 6 Mar 14

Joeblogg85 says...

Mmm, interesting turnaround. Tbh, this looked like a bit of a non starter from the outset as a Wirral would have been vulnerable to airing its dirty laundry with another local authority. Working in partnership also means compromise and this does not happen in Wirral. Also, as said earlier, senior officer posts would have been under threat too and this would not have gone down too well. If I was leading CWAC I would be happy with this decision as Wirral has yet to shed its unwanted "abnormal" tag yet. All senior jobs protected. Nothing to see. Move along.
Mmm, interesting turnaround. Tbh, this looked like a bit of a non starter from the outset as a Wirral would have been vulnerable to airing its dirty laundry with another local authority. Working in partnership also means compromise and this does not happen in Wirral. Also, as said earlier, senior officer posts would have been under threat too and this would not have gone down too well. If I was leading CWAC I would be happy with this decision as Wirral has yet to shed its unwanted "abnormal" tag yet. All senior jobs protected. Nothing to see. Move along. Joeblogg85
  • Score: 22

1:11pm Thu 6 Mar 14

hobroW says...

Just assertions that it was "brave", no proof; assertions the the costs for the exploratory talks and research are not wasted but no proof.

I quote again from Robespierre's constitution 1793

30 . Public functions are essentially temporary; they may be considered as neither distinctions nor rewards, but only as duties.
31. Offenses of mandataries and agents of the people must never go unpunished. No one has the right to consider himself more inviolable than others.

Does this apply in Wirral?
,
Just assertions that it was "brave", no proof; assertions the the costs for the exploratory talks and research are not wasted but no proof. I quote again from Robespierre's constitution 1793 30 . Public functions are essentially temporary; they may be considered as neither distinctions nor rewards, but only as duties. 31. Offenses of mandataries and agents of the people must never go unpunished. No one has the right to consider himself more inviolable than others. Does this apply in Wirral? , hobroW
  • Score: 5

1:53pm Thu 6 Mar 14

PaulCa says...

Joeblogg85 wrote:
Mmm, interesting turnaround. Tbh, this looked like a bit of a non starter from the outset as a Wirral would have been vulnerable to airing its dirty laundry with another local authority. Working in partnership also means compromise and this does not happen in Wirral. Also, as said earlier, senior officer posts would have been under threat too and this would not have gone down too well. If I was leading CWAC I would be happy with this decision as Wirral has yet to shed its unwanted "abnormal" tag yet. All senior jobs protected. Nothing to see. Move along.
I worked for both authorities. I was also branded "not a team player" and received bogus "Gross Misconduct" charges from both... as desperate acts of self-preservation from the respective Arch-bullies.

Take it from me, the "dirty laundry" and "protecting senior jobs" issues work BOTH ways.
[quote][p][bold]Joeblogg85[/bold] wrote: Mmm, interesting turnaround. Tbh, this looked like a bit of a non starter from the outset as a Wirral would have been vulnerable to airing its dirty laundry with another local authority. Working in partnership also means compromise and this does not happen in Wirral. Also, as said earlier, senior officer posts would have been under threat too and this would not have gone down too well. If I was leading CWAC I would be happy with this decision as Wirral has yet to shed its unwanted "abnormal" tag yet. All senior jobs protected. Nothing to see. Move along.[/p][/quote]I worked for both authorities. I was also branded "not a team player" and received bogus "Gross Misconduct" charges from both... as desperate acts of self-preservation from the respective Arch-bullies. Take it from me, the "dirty laundry" and "protecting senior jobs" issues work BOTH ways. PaulCa
  • Score: 20

2:24pm Thu 6 Mar 14

minimad69 says...

Congrats to Mr Burgess for calling a halt to the merger - as more efficiencies can be wrought closer to home....just prior to him starting Wirral had re-introduced layers of unnecessary management - time for them to go again...
Congrats to Mr Burgess for calling a halt to the merger - as more efficiencies can be wrought closer to home....just prior to him starting Wirral had re-introduced layers of unnecessary management - time for them to go again... minimad69
  • Score: -7

4:39pm Thu 6 Mar 14

bigfoot says...

Probably not worth it and nothing in it for Pip and his Caliph.
Probably not worth it and nothing in it for Pip and his Caliph. bigfoot
  • Score: 8

4:51pm Thu 6 Mar 14

WirralAl says...

This council would not want another council looking into its affairs now would it.

Very brave is not a description I would ever class this shower as!

Belligerent and self serving carpet munchers would be a better analogy!
This council would not want another council looking into its affairs now would it. Very brave is not a description I would ever class this shower as! Belligerent and self serving carpet munchers would be a better analogy! WirralAl
  • Score: 12

12:00pm Sun 9 Mar 14

PaulCa says...

Not much evidence of this self-proclaimed "BRAVERY" on display here:

https://soundcloud.c
om/paul-cardin/burge
ss-mistakes-s-s-s

In fact, the CEO, summing up a decade of calculated abuse, repeats the word "Mistakes" SEVEN times in under half a minute.

#SlowHandClap
Not much evidence of this self-proclaimed "BRAVERY" on display here: https://soundcloud.c om/paul-cardin/burge ss-mistakes-s-s-s In fact, the CEO, summing up a decade of calculated abuse, repeats the word "Mistakes" SEVEN times in under half a minute. #SlowHandClap PaulCa
  • Score: 7

8:33am Tue 11 Mar 14

Hugo1008 says...

I can understand that GB did not want his little empire to be diluted, I can understand that most people would feel very protective for their job and career.

But remember there is no employee of Wirral Borough Council can make big binding decisions without the full consent of the elected Councillors.

The 66 elected Councillors we have on Wirral are all dictated to by less than a dozen Cabinet Members of the Council, So if you use your vote to re-elect any of that bunch of misfits again. All you will get is more of the same absolute trash that we have endured for the past 20 years, and more so of the past 10 years of lack of Governance.
I can understand that GB did not want his little empire to be diluted, I can understand that most people would feel very protective for their job and career. But remember there is no employee of Wirral Borough Council can make big binding decisions without the full consent of the elected Councillors. The 66 elected Councillors we have on Wirral are all dictated to by less than a dozen Cabinet Members of the Council, So if you use your vote to re-elect any of that bunch of misfits again. All you will get is more of the same absolute trash that we have endured for the past 20 years, and more so of the past 10 years of lack of Governance. Hugo1008
  • Score: 4

7:15pm Wed 12 Mar 14

keen gardener says...

No surprises for me....Mr Burgess never left the pack....he has just manipulated...."as leopards do".... and the "spots never change". PS Do Wirral residents have "a say" on this? I regard this issue as being very important for me, mine, you and yours. In truth, I find this whole issue very concerning.
No surprises for me....Mr Burgess never left the pack....he has just manipulated...."as leopards do".... and the "spots never change". PS Do Wirral residents have "a say" on this? I regard this issue as being very important for me, mine, you and yours. In truth, I find this whole issue very concerning. keen gardener
  • Score: 2

4:10pm Fri 14 Mar 14

LocaLGovwatcher says...

Welcome to the Peoples Republic of Wirral. Non voters deserve the Council they get for not bothering to vote for change. Shame on all those it applies to.
Welcome to the Peoples Republic of Wirral. Non voters deserve the Council they get for not bothering to vote for change. Shame on all those it applies to. LocaLGovwatcher
  • Score: 0

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