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Special meeting of full council called over whistle-blower investigations
THE FULL extent of allegations made by whistle-blowers of alleged malpractice by Wirral Council is to be revealed.
The authority has taken the unusual step of convening a special meeting of the full council to consider the implications of two major inquiries.
Council leader Steve Foulkes has called for all 66 members of the authority to be summoned to the town hall after February's cabinet meeting when the results of the two investigations will be made public for the first time.
The first concerns a report from independent consultant Anna Klonowski into claims made by former employee Martin Morton about adult social services.
Mr Morton first raised his concerns about a so-called “special charging policy” of vulnerable adults to the Wirral Globe in 2008.
A preliminary "Corporate Governance" review by Klonowski was revealed late last year and rocked the council.
The £250,000, six-month investigation found a "corrosive and insular" culture had all-but overwhelmed the authority, saying it puts its own bureaucratic machinations before the needs and rights of Wirral people.
The second is the Audit Commission report into the authority’s highways maintenance contract.
In October of last year, the Globe exclusively revealed that Birkenhead MP Frank Field had called on the Serious Fraud Office to investigate the handling of the contract.
The UK investigation agency was asked to step in following allegations made to Mr Field by a group of council whistle-blowers.
Local government watchdog the District Auditor has now produced a report into the £8m highways contract.
Councillor Foulkes said: “I believe it is very important for the council to be as open and transparent as possible.
"It is vitally important that the council recognises any past or present failings and takes action to prevent them happening again.
“These reports will look at claims made by whistle-blowers and make recommendations to the council.
"I believe it is essential that the reports are published in full, and that they are debated in full by the whole council.
“If they are critical, then we should view those criticisms constructively and use them to move forward and change things for the better”