TWO senior officers who were suspended after a Globe report into whistle-blowing allegations have this week left the employment of Wirral Council.

The pair were suspended from duty in 2008 after our exclusive articles revealed claims made by former council employee Martin Morton.

A full investigation was carried out at the time and found they were innocent of any wrong-doing; the two senior managers were then exonerated and reinstated.

A council spokesman said today: "We can confirm that two senior officers have left by mutual consent on January 9.

"It would be inappropriate to comment further."

An email sent to council staff refers to the departure of one of the pair saying it will leave a significant gap in the leadership team: "However, we will ensure that the important work continues with appropriate senior management support."

Mr Morton exposed a "special charging policy" that saw vulnerable adults in the care of the local authority paying more for their accommodation than they should.

He claimed he raised this issue with his department bosses but was first ignored then bullied out his job.

He left the council under a so-called "compromise agreement" which paid him £40,000 to go away and keep quiet.

Instead he told his story to the Globe - and our series of articles eventually led to the council accepting it had overcharged the residents and making a public apology for "ripping them off."

The authority agreed to repay them £250,000 and, at a cabinet meeting in 2010, the then-leader of the council Cllr Jeff Green offered Mr Morton his job back.

Mr Morton's claims of bullying, cover-up and malpractice eventually led to a full examination of the council's standards, governance and ethics.

The six-month investigation led by independent consultant Anna Klonowski cost Wirral taxpayers £250,000.

An unscheduled "special meeting" of the full council has been called to consider the implications of Ms Klonowski's report, which has been under kept wraps since October while individuals and organisations criticised within it were given a legal right to reply.

An earlier preliminary report produced by the firm sent shockwaves through the council, which it revealed was in the grip of a "corrosive and insular" culture that had all-but overwhelmed the authority.

The review accused the town hall of putting its own bureaucratic machinations before the needs and rights of Wirral people.

Chief executive Jim Wilkie said the consultant's findings represented the "most significant challenge faced by this council."

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