Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Cheerleader, Sleepwalker or Vampire

I am hearing that Wigan Council's hierarchy are telling staff in listening in sessions that they, the staff, fall into one of the three category's.

The three category's are a Cheerleader, Sleepwalker and Vampire.

If you are a Vampire you are negative and not doing your job and sucking the blood out of the Council. If you are a Sleep walker you turn up for work, do your job and go home. The last category is a Cheerleader, where you do your work and shout from the roof top how good the Council are.

Staff are then told if you are a Vampire or a sleepwalker then Wigan Council isn't the place for them and they should instead go and work at St. Helens Council. To me that shows a complete lack of respect for St.Helens Council.

This is very worrying and shows and demonstrate bullying and intimidation towards staff. I believe the matter has been raised at the Unison annual Meeting and they voted for the unions write a letter to the press about the matter because they can't complain to the Council, because they will then be seen as a Vampire.

The issue is serious for another reason because should a hard working and well respected member of staff have a serious concern and wants to raise it they now can't because they will be seen again as a Vampire. Given the ruthless cuts that Wigan Council are carrying our people are worried about their jobs.

Given that over 75% of Staff are women and they are being treated in this way, it goes to show the hypocritical Council Wigan is, especially seeing as they say they want to empower women with their new #BelieveinHer Campaign.

One member of staff who has told be about CSV (Cheerleader, Sleepwalker, Vampire) says all the council are concerned with is PR and saying how great they are. If the Council get the their job right they wouldn't have to do all the PR and wasting taxpayers money!

99.99% of staff are hard working and they have complete support, this kind of behaviour is not acceptable in Wigan!

Monday, 2 March 2015

Where is the equality? Why not to support #believe in her campaign.

Wigan Council are launching today believe in her. This campaign is to be against sexism and empower woman. It has been launched also just before international women day. How patronising to women!

The issue is, why I don't refute that sexism and discrimination might go on in places, I think it would be fair to say that thank fully it is on a decline, everyone should be treated equally and also empowered and not just women. Where was Wigan's Council's Believe in Him campaign and to be fair had they done that I would have been equally enraged. If they have to waste millions of hard working Wigan Taxpayers' money then it should be in a #believeinyou. Every man, woman, young, old, black white, able or disabled should equally matter.

In fact if I said to you that if Wigan Council employed 3 men for every woman then there would be an outcry of discrimination by the PC brigade. However, I can reveal that Wigan Council in fact employ over 3 women for every one man. Why's no one shouting that it should be 50/50?

For the record for me it should not be about how many men, women, blacks or whites people have but that employers should be able to employ the best person for the job. In fact I saw a refreshing tweet from a young female on twitter who had seen a job that actively encouraged young, female and people of ethnics minority to apply for a role. Tell you what how discriminated is a white working man is. However, the young Female had complained that if she got a job she wanted to know that she got the job because she was the best candidate for the job and not because she was a woman or young etc and I say good on her. It's with attitudes like that that will empower people. I hope she goes far in her career as because with that kind of mind set she is a naturally leader for me.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Proposed savings of milllion's was said years ago.

I have had an interesting meeting with Council officials who have confirmed that some of the suggestions I had previously put forward at Budget Meetings have since been implemented by the Council.

Each year the Council hold a Budget Meeting to discuss costs incurred by the Council - with a view to reducing expenditure, and every year it is the same story!  Any suggestions put forward by Opposition Councillors are immediately brushed aside by Labour.

Back in 2012 here: http://garethfairhurst.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/wigan-council-spend-500k-on-legal-fees.html I declared it was ridiculous that the Council keep looking outside for legal advice whilst already having its own Legal Department and solicitors at its disposal - I suggested that the Council hire their own Barrister as this would help to reduce costs.  It has been confirmed that the Legal bill is around the level it was in 2012, but from next year the Council will be looking to reduce the bill by £200,000 and one way of realising this reduction would be to hire their own in-house Barrister. 
By implementing the changes which I suggested in 2012 demonstrates the Council having come round to my way of thinking - in effect they have admitted that I was right all along.  Of course, it is great that savings will now be made - but had Labour taken on board my suggestions back in 2012 they would have saved themselves at least £600,000.
On another issue, back in 2013 here: http://garethfairhurst.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/the-week-that-ended24-march-2013.html I recommended that Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust be brought back under the control of Wigan Council.  At the time, Opposition Councillors echoed my sentiments because we all felt very strongly about the proposed cuts to front line services.  I can now announce that from April of this year that the majority of WLCT will be brought back under the control of Wigan Council - but once again, had Labour acted on my suggestions earlier, they could have saved millions of pounds which would have resulted in fewer cuts to front-line services.
Who knows, maybe 2015 will be the year that sees Labour listening to and taking on board the views of their Opposition counterparts - it would be nice to think that Labour is now open to common sense solutions.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Save Ashfield Witness Statements

With a public inquiry approaching shortly it is important that we now start to prepare for that 4 day inquiry. We have to do this in a number of ways and there are a number of different areas we need to review and prepare.

One part of the inquiry is that we have to show, demonstrate and evidence how we as a community has used the park and fields. This will be crucial. There are a number of different ways to do this and at the beginning of the campaign we decided on one particular way. The easiest and most consistent way to do this is witness statements. Because we are a member of the open spaces society we discussed this with them and we decided to use their form that they have prepared.

Here is a clip about this.

We have had a tremendous response with approx 200 forms already completed and returned but are we missing something? Yes your voice. We need as many of these witness statements completed and returned.

Here is a link to down load the form here. It takes just about 10 minutes to complete and once you have completed these return to

31 Littleton Grove

It is important to recognise that if there are more than one person in the house each person can complete their own form and return it. It is not one form per house hold, the more the matter and if you want to get your children to complete one they too can do one of these forms.

So come on why not take 10 mins out to try and Save Ashfield.

The closing date to get these to us is the 14 March 2015 so please act now.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Message to Wigan Council Staff

It has been brought to my attention that the Labour supporting Chief Executive of Wigan Council - Donna Hall - has forwarded an email to ALL staff informing them that 4 Councillors have been secretly recording conversations with a view to then using them to bully and/or intimidate staff.  The email implicates both myself and Cllr George Fairhurst amongst others, and I would like to take this opportunity to state categorically that neither of us are in the habit of recording conversations with Council staff.  I know for a fact that Cllr George Fairhurst would not know where to begin - I don't believe he could manage to record an episode of Coronation Street - let alone go about recording people's regular or phone conversations.  There have been occasions when the Chief Executive has enquired as to whether I am recording what she is saying - and she has explained to me that on occasion sensitive matters are discussed and for that reason recording is not allowed - this I do not have a problem with.  
I realise that Council workers often have a demanding role and those who carry out their duties in a politically unbiased manner will no doubt see straight through this veil of lies. I would like to reassure them that I would never invade their privacy as has been suggested -  I work hard as a Councillor for the people of Standish - so it is important to me that I get this message across.  With a General Election looming I imagine we can expect more of this behaviour - it is a sad reflection of local politics that those who stand for fair play are targeted in this manner.

Of course, this all comes on the back of a Senior Official at the Council having swore at me during the week - in response to this I effectively ended the meeting and left the room because they did not have the good grace to apologise and since then they have collectively turned on the attack.  Also, the email was drafted shortly after I had recorded an interview for BBC Radio Manchester - where the Leader of the Council had refused to go on air with me to discuss the embarrassing issue of Historical Abuse at Wigan Care Homes.

I have requested a formal meeting with the Leader Cllr Smith on numerous occasions with a view to resolving matters but each time he refuses.

I have written to the Chief Executive and given her 48 hours in which to provide evidence of these allegations - should she fail to do so, I will have no alternative other than to file a formal complaint against her - she appears to be on some sort of personal crusade against non-Labour Councillors.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Update on Abuse Scandal in Wigan!

In my Blog last November, I raised the subject of the Historical Physical and Sexual Abuse Scandal facing Wigan Council regarding the Wood End facility at Atherton.  There are two comments from members of the public in reply to my Blog who claim that they were abused - both have been informed that their personal records had been lost and both have given statements to Operation Milan, details here: http://garethfairhurst.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/abuse-scandal-at-wigan-council-care.html

Since then, the BBC have focused on this story a great deal, resulting in Donna Hall, Chief Executive of Wigan Council being forced to come out today and issue her 'profuse apologies' on behalf of Wigan Council http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-31452726 .  It is only as a result of the extensive media coverage that the Council have even bothered to acknowledge or apologise for the abuse that occurred under their noses!

The Wood End facility in Atherton was opened by Lancashire County Council in 1969 as a remand home for boys aged between 10 & 17 years of age. In 1974, Wigan Council took over the running of the home until finally it was closed in 1994.  Since it's closure, three Police Investigations have taken place.  Greater Manchester Police are now investigating more than 40 complaints of Historical Physical and Sexual Abuse at the centre - two people have been interviewed under caution and three others are due to be questioned.

When the allegations of Historical Abuse first surfaced, they were hushed-up - it has taken all this time and Operation Milan - which is also covering the Cyril Smith Abuse Investigation at Knowl View - to finally come to the public attention.  Lord Peter Smith has been the Leader of Wigan Council since 1991 - therefore it follows that some of the abuse probably occurred under his watch.  A senior official at Wigan Council has confirmed to me that all the way through the allegations and Police Investigations that Lord Peter Smith has been aware of things - yet still said or did nothing.  Therefore the Leader must go and go now!  His time is up - he has quite simply let these victims down - both they and the people of Wigan Borough deserve better!

I have spoken with other opposition Councillors and group and they all support me in calling for - first an Extraordinary Council Meeting and secondly for an Independent Investigation of Wigan Council - if the Council refuse this we will simply ensure we get enough signatures in order to then call for an Extraordinary Council Meeting under the Constitution rules.

This story regarding Historical Physical and Sexual Abuse is not about to go away anytime soon - we owe it to the victims of abuse and their families to secure an Independent Investigation.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Standish left with No PCSO's

It has come to our attention that Standish has been left with no PCSO cover, whilst other areas bask with PCSO Standish remains with none. Normally Standish has one Police Officer, which we still have and they do a more specific role and not on the traditional beat, and then we have 2 PCSO's . Currently one of them is injured and currently off work and we wish them a speedy recovery, which is expected to be in a 3 to 4 week period. The other PCSO has had some great news of being pregnant and the force rule means they are now office based.

Swinley and Whitley has 2 PCSO's, Scholes  also has 2. These PCSO's are all in the Wigan Central Ward and are an addition to the 4 that cover the Town Centre.

What is frustrating is that when other areas go down a man/ woman they take one off our PCSO's like they did recently but we never get the favour returned in Standish. Today we made representation to Wigan Police on the matter and said we can't understand why we can't have one of the PCSO's from Whitley/ Swinley. Surely that is not a high crime hot spot. We were told this request would probably not happen and yet again the residents of Standish pay more and get less. With growing crimes with little or no cover the situation will get worse and it is always easier to stop issues before they grow out of control.