Jun 8 2011 By Liam Murphy
A LONG-AWAITED report into social services and how a whistleblower was allegedly bullied out of his job will be made public, Wirral Council says.
Fears were raised by Wirral Council’s Conservative opposition that the report by an independent investigator would be suppressed or altered.
The report, by Anna Klonowski, will look into the circumstances surrounding the departure of former social services employee Martin Morton from the authority.
He had attempted to make the council repay money wrongly taken from vulnerable adults in its care, which led to it being rapped by the Audit Commission.
In April, the council issued a full apology to Mr Morton and asked him to consider returning to work. The report was expected by the start of this month and Tory Cllr Jeff Green, who commissioned it when he was leader of the council last year, said he was concerned at the delay.
But today Cllr Anne McArdle, cabinet member for social services, said it would be published once complete, which was likely to be later this month or in early July.
Cllr Green said he had contacted the council’s chief executive "to check if any pressure is being put on to change the report" into what he described as a "shameful episode".
Referring to the outcome of a public inquiry into Wirral’s library closure plans, which were abandoned in 2009 after a government-appointed inspector ruled against them, Cllr Green said: "This is history repeating itself."
That report was kept under wraps – at inspector Sue Charteris’s request – after being sent to the council for fact-checking, with even furious opposition leaders denied access.
Cllr Green added: "I am incredibly concerned at what might be going on."
It is believed the social services report will be even more critical of the council than a previous investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr Morton’s case.
But Labour Cllr McArdle dismissed Cllr Green’s comments, and said no date was set for the report by Ms Klonowski to be completed.
She said: "The inquiry was initiated by the previous administration and we were not part of that decision.
"But we want the report as soon as possible and to publish it.
"We want to see what it says, take its comments on board and then draw a line under it.We want to improve council services, given the strait-jacket imposed by Government funding."