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MP intervenes in council whistleblowers row

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An MP has intervened in a long-running row over compensation for a group of council whistleblowers.

Frank Field, Labour MP for Birkenhead, last week met Wirral MBC chief executive Graham Burgess to press for a payment to the whistleblowers who raised concerns about the award of a highways contract.

The dispute concerned the award of a contract to highway maintenance firm Colas.

This process was criticised by an audit investigation after which some officers were suspended, though director of technical services David Green was cleared by a further investigation.

In a Liverpool Echo article reproduced by the MP on his website, Mr Field said Wirral owed the whistleblowers a considerable debt yet they gained no compensation for “the damage, or potential damage” to their careers.

He contrasted their plight with the case of a senior council officer who, it was claimed in a council meeting last year, received a £48,000 payout after allegations of bullying.

According to Mr Field, the whistleblowers were told by the council in 2012 to employ lawyers to obtain compensation but had “nearly bankrupted themselves in the process with mounting legal fees and with no compensation package being offered”.

Mr Burgess told LGC: “Mr Field has said the meeting was positive and I have said it was constructive and I think things have moved on somewhat, but we’re not going to say anything further until we have something to say.”

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