Liverpool council staff scared to speak out due to culture of bullying and intimidation

Liverpool Town Hall
Max Caller's report accused Liverpool council of having a culture of bullying, intimidation, dubious deals and jobs for the boys. Credit: ITV Granada

The Inspector who wrote a damning report into Liverpool city council says many staff would only talk to him anonymously because they feared for their safety.

Max Caller delivered his report in March, in which he accused the council of having a culture of bullying, intimidation, dubious deals and jobs for the boys.

In the report, Liverpool City Council was described as a dysfunctional organisation, rife with mismanagement and resistance to scrutiny.

Council staff were afraid for their safety should they be seen to be speaking to Mr Caller so they would meet on street corners or talk via Zoom.

The report was commissioned after five men were arrested on suspicion of fraud, bribery, witness intimidation and misconduct in public office.

One of them included Mayor Joe Anderson, who has since stepped down.

All five deny the allegations.  

Joe Anderson

Inspector highlighted key failings:

  • Failure of due process across planning and regeneration

  • A "worrying lack of record keeping". 

  • Documents created retrospectively, discarded in skips.

  • Evidence of "awarding of dubious contracts"

  • A lack of scrutiny and oversight across highways

  • Dysfunctional management practices & no coherent business plan

  • A failure of proper process relating to property management - and failure to value land and assets

  • An overall environment of intimidation

In response to the report, the council's chief executive stressed that most council officers are blameless.

The council is expected to send their formal response to the Caller report to the government before the end of the month, 

That response, as well as a plan for making improvements to how the city is run, will be agreed at a full council meeting next week.

Video report by Tim Scott


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