Non-disclosure agreements signed by ex-members of staff over 10 years

Roedd y cais yn llwyddiannus.

Dear University College London,

I would like to ask for the number of (ex-) employees of UCL in the last 10 years who, at the end of their period of employment, signed any form of non-disclosure agreement at UCL's request.

Yours faithfully,

Nicolas Manrique

Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

If you have submitted a Freedom of Information request please accept this
email as acknowledgement that your request has been received. You should
expect a response from us within 20 working days. 
“You will appreciate that all information requests place some degree of
demand on a public authority’s resources in terms of costs and staff time
and that UCL may need to prioritise resources to other areas, or adapt its
usual approach to information compliance work, in order to meet the
unprecedented challenges we are all facing during the Coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic.

 

Therefore, we need to advise you may experience delays in receiving
responses to information rights requests during the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
pandemic.”

 

For details on how we use your personal information, please see UCL's
general privacy
notice: [1]www.ucl.ac.uk/legal-services/privacy/general-privacy-notice
Data Protection & FOI
Legal Services
UCL

References

Visible links
1. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/legal-services/pri...

Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

Dear Mr Manrique,

 

Apologies for the delay in responding to your request for information.

 

We have completed the compilation of information in response to your
request.

 

We can confirm that we do hold information of the description specified in
your request and this information has been provided below.

 

Your request

 

I would like to ask for the number of (ex-) employees of UCL in the last
10 years who, at the end of their period of employment, signed any form of
non-disclosure agreement at UCL's request.

 

Our response

 

From our preliminary assessment, we estimate that compliance with your
request would exceed the appropriate costs limit under Section 12 of the
Freedom of information Act 2000, which is currently set at £450
(equivalent to 18 hours work) by virtue of the Freedom of Information and
Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.

Section 12(1) states that:

“Section 12(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request
for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with
the request would exceed the appropriate limit.”

The section 12(1) exemption applies because we estimate that to determine
whether we hold the requested information and then to locate, retrieve and
extract it, would take longer than 18 hours to complete.

Section 12 applies to your request in the circumstances because of the
wide temporal scope of your request and the manner in which our records
are held. In order to locate, retrieve and extract the information you
have requested, we would need to manually review all agreements which have
been entered into by employees at the end of their employment in the last
10 years in order to check if these contained a non-disclosure agreement.
We have estimated that this would take in excess of 27 hours. In instances
where it is not clear whether a non-disclosure agreement was signed, we
believe additional time would be needed to cross-reference with
information held in the staff member’s personnel file. This would
therefore take us well over the appropriate limit at which point the
University is no longer obliged to process the request.

 

We could however provide some information to you, if you were able to
reduce the temporal scope of your request to a shorter time period, for
example the 2020 calendar year. Please let me know if I can assist you
further with this.

 

If you are unhappy with our response to your request and wish to make a
complaint or request a review of our decision, please email
[1][email address]. Emails should include the words ‘Internal
Review’ in the subject and be marked For the Attention of the Chief
Operating Officer, alternatively you should write to:

 

Chief Operating Officer

University College London

Gower Street

London

WC1E 6BT

 

Please note, complaints and requests for internal review received more
than two months after the initial decision will not be handled.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you may
apply directly to the Information Commissioner at the address given below.
You should do this within two months of our final decision.

 

If you have any queries or concerns, please contact me using the details
provided in this letter and including the request reference number.

 

Further information on the Freedom of Information Act is available from
the Information Commissioner’s Office:

 

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

SK9 5AF

 

01625 545700

[2]www.ico.org.uk

[3][email address]

 

Kind regards,

 

Mehwish Sultan

Data Protection and Freedom of Information Adviser

University College London

Legal Services

E: [4][email address]; Data Protection: [5][email address];
FOI: [6][UCL request email].

Office phone: +44 (0)203 108 7862 (internal extension: 57862); Mobile: +44
(0)7525285822

 

Working hours: Please note that my current working hours are Monday to
Friday 8am – 4pm.

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.ico.org.uk/
3. mailto:[email address]
4. mailto:[email address]
5. mailto:[email address]
6. mailto:[UCL request email]

Dear Finance.FOI Requests,

Thank you for your response. In light of your suggestion I'd like to request the same information over the calendar years 2019 and 2020 rather than the full 10 years.

Yours sincerely,

Nicolas Manrique

Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

If you have submitted a Freedom of Information request please accept this
email as acknowledgement that your request has been received. You should
expect a response from us within 20 working days. 
“You will appreciate that all information requests place some degree of
demand on a public authority’s resources in terms of costs and staff time
and that UCL may need to prioritise resources to other areas, or adapt its
usual approach to information compliance work, in order to meet the
unprecedented challenges we are all facing during the Coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic.

 

Therefore, we need to advise you may experience delays in receiving
responses to information rights requests during the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
pandemic.”

 

For details on how we use your personal information, please see UCL's
general privacy
notice: [1]www.ucl.ac.uk/legal-services/privacy/general-privacy-notice
Data Protection & FOI
Legal Services
UCL

References

Visible links
1. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/legal-services/pri...

Finance.FOI Requests, University College London

Dear Mr Manrique,

 

Apologies for the delay in responding to your request for information.

 

We have completed the compilation of information in response to your
request.

 

We can confirm that we do hold information of the description specified in
your request and this information where it is not exempt, is provided
below.

 

Original request

 

I would like to ask for the number of (ex-) employees of UCL in the last
10 years who, at the end of their period of employment, signed any form of
non-disclosure agreement at UCL's request.

 

Narrowed scope of request

 

In light of your suggestion I'd like to request the same information over
the calendar years 2019 and 2020 rather than the full 10 years.

 

Our response

 

Some of our employees sign up to settlement agreements (including COT3
agreements) at the end of their employment which include certain types of
NDAs as standard. These concern the following three types of information:

 

1. Business confidentiality (typically repeating and preserving what is
already contained within the employment contract).

2. Circumstances leading up to the settlement agreement or fact of
negotiations and terms of the settlement agreement which is mutual in
effect.

3. Derogatory or disparaging statements which is mutual in effect (parties
agree they will not make derogatory or disparaging statements about each
other).

 

This response includes employees whose employment terminated in 2019 or
2020 and signed settlement agreements up to 3 months prior to the date
their employment terminated or up to 14 days after their employment
terminated.

 

40 employees whose employment terminated in 2019 signed a settlement
agreement. 32 employees whose employment terminated in 2020 signed a
settlement agreement. All of these settlement agreements include NDAs in
relation to the three types of information identified above except as
expressly set out below.

 

For settlement agreements entered into by those 40 employees whose
employment terminated in 2019:

 

o less than 5 did not prevent disclosure of the circumstances leading
up to the settlement agreement; and
o less than 5 did not include NDAs relating to business confidentiality
or circumstances leading up to the settlement agreement.

 

For settlement agreements entered into by those 29 employees whose
employment terminated in 2020:

 

o 13 were entered into as a result of employees applying for Voluntary
Retirement under a time-limited scheme UCL ran for those aged 66 and
over. They did not prevent disclosure of the circumstances leading up
to the settlement agreement.

 

Please note that UCL no longer use confidentiality clauses or “NDAs” in
settlement agreements with individuals who have complained of sexual
misconduct, harassment or bullying as a matter of course.

 

As you can see, exact counts totalling five or less have been withheld
because these are personal data of third parties or, if linked with other
personal identifiers in the public domain, would be likely to become
personal data. This information has been withheld under section 40(2) of 
the FOIA by virtue of s40 (3A)(a).

 

Section 40(2) of the FOIA allows a public authority to withhold
information under the FOIA where (i) the requested information is
personal data relating to someone other than the requester and (ii) its
disclosure would breach any of the data protection principles. In this
case we believe that the requested information could relate to and
identify individuals and would be considered as their personal data. The
disclosure of this personal data would not be within the reasonable
expectations of the individuals concerned and it would be unfair to do so;
this therefore breaches the first data protection principle.

 

It is for these reasons that this information is exempt under section
40(2) of the Act.

 

As the section 40(2) exemption is an absolute one, there is no need to
conduct a public interest test.

 

You are free to use any information supplied for your own use, including
for non-commercial research purposes. The information may also be used for
the purposes of news reporting. However, any other type of re-use, for
example by publishing or issuing copies to the public, will require the
permission of the copyright owner.

 

If you are unhappy with our response to your request and wish to make a
complaint or request a review of our decision, please email
[1][email address]. Emails should include the words ‘Internal
Review’ in the subject and be marked For the Attention of the Chief
Operating Officer, alternatively you should write to:

 

Chief Operating Officer

University College London

Gower Street

London

WC1E 6BT 

 

Please note, complaints and requests for internal review received more
than two months after the initial decision will not be handled.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you may
apply directly to the Information Commissioner at the address given below.
You should do this within two months of our final decision.

 

If you have any queries or concerns, please contact me using the details
provided in this letter and including the request reference number.

 

Further information on the Freedom of Information Act is available from
the Information Commissioner’s Office:

 

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

SK9 5AF

 

01625 545700

[2]www.ico.org.uk

[3][email address]

 

Kind regards,

 

Mehwish Sultan

Data Protection and Freedom of Information Adviser

University College London

Legal Services

E: [4][email address]; Data Protection: [5][email address];
FOI: [6][UCL request email].

Office phone: +44 (0)203 108 7862 (internal extension: 57862); Mobile: +44
(0)7525285822

 

Working hours: Please note that my current working hours are Monday to
Friday 8am – 4pm.

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.ico.org.uk/
3. mailto:[email address]
4. mailto:[email address]
5. mailto:[email address]
6. mailto:[UCL request email]