Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Blackpool Borough Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Gwrthodwyd y cais gan Blackpool Borough Council.

Dear Blackpool Borough Council,

Please supply totals for the following:

Since the inception of Blackpool Borough Council, or as far as records go back, the annual figures for the total number of current employees or ex-employees of Blackpool Borough Council who have signed compromise agreements directly related to the resolving of dispute(s) / grievance(s) / internal and external investigation(s)/ whistleblowing incident(s).

In addition to this, annual figures for the number of current employees / ex-employees who have agreed, following the matter being raised and made conditional as part of a compromise agreement drawn up by the body acting as Blackpool Borough Council's legal team, to forgo their right to approach the council in the future with Freedom of Information and/or DPA Subject Access requests under the relevant Acts.

Please note that I do not seek or require any personal information such as names and addresses – only the total figures for each subject area.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Customer First, Blackpool Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your email dated... 2nd january 2011

So that we can deal with your enquiry, your email has been sent to our
Freedom of Information Champion at Human Resources

This person will now deal with your enquiry.

If you have any further queries, please contact Customer First by:-

Email [Blackpool Borough Council request email]
Telephone 01253 477477
Facsimile 01253 478808
Web site www.blackpool.gov.uk

Or visit the Customer First Centre on Corporation Street Blackpool FY1
1NA.

We are open:-
Monday to Friday 8am to 5:30pm for Face to Face enquiries
Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm for telephone enquiries on 01253 477477.
Saturdays 9am to 2pm for Face to Face and Telephone enquiries

Please note our busiest times are Mondays and Fridays and over lunchtime
(12pm to 2pm).

Kind Regards,

Customer First
Blackpool Council, Municipal Buildings

* Email: [Blackpool Borough Council request email]
( Phone: 01253 477477
& Fax: ) 01253 478808
[ Web: www.blackpool.gov.uk

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Debbie Botham, Blackpool Borough Council

1 Atodiad

Dear Paul

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

I am writing to confirm that we have now completed our search for the
information you requested on 02.01.11.

A table is attached showing the number of Agreements year by year and the
total cost in respect of Schools based employees. We do not have data on
the subject area.

With regard to other employees, there have been a total of 12 compromise
agreements since 2006 but we do not have details of the total amount paid
out or the years in which the payments were made.

If you have a complaint about the handling of your request you may ask for
an internal review and you should submit this in writing to: Council
Complaint, Blackpool Council, PO Box 50, Town Hall, Blackpool, FY1 1NA.

If you are not happy with the outcome of the review, you have the right to
apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. You can
contact the Information Commissioner at: Information Commissioner's
Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF,
(www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk).

If you have any queries about this letter you can contact me, or write to:
FOI, Town Hall, Blackpool, FY1 1NA, or email us at
[Blackpool Borough Council request email]. Please remember to quote your reference
number when you contact us.

Yours sincerely

Debbie Botham
Human Resources Systems and Information Officer
Human Resources and Organisation Development
Chief Executive's Directorate

Tel. 01253 47 7242
Fax. 01253 47 7201
Email. [email address]

Blackpool Council | Human Resources and Organisation Development |
Progress House | Clifton Road | Blackpool | FY4 4US

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Debbie Botham,

Thanks very much for your response. I appreciate the time and effort you have devoted to this query.

This request is identical to one which has been sent to ALL
English councils. So far, I have had 153 (one hundred and fifty
three) full and detailed positive responses.

I am currently involved in research in this area and felt that your figures looked a little 'on the large side'. In order to make your task more manageable, and to make the results as accurate as possible, can I ask you to make the following reductions in scope?

Please can you exclude compromise agreements drawn up in the
following circumstances:

1. Purely redundancy situations
2. Purely PILON (payment in lieu of notice) situations
3. Equal pay claims
4. TUPE situations
5. COT3 agreements (where tribunal proceedings may or may not have
been initiated)

Also, to assist you further, can you narrow the time period down to between the years 2005 to 2010 i.e. the last six years.

I imagine that other councils may be taking a different approach to searching for the information.

Can I suggest that you query your Accounts Department? I ask this
because when employees leave in the circumstances I am describing,
they are offered a financial incentive to end their working
contracts. Your Accounts department is required to keep a detailed
electronic record of all such payments. As they should be keeping
an adequate data storage / retrieval system, it will not be too
arduous a task for them to provide Annual total figures for
compromise agreements drawn up in these circumstances.

You could also put in a call to your Legal Department who may keep a similar searchable database.

I hope the above information assists you and look forward to your response,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Debbie Botham, Blackpool Borough Council

Dear Paul

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

I am writing to inform you that your further request for information
will not be processed. This is because it is our view that the cost of
locating and retrieving the information exceeds the 'appropriate limit'
as stated in the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit)
Regulations 2004. In accordance with the Act this letter acts as a
Refusal Notice.

I will explain how we have determined this view.

Blackpool Council is obliged to disclose how many staff have had their
contracts terminated in any particular financial year in the associated
statement of accounts. This is a new requirement for 2010/11 and we do
not hold detailed historical data on this topic in our general ledger
records.

To determine the detail you requested would require us to manually
search all relevant HR records and based on the numbers already provided
to you, and the time period you requested, we estimate that this will
take considerably longer than 18 hours (as determined within the above
Regulations).

As you will appreciate, each public authority will have varying
approaches to creating and storing this type of information which will
all comply with legal obligations. At Blackpool Council, this detailed
information is only held manually at this time which is why the manual
search would be required.

If you have a complaint about the handling of your request you may ask
for an internal review and you should submit this in writing to: Council
Complaint, Blackpool Council, PO Box 50, Town Hall, Blackpool, FY1 1NA.

If you are not happy with the outcome of the review, you have the right
to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. You
can contact the Information Commissioner at: Information Commissioner's
Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF,
(www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk).

If you have any queries about this letter you can contact me, or write
to: FOI, Town Hall, Blackpool, FY1 1NA, or email us at
[Blackpool Borough Council request email]. Please quote your reference number
when you contact us.

Yours sincerely

Debbie Botham
Human Resources Systems and Information Officer Human Resources and
Organisation Development
Chief Executive's Directorate
Tel. 01253 47 7242
Fax. 01253 47 7201
Email. [email address]

Blackpool Council | Human Resources and Organisation Development |
Progress House | Clifton Road | Blackpool | FY4 4US

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Blackpool Borough Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Blackpool Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.'.

Please take into account all the information I have submitted to date. To give you a picture of the wider context here, this request has been made to ALL English Councils above a certain size. To date, since 1st January 2011, 238 (two hundred and thirty eight) councils have responded positively and in full. We have had eleven years of FOI and I would have hoped that your council would have been spending these years working towards an effective data storage / retrieval system that works with the public interest in mind. You have not advised me of any plans to do so and appear to be happy to continue maintaining an unresponsive system.

It is not right that the public suffers and obstacles are placed in the way of their information because you are persevering with the upkeep of a cumbersome data storage system. Particularly in light of the positive response received from hundreds of your LGA colleagues.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/to...

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Customer First, Blackpool Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your email which we received 25th February 2011

So that we can deal with your enquiry, your email has been sent to: -

Department: Freedom Of Information Officer
Telephone Number: 01253 477477

This Department will now deal with your enquiry.

If you have any further queries, please contact Customer First by:-

Email [Blackpool Borough Council request email]
Telephone 01253 477477
Facsimile 01253 478808
Web site www.blackpool.gov.uk

Or visit the Customer First Centre on Corporation Street Blackpool FY1
1NA.

We are open:-
Monday to Friday 8am to 5:30pm for Face to Face enquiries
Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm for telephone enquiries on 01253 477477.
Saturdays 9am to 2pm for Face to Face and Telephone enquiries

Please note our busiest times are Mondays and Fridays and over lunchtime
(12pm to 2pm).
Regards, Customer First .
Customer First, Blackpool Council
* Email: [Blackpool Borough Council request email]
* Phone: 01253 477477
* Fax: 01253 478808
* Web: www.blackpool.gov.uk

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Customer First,

Hi. Do you have any further news on this internal review, requested a month ago?

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Dear Blackpool Borough Council,

Hi. Any news on the internal review please. The request was made on 2nd January, and we are now into April,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Customer First, Blackpool Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

Thank you for your email dated 06/04/2011.

So that we can deal with your enquiry, your email has been sent to the
relevant Freedom of Information Officer.

This Officer will now deal with your enquiry.

If you have any further queries, please contact Customer First by:-

Email [Blackpool Borough Council request email]
Telephone 01253 477477
Facsimile 01253 478808
Web site www.blackpool.gov.uk

Or visit the Customer First Centre on Corporation Street Blackpool FY1
1NA.

We are open for Face to Face and Telephone enquiries:-

Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5:15pm

Saturdays 10am to 1pm

Please note our busiest times are Mondays and Fridays and over lunchtime
(12pm to 2pm).

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Customer First,

I'm afraid your response is very unhelpful. I requested the internal review in February. It's now April and we are apparently no further forward.

I appreciate that there are internal and external pressures for ALL councils, however you appear to have been 'sitting on your hands' and not acting upon the request.

Action is way overdue, but I'd be very grateful if you could conduct the review as soon as possible,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Debbie Topping, Blackpool Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

Your correspondence has been forwarded to me for a review under
the Freedom of Information Act (FOI Act). I would like to
apologise on behalf of the Council for the delay in responding to
you.

In accordance with s.50 of the FOI Act, I have considered your
appeal against the Refusal Notice issued in relation to provision
of information.

My decision is that your appeal is unsuccessful. My reasons for
this decision are outlined below.

You have been provided with figures relating to schools data.

You have been informed that Blackpool Council does not hold the
information you requested in a format that can be retrieved within
the time limits defined with the Freedom of Information (Fees and
Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004.

I am satisfied that all efforts were made to search a range of
electronic systems and records to determine if the information
requested could be located, retrieved and collated within a
reasonable timescale. I have considered the electronic systems
that we use for HR, Payroll and financial matters, and the
information held within these. I have established that we do not
hold the information as requested within these systems and that a
manual search of individual's records, and a data matching
exercise across a number of systems would be required.

I have reviewed the process undertaken by the officers who dealt
with the original responses and have determined that they have
followed the Council's process when calculating the time it would
take to undertake a manual task. This manual task would exceed
the appropriate limit defined within the regulations.

We acknowledge that organisations are obliged to hold data to
fulfil its legislative duties, however, the relevant legislation
does not require all organisations to operate one system only, and
therefore, the systems in use at Blackpool Council may not be the
same as those in use elsewhere. The systems in place at Blackpool
Council fulfil the purpose and requirements of holding such data.

If you are dissatisfied with this decision you may request the Information
Commissioner to investigate. The contact details are: Information
Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9
5AF, telephone 01625-545700, [1]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.

Yours sincerely

D Topping MBA

ICT Services

[2]http://www.blackpool.gov.uk/EmailDisclai...
This message has been scanned for inappropriate or malicious content as
part of the Council's e-mail and Internet policies.

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References

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Gadawodd Paul Cardin anodiad ()

Blackpool Borough Council went to internal review, before deciding against supplying the information.

Please link here to read about the further aspects of this request:

www.easyvirtualassistance.co.uk/page4.html

...including councils who have attempted to prevent individuals from exercising their statutory FOI / DP querying rights.

There is a growing trend for the use of compromise agreements, not just in the area of disputes or whistleblowing, but also in less controversial areas of redundancy, severance or equal pay claims. Some councils have yet to answer this query - and to date, 84 working days have elapsed.