Compromise Agreements and Employment Tribunal Defence Costs

Glynn Freeman made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education

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

The request was partially successful.

Dear Department for Education,

Please can you provide figures for the following for the past 5 years (which includes the predecessor departments from which the DfE was formed in the last Machinery of Government Changes):

1. The total costs paid by the Department for legal defence against claims made by employees/former employees in the Employment Tribunal, broken down by year, irrespective of whether those claims were settled prio to a hearing or not;

2. The average cost of each case;

3. The sum of the highest defence cost

4. The number of "Compromise Agreements" (i.e. agreements to provide a compensatory sum of money to a claimant in either the Employment Tribunal or another court in return for the case to be withdrawn and for a binding agreement on either side to be agreed) that the Department has signed over the past 5 years, broken down by year;

5. The total sum of money committed to those Compromise Agreements;

6. The average sum of compensation paid over 5 years in return for signing those Compromise Agreements;

7. The amount of the largest sum paid over the 5 year period in return for agreeing a Compromise Agreement;

8. The total sum paid in compensation as ordered by a court or tribunal to employees/former employees where the Department has lost a case that it has defended;

9. The amount of the highest sum and the average sum of compensation awarded against the Department in any court or tribunal where it has lost a case brought by an employee/former employee over the past 5 years, broken down by year.

Yours faithfully,

Glynn Freeman

Department for Education

Dear Mr Freeman

Thank you for your recent email. A reply will be sent to you as soon as
possible. For information, the departmental standard for correspondence
received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you
are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2011/0017722

Thank you.

Central Allocation Team

Public Communications Team

Tel: 0370 0002288
www.education.gov.uk

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Dear Department for Education,

You would wish to be aware that the deadline for responding to this request expires today. I should be grateful if you would expedite your response.

Yours faithfully,

Glynn Freeman

Glynn Freeman left an annotation ()

As the response was due today and has not been forthcoming I am going to request an internal review to ensure that there is some pressure on the Department to provide the details.

Dear Department for Education,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Education's handling of my FOI request 'Compromise Agreements and Employment Tribunal Defence Costs'.

A response was due today (25th March) under the terms of the FOIA. As there has been no holding response to explain why more time is required I can only assume that the Department is frustrating attempts for this information to be put in the public domain. I should therefore be grateful if this were to be reviewed.

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

Yours faithfully,

Glynn Freeman

Department for Education

Dear Mr Freeman,
Thank you for your request for information received on 24 February 2011.
The Department for Education (DfE) was established on 12 May 2010. The
information in your request also covers DfE's predecessors, the Department
for Children, Schools and Families and Department for Education and
Skills.

In your request, you asked for the following information:

1. The total costs paid by the Department for legal defence against claims
made by employees/former employees in the Employment Tribunal, broken down
by year, irrespective of whether those claims were settled prior to a
hearing or not;

2. The average cost of each case;

3. The sum of the highest defence cost;

4. The number of "Compromise Agreements" (i.e. agreements to provide a
compensatory sum of money to a claimant in either the Employment Tribunal
or another court in return for the case to be withdrawn and for a binding
agreement on either side to be agreed) that the Department has signed over
the past 5 years, broken down by year;

5. The total sum of money committed to those Compromise Agreements;

6. The average sum of compensation paid over 5 years in return for signing
those Compromise Agreements;

7. The amount of the largest sum paid over the 5 year period in return
for agreeing a Compromise Agreement;

8. The total sum paid in compensation as ordered by a court or tribunal
to employees/former employees where the Department has lost a case
that it has defended;

9. The amount of the highest sum and the average sum of compensation
awarded against the Department in any court or tribunal where it has
lost a case brought by an employee/former employee over the past 5
years, broken down by year.

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Information for parts 1 and 2 of your request is provided in the in the
table below:

2009/10 2008/09 2007/08 2006/07
Total Costs -L-243,865 -L-140,387 -L-122,335 -L-444,289
Average Cost -L-11,085 -L-7,019 -L-30,584 -L-31,735

Information on Department's detailed legal costs is held and owned by the
Treasury Solicitor's Department (TSol). However, the Department has
previously received information from TSol regarding the Department's legal
costs and this has been used to provide the information in the table
above. The information held by the Department is up to May 2010.

For part 3 of your request, I can confirm the sum of the highest defence
cost in an individual case is -L-178,256. Again, this does not include
figures from 2010/11 for the reason given above.

For parts 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of your request, the Department is unable to
give the information requested as this information is not held centrally
and for the Department to locate, retrieve and extract this information in
order to provide a response to this part of your request, it would exceed
the cost threshold under Section 12 of the Act.

Section 12 of the Act provides that public authorities such as the
Department are not obliged 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 "appropriate limit" has been set by
legislation as a cost threshold of -L-600 and represents the estimated
cost of one person spending 3 1/2 working days locating, retrieving and
extracting the information.

We have considered ways in which your request might be narrowed or
limited in order to reduce the cost of complying with it. However, due to
the way in which the information is now held in the Department -
information is held locally and not centrally - we do not consider that
the Department would be able to provide the information you have requested
without exceeding the cost limit.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me using the
reference number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should
make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar
months of the date of this letter. Your complaint will be considered by
an independent review panel, who were not involved in the original
consideration of your request.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner's Office.

Yours sincerely,

Colman Ambrose
People and Change Group
[email address]
[1]www.education.gov.uk

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2011/0017722.

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.education.gov.uk/

Department for Education

Dear Mr Freeman,
Thank you for your request for information received on 24 February 2011.
The Department for Education (DfE) was established on 12 May 2010. The
information in your request also covers DfE's predecessors, the Department
for Children, Schools and Families and Department for Education and
Skills.

In your request, you asked for the following information:

1. The total costs paid by the Department for legal defence against claims
made by employees/former employees in the Employment Tribunal, broken down
by year, irrespective of whether those claims were settled prior to a
hearing or not;

2. The average cost of each case;

3. The sum of the highest defence cost;

4. The number of "Compromise Agreements" (i.e. agreements to provide a
compensatory sum of money to a claimant in either the Employment Tribunal
or another court in return for the case to be withdrawn and for a binding
agreement on either side to be agreed) that the Department has signed over
the past 5 years, broken down by year;

5. The total sum of money committed to those Compromise Agreements;

6. The average sum of compensation paid over 5 years in return for signing
those Compromise Agreements;

7. The amount of the largest sum paid over the 5 year period in return
for agreeing a Compromise Agreement;

8. The total sum paid in compensation as ordered by a court or tribunal
to employees/former employees where the Department has lost a case
that it has defended;

9. The amount of the highest sum and the average sum of compensation
awarded against the Department in any court or tribunal where it has lost
a case brought by an employee/former employee over the past 5 years,
broken down by year.

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Information for parts 1 and 2 of your request is provided in the in the
table below:

2009/10 2008/09 2007/08 2006/07
Total Costs -L-243,865 -L-140,387 -L-122,335 -L-444,289
Average Cost -L-11,085 -L-7,019 -L-30,584 -L-31,735

Information on Department's detailed legal costs is held and owned by the
Treasury Solicitor's Department (TSol). However, the Department has
previously received information from TSol regarding the Department's legal
costs and this has been used to provide the information in the table
above. The information held by the Department is up to May 2010.

For part 3 of your request, I can confirm the sum of the highest defence
cost in an individual case is -L-178,256. Again, this does not include
figures from 2010/11 for the reason given above.

For parts 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of your request, the Department is unable to
give the information requested as this information is not held centrally
and for the Department to locate, retrieve and extract this information in
order to provide a response to this part of your request, it would exceed
the cost threshold under Section 12 of the Act.

Section 12 of the Act provides that public authorities such as the
Department are not obliged 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 "appropriate limit" has been set by
legislation as a cost threshold of -L-600 and represents the estimated
cost of one person spending 3 1/2 working days locating, retrieving and
extracting the information.

We have considered ways in which your request might be narrowed or
limited in order to reduce the cost of complying with it. However, due to
the way in which the information is now held in the Department -
information is held locally and not centrally - we do not consider that
the Department would be able to provide the information you have requested
without exceeding the cost limit.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me using the
reference number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should
make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar
months of the date of this letter. Your complaint will be considered by
an independent review panel, who were not involved in the original
consideration of your request.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner's Office.
Yours sincerely,

Colman Ambrose
People and Change Group
[email address]
[1]www.education.gov.uk

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2011/0017722.

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.education.gov.uk/