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Compromise agreements / gagging clauses used between January 2011 and December 2013

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Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Preferably in table form using rows and columns, and broken down by month, please supply a full list of totals of compromise agreements drawn up and issued between the period January 2011 to December 2013 inclusive. Alongside each monthly total for compromise agreements, please indicate the total number of gagging clauses that were used.

As you are aware, a gagging clause, if it does appear, will have been used inside its own respective compromise agreement. As you are also aware, 'compromise agreements' are now known as 'settlement agreements',

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Paul Cardin

 

Thank you for your recent request made under the Freedom of Information
Act, please find attached the Council's response to your enquiry.

 

We trust that you find this information of assistance.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Tracy O'Hare

Information Management Officer

Business Management

Treasury Building

Argyle Street

Birkenhead

Wirral

CH41 1AH

Tel:0151 691 8397

[1][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

 

 

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.   You are free
to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

On updating the status of the request there wasn't an option to to say "they lied", so I ticked "I'm still waiting for the information".

We will be reporting Wirral Council's response to the ICO as a criminal breach of Section 77 of the Act.

More details here...

https://wirralinittogether.blog/2018/09/...

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Compromise agreements / gagging clauses used between January 2011 and December 2013'.

I requested information for the purposes of checking and clarifying. It became clear upon checking the table of information provided that some of the information contained therein was incorrect . The apparent dishonesty involved became compounded when I discovered that a previously lodged request for identical information had been answered in the same apparently dishonest fashion.

May I stress that I feel myself and the wider public would otherwise be entitled to the missing information?

Relevant website links:

August 2018 FOI request (this one):

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

August 2013 FOI request:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

September 2018 blog post:

https://wirralinittogether.blog/2018/09/...

November 2013 blog post:

https://wirralinittogether.blog/2013/11/...

Best regards,

Paul Cardin

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

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin,

Further to your request for information regarding settlement agreements,
we note that your request includes a request for details of agreements
which contain “gagging clauses.” 

There is no clear legal definition of a “gagging clause”, but our
understanding of a “gagging clause” is a term which requires the employee
not make an adverse or derogatory comment about the Council or do anything
to bring the Council into disrepute (albeit that this should not affect
the employee’s right to make a protected disclosure).

We should be grateful if you could please confirm whether this is your
understanding of a “gagging clause.”  If not, then can you please confirm
how you would define a “gagging clause” so that we can then review your
request in light of your definition.

Yours sincerely

 

 

Lynette Paterson

Principal Information Management Officer

Business Management

 

Treasury Building

Argyle Street
Birkenhead
Wirral
CH41 1AH

 

[1]Tel: 0151 691 8201

[2][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

 

[3]LGC Awards15_Winner_MIP

 

 

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.   You are free
to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge

 

 

 

 

 

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended
solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.
If you have received this email in error please notify the system manager.

References

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1. file:///tmp/tel:0151
2. mailto:[Wirral Borough Council request email]

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

In accordance with the FOI Act, I don't believe MY understanding of what a gagging clause is will have any bearing on your response as data controller.

As a lay member of the public with regards to the law I therefore ask you to respond in line with your understanding of what a gagging clause is,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

This FOI request was lodged in good faith on 3rd August 2018 and I have yet to receive any substantive response. Despite requesting an internal review almost a month ago, the lack of any substantive response continues.

This is a potential Section 77 issue.

You will soon be in breach of the FOI Act and if there is no response before Friday 2nd November 2018 (when you will be out of time), I will be forced to turn to the Information Commissioner and seek her assistance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin,

Further to your request for an internal review dated 1st October 2018 and subsequent related emails, I confirm that the matter was referred to myself to conduct a review of the information provided to you on 3rd September 2018.

The review has resulted in finding that there was a further settlement agreement made between the Council and a former employee which included a non-disclosure agreement or "gagging clause" (as per our understanding of a non-disclosure agreement which we outlined to you in an email dated 19th October 2018).

A revised schedule of information is attached which indicates when settlement agreements were entered into and those which have contained non-disclosure agreements in relation to the period referred to in your request.

It is my view that Wirral Council has now discharged its obligations under the FOIA with respect to your initial query. There is nothing more that falls to be disclosed. Should you remain dissatisfied with our response then you will need to raise the matter with the Information Commissioners Office. Details of how to do this can be found on their website: https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/

Yours sincerely

Peter Jewell
Senior Solicitor (Employment)

Governance & Assurance
Business Management
T: 0151 691 8105
E: [email address]
W: www.wirral.gov.uk & www.wirralview.com

Wirral Borough Council, Business Management, Governance & Assurance, Town Hall, Brighton Street, Wallasey, Wirral CH44 8ED DX 708360 Seacombe

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the system manager.

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

It is my view that you have not yet discharged your obligations and some rather sloppy behaviour has crept in, i.e. within the enclosed table, the totals figure for compromise (settlement) agreements remains the same, belying your statement regarding "a further settlement agreement".

As a result of this failure to respond correctly, I have some further questions which are directly related to this and which are aimed at achieving a measure of clarity.

Please respond and confirm which of the following statements are true:

A compromise agreement was issued in August 2013
A compromise agreement was not issued in August 2013
A compromise agreement was issued in December 2013
A compromise agreement was not issued in December 2013

Please respond quickly as you are already in breach of the FOI Act. Any additional delay experienced now will force my hand and having exhausted your process, I will have no option but to defer to the Information Commissioner,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Cardin,

 

Thank you for your email of 8^th November 2018.  It is noted that the
schedule which was sent to you was not correct.  This has been amended and
the amended schedule is attached.  This does not affect the information
given to you as to the number of agreements which contain “gagging
clauses” or “non-disclosure agreements” (as per our understanding of a
non-disclosure agreement which we outlined to you in an email dated 19th
October 2018).

 

As a further point of clarification, the term “confidentiality clause”
which is used in third column of the schedule refers to a “gagging clause”
or “non-disclosure agreement” (as per our understanding of a
non-disclosure agreement which we outlined to you in an email dated 19th
October 2018).

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Peter Jewell

Senior Solicitor (Employment)

 

Governance & Assurance

Business Management

T: 0151 691 8105

E: [1][email address]

W: [2]www.wirral.gov.uk & [3]www.wirralview.com

 

Wirral Borough Council, Business Management, Governance & Assurance,

Town Hall, Brighton Street, Wallasey, Wirral CH44 8ED

DX 708360 Seacombe

 

[4]cid:image001.png@01D05DA4.17982110

   ‘Most Improved Council’

 

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended
solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.
If you have received this email in error please notify the system manager.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.wirral.gov.uk/
3. http://www.wirralview.com/

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