Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

At the following link, the council recently declared a total of 11 compromise agreements issued between January 2011 and February 2013:

http://wirralinittogether.wordpress.com/...

Confusingly, the council has also made the following statement...

"Please note: The Council used a basic compromise agreement for a large scale voluntary redundancy/early voluntary retirement exercise."

Please explain:

1. Was this ONE compromise agreement, applied to the 834 redundancies?

2. If not ONE agreement, was it 834 separate compromise agreements applied to 834 separate redundancies?

3. If not ONE agreement OR 834 separate agreements, was it a number of separate compromise agreements applied to each separate tranche of redundancies?

4. If it WAS 834 separate compromise agreements, please provide the costs to the public of drawing up all of these compromise agreements. (To assist, I believe the average admin cost in such cases is around £250 per agreement, paid to the legal adviser who attends with the signatory in order to satisfy the legal requirements.)

5. If it WAS either one agreement or a number applied to each tranche of redundancies, please provide the costs to the public of drawing up of this / these compromise agreement(s).

I would expect, given the council leader's recent promising announcements regarding a newly-found openness, transparency and indeed an emerging optimism for the future, that you will find the information is likely to have been stored away in such a manner that its retrieval will not present you with too many difficulties.

I look forward to hearing from you in full, within the 20 working day time limit that the FOI Act provides.

This is not a vexatious request,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

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 'Cost of compromise agreements'.

Please ask a senior officer to carry out an internal review of this request and to report back within the time specified within the Act. Please also acknowledge receipt of this request for internal review.

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

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Please respond to my internal review request, which was lodged just over 2 months ago.

You are again in breach of the FOI Act. If a response is not received this week, I will have no alternative but to appeal to the ICO,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon

In response to your request for an Internal Review, please see text below,
which is Council’s response.  Apologies for the delay in responding.

I hope this information is useful to you.

 

Kind Regards

Jane Corrin

Information and Central Services Manager

Information & Central Services

Transformation & Resources Department

Wallasey Town Hall

Brighton Street

Wallasey

Wirral

CH44 8ED 

 

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1. Was this ONE compromise agreement, applied to the 834 redundancies? No

2. If not ONE agreement, was it 834 separate compromise agreements
applied to 834 separate redundancies?

Yes, this was 834 separate compromise agreements for employees who left
the Council under its voluntary severance scheme.

3. If not ONE agreement OR 834 separate agreements, was it a number of
separate compromise agreements applied to each separate tranche of
redundancies? See answer at number 2
4. If it WAS 834 separate compromise agreements, please provide the costs
to the public of drawing up all of these compromise agreements. (To
assist, I believe the average admin cost in such cases is around £250 per
agreement, paid to the legal adviser who attends with the signatory in
order to satisfy the legal requirements.)

 The Council negotiated a specific, reduced rate of £75 per compromise
agreement, with independent legal advisors who provided these services to
employees.  Legal advice was provided in a group session format in vast
majority of cases.

 

5. If it WAS either one agreement or a number applied to each tranche of
redundancies, please provide the costs to the public of drawing up of
this / these compromise agreement(s).

See answer 5

I would expect, given the council leader's recent promising announcements
regarding a newly-found openness, transparency and indeed an emerging
optimism for the future, that you will find the information is likely to
have been stored away in such a manner that its retrieval will not
present you with too many difficulties.

I look forward to hearing from you in full, within the 20 working day
time limit that the FOI Act provides. This is not a vexatious request,
Yours faithfully,
Paul Cardin

 

show quoted sections

Dear Corrin, Jane,

You have not answered Point 5, and specified the ACTUAL COST in this instance of drawing up 834 separate compromise agreements. The total is not necessarily £62,550 i.e. 834 x £75 ...as there may have been some variance in cost according to the individual circumstances.

To state "See Answer 5" is in fact a nonsense - because this WAS point 5.

Please respond with the total as I don't want to be forced by you into appealing to the ICO, which would unnecessarily squander YET MORE public money,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon,
Thank you for your email below, the Council stands by the response it has given you. It is your decision whether or not you wish to contact the ICO over this matter.
Thank you for drawing my attention to "See Answer 5", as this should have read "See Answer 4".

Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information and Central Services Manager
Transformation & Resources Department

show quoted sections

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

No full response to Point 5
= Crucial information withheld
= Appealed to the ICO
= More public money squandered forseeably and avoidably.

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

It's actually Point 4 that needs answering. We're all getting our numbers wrong :))

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

The ICO are starting their appeal deliberations on this one today.

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Here's link to an interesting press article from November 2013 on this issue.

Headline:

"More than 800 redundant Wirral Council staff signed compromise agreements"

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/108294...

The crux of this whole issue is that the council have NEVER revealed the true cost of the 834 compromise agreements that were E V E N T U A L L Y declared.

At first, they weren't even described to a previous requester as "compromise agreements". It seems the council had attempted to conceal this important fact.

Let's hope public oversight gets a look in and the ICO now gets the council to reveal the true costs to the public purse.

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Case number FS50521828

The ICO have been dragging their heels for nearly a WHOLE YEAR on this. It was 'currently being reviewed' in November last year. I sent an email tonight:

FAO DANIEL PERRY

Dear Mr Perry,

What on earth is happening please?

Regards,

Paul Cardin

From: casework@ico.org.uk [mailto:casework@ico.org.uk]
Sent: 03 November 2014 13:16
To: Paul C
Subject: Update - ICO Case FS50522678[Ref. FS50522678]

3 November 2014

Case Reference Number FS50522678

Dear Mr Cardin

Pleased to confirm option 3 - the council has submitted its position for all three cases (FS50521828, FS50522678, and FS50524181), so we are now trying to conclude with formal decisions as a matter of priority.

As you know, '4181 has already had the Commissioner's decision issued. The decision for '1828 is currently being reviewed, and the withheld information for '2678 is now being assessed.

Any submission that you would like to provide for '4181 will be stored on the case file, but it's important to be aware that any appeal against the Commissioner's decision would need to be referred to the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) within 28 days.

Hope the above is helpful.

Yours sincerely

Daniel Perry
Case Officer, Information Commissioner’s Office
Direct Dial: 01625 545 214

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