Legal Claims for breach of Public Sector Equality Duty S149 of Equality Act 2010

Waiting for an internal review by Dumfries and Galloway Council of their handling of this request.

Dear Dumfries and Galloway Council,

This is connected to another request which was submitted previously:

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

In your response to this you advised that you had received 6 legal claims in the last 5 years for breach of The Equality Act 2010. Please advise the following concerning this:

1) What was the outcome of each of the 6 claims made to Dumfries and Galloway Council?

2) Were damages, or compensation was awarded to the 6 claimants, and if so, what were the amounts?

3) What steps were taken to ensure Dumfries and Galloway Council complies with The Equality Act 2010 subsequently? Were employees given further training and what did this involve?

Yours faithfully,

Susan Murray

Dumfries and Galloway Council

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) ACT 2002

Thank you for your request for information which was received on 27/07/2020 which we are dealing with in terms of the above legislation. We have given your request the unique reference 5023388 and we would appreciate it if you could quote this on all correspondence to us.

Under the terms of the legislation, we have an obligation to respond to your request within 20 working days from the day after your request was received. We will therefore aim to respond to your request by 24/08/2020.

However, as you will be aware the COVID-19 pandemic is having an effect on Council resources and staffing levels. These are unprecedented and challenging times and we are working across Dumfries and Galloway to respond to the situation as it develops, following official advice. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

If you have any queries in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact [email address].

Kind Regards

FOI Unit
Dumfries and Galloway Council

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Dumfries and Galloway Council

Please find below the Council's response to your request 5023388 which was received on 27/07/2020.

Details of request: This is connected to another request which was submitted previously:

https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlo...

In your response to this you advised that you had received 6 legal claims in the last 5 years for breach of The Equality Act 2010. Please advise the following concerning this:

1) What was the outcome of each of the 6 claims made to Dumfries and Galloway Council?

2) Were damages, or compensation was awarded to the 6 claimants, and if so, what were the amounts?

3) What steps were taken to ensure Dumfries and Galloway Council complies with The Equality Act 2010 subsequently? Were employees given further training and what did this involve?

Response:

1) What was the outcome of each of the 6 claims made to Dumfries and Galloway Council? Three of the claims are ongoing. One claim was settled prior to a full hearing. One was dealt with and settled before formal proceedings were entered. The other one was settled during the hearing process.

2) Were damages, or compensation was awarded to the 6 claimants, and if so, what were the amounts? Three are still ongoing with no payments as still in progress.

On one case, settlement was achieved by providing alternative educational arrangements so no compensation was involved.

In relation to two settled cases, payments were made however, the information is exempt under section 36(2) of FOISA, disclosure of this information would result in an actionable breach of confidence as we received the information in circumstances which imposed an obligation on us to maintain the confidence. For one of these cases a copfs agreement was entered into and confidentiality has to be maintained for the amount. For the other case a legal confidentiality agreement not permitting disclosure of the payment involved being entered into.

3) What steps were taken to ensure Dumfries and Galloway Council complies with The Equality Act 2010 subsequently? Were employees given further training and what did this involve? In the three ongoing cases these will be monitored for lessons learned etc once outcomes established. One settled case did not involve any finding or admission of breach of Protected characteristics but is being looked at to see if lessons can be learned for Council practices. In relation to another case, it was not established that any discrimination had occurred. Therefore, no training was required. In relation to one case some Equalities training was to be provided to staff.

Please be aware that the Council holds the copyright, where applicable, for the information provided and it may be reproduced free of charge in any format or media without requiring specific permission. This is subject to the material not being used in a misleading context. The source of the material must be acknowledged as Dumfries and Galloway Council and the title of the document must be included when being reproduced as part of another publication or service.

If you require any further clarification, please contact us. However, if you are not satisfied with the way in which your request has been dealt with, you can request us to carry out an internal review of the decision by emailing [email address] or writing to us within 40 working days of receiving this response.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the review, you have the right to apply to the Scottish Information Commissioner for a decision. Appeals to the Commissioner can be made online at www.itspublicknowledge.info/Appeal or in writing to: The Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner, Kinburn Castle, Doubledykes Road, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9DS.

Kind Regards

FOI Unit
Dumfries and Galloway Council

This email, from Dumfries and Galloway Council, and any files transmitted with it, is confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.

If you are not the intended recipient of this email (and any attachment) please inform the sender by return email and destroy all copies. If you are not the intended recipient or responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any use, disclosure, review, dissemination, distribution or reproduction of this email is strictly prohibited. Please be aware that communication by internet email is not secure as messages can be intercepted and read by someone else. Dumfries and Galloway Council do not accept liability for any loss or damage which may result from this email or any files attached. It is your responsibility to scan this email and any attachments for computer viruses or other defects.

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Dear Dumfries and Galloway Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Dumfries and Galloway Council's handling of my FOI request 'Legal Claims for breach of Public Sector Equality Duty S149 of Equality Act 2010'.

I refer to your communication of 24 August 2020.

The outright refusal to provide the information is unacceptable. There is a right for people to know how much the council's unlawful conduct has cost the Council Tax payers of Dumfries and Galloway. It is in the public interest for this information to be made available. The request asked for the amounts paid in compensation, or damages. The identities of the people concerned were not requested.

In one case you quote Section 26 (2) FOI Act as grounds for refusal. This does not apply to this case:

https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

In the other two cases that have been settled, you refer to a copfs agreement and Non Disclosure Agreement being in place. It appears that the disclosure only of the amounts paid would not contravene either of these as the identities of the people concerned would not be exposed. In any case, it could be that the council sought the Non Disclosure Agreement to protect itself from scrutiny.

Please provide the information requested on the settled cases.

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

Yours faithfully,

Susan Murray

Dumfries and Galloway Council

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (SCOTLAND) ACT 2002

Thank you for your request for a formal review which was received on 03/09/2020 and is being dealt with. We will respond within 20 working days from the day after the request was received. A response to your request will be sent promptly, and in any event not later than 01/10/2020.

If you have any queries in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact [email address].

This email, from Dumfries and Galloway Council, and any files transmitted with it, is confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.

If you are not the intended recipient of this email (and any attachment) please inform the sender by return email and destroy all copies. If you are not the intended recipient or responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any use, disclosure, review, dissemination, distribution or reproduction of this email is strictly prohibited. Please be aware that communication by internet email is not secure as messages can be intercepted and read by someone else. Dumfries and Galloway Council do not accept liability for any loss or damage which may result from this email or any files attached. It is your responsibility to scan this email and any attachments for computer viruses or other defects.

Any email including its content may be monitored and used by the Council for reasons of security and form monitoring internal compliance with the policy on staff use. Email monitoring or blocking software may also be used.

Any email message sent or received by the Council may require to be disclosed by the Council under the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. For further information and to view the Council’s privacy statement please go to https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/privacy

Dear Dumfries and Galloway Council,

It appears you need to be reminded of the request for Internal Review made to you on 3 September 2020. This was acknowledged on 7 September 2020. In your acknowledgement you stated you would respond promptly and within 20 working days. This would be received no later than 1 October 2020.

It is now 8 October 2020 and there has been silence from you. Please remedy this without further delay.

Yours faithfully,

Susan Murray

Dear Dumfries and Galloway Council,

It appears to be the norm to need to remind you once again that you have failed to respond to a request for Internal Review which was made on 3 September 2020. A reminder was sent to you on 8 October 2020.

It is clear that the original response from you to this request contained false information. You were asked to rectify this but have deliberately failed to do so. Dumfries and Galloway Council has a poor record of compliance with the FOI Act. It prefers to lie, deny and cover up the truth.

The details should be provided without further delay.

Yours faithfully,

Susan Murray