Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Eden District Council

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 successful.

Dear Eden District Council,

Please supply totals for the following:

As far as records go back, the annual figures for the total number of current employees / ex-employees of the 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 the 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

foi, Eden District Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Freedom of Information request relating to Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements

Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 received on 4 January 2011. I have registered your request under reference number FOI 833. I would be grateful if you would please use this reference on any future correspondence.

Your request has been forwarded to the relevant department within the Council for consideration.

The request is subject to any exemption which the Authority is entitled to apply to refuse the request, some of which are absolute and some of which only apply where the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs that in disclosing the information.

Once the information has been identified the Authority may also ask that a fee be paid for processing and delivering the information to you. Details of any fee to be charged will be notified to you as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely


P G Foote
Director of Corporate and Legal Services

show quoted sections

Paul Foote, Eden District Council

Dear Mr. Cardin,

In response to your request for information I can advise you:

As far as records go back, the annual figures for the total number

of current employees / ex-employees of the Council who have signed

compromise agreements directly related to the resolving of

dispute(s) / grievance(s) / internal and external investigation(s)

/ whistleblowing incident(s). None.

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 the 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. None.

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.

P G Foote

Director of Corporate and Legal Services

Eden District Council

Town Hall

Penrith

Cumbria CA11 7QF

Tel: 01768 212205

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Dear Paul Foote,

Thank you very much for your time,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Eden District Council were one of the quickest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking only 9 days to respond positively and in full.

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 general redundancy or equal pay claims. Some councils have yet to answer this query - although to date, 65 working days have elapsed.

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Here’s a piece of legal opinion from Senior Counsel Hugh Tomlinson QC, which appears to make more likely the prospect of public sector employers opting for Freedom of Information and Data Protection “gagging clauses” within compromise agreements; and thereby aiming to remove persons’ statutory rights to make data and information requests.

It has been an effective reputation management tactic, and a way of concealing the historical malpractice engaged in by employers when targetting whistleblowers or getting rid of people who’ve lodged grievances. The ruse has been deployed in the past by two councils; Cheshire West & Chester, and Brent.

The ICO are powerless to prevent it as the HT opinion implies that contract law takes precedence over a person’s statutory rights – which it appears can be surrendered. The ICO could only act if the recipient of any “ban” were to breach it and make an FoI or DP request of the relevant data controller – which is unlikely to occur because there’s always a “club over the head” of the signatory to the compromise agreement i.e. the threat of any monetary pay off being clawed back through the courts.

http://tinyurl.com/bu9vynx