Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Fareham Borough 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 Fareham Borough 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, Fareham Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

I write to acknowledge receipt of your online freedom of information
request regarding employees/ex-employees and signing of compromise
agreements.

I would advise you that this request is currently being investigated and
I will endeavour to provide you with a full response within 20 working
days from the date of your request .

If I am unable to do so, I will contact you again to advise of a date
when I will be able to provide you with the information requested, or
the reason why I am unable to provide it.

Kind regards

Karen Thorne
Business Support Officer
Fareham Borough Council
01329 824582
www.fareham.gov.uk

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FOI, Fareham Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

With reference to your freedom of information request, I would advise
you that this matter is still being investigated. A reply will be
forwarded to you in due course.

Kind regards

Karen Thorne
Business Support Officer
Fareham Borough Council

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Dear FOI,

Thanks very much for your update and for the time you are devoting to this query,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

FOI, Fareham Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin, The answer to your questions are as follows:

Q1. 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).

A1
Year No of current employees No of
former employees

2003/4 Nil
1
2004/5 Nil
1
2205/6 Nil
Nil
2006/7 Nil
3
2007/8 Nil
2
2008/9 Nil
1
2009/10 Nil
Nil
2010/11 Nil
3

Q2. 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.
A2 None

I trust this answers your request for information.

Barbara McGrath
Information and Projects Officer
Fareham Borough Council
www.fareham.gov.uk
01329 824529

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Fareham Borough Council were one of the slower respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 21 working days (just over the statutory period) 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 - and 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