Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Forest of Dean District Council

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The request was successful.

Dear Forest of Dean 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

Forest of Dean District Council

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[1]FOI requests at Forest of Dean District Council

Subject: Freedom of Information request - Total Annual Figures for
Compromise Agreements, etc.

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1. mailto:[Forest of Dean District Council request email]

Linda Williams,

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Linda Williams,

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This Email, and any attachments, may contain Protected or Restricted information and is intended solely for the individual to whom it is addressed. It may contain sensitive or protectively marked material and should be handled accordingly. If this Email has been misdirected, please notify the author immediately. If you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute, copy, print or rely on any of the information contained in it or attached, and all copies must be deleted immediately.

Whilst we take reasonable steps to try to identify any software viruses, any attachments to this Email may nevertheless contain viruses which our anti-virus software has failed to identify. You should therefore carry out your own anti-virus checks before opening any documents. Forest of Dean District Council will not accept any liability for damage caused by computer viruses emanating from any attachment or other document supplied with this e-mail.

All traffic may be subject to recording and / or monitoring in accordance with relevant legislation.

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Dear Linda Williams,

Many thanks for your response and for the time you have devoted to this query.

Please could you refine the figures a little further and exclude COT3 agreements, and also compromise agreements drawn up in the following circumstances and re-advise?

1. Purely redundancy situations
2. Equal pay claims
3. Purely PILON (pay in lieu of notice) situations
4. TUPE situations

Please could you also break down the figures annually, as follows e.g. 2005 - 1; 2006 - 3; 2007 - 1: etc. and re-advise?

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Linda Williams,

1 Attachment

This Email, and any attachments, may contain Protected or Restricted information and is intended solely for the individual to whom it is addressed. It may contain sensitive or protectively marked material and should be handled accordingly. If this Email has been misdirected, please notify the author immediately. If you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute, copy, print or rely on any of the information contained in it or attached, and all copies must be deleted immediately.

Whilst we take reasonable steps to try to identify any software viruses, any attachments to this Email may nevertheless contain viruses which our anti-virus software has failed to identify. You should therefore carry out your own anti-virus checks before opening any documents. Forest of Dean District Council will not accept any liability for damage caused by computer viruses emanating from any attachment or other document supplied with this e-mail.

All traffic may be subject to recording and / or monitoring in accordance with relevant legislation.

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Dear Linda Williams,

Many thanks for your reply,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Forest of Dean District Council were one of the slower respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 31 working days (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