Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Gravesham 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 Gravesham 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

Customer Services, Gravesham Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

Thank you for your email. This has been passed to our Freedom of Information officer for their attention, and to contact you regarding your request.

If you have further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Yours sincerely,

Customer Services Section
Gravesham Borough Council
Tel: 01474 33 70 00
email: [Gravesham Borough Council request email]
Gravesham - A Place of Choice

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Freedom, Gravesham Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your email of 3 January, received 5 January 2011
requesting information about compromise agreements. For your records the
reference number for your request is FOI1040.

Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days.
This means the closing date for this request is 2 February 2011.

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact
me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely,

Elspeth Marshall
On behalf of Freedom

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PA to Director of Business, Gravesham Borough Council

Dear Mr. Cardin

Thank you for your email of 3 January 2011 where you requested information
about compromise agreements.

From our preliminary assessment, it is clear that we will not be able to
answer your request without further clarification.

We require further information in order to identify and locate the
information you have asked for, in particular you have requested
information `as far as records go back', please provide dates you require
the information to begin and end.

Once you have clarified your request, I will be able to begin to process
your request. If I do not receive clarification within three months your
request will be considered to have lapsed. (Under section 1(3) of the
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a public authority need not comply with
a request unless any further information reasonably required to locate the
information is supplied).

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely,

Gayle Jones

Personal Assistant to Kevin Burbidge

Director (Business)

Gravesham Borough Council

Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent, DA12 1AU.

Tel: 01474 337340

Fax: 01474 337942

email: [1][email address]

web: [2]www.gravesham.gov.uk

Gravesham - a place of choice.

P Please consider the Environment before printing this email

GRAVESHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL

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. Nothing in this email message amounts to a contractual or other legal commitment on the part of Gravesham Borough Council. 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. Gravesham Borough 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 Gravesham Borough Council and GCSx traffic may be subject to recording and / or monitoring in accordance with relevant legislation.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.gravesham.gov.uk/

Dear PA to Director of Business,

Thanks for your quick response.

Please can you amend my request as follows, in order to make it more achievable?

Please exclude compromise agreements drawn up for the following reasons:

1. Redundancy alone
2. TUPE situations
3. COT3 Agreements (Where tribunal proceedings have been initiated)
4. Equal pay agreements

Also, in order to make it easier, please confine your enquiries to between 2005 and 2010 i.e. the last 6 years,

many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

PA to Director of Business, Gravesham Borough Council

Dear Mr. Cardin,

Thank-you for clarifying the details of your request.
Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days.
This means the closing date for this request is 10 February 2011.

Regards,

Gayle Jones
Personal Assistant to Kevin Burbidge
Director (Business)
Gravesham Borough Council
Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent, DA12 1AU.
Tel: 01474 337340
Fax: 01474 337942
email: [email address]
web: www.gravesham.gov.uk

Gravesham - a place of choice.
P Please consider the Environment before printing this email

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Dear PA to Director of Business,

Thank you for your request for clarification.

Please restrict your search to records between 2005 and the year just gone, 2010 i.e. the last six years. Please report in calendar years, not financial years.

In an attempt to clarify further, please exclude any compromise agreements which refer to the following:

1. Equal pay claims
2. COT3 agreements (where tribunal proceedings have been initiated)
3. TUPE situations
4. Purely redundancy situations

many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Button, Lesley, Gravesham Borough Council

Dear Paul

Thank you for your freedom of information enquiry below regarding
compromise agreements and the subsequent clarification which is also
detailed below.

Having looked at the period 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2010 I can
confirm the response nil to both areas which you outlined.

I hope that you will find this response useful to you however if you are
dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to
ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be submitted
within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your
original letter and should be addressed to: Freedom of Information
Officer, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent, DA12 1AU., or
email [email address].

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire,
SK9 5AF.

Best wishes

Lesley Button
Personnel Services Manager
Gravesham Borough Council
Tel: 01474 33 74 19
email:[email address]

Gravesham - a place of choice
Please consider the environment before printing this email

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Gravesham Borough Council were one of the slower respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 26 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