Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Great Yarmouth 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 Great Yarmouth 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

Freedom of Information, Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Mr Cardin

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

I acknowledge your request for information received on 4 January 2011

Your request is being considered and you will receive the information
requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined
by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, subject to the information not
being exempt or containing a reference to a third party.

For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions which may
prevent release of the information you have requested. There will be an
assessment and if any of the exemption categories apply then the
information will not be released. You will be informed if this is the
case, including your right of appeal.

If the information you request contains reference to a third party then
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the fee must be paid before the information is processed and released.
The 20 working day time limit for responses is suspended until receipt
of the payment.

If you have any queries or concerns then please contact the Policy and
Information Manager at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Room 14, Town
Hall, Hall Plain, Great Yarmouth, NR30 2QF, telephone (01493) 846855,
email [Great Yarmouth Borough Council request email].

On behalf of the Policy and Information Manager

Ashlie Southey
Member Services Administrative Assistant
Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Website: www.great-yarmouth.gov.uk

Correspondence Address: Town Hall, Hall Plain, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
NR30 2QF

Great Yarmouth Borough Council - Customer Focused, Performance Driven

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Freedom of Information, Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST FOI/2011/4

Your request for information has now been considered and the information
requested is below.

We have had two (one in 2008 and one in 2009) compromise agreements
signed directly related to the resolving of dispute(s) / grievance(s) /
internal and external investigation(s)/ whistleblowing
incident(s).agreements neither require them 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.

The answers supplied in response to your request are for your personal
use. They are copyright of Great Yarmouth Borough Council and may not
be copied, distributed, published or exploited for commercial purposes
or financial gain without the explicit written consent of Great Yarmouth
Borough Council.

Should you have any queries regarding the information provided, please
do not hesitate to contact me. You have the right of appeal through the
Council's internal complaints procedure by setting out the ground of
your appeal in writing to me.

Yours sincerely

Policy & Information Manager

Great Yarmouth Borough Council

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Dear Freedom of Information,

Thank you very much for your time,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Great Yarmouth Borough Council were one of the quicker respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 15 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 - 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