Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Halton 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 Halton 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

Halton Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your enquiry. The enquiry has been logged on our FOI tracking system and is being dealt with.

The case number is shown in the subject line of the e-mail.

Should you have any further queries please quote this reference number.

Please use [email address] for any further correspondence.

Thank You

Halton Direct Link.

Sent By UserID: 70

Important Notice:
This message is intended for the indicated addressees only and may be confidential. If this message has come to you in error you must take no action based on it, nor must you copy or show it to anyone; Please inform us immediately.
** Please note that this message has been created in the knowledge that Internet e-mail is not a 100% secure communication medium. We strongly advise that you bear this in mind and act on it when sending or receiving e-mail.
** This communication does not, unless expressly indicated by the sender in the body of the message, create or modify any contract
** Although this e-mail and its attachments are believed to be clear of any virus, it is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that the message does not carry any virus.
**Halton Borough Council does not accept liability for any statements made which are clearly the senders own personal views and are not expressly made on behalf of Halton Borough Council.
** The information contained in this email may be subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or other legal duty. Unless the information is legally exempt from disclosure, the confidentiality of this email AND YOUR REPLY cannot be guaranteed.

Bellard, Simon - Children & Y P, Halton Borough Council

Dear Paul

Many thanks for your recent FOI request for the following data; having
made a diligent search of our records we can provide data from 2000
through to 2010.

1. 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
disputes/grievances/internal and external investiagation/whistleblowing
incidents.

A. 2000 - 1

2001 - 1

2002 - 2

2003 - 2

2004 - 1

2005 - 5

2006 - 4

2007 - 5

2008 - 5

2009 - 9

2010 - 7

Total number of compromise agreements since 2000 - 2010 = 42 cases

We do not recall any of them being re: external
investigation/whistleblowing incidents.

(Please be aware that the above figures are purely compromise agreements
that were reached and not COT3 agreements). COT3 agreements are reached
after the tribunal proceedings have been started against the Council.

2. 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 Councils 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.

A. We do not have any of these. We do not see how someone could by
a compromise agreement deprive themselves of their statutory rights.

Please be aware that we cannot warrant the accuracy of these figures as
we do not hold this data for these reasons; as such these figures have
been assembled from raw data.

The figures quoted above do include schools.

I trust this has now answered your freedom of information request.

Regards

Simon

Simon Bellard

Senior HR Officer BSF

Halton Borough Council

Children & Young Peoples Directorate

Runcorn Tel: 0303 333 4300 Ext. 3752

Widnes Tel: 0303 333 4300 Ext. 1169

Important Notice:
This message is intended for the indicated addressees only and may be
confidential. If this message has come to you in error you must take no action
based on it, nor must you copy or show it to anyone; Please inform us
immediately.
** Please note that this message has been created in the knowledge that
Internet e-mail is not a 100% secure communication medium. We strongly advise
that you bear this in mind and act on it when sending or receiving e-mail.
** This communication does not, unless expressly indicated by the sender in the
body of the message, create or modify any contract
** Although this e-mail and its attachments are believed to be clear of any
virus, it is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that the message
does not carry any virus.
**Halton Borough Council does not accept liability for any statements made
which are clearly the senders own personal views and are not expressly made on
behalf of Halton Borough Council.
** The information contained in this email may be subject to public disclosure
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or other legal duty. Unless the
information is legally exempt from disclosure, the confidentiality of this
email AND YOUR REPLY cannot be guaranteed.

Dear Simon,

Thank you very much for your rapid response - much appreciated. I am making this request of several larger Councils in England in order to collate the annual figures for each and to look for any regional or national trends.

I have 8 full responses to date, including yours. I am very interested in your response at point A. above. Do you think it unlikely that I will discover the use of gagging / penalty clauses regarding FOI and DPA requests; is there any eventuality in which a council would consider such a move; and if used, would it be of questionable legality?

Best regards,

Paul Cardin

Bellard, Simon - Children & Y P, Halton Borough Council

Paul

In response to your email below I'm afraid I cannot comment on the
aspects of point A as to whether this is legal or not. This would be
something which you would need to take your own advice on.

In terms of whether other Local Authorities are likely to do this or not
again is something we are unable to comment on. I'm sure the responses
you receive from them will deliver this information.

Many thanks
Simon

Simon Bellard
Senior HR Officer BSF
Halton Borough Council
Children & Young Peoples Directorate
Runcorn Tel: 0303 333 4300 Ext. 3752
Widnes Tel: 0303 333 4300 Ext. 1169

show quoted sections

Dear Simon,

Many thanks,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Halton Borough Council were one of the quickest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking only 3 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.

Halton Borough Council were extremely helpful when commenting on the use of FOI / DP related gagging clauses: "We do not have any of these. We do not see how someone could by a compromise agreement deprive themselves of their statutory 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 ()

Update here on Freedom of Information gagging clauses, including the opinion of senior counsel, Hugh Tomlinson QC:

http://easyvirtualassistance.wordpress.c...