Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Harlow District 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 Harlow 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 sign and 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

Contact Harlow, Harlow District Council

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Contact Harlow Team

Contact Harlow
Harlow Council
Civic Centre
The Water Gardens
Harlow, Essex
CM20 1WG

01279 446655
[Harlow District Council request email]

www.harlow.gov.uk

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Contact Harlow, Harlow District Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for contacting Harlow Council.

Your enquiry has been passed to the Freedom of Information Department

Your enquiry reference number is 749323.

Should you require any further assistance, please contact us with your
reference number.

Regards
Contact Harlow
Harlow Council
Civic Centre
The Water Gardens
Harlow, Essex
CM20 1WG
01279 446655
[Harlow District Council request email]
www.harlow.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Clare Seymour, Harlow District Council

1 Attachment

Attn: Paul Cardin,

Dear Paul,

Please find attached a response to your Freedom of Information request -
Kind Regards, Clare

Clare Seymour
HR Adviser
Harlow Council, Civic Centre, The Water Gardens, Harlow, Essex, CM20 1WG
Tel: 01279 446016
Fax: 01279 446024
Alternative Contact: Maureen Merrion 01279 446007

Please Note:
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suspect you are not, the named addressee or the person responsible for
delivering the message to the named addressee, please telephone us
immediately. Please note that we cannot guarantee that this message or any
attachment is virus free or has not been intercepted and amended. The
views of the author may not necessarily reflect of the council.

This E-Mail and any attachments are intended for the addressee only, and
may contain confidential or privileged information. If you are not, or
suspect you are not, the intended recipient, you must not copy, distribute
or take any action in reliance on it. If you have received this E-Mail in
error please notify us immediately and delete this E-Mail and any
attachments. Please note that although this message has been checked for
viruses, we cannot guarantee that this message or any attachment is virus
free or has not been intercepted or amended. The information contained in
this E-Mail may be subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000. Unless the information is legally exempt from
disclosure, the confidentiality of this E-Mail and your reply cannot be
guaranteed. The views of the author may not necessarily reflect those of
the Council. All communications sent to or from the Council may be subject
to recording and / or monitoring in accordance with relevant legislation.

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Harlow District Council were one of the quicker respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 14 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