Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Havering 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 refused by Havering Borough Council.

Dear Havering 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 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

Accessinfo, Havering Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

AIR3698-1049528 - Compromise Agreements

Thank you for your request received 4th January 2011 which is being dealt
with as a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Unfortunately I am unable to identify the information from the details you
have provided. Please respond to the following query, so that I can
locate any records held by the London Borough of Havering. Your request
can then be considered and you will receive a response as soon as
possible.

. Do you require this information to include staff working in
schools

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 allows authorities 20 working days,
following date of receipt, in which to respond to requests. However,
under section 10 (6)(b) of the Act, the 20 day working day clock does not
start until clarification of the above is received. If we do not hear
from you within 3 months your request will be cancelled.

You may be aware the legislation defines a number of exemptions which may
prevent release of the information you have requested. If any of the
exemption categories apply then the information will not be released. In
these cases, we will inform you of any exemptions we have applied together
with our reasons for withholding the information and your rights of
appeal.

There may a fee payable for the supply of information. This will be
calculated and you will be informed if a charge applies. In this event,
the fee must be paid before the information is released.

If you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Further information regarding the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is
available from the following:
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House, Water Lane
Wilmslow, Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone: 01625 545 700
[1]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Yours sincerely

Mrs Lynch

Information Governance Team

Legal & Democratic Services

London Borough of Havering

Email: [2][Havering Borough Council request email]

Living Ambition - aiming for the highest quality of life in London
[3]www.havering.gov.uk/livingambition

This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are the property of the
London Borough of Havering, are confidential, may be subject to legal
privilege and are intended only for the person(s) or organisation(s) named
above. Any unauthorised use, retention, distribution, copying or
disclosure is strictly prohibited. If you receive this email in error,
please notify the sender immediately and delete this e-mail from your
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WARNING: It is your responsibility to take all necessary steps to ensure
this e-mail and any attachments to it are free from viruses.

This email is personal. It is not authorised by or sent on behalf of the sender's employer. This email is the personal responsibility of the sender."

This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are the property of the
London Borough of Havering, are confidential, may be subject to legal
privilege
and are intended only for the person(s) or organisation(s) named above.
Any unauthorised use, retention, distribution, copying or disclosure
is strictly prohibited. If you receive this email in error, please notify
the sender immediately and delete this e-mail from your system.
WARNING: It is your responsibility to take all necessary steps to
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References

Visible links
1. http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/
2. mailto:[Havering Borough Council request email]
3. http://www.havering.gov.uk/livingambition

Dear Accessinfo,

Please DO include staff working in schools. Thank you very much,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Accessinfo, Havering Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin

Access to Information Request - Compromise agreements

I refer to your request for information made under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000. Your request has been considered and the response
from Legal Services is attached. This response does not include
compromise agreements signed in respect of equal pay claims, as it is not
held by Legal Services.

I am unable to provide you with all the specific information you require.
This is because the cost of locating and retrieving the information held
by Human Resources exceeds the 'appropriate limit' as stated in the
Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004. It
is estimated that it would take in excess of 18 hours to comply with your
request.

Human Resources has advised that the information you require is not held
separately and extracting the information would entail checking
individual files and records which would take over 18 hours to complete.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 this letter acts as
a Refusal Notice.

You have the right of appeal against the decision. If you wish to appeal
please set out in writing your grounds of appeal and send to this email
address.

You also have a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone: 01625 545 700
[1]www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely

Mrs R Jarman

Information Governance Team

Legal Services

London Borough of Havering

This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are the property of the
London Borough of Havering, are confidential, may be subject to legal
privilege
and are intended only for the person(s) or organisation(s) named above.
Any unauthorised use, retention, distribution, copying or disclosure
is strictly prohibited. If you receive this email in error, please notify
the sender immediately and delete this e-mail from your system.
WARNING: It is your responsibility to take all necessary steps to
ensure this e-mail and any attachments to it are free from viruses.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.gov.uk/

Dear Accessinfo,

Many thanks for your response.

I am of the belief that the appropriate limit set by the FOI act relates to 'appropriate' methods of storage.

Further, I'm of the opinion that an appropriate method of storage would be an adequate data storage / retrieval system capable of being queried quickly and effectively, given a reasonable request from the public - most likely an electronic system.

Please can you modify my query in order to make the request more manageable. I would like you to exclude all compromise agreements drawn up in the following circumstances:

1. TUPE situations
2. COT3 agreements (where tribunal proceedings may or may not have been initiated)
3. Equal pay claims
4. Purely redundancy situations
5. Purely PILON (Pay in lieu of notice) situations

Hopefully, this may make the job easier and bring about a satisfactory response to what I believe is a reasonable request for information that should be publicly available.

If it may make the job easier, perhaps you could approach your accounts department? Very often, the sort of compromise agreements I'm referring to involve the payment of a sum to purchase the recipient's silence and their acquiescence to not approaching the council with a legal claim in the future. The Accounts department are required to keep these records in an easily accessible system in the interests of public access and accountability,

Many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Accessinfo, Havering Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

I acknowledge receipt of your email received 25th January 2011.

The 'appropriate limit' stated in the response to your request for
information refers to the appropriate limit set down in section 12(1) of
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Freedom of Information and
Data Protection (Appropriate Limit & Fees) Regulations 2004 (Statutory
Instrument 2004 No.3244). Please refer to URLs below:

[1]http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...

[2]http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/...

The service concerned has confirmed that information relating to
compromise agreements is not stored in a format that would enable easy
extraction of the specific information you required. However, I have
passed on your comments regarding data storage to the service.

The service has advised that, in order to process your modified query, the
same task would need to be completed. i.e. the same number of files
would need to be researched in order to extract information relating to
compromise agreements. Then your listed categories of compromise
agreements would need to be excluded. It would therefore not be 'more
manageable'. However, if you would like to pursue the matter and make a
new request for information (your modified query), could you please send
it to: [3][Havering Borough Council request email].

Yours sincerely

Mrs R Jarman

Information Governance Team

Legal Services

London Borough of Havering

This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are the property of the
London Borough of Havering, are confidential, may be subject to legal
privilege
and are intended only for the person(s) or organisation(s) named above.
Any unauthorised use, retention, distribution, copying or disclosure
is strictly prohibited. If you receive this email in error, please notify
the sender immediately and delete this e-mail from your system.
WARNING: It is your responsibility to take all necessary steps to
ensure this e-mail and any attachments to it are free from viruses.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...
2. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/...
3. mailto:[Havering Borough Council request email]

Dear Accessinfo,

Many thanks for your response. I'm afraid I find it a little vague and short on precise explanation. Is your data / storage retrieval system a manual one? Or is it an electronic one?

Could you place some phone calls to the Accounts or Legal departments in order to isolate the particular compromise agreements I'm talking about?

You have finished by asking me to resubmit my modified query to another email address. I don't believe I need to do this.

May I finish by asking you to act upon the information you have already received, and upon the above further advice?

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Accessinfo, Havering Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

I acknowledge receipt of your email received on 31st January 2011
containing the comments below:

'... Is your data / storage retrieval system a manual one? Or is it an
electronic one?'

'Could you place some phone calls to the Accounts or Legal departments in
order to isolate the particular compromise agreements I'm talking about?'

Your request for information received 4th January 2011 did not include a
request for information relating to the format of information held. This
information is therefore outside the scope of your request.

The relevant services were contacted upon receipt of your original request
and their responses relayed to you in the email sent 24th January 2011.
You received the response from this Authority to which you are entitled
under s.1(1) and s.12(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The
request is therefore closed.

Yours sincerely

Mrs R Jarman

Information Governance Team

Legal Services

London Borough of Havering

This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are the property of the
London Borough of Havering, are confidential, may be subject to legal
privilege
and are intended only for the person(s) or organisation(s) named above.
Any unauthorised use, retention, distribution, copying or disclosure
is strictly prohibited. If you receive this email in error, please notify
the sender immediately and delete this e-mail from your system.
WARNING: It is your responsibility to take all necessary steps to
ensure this e-mail and any attachments to it are free from viruses.

Dear Accessinfo,

I don't think your response is very helpful at all. It represents the "shutters being slammed down" and an obstacle being placed in the way of public access.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Dear Havering Borough Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Havering Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.'.

Please raise the shutters, and restore my access to information which should be available to the public. Your response has ultimately been extremely unhelpful and overly bureaucratic. I was attempting to have the request addressed without too much strain on the public purse, but this has failed.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/to...

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Accessinfo, Havering Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

Acknowledgement of Request for Internal Review - Compromise Agreements

I acknowledge receipt of your request for an internal reveiw dated 3rd
February 2011.

Your email is being considered for an internal review of the decisions
made in the response to your request for information.

I am currently looking into the matter and will endeavour to respond
within 10 working days of receipt of your appeal, but if you have any
queries or concerns in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Further information regarding the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is also
available from the Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House, Water Lane
Wilmslow, Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone: 01625 545 700
[1]www.ico.gov.uk

[2]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,

Information Governance Team
Legal and Democratic Services

Town Hall

Main Road

Romford

Essex

RM1 3BD

This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are the property of the
London Borough of Havering, are confidential, may be subject to legal
privilege and are intended only for the person(s) or organisation(s) named
above. Any unauthorised use, retention, distribution, copying or
disclosure is strictly prohibited. If you receive this email in error,
please notify the sender immediately and delete this e-mail from your
system.
WARNING: It is your responsibility to take all necessary steps to ensure
this e-mail and any attachments to it are free from viruses.

This email is personal. It is not authorised by or sent on behalf of the sender's employer. This email is the personal responsibility of the sender."

This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are the property of the
London Borough of Havering, are confidential, may be subject to legal
privilege
and are intended only for the person(s) or organisation(s) named above.
Any unauthorised use, retention, distribution, copying or disclosure
is strictly prohibited. If you receive this email in error, please notify
the sender immediately and delete this e-mail from your system.
WARNING: It is your responsibility to take all necessary steps to
ensure this e-mail and any attachments to it are free from viruses.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/
2. http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/

Accessinfo, Havering Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

Appeal for internal review - Compromise Agreements

I have now reviewed your appeal regarding your request for information
made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I have conducted the review into the decision to refuse the request, in
part, due to the information you require not being held separately and
extracting the information would entail checking individual files and
records which would take over 18 hours to complete.

Based upon the information used to make the original decision, I believe
it to be sound for the reasons laid out in our decision notice dated 24th
January 2011, also in email's dated 31st January 2011 and 3rd February
2011.

If you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

You have the right to appeal / complaint to the Information Commissioner
at the address below:

Further information regarding the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is also
available from the Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House, Water Lane
Wilmslow, Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone: 01625 545 700
[1]www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,

Ms Taylor

Information Governance Team
Legal and Democratic Services

Town Hall

Main Road

Romford

Essex RM1 3BD

This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are the property of the
London Borough of Havering, are confidential, may be subject to legal
privilege and are intended only for the person(s) or organisation(s) named
above. Any unauthorised use, retention, distribution, copying or
disclosure is strictly prohibited. If you receive this email in error,
please notify the sender immediately and delete this e-mail from your
system.
WARNING: It is your responsibility to take all necessary steps to ensure
this e-mail and any attachments to it are free from viruses.

This email is personal. It is not authorised by or sent on behalf of the sender's employer. This email is the personal responsibility of the sender."

This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are the property of the
London Borough of Havering, are confidential, may be subject to legal
privilege
and are intended only for the person(s) or organisation(s) named above.
Any unauthorised use, retention, distribution, copying or disclosure
is strictly prohibited. If you receive this email in error, please notify
the sender immediately and delete this e-mail from your system.
WARNING: It is your responsibility to take all necessary steps to
ensure this e-mail and any attachments to it are free from viruses.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Havering Borough Council went to internal review, before deciding against supplying the information.

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 less controversial areas of redundancy, severance or equal pay claims. Some councils have yet to answer this query - and to date, 65 working days have elapsed.