Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to High Peak 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 High Peak 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

Customer Services, High Peak Borough Council

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Yours faithfully

Peter Dunkley

Head of Customer Services

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Customer Services, High Peak Borough Council

Dear Paul,

Thank you for your recent email.

I can confirm that the request will be dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and you will receive a response within 20 working days of the date of your email.

Best regards,

Freedom of Information Officer

High Peak Borough Council
Town Hall, Buxton,
Derbyshire SK17 6EL

[email address]

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Rachel Rourke, High Peak Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST

With reference to your recent request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act, please find High Peak Borough Council's response outlined
below:-

Q. 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).

A. 2006/07 2

2007/08 6

2008/09 5

2009/10 1

2010/11 2

Q. 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.

A. Nil

Under the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005, if you
wish to re-use any information that you have been provided with by the
Council for any purpose that is not your own individual use, you require
the written consent of the Council. In order to make a request you should
write to the Council for permission to use the information and provide
your name and address and state the purpose for which the document is to
be re-used.

If you are dissatisfied with the way in which your request for information
has been dealt with you should write to Simon Baker, Chief Executive, High
Peak Borough Council, Town Hall, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6EL who will deal
with the matter through the internal appeals process we have established.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of these further investigations you
can then write to the Information Commissioner at Wycliffe House, Water
Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

Rachel Rourke

Committee and Member Services Officer

01298 28400 (ex. 2139)

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

High Peak Borough Council were one of the slower respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 21 working days (just 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