Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Hillingdon 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 Hillingdon 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

CentralServicesFOI, Hillingdon Borough Council

Dear Paul,

I am writing in response to your request for information under the Freedom
of Information Act 2000.

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 we have 20 working days to
respond to your request. Therefore the deadline for our response is 1st
Feb 2010, but Hillingdon Council will do their best to respond prior to
this date.

Your request has been allocated the following reference FOI/ 2509. Please
remember to include this reference in any future correspondence on this
matter.

If we require further information from you in order to assist us in
responding to your request, or if we require a fee to be paid before we
can respond we will contact you promptly.

Yours Sincerely

Donna Chinery
Freedom of Information
London Borough of Hillingdon
[1][email address]
Tel: 01895 250274
>>> Paul Cardin <[2][FOI #56674 email]> 03/01/11
23:28 >>>
Dear Hillingdon 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

show quoted sections

foi, Hillingdon Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

I am writing in response to your request for information below.

Since 2002 the Council has entered into around 23 Compromise Agreements
- we do not maintain a record broken down by year. Of these none
require the employee/former employee to forgo their rights to approach
the council re FOI/DPA subject access requests in the future.

I trust this provides the information you are requesting

If you wish to discuss this matter please do not hesitate to contact us
on the details below.

If you wish to request an internal review of our response you should
write, within 2 months, to:

Office Managing Partner, Legal Services, Civic Centre, High St,
Uxbridge, UB8 1UW (or via email to [Hillingdon Borough Council request email] marked for the
attention of the Office Managing Partner).

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you
have the right to apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision.
The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire,
SK9 5AF

Richard Ingle
Data Protection &
Freedom of Information Officer

Data Protection &
Freedom of Information Officer
Legal Services (3E 04)
London Borough of Hillingdon
Civic Centre
High Street
Uxbridge
UB8 1UW
01895 55(6923)

Please note, all material provided by the London Borough of Hillingdon
in response to your request for information is for your personal,
non-commercial use. The London Borough of Hillingdon reserves all
rights in the copyright of the information provided. Any unauthorised
copying or adaptation of the information without express written
confirmation from The London Borough of Hillingdon will constitute an
infringement of copyright. Any intention to re-use this information
commercially will require consent. Please forward any requests for
re-use of information to the Freedom of Information officer.

show quoted sections

23:28 >>>
Dear Hillingdon 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

show quoted sections

Dear foi,

Thanks very much for your response.

I have made the same request of every English council and I'm currently receiving and collating responses. So far, I have received 90 full, detailed and positive replies, each broken down by calendar year.

In light of this, I'm a little concerned by your reply.

As your figures look a little on the high side, in order to make the task a little easier, please can you exclude any compromise agreements reached in the following circumstances:

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

Also, please can you restrict the time period to between 2005 and 2010 i.e. the last six years?

My purpose in making these FOI requests is to research national and regional movements and trends and I would not want to unfairly inflate your figures by including agreements which are not relevant to the query.

I appreciate your help so far and look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

CentralServicesFOI, Hillingdon Borough Council

Dear Paul,

I am writing in response to your request for information under the Freedom
of Information Act 2000.

We will be treating this as a new request, under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 we have 20 working days to respond to your request.
Therefore the deadline for our response is 28th Feb 2011, but Hillingdon
Council will do their best to respond prior to this date.

Your request has been allocated the following reference FOI/ 2568. Please
remember to include this reference in any future correspondence on this
matter.

If we require further information from you in order to assist us in
responding to your request, or if we require a fee to be paid before we
can respond we will contact you promptly.

Yours Sincerely

Donna Chinery

Freedom of Information
London Borough of Hillingdon
[1][email address]
Tel: 01895 250274
>>> Paul Cardin <[2][FOI #56674 email]> 25/01/11
21:43 >>>
Dear foi,

Thanks very much for your response.

I have made the same request of every English council and I'm
currently receiving and collating responses. So far, I have
received 90 full, detailed and positive replies, each broken down
by calendar year.

In light of this, I'm a little concerned by your reply.

As your figures look a little on the high side, in order to make
the task a little easier, please can you exclude any compromise
agreements reached in the following circumstances:

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

Also, please can you restrict the time period to between 2005 and
2010 i.e. the last six years?

My purpose in making these FOI requests is to research national and
regional movements and trends and I would not want to unfairly
inflate your figures by including agreements which are not relevant
to the query.

I appreciate your help so far and look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

show quoted sections

Dear CentralServicesFOI,

This isn't a 'new' request, but a modified one. It's made the original request a whole lot smaller - all done to assist and in the spirit of the Act.

To place this request into a wider context, 118 councils have responded quickly and in full to this request, and have been only too pleased to be positive and helpful when I've made modifications.

Given this reduction in the size of your task, I would have hoped you'd be a bit more flexible as a result - i.e. not instantly resorting to slamming another 20 day limit down.

many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

foi, Hillingdon Borough Council

Ref: FOI/2568

Dear Mr Cardin

I am writing in response to your email below and your email of the 25th
January 2011.

In response to your clarified request the number of compromise
agreements entered into for the period 05-10 and excluding the
categories set out below are 14.

I trust this provides you with the information you are seeking.

If you wish to discuss this matter please do not hesitate to contact us
on the details below.

If you wish to request an internal review of our response you should
write, within 2 months, to:

Office Managing Partner, Legal Services, Civic Centre, High St,
Uxbridge, UB8 1UW (or via email to [Hillingdon Borough Council request email] marked for the
attention of the Office Managing Partner).

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you
have the right to apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision.
The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire,
SK9 5AF

Richard Ingle
Data Protection &
Freedom of Information Officer

Data Protection &
Freedom of Information Officer
Legal Services (3E 04)
London Borough of Hillingdon
Civic Centre
High Street
Uxbridge
UB8 1UW
01895 55(6923)

Please note, all material provided by the London Borough of Hillingdon
in response to your request for information is for your personal,
non-commercial use. The London Borough of Hillingdon reserves all
rights in the copyright of the information provided. Any unauthorised
copying or adaptation of the information without express written
confirmation from The London Borough of Hillingdon will constitute an
infringement of copyright. Any intention to re-use this information
commercially will require consent. Please forward any requests for
re-use of information to the Freedom of Information officer.

show quoted sections

Dear foi,

Thanks for responding to my clarified request.

I'd be very grateful if you could break the figures down into annual totals, in the same way that 214 of your LGA colleagues have since 1st January 2011.

This will help me to research accurately and to review trends both regionally and nationally.

I'm hopeful that as you've been able to clarify the request and remove specific types of agreement, you will similarly be able to work through this smaller total and assign them to yearly totals,

many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

foi, Hillingdon Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

I am writing in response to your email below.

2007 - 6 Agreements
2008 - 5 Agreements
2009 - 3 Agreements

I trust this provides the information you are seeking.

If you wish to discuss this matter please do not hesitate to contact us
on the details below.

If you wish to request an internal review of our response you should
write, within 2 months, to:

Office Managing Partner, Legal Services, Civic Centre, High St,
Uxbridge, UB8 1UW (or via email to [Hillingdon Borough Council request email] marked for the
attention of the Office Managing Partner).

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you
have the right to apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision.
The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire,
SK9 5AF

Richard Ingle
Data Protection &
Freedom of Information Officer

Data Protection &
Freedom of Information Officer
Legal Services (3E 04)
London Borough of Hillingdon
Civic Centre
High Street
Uxbridge
UB8 1UW
01895 55(6923)

Please note, all material provided by the London Borough of Hillingdon
in response to your request for information is for your personal,
non-commercial use. The London Borough of Hillingdon reserves all
rights in the copyright of the information provided. Any unauthorised
copying or adaptation of the information without express written
confirmation from The London Borough of Hillingdon will constitute an
infringement of copyright. Any intention to re-use this information
commercially will require consent. Please forward any requests for
re-use of information to the Freedom of Information officer.

show quoted sections

20:09 >>>
Dear foi,

Thanks for responding to my clarified request.

I'd be very grateful if you could break the figures down into
annual totals, in the same way that 214 of your LGA colleagues
have
since 1st January 2011.

This will help me to research accurately and to review trends
both
regionally and nationally.

I'm hopeful that as you've been able to clarify the request and
remove specific types of agreement, you will similarly be able to
work through this smaller total and assign them to yearly totals,

many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

show quoted sections

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Hillingdon Borough Council were one of the slower respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 37 working days (17 days 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