Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Horsham 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 Horsham 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

Gill, Sarah, Horsham District Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Freedom of Information Act 2000
Request for Information

Thank you for your email requesting information under the above Act.

It is our intention to have the information delivered to you by 1
February 2011.

The request is subject to any exemption which the Council is entitled to
apply to refuse the request, some of which are absolute and some of
which only apply where the public interest in maintaining the exemption
outweighs that in disclosing the information.

Once the information has been identified the Council may also ask that a
fee be paid for reproducing and transmitting the information to you.
Details of any fee to be charged will be notified as soon as possible.

Should you require any further clarification concerning this matter,
please contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Gill
Complaints & Information Officer
Horsham District Council
Park North
North Street
Horsham
West Sussex RH12 1RL

Tel: 01403 215470 direct

Email: [email address]

show quoted sections

Gill, Sarah, Horsham District Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Freedom of Information Act 2000
Request for Information

I am writing in respect of your request for information held by the
Council under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

1. 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).
NONE

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 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.
NONE

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You are free to use it for
personal and non-commercial purposes only. Any other re-use, for example
commercial publication, would require the permission of the copyright
holder. Most documents supplied by the Council will be copyright of
Horsham District Council. If you wish to re-use the information supplied
for any other purpose you will need to make a written application to the
relevant Department of the Council or author of the material concerned.

Any information which you receive which is not subject to Horsham
District Council copyright continues to be protected by the copyright of
the person, or organisation, from which the information originated. You
must ensure that you gain their permission before reproducing any third
party (non HDC) information.

If for whatever reason you are unhappy with our response you are
entitled to pursue any dissatisfaction through the Council's Complaints
Procedure. If you are dissatisfied you may write to the Senior Solicitor
(Monitoring and Standards), Legal Services, Horsham District Council,
Park North, North Street, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1RL. Should you
remain dissatisfied you can appeal against the decision by contacting
the Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9
5AF.

Should you require any further clarification concerning this matter,
please contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Gill
Complaints & Information Officer
Horsham District Council
Park North
North Street
Horsham
West Sussex RH12 1RL

Tel: 01403 215470 direct

Email: [email address]

show quoted sections

Dear Gill, Sarah,

Many thanks,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Horsham District Council were one of the quickest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking only 9 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 - although 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