Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Huntingdonshire 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 Huntingdonshire 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

Freedom of Information, Huntingdonshire District Council

Paul Cardin
[FOI #56679 email]

04/01/2011

Dear Paul Cardin

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request No 1573.

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act. We have received your request and it has been passed to
the appropriate Officer for investigation.
As required by the Freedom of Information Act we will be responding to you
within the next 20 working days. However, there may be some instances
where it will not be possible to deal with such an application within 20
working days. If this is the case we will contact you to give an estimate
of the date by which we expect to reach a decision.

Should you have any further enquiries about the progress of your request
for information, please contact the Freedom of Information Officer quoting
***FOI Request No 1573*** at one of the following addresses:
E-mail: [1][email address]
Letter:
FOI Requests,
Pathfinder House,
St Mary***s Street,
Huntingdon.
PE29 3TN
Fax: 01480 388317

Yours sincerely
FOI Support Team
Huntingdonshire District Council

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References

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1. mailto:[email address]

Freedom Of Information Group, Huntingdonshire District Council

Mr Paul Cardin

[FOI #56679 email]

02 February 2011

Dear Mr Cardin

Re: Freedom of Information Act - FOI Request No 1573.

I am writing in respect of your recent enquiry for information held by the
Authority under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. We have
dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act.

Your request for information has now been considered and the information
requested is enclosed.

You requested:

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).

2008 = 1

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

If you have any queries or concerns, or if you have a complaint about the
handling of your enquiry then please contact Freedom of Information
Officer in the first instance quoting "FOI Request No. 1573" at one of the
following addresses:

E-mail: [1][email address]

Letter: FOI Requests
Pathfinder House
St Mary's Street
Huntingdon
PE29 3TN

Fax: 01480 388317

You also have a subsequent right of appeal to the Information
Commissioner at:

Letter: Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone: 01625 545 700

Web: [2]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Yours sincerely

FOI Support Team

Huntingdonshire District Council

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Huntingdonshire District Council were one of the slower respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 23 working 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