Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Islington 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 Islington Borough Council.

Dear Islington Borough Council,

Please supply Annual 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 provide the figures in the following format e.g. 2006 - 2, 2007 - 4; 2009 - 0;

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

FOIA, Islington Borough Council

Thank your for your email. If your email concerns a Freedom of Information
request to Islington Council, your email has been received and will be
processed shortly.

Kind regards,

The Information Governance team
Technology Solutions Group
Islington Council
60 Highbury New Park, N5 2DJ
[1]www.islington.gov.uk

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References

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2. http://www.islington.gov.uk/freedomofinf...
3. mailto:[Islington Borough Council request email]
4. http://www.islington.gov.uk/

FOIA, Islington Borough Council

Thank you for your Freedom of Information Act request, received on 4
January 2011. Your request has been processed, and your unique reference
number is 372425. Please make note of this reference number should you
need to contact us about your request.

Our team has sent your request to the appropriate service area within
Islington Council, and an officer from that team will respond directly to
your request.

If you have any questions, please contact us by email at
[Islington Borough Council request email]

Kind regards

Bisi Rogers

FOI Administrator

Web and Information Governance

Corporate Resources

London Borough of Islington

60 Highbury New Park

N5 2DJ

[1]http://www.islington.gov.uk

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2. http://www.islington.gov.uk/freedomofinf...
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4. http://www.islington.gov.uk/

Glover, Kevin, Islington Borough Council

Dear Mr. Cardin,

Further to your Freedom of Information Request, our reference FOI. No.
372,425, requesting detailed information, "as far as records go back"
relating to total numbers of compromise agreements by category, and
including restrictions arising from such compromise agreements:

The council does not keep a separate record of compromise agreements,. The
only way to identify them would be to look back at each individual, closed
case and identify if such an agreement was made in the last 5 years. We
estimate that the cost of complying with your request would exceed an
appropriate cost limit to locate, retrieve and gather. This has been set
at -L-450 and represents the estimated cost of one person spending 2 1/2
working days in locating, retrieving and extracting the information. (For
more information about the council's fees notice, please see our Fees
Notice available on our website.)

Under Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act, the council is not
obliged to comply with your request. We would still, however, like to
assist you. If you are able to narrow the criteria of your request, e.g.
to release the number of compromise agreements by the organisation in the
last year, it is more likely that we will be able to provide you with the
information you require.

The council is providing this option under Section 16 of the Act, 'the
duty of a public authority to provide advice and assistance, so far as it
would be reasonable to expect the authority to do so, to persons who
propose to make, or have made, requests for information to it'.

If you have a complaint about the handling of this information request,
please contact: Information Complaints, Corporate Resources, 60 Highbury
New Park, London, N5 2DJ. Email: [email address]

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

Best wishes,

Kevin Glover

Human Resources

Corporate Resources
London Borough of Islington

First Floor

7 Newington Barrow Way

London N7 7EP
Tel: 020 7527 2802

Fax: 020 7527 2965
Alternative Contact: HR Express on 020 7527 6070
[2]www.islington.gov.uk

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3. http://www.islington.gov.uk/freedomofinf...
4. mailto:[Islington Borough Council request email]
5. http://www.islington.gov.uk/

Dear Kevin,

Thanks very much for your response. I appreciate your position
however this query is identical to one which has been sent to ALL
English councils. So far, I have had 122 (one hundred and twenty
two) full and detailed responses. These councils did not have any
difficulty in responding positively to what is a reasonable
request.

I am currently involved in research in this area and in order to
make the task somewhat more manageable for you, can I make the
following changes?

Please can you exclude compromise agreements drawn up in the
following circumstances:

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

Also, to assist you further, I will narrow the time period down to
between the years 2005 to 2010 i.e. the last six years.

Given that a total of 122 councils have not found any difficulty, I
imagine that they may be taking a different approach to locating
the information.

Can I suggest that you query your Accounts Department? I ask this
because when employees leave in the circumstances I am describing,
they are offered a financial incentive to end their working
contracts and not make legal approaches to the Council in the
future. Your Accounts department is required to keep a detailed
electronic record of all such payments. As they will be keeping an
adequate data storage / retrieval system, it will not be too
arduous a task for them to provide Annual total figures for
compromise agreements drawn up in these circumstances.

You could also put in a call to your Legal Department who may keep
a similar searchable database.

I hope the above information assists you. I don't believe that the
possession of inadequate data storage / retrieval systems warrants
the use of an exclusion under the FOI Act and look forward to your
response,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Glover, Kevin, Islington Borough Council

Dear Mr. cardin,
Thank you for the clarification.

I will make further enquiries and get back to you as soon as possible.

Kevin Glover
Human Resources
Tel 0207 527 2802

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Dear Kevin,

By law, I believe the authority should have responded promptly and by 1st February 2011.

Although I have received no response, to assist, I would like to 'sharpen' and reduce the scope of the original request as follows:

Please exclude all COT3 Agreements and all compromise agreements drawn up in the following circumstances:

1. Purely redundancy situations
2. Purely PILON (pay in lieu of notice) situations
3. Equal pay claims
4. TUPE situations

Further to this, please reduce the time period to the years between 2005 and 2010 i.e. the last six years.

I am researching this particular area and aim to view trends and movements both regionally and nationally. It would benefit myself and the authority if the figures reached were as accurate as possible.

When responding, please give figures in calendar year format e.g. 2005 - 1; 2006 - 3; 2007 - 2; etc.

Many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

FOIA, Islington Borough Council

Thank you for your defining your request on 28 January. Your request has
been processed, and your unique reference number is 372545. Please make
note of this reference number should you need to contact us about your
request.

Our team has sent your request to the appropriate service area within
Islington Council, and an officer from that team will respond directly
to your request.

If you have any questions, please contact us by email at
[Islington Borough Council request email]

Kind regards

Leila Pope
Information Compliance Manager
Corporate Resources - Technology Solutions Group Islington Council 60
Highbury New Park, London N2 2DJ

http://www.islington.gov.uk <http://www.islington.gov.uk/>

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Glover, Kevin, Islington Borough Council

Dear Mr. Cardin,
Thank you for this further clarification. Can I assure you that I am
giving your amended request priority attention to see whether I am able
to comply with your request.

While my earlier response was in your opinion unsatisfactory, it does
constitute a valid response within my legal obligations.

Your amended requests have been logged as fresh requests but I do hope
to be able to respond within the next week.

Kevin Glover
Human Resources
Tel 0207 527 2802

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Glover, Kevin, Islington Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REF No: 372425

Thank you for your information request, received on 4 January.

You requested the following information:
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 exclude all COT3 Agreements and all compromise agreements drawn
up in the following circumstances:
1. Purely redundancy situations
2. Purely PILON (pay in lieu of notice) situations
3. Equal pay claims
4. TUPE situations

Further to this, please reduce the time period to the years between 2005
and 2010 i.e. the last six years.

I have discussed this with my colleagues in both Human Resources and
Legal Service and can provide the following response:

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).

Answer: With regards to directly resolving disputes the council does not
record compromise agreements by category, the agreements set out the
terms of severance without reference to cause and therefore I am unable
to provide you with this information.
I can confirm the following number of agreements since 2008/09:
2008/9 11 compromise agreements; 2009/10 8 compromise agreements and
2010/11, 8 compromise agreements.
Our records do not currently go back any further than 2008/09 and
therefore I am unable to provide you with the information for the last
six years.

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.

Answer: Restrictive clauses are not standard clauses in the compromise
agreements that are drawn up by the Council. We have not been able to
identify any such clauses in the compromise agreements that have been
reviewed whilst answering this part of your request.

Please accept my sincere apologies for the time and manner in which this
request for information was managed and that the information provided is
limited. This has, however prompted a review of our record keeping in
this area to ensure that we are able to comply more fully with these
types of requests in the future.

If you have a complaint about the handling of this information request,
please contact: Information Complaints, Corporate Resources, 60 Highbury
New Park, London, N5 2DJ. Email: [email address]

Further information is also available from the Information
Commissioner's Office, at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF. Telephone: 01625 545 700. Web: www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,

Kevin Glover
Human Resources
Tel. 0207 527 2802

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Dear Islington Borough Council,

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

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

My research continues in this area and to update the figures, I have received 193 full and positive responses. I read this as an endorsement by your LGA colleagues, which indicates that the public interest in providing the information outweighs the public interest in not providing it. Although I am reluctant to risk using up more public money than is necessary, I can think of no further recourse but for a senior officer of the council to conduct an internal review.

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

FOIA, Islington Borough Council

Thank your for your email. If your email concerns a Freedom of Information
request to Islington Council, your email has been received and will be
processed shortly.

Kind regards,

The Information Governance team
Technology Solutions Group
Islington Council
60 Highbury New Park, N5 2DJ
[1]www.islington.gov.uk

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References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/outbind:/1-000000006FFB5AA1F75FCD4A9F4F9C622E59DE480700DC908BA5DE8E2E4CA57770AFA98CCA8500000003399E0000BB7A0CF93E9A084781CDC75884926B0D000009232C820000/www.islington.gov.uk
2. http://www.islington.gov.uk/freedomofinf...
3. mailto:[Islington Borough Council request email]
4. http://www.islington.gov.uk/

infocomplaints, Islington Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

Thank you for your request for an internal review, received on 8
February. Your request has been processed, and your unique reference
number is 2118. Please make note of this reference number should you
need to contact us about your request.

If you have any questions, please contact us by email at
[email address]

Kind regards,

Leila
Leila Pope
Information Compliance Manager
Corporate Resources - Technology Solutions Group Islington Council 60
Highbury New Park, London N5 2DJ

Email: [email address]
Web: www.islington.gov.uk <http://www.islington.gov.uk/>

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infocomplaints, Islington Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin,

Please find attached the response to your request for an Internal Review.

Kind regards,

Leila
Leila Pope
Information Compliance Manager
Corporate Resources - Technology Solutions Group
Islington Council
60 Highbury New Park, London N5 2DJ

Email: [1][email address]
Web: [2]www.islington.gov.uk
Alternative contact: [email address]

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4. mailto:[Islington Borough Council request email]
5. http://www.islington.gov.uk/

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Islington Borough Council went to internal review, before deciding against supplying most of 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.