Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Melton 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 Melton 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 (including teaching staff) 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 (including teaching staff) 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; 2008 - 0; 2010 - 6; etc.

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

Sarah Matthews, Melton Borough Council

Dear paul Cardin

I write to acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information Request of
4th January. I confirm this has been passed to the relevant department
for response within the Statutory time frame.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Matthews
Admin/Customer Services
[email address]
01664 502502

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Sarah Matthews, Melton Borough Council

Dear Paul Cardin

In respect of your Freedom of Information Request of 4th January please
find below our response:-

Thank you for your request for information seeking the number of employees
who have signed compromise agreements directly related to the resolving of
dispute/grievances/investigations and whistle blowing incidents.

I can confirm that as far back as our records go (2002) the number signed
is 0.

The number of employees/ex employees who have signed to forgo their right
to approach the Council with FOI or DPA is also 0.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Matthews
Admin/Customer Services
[email address]
01664 502502

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Melton Borough Council were one of the quickest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 15 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 - 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