Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Merton 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 Merton 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

Taneka Burke, Merton Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Paul Cardin

Please see attached in respect of your recent Freedom of Information
Request.

Yours sincerely,

Taneka Burke

Customer Services Assistant

Corporate Services

Merton Council

0208 545 3573

[1]www.merton.gov.uk

'Merton Council - Putting you First'

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1. http://www.merton.gov.uk/
http://www.merton.gov.uk/

Monica Fonteriz, Merton Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin,

Please find attached in respect of your recent Freedom of Information
request.

Yours sincerely

Monica Fonteriz

Customer Services Officer

Corporate Services

Merton Council

0208 545 3573

[1]www.merton.gov.uk

'Merton Council - Putting you First'

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.merton.gov.uk/

Dear Monica Fonteriz,

Many thanks for your detailed response to this query. Now that you have arrived at a manageable figure, could I ask you to exclude COT3 agreements AND 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

My interest is researched based, and is in compromise agreements that have been drawn up in circumstances where the employer and employee have mutually agreed to terminate the working contract. This usually involves a payment, which works as an incentive to avoid tribunal or future legal proceedings being taken up the employee.

If it assists, your Accounts Department should hold a searchable electronic data storage and retrieval system which would make it easier to locate these payments and therefore arrive at totals for these agreements for each year.

Also, if it is made easier, please restrict your search to the years between 2005 and 2010 i.e. the last 6 years.

I hope this helps and look forward to your response,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Taneka Burke, Merton Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Paul Cardin

Please see attached in respect of your recent Freedom of Information
Request.

Yours Sincerely

Taneka Burke
Customer Services Assistant
Corporate Services
Merton Council
0208 545 3573

www.merton.gov.uk <[1]http://www.merton.gov.uk/>

'Merton Council - Putting you First'

<<Cardin, Paul - Ack.doc>>

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References

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1. http://www.merton.gov.uk/

Nigel Cameron, Merton Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

I have been asked to collate the information in order that you request of
27 January 2011 (copy below) may be answered. You have asked for
agreements made under certain circumstances to be excluded from the
information provided to you in response to your 4 January 2011 request.
You then go on to explain your interest. Excluding just the 4
circumstances from the information previously provided will not yield
information limited to that which you describe as the information in which
your are interested because it will included agreements settling
Employment Tribunal claims rather than agreements settling disputes before
Employment Tribunal claims are issued and/or agreements where there was no
mutual termination of employment.

Please clarify your request.

Yours sincerely

Nigel Cameron
for Helen White Head of Civic & Legal Services
(Tel. 020 8545 4065)

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Dear Nigel Cameron,

Thank you very much for your clarification.

Please exclude any agreements which settle existing (at the time) tribunal claims, but include any agreements where there was no mutual termination of employment,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Nigel Cameron, Merton Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin.

Thank you for your clarification.

Yours sincerely

Nigel Cameron
for Helen White Head of Civic & Legal Services
(Tel. 020 8545 4065

show quoted sections

Monica Fonteriz, Merton Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin,

Please find attached in respect of your recent Freedom of Information
request.

Yours sincerely

Monica Fonteriz

Customer Services Officer

Corporate Services

Merton Council

0208 545 3573

[1]www.merton.gov.uk

'Merton Council - Putting you First'

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. http://www.merton.gov.uk/

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Merton Borough Council were one of the slower respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 38 working days (18 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