Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Mid Sussex 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 Mid Sussex District 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

Freedom of Information, Mid Sussex District Council

Thank you for your email. If the email contains a request for information,
the 20 working day countdown will start on the first working day after
receipt of this request.

The request may be subject to an exemption, which the Authority is
entitled to apply to refuse the request. We will notify you if this is the
case.

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

Any future correspondence you may have in relation to this matter should
be sent to the Senior Service Improvement Officer, Mid Sussex District
Council, Oaklands, Oaklands Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 1SS or
by return to this email.

Information provided under the FOI Act 2000 or the Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 may be not be re-used, except for personal
study and non-commercial research or for news reporting and reviews,
without the permission of the Council. Please see the Council website
www.midsussex.gov.uk/page.cfm?pageID=4084 for further information or
contact Service Improvement on 01444 477422.

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Freedom of Information, Mid Sussex District Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

Thank you for your request for information. We have consulted with our HR section, who have provided the following response.

Question 1 - 2003-0; 2004-0; 2005-0; 2006-1; 2007-2; 2008-2; 2009-0; 2010-1
Question 2 - Nil

If for whatever reason you are unhappy with our response you are entitled to pursue any dissatisfaction, in the first instance, through the Council's Complaints Procedure, in writing to Jo Carr, Customer Services and Communications Business Unit Leader, Mid Sussex District Council, Oaklands, Oaklands Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH16 1SS or via the website at http://www.midsussex.gov.uk/page.cfm?pag...
 
If you still remain dissatisfied with the response you can complain to the Information Commissioner - details available at: https://www.ico.gov.uk/Global/contact_us...
 
Information provided under the FOI Act 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 may be not be re-used, except for personal study and non-commercial research or for news reporting and reviews, without the permission of the Council. Please see the Council website www.midsussex.gov.uk/page.cfm?pageID=4084  for further information or contact Service Improvement on 01444 477422.
 
yours sincerely,

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Dear Freedom of Information,

Thank you very much for your time,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Freedom of Information, Mid Sussex District Council

Thank you for your email. If the email contains a request for information,
the 20 working day countdown will start on the first working day after
receipt of this request.

The request may be subject to an exemption, which the Authority is
entitled to apply to refuse the request. We will notify you if this is the
case.

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

Any future correspondence you may have in relation to this matter should
be sent to the Senior Service Improvement Officer, Mid Sussex District
Council, Oaklands, Oaklands Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 1SS or
by return to this email.

Information provided under the FOI Act 2000 or the Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 may be not be re-used, except for personal
study and non-commercial research or for news reporting and reviews,
without the permission of the Council. Please see the Council website
www.midsussex.gov.uk/page.cfm?pageID=4084 for further information or
contact Service Improvement on 01444 477422.

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Mid Sussex District Council were one of the quickest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 14 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