Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Milton Keynes 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 Milton Keynes 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

Milton Keynes Council

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Re: Freedom of Information request - Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

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Harding, Kayleigh, Milton Keynes Council

Dear Paul,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

I acknowledge your request for information received on 5^th January 2011.

Your request is being considered and you will receive the information
requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by
the Freedom of Information Act 2000, subject to the information not being
exempt or containing a reference to a third party.

If appropriate, the information may be provided in paper copy, normal font
size. If you require alternative formats, e.g. language, audio, large
print, etc. then please let me know.

For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions which may
prevent release of the information you have requested. There will be an
assessment and if any of the exemption categories apply then the
information will not be released. You will be informed if this is the
case, including your rights of appeal.

If the information you request contains reference to a third party then
they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken on whether or not to
release the information to you. You will be informed if this is the case.

There may a fee payable for this information. This will be considered and
you will be informed if a fee is payable. In this event the fee must be
paid before the information is processed and released. The 20 working day
time limit for responses is suspended until receipt of the payment.

If you have a complaint about the handling of your request then please
contact me. I will arrange for an internal review which will be
considered as part of Stage 3 of the Council's complaints procedure.

You also have a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Telephone: 01625 545 700

www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Yours sincerely

Kayleigh Harding

HR Administrator

Mouchel

Saxon Court

502 Avebury Boulevard

Central Milton Keynes

MK9 3HS

01908 253451

[1][email address]

ue Be GREEN, keep it on the SCREEN!P

Visit the Milton Keynes Council web site at
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**** This email and any attachments hereto are strictly confidential and
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References

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Harding, Kayleigh, Milton Keynes Council

1 Attachment

Dear Paul,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

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

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).

2008 - 5

2009 - 10

2010 - 5

For reasons please see spreadsheet attached.

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.

Nil

If you have a complaint about the handling of your request then please
contact me. I will arrange for an internal review which will be
considered as part of Stage 3 of the Council's complaints procedure.

You also have a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Telephone: 01625 545 700

www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Yours sincerely

Kayleigh Harding

HR Administrator

Mouchel

Saxon Court

502 Avebury Boulevard

Central Milton Keynes

MK9 3HS

01908 253451

[1][email address]

ue Be GREEN, keep it on the SCREEN!P

Visit the Milton Keynes Council web site at
http://www.milton-keynes.gov.uk

Please consider the environment and don't print this email unless you
really need to

**** This email and any attachments hereto are strictly confidential and
intended solely for the addressee. It may contain information which is
privileged. If you are not the intended addressee, you must not disclose,
forward, copy or take any action in reliance of this email or attachments.
If you have received this email in error, please delete it and notify us
as soon as possible.

The anti-virus software used by Milton Keynes Council is updated regularly
in an effort to minimise the possibility of viruses infecting our systems.
However, you should be aware that there is no absolute guarantee that any
files attached to this email are virus free.****

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Milton Keynes Council were one of the quicker 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