Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council

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The request was successful.

Dear Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council,

Please supply Annual totals for the following:

As far as records go back, the annual figures for the total
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, Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council

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Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council,
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Newcastle-under-Lyme,
Staffordshire.
ST5 2AG.
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Horne, Caroline, Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council

Dear Sir - FOI Reference number ___950________

I acknowledge receipt of your request for information received today, which I confirm has been directed to the relevant section / s for response within the statutory deadline of 20 working days from day of receipt.
In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if this is the case you will be contacted with the details, and you will be required to pay before we will proceed to deal with your request.
If you have any queries regarding this matter, please contact me and remember to quote the reference number given in any future communication.

Kind Regards

Caroline Horne
FOI Coordinator
Central Services
Newcastle Borough Council
[email address]

show quoted sections

Clisby, Paul, Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council

Dear Mr. Cardin,

Below please see responses to your questions:

Please supply Annual totals for the following:

As far as records go back, the annual figures for the total
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).

2006 - one
2007 - 0
2008 - 6
2009 - 2
2010 - one

We are not an education authority so no teaching staff

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.

There are none.

Jackie Johnston
Central Services
Telephone 01782 742201

It takes 24 trees to produce one tonne of paper - think before you print!

This e-mail communication may be intercepted for regulatory, quality
control, or crime detection purposes as per the Regulation of
Investigatory Powers (RIP) Act. This message is intended only for the use
of authorised person(s) ("the intended recipient") to whom it is
addressed. It may contain information that is privileged and confidential
within the meaning of the applicable law. Accordingly any dissemination,
distribution, copying or other use of this message or any of its content
by any other person may constitute a breach of civil or criminal law and
is strictly prohibited. If you are not the Intended recipient please
contact the sender as soon as possible. Any views expressed in this
message are those of the individual sender and may not necessarily reflect
the views of Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council.

This e-mail communication may be intercepted for regulatory, quality
control, or crime detection purposes as per the Regulation of
Investigatory Powers (RIP) Act. This message is intended only for the use
of authorised person(s) ('the intended recipient') to whom it is
addressed. It may contain information that is privileged and confidential
within the meaning of the applicable law. Accordingly any dissemination,
distribution, copying or other use of this message or any of its content
by any other person may constitute a breach of civil or criminal law and
is strictly prohibited. If you are not the Intended recipient please
contact the sender as soon as possible. Any views expressed in this
message are those of the individual sender and may not necessarily reflect
the views of Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council

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Dear Paul,

Many thanks for your reply,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council were one of the quickest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking only 8 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 - although 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