Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Central Bedfordshire 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 Central Bedfordshire Council,

Please supply totals for the following:

Since the inception of Central Bedfordshire Council, or as far as records go back, the annual figures for the total number of current employees or ex-employees of Central Bedfordshire 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 who have agreed, following the matter being raised and made conditional as part of a compromise agreement drawn up by Central Bedfordshire Council's legal team, to 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 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

FOI and Data Protection Request, Central Bedfordshire Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

Thank you for your request for information received on 4 January 2011.

We will deal with your request within 20 working days, in accordance with
the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case I will
let you know. A fees notice will be sent to you and you will be required
to pay before we proceed with your request for information.

If you have any questions about the contents of this letter, please do not
hesitate to contact me quoting reference FOI 495-2010-11 in any future
communications.

Regards,

Svitlana Gouin

Access to Information Officer

Office of the Chief Executive

Central Bedfordshire Council

Priory House

Monks Walk

Chicksands

SG17 5TQ

Tel. 0300 3006268 Internal: 76268

[1][email address]

[2]www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

All other enquiries: 0300 300 8000

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FOI and Data Protection Request, Central Bedfordshire Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

Unfortunately, it is taking us longer than anticipated to respond to your
request. I therefore kindly ask you for additional time. We will do our
best to send you a response by 11 February 2011. I will update you on the
progress in due course.

Regards,

Svitlana Gouin

Access to Information Officer

Office of the Chief Executive

Central Bedfordshire Council

Priory House

Monks Walk

Chicksands

SG17 5TQ

Tel. 0300 3006268 Internal: 76268

[1]www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

All other enquiries: 0300 300 8301

show quoted sections

Dear FOI and Data Protection Request,

Many thanks for your response.

By law, I believe the authority should have responded promptly and
by 1st February 2011.

Although I have received no full response, to assist, I would like to
'sharpen' and reduce the scope of the original request as follows:

Please exclude all COT3 Agreements and all compromise agreements
drawn up in the following circumstances:

1. Purely redundancy situations
2. Purely PILON (pay in lieu of notice) situations
3. Equal pay claims
4. TUPE situations

Further to this, please reduce the time period to the years between
2005 and 2010 i.e. the last six years.

I am researching this particular area and aim to view trends and
movements both regionally and nationally. It would benefit myself
and the authority if the figures reached were as accurate as
possible.

When responding, please give figures in calendar year format e.g.
2005 - 1; 2006 - 3; 2007 - 2; etc.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

FOI and Data Protection Request, Central Bedfordshire Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

Thank you for your feedback. We acknowledge the revised version of your
request and will update you on the progress in due course.

Regards,

Svitlana Gouin

Access to Information Officer

Office of the Chief Executive

Central Bedfordshire Council

Priory House

Monks Walk

Chicksands

SG17 5TQ

Tel: 0300 3006268 Internal: 76268

[1][email address]

[2]www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

All other enquiries: 0300 300 8301

show quoted sections

FOI and Data Protection Request, Central Bedfordshire Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin,

Please find attached the response.

Regards,

Svitlana Gouin

Access to Information Officer

Office of the Chief Executive

Central Bedfordshire Council

Priory House

Monks Walk

Chicksands

SG17 5TQ

Tel. 0300 3006268 Internal: 76268

[1][email address]

[2]www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

All other enquiries: 0300 300 8000

show quoted sections

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Central Bedfordshire Council were one of the slower respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 27 working 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