Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to New Forest 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 New Forest District 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

New Forest District Council

Thank you for your request for information, which is being treated as a
request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your request will be
dealt with at the earliest opportunity.

Where possible the Council will endeavour to supply the information,
however, please note that there may be legitimate reason to withold the
information requested and that in some cases providing the information may
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New Forest District Council

New Forest District Council

Dear Paul Cardin

Thank you for your request for information about :

Annual figures for Compromise Agreements

Your request was received on 05/01/2011 and we are dealing with it under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

If you have any queries about this email, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications

Thank you for your enquiry.
Yours sincerely

Karen Grimes
Information Compliance Officer

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Manjit Sandhu, New Forest District Council

1 Attachment

Dear Paul

Please find attached your Freedom of Information enquiry as requested.


Manjit Sandhu

Head of Human Resources

Human Resources

Tel: 023 8028 5482 HPSN: 8777 5482

[1][email address] [2]

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

New Forest District Council were one of the quicker respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 16 days to respond positively and in full.

Please link here to read about the further aspects of this request:

...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.