Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Northamptonshire County Council

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The request was successful.

Dear Northamptonshire County 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, Northamptonshire County Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Freedom of Information Request: FR2420

I am writing to acknowledge your request for information dated 5 January
2011 received 6^th January 2011.

Our team is dealing with your request and we will be in contact with you
soon. If you have any queries about this email, please contact me quoting
the reference FR2420 in any future communications.

You should expect a further response within 20 working days.

Yours sincerely

Ms Allen

Freedom of Information and Data Protection Officer

Internal Audit and Risk Management

County Hall

Northampton

NN1 1AT

Tel: 01604 236328

E:[email address]

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Freedom of Information, Northamptonshire County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin

Please see attached.

Kind Regards

Diana Ingman

Data Protection/Freedom of Information Officer

Internal Audit and Risk Management

Northamptonshire County Council

PO Box 104, County Hall

Northampton NN1 1AW

Tel : 01604 236653

Fax : 01604 237004

E-Mail:[Northamptonshire County Council request email]

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Northamptonshire County Council were one of the quicker respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 10 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