Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to North Kesteven 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 North Kesteven 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

Freedom of information, North Kesteven District Council

Ref No: 10/0266

10 January 2011

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your email of 5 January 2011 which we received on the same
day requesting information regarding : Compromise Agreements.

Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days. 

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

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me.
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely

Helen Snowden

FOI/Complaints Assistant

North Kesteven District Council

Tel no 01529 414155

Ext 2586

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Freedom of information, North Kesteven District Council

Ref No: 10/0266

31 January 2011

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your email of 5 January 2011 where you requested
information regarding : Compromise Agreements.

The information you requested is enclosed:

2008 1

2010 1

We did not ask either people to forgo their right to approach the council
in the future with Freedom of Information and/or DPA

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be
submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your
original letter and should be addressed to Michelle Carrington, Head of
Customer Services, North Kesteven District Council, Kesteven Street,
Sleaford, Lincs, NG34 7EF.

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF

Yours sincerely

Helen Snowden

FOI/Complaints Assistant

North Kesteven District Council

Tel no 01529 414155

Ext 28186

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

North Kesteven District Council were one of the quicker respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 19 working 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