Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to North Warwickshire Borough Council

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Dear North Warwickshire 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

Harris, Sue, North Warwickshire Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Please see below the answers to your request.

If you have any complaints about the information supplied, you should
write to;
The Assistant Chief Executive & Solicitor to the Council
North Warwickshire Borough Council
The Council House
South Street
Atherstone
Warwickshire
CV9 1DE

If that fails to resolve the matter to your complete satisfaction, you
have the right to apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision.

Yours sincerely
Robert Beggs
Policy Support Manager
01827 719238
[North Warwickshire Borough Council request email]

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Cardin [mailto:[FOI #56951 email]]
Sent: 05 January 2011 23:32
To: Beggs, Robert
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Total Annual Figures for
Compromise Agreements, etc.

Dear North Warwickshire 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).

2005 - 3
2006 - 0
2007 - 2
2008 - 0
2009 - 0
2010 - 1

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.

2005 - 2010 inclusive - None

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

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Dear Sue,

Many thanks,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

North Warwickshire Borough Council were one of the quickest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking only 6 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