Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Ribble Valley Borough 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 Ribble Valley 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

Debbie Nuttall, Ribble Valley Borough Council

Thank-you for your email.
I am out of the office until Monday 10 January 2011. I will deal with your email on my return. If your query is urgent, please contact Diane Rice at [email address]. Happy New Year.

Many thanks.
Best regards,
Debbie

Best in the country for customer satisfaction – 94 per cent of Ribble Valley residents are satisfied with life in the borough (Place Survey 2009)

This transmission is intended for the named addressee(s) only and may contain sensitive, protectively marked or restricted material, and should be handled accordingly. Unless you are the named addressee (or authorised to receive it for the addressee) you may not copy, use, or disclose it to anyone else. If you have received this transmission in error, notify the sender immediately. All GCSX traffic may be subject to recording and/or monitoring in accordance with relevant legislation. This e-mail is issued subject to Ribble Valley Borough Council’s e-mail disclaimer, which you are taken to have read and accepted. Visit http://www.ribblevalley.gov.uk/disclaimer for further details.

Toni Towers, Ribble Valley Borough Council

Dear Sirs
Thank-you for your request for information on compromise agreements. It
was received by Ribble Valley Borough Council ("the Council") on 6
January 2011 and has been dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 ("the Act").
With regard to your enquiry, we would respond as follows:-
2009 - 6, 2010 - 9
We do not deal with teaching staff. You will however be able to obtain
these figures from Lancashire County Council who are responsible for
education in the Ribble Valley area on
[email address]
The information supplied to you continues to be protected by the
Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You are free to use it for
your own purposes, including any non-commercial research you are doing
and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for example
commercial publication, would require the permission of the copyright
holder.
If you have any queries about this email please feel free to contact me
at the above email address or by telephone on 01200 414403.
If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to
your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our
decision, you should write to Diane Rice, Legal Services Manager, Ribble
Valley Borough Council, Council Offices, Church Walk, Clitheroe,
Lancashire, BB7 2RA.
If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the
Information Commissioner's Office cannot make a decision unless you have
exhausted the complaints procedure provided by Ribble Valley Borough
Council. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The
Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF.
Regards
Toni Towers (on behalf of Debbie Nuttall, Solicitor)
Legal Assistant
Ribble Valley Borough Council
01200 414536

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Dear Toni,

Thanks for your rapid response and for the information. I have made a separate query to LCC.

Please could you confirm the second part of my query. How many (if any) of these employees has signed away their statutory right to make FOI or DPA requests in the future - as part of a compromise agreement?

Thank you in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Michelle Smith, Ribble Valley Borough Council

Dear Sirs

Further to your email of 13 January 2011, I can confirm that none of the
employees concerned have signed away their statutory right to make FOI or
DPA requests in the future as part of their compromise agreement.

Regards
Michelle Smith
Head of HR
Ribble Valley BC
Church Walk
Clitheroe
Lancashire
BB7 2RA
Link: [1]File-List

Best in the country for customer satisfaction – 94 per cent of Ribble
Valley residents are satisfied with life in the borough (Place Survey
2009)

 

This transmission is intended for the named addressee(s) only and may
contain sensitive, protectively marked or restricted material, and should
be handled accordingly. Unless you are the named addressee (or authorised
to receive it for the addressee) you may not copy, use, or disclose it to
anyone else. If you have received this transmission in error, notify the
sender immediately. All GCSX traffic may be subject to recording and/or
monitoring in accordance with relevant legislation. This e-mail is issued
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Toni Towers, Ribble Valley Borough Council

Dear Paul

None of the employees concerned have signed away their statutory right
to make FOI or DPA requests in the future as part of their compromise
agreement.

Regards
Toni

Dear Toni,

Thanks for your rapid response and for the information. I have made
a separate query to LCC.

Please could you confirm the second part of my query. How many (if
any) of these employees has signed away their statutory right to
make FOI or DPA requests in the future - as part of a compromise
agreement?

Thank you in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

show quoted sections

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Ribble Valley District Council were one of the quickest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking only 8 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