Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Richmondshire District Council

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The request was successful.

Dear Richmondshire 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

GEN - FOI/DP Information Request, Richmondshire District Council

RDC FOI Ref: 1231 - Compromise Agreements

Dear Mr Cardin

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Information Request

I acknowledge your request for information received on 6 January 2011.

Your request is being considered and you will receive the information
requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined
by the Freedom of Information Act 2000, subject to the information not
being exempt or containing a reference to a third party.

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If you have any queries or concerns then please contact The Information
Officer at Richmondshire District Council, Swale House, Frenchgate,
Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL10 4JE Tel: 01748 827027, Email:
[Richmondshire District Council request email]

Further information is also available from the Information Commissioner
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Telephone: 01625 545 700

Yours sincerely

Sheila Cantrell

Sheila Cantrell
Business Support Manager
Resource Services
Richmondshire District Council

t: 01748 828713 / 7046
e: [email address]

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Richmondshire District Council, Swale House, Frenchgate, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL10 4JE.

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Cantrell, Sheila, Richmondshire District Council

2 Attachments

RDC FOI Ref: 1231 - Compromise Agreements

Dear Mr Cardin

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Information Request

Your request for information has now been considered and the information
requested is below.

Information Disclosed

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Richmondshire District Council were one of the quicker respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 18 working 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.