Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Rushmoor 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 Rushmoor 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

Pat Banner, Rushmoor Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000, which we received today, 7 January.

It has been forwarded to the relevant officer for processing within 20
working days of receipt and you may be contacted again if we require any
further information.

Yours sincerely

Mrs Pat Banner
Legal Services
Rushmoor Borough Council
Farnborough Road
Farnborough
Hants
GU14 7JU

DX 122250 Farnborough 2

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Nicky Orchard, Rushmoor Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

Thank you for your request for information on the total annual figures of
compromise agreements which have been signed directly related to resolving
disputes, grievances, internal/external investigations or whistle blowing,
I can provide the information below :-

2006 = 2

2007 = 0

2008 = 1

2009 = 1

2010 = 0

You also requested information on the number of those compromise
agreements where they had signed to forgo their right to approach for
Freedom of information requests or DPA Subject Access - this is 0 for all
those instances.

I hope that this answers your question satisfactorily, but if you are
unhappy with the reply you have received, I attach a link to the Council's
Complaints Procedure, which is the means by which you may request the
Council to review it.

[1]http://eforms.rushmoor.gov.uk/AF3/an/def...

Alternatively a printed copy of the Comments and Complaints Leaflet is
available if you wish.

If, following a review you are still dissatisfied, you can ask the
Information Commissioner to decide whether your request for information
has been dealt with in accordance with the legislation. The address is:

FOI/EIR Complaints Resolution

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Tel: 01625 545 745

08456 30 60 60

Fax: 01625 524 510

An online complaints form is available on the ICO website at
[2]www.ico.gov.uk

Nicky Orchard
Head of Personnel
Direct Dial 01252 398420
www.rushmoor.gov.uk

CONFIDENTIALITY & DISCLAIMER NOTICE

This email and any attachments are intended only for the individual or
entity to which they are addressed and may be confidential.

If this email has been sent to you in error, please accept our apologies
and inform the sender, delete the message and destroy all copies.
Unauthorised copying, distribution or other use of the information it
contains is strictly prohibited.

The content of email to and from the Council may be monitored for reasons
of good business practice and for monitoring compliance with the Council's
staff policies. Email monitoring / blocking software may also be used.

Please note that under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and related
legislation, the Council may be required to disclose information contained
in any email or other correspondence and that complete confidentiality
cannot be guaranteed.

This footnote confirms that this email has been swept by the MessageLabs
Email Security System for the presence of computer viruses. We advise that
in keeping with good ICT practice you should confirm for yourself that
this email and attachments are virus free.

Rushmoor Borough Council
http://www.rushmoor.gov.uk

References

Visible links
1. http://eforms.rushmoor.gov.uk/AF3/an/def...
2. http://www.ico.gov.uk/

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Rushmoor Borough Council were one of the quicker respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 11 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