Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Rutland County Council

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The request was successful.

Dear Rutland County 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

FOI, Rutland County Council

Dear Mr. Cardin,

The response from Rutland County Council is as follows:

Internal investigation: 2010 - 1

Grievance: 2010 - 1

We do not have information on teaching staff.

If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been
handled, you can request a review by writing to:-

Monitoring Officer, Rutland County Council, Catmose, Oakham, Rutland, LE15
6HP

Telephone: 01572 722577 e-mail: [1][email address]

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint,
you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:-

The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Telephone: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45 Website: www.ico.gov.uk

There is no charge for making an appeal.

Freedom of Information

Rutland County Council

Catmose, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 6HP

t: 01572 722577 | f: 01572 758457 | e: [2][email address]

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Dear FOI,

Many thanks for your response.

Please could you respond to the second part of the query i.e. gagging clauses regardin DPA and FOI requests in the future?

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

FOI, Rutland County Council

Dear Mr. Cardin,

We are not aware of any staff being bound by such clauses, but once again we do not have any information relating to teaching staff.

We hope that your request has now been answered in full.

Freedom of Information
Rutland County Council
Catmose, Oakham, Rutland, LE15 6HP
t: 01572 722577 | f: 01572 758457 | e: [email address]

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Rutland County Council were one of the quickest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 13 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