Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

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

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The request was successful.

Dear Ryedale 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

Judy Alderson, Ryedale District Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin

I attach an acknowledgement of your e-mail dated 6 January 2011 relating
to the above subject.

Judy Alderson
Practice Co-ordinator
Legal Services
Ryedale District Council
Ryedale House
North Yorkshire
YO17 7HH

T: 01653 600666 ext 255
F: 01653 696801
E: [email address]


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Janine Suggitt, Ryedale District Council

Thank you for your enquiry. Please see the summary below within the text of your questions.

Kind regards

Janine Suggitt
Human Resources Officer
Ryedale District Council
Ryedale House
North Yorkshire
YO17 7HH
Tel 01653 600666 ext 370
Fax 01653 600234
Please note I normally work Monday to Thursday mornings only.

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Dear Janine Suggitt,

Many thanks,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Janine Suggitt, Ryedale District Council

Thank you for your email.

I am away from the office until Monday 17th January 2011.

I will reply to your email on my return, however if your email is urgent
please contact my colleague Nicola Dennison,
[email address].

Many thanks

Janine Suggitt

HR Officer

Ryedale District Council

01653 600666 x 370

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Ryedale District 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:

...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.