Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

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

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Dear Sevenoaks District Council,

Please supply Annual totals for the followig:

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

Sevenoaks District Council

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David Lagzdins, Sevenoaks District Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin

Please find attached a response to tour Freedom of Information request.

Yours sincerely

David Lagzdins

David Lagzdins
Democratic Services Officer

Sevenoaks District Council
01732 227350
[email address]

This email may contain privileged/confidential information. It is
intended solely for the person to whom it is addressed. If you are not
the intended recipient you may not copy, deliver or disclose the content
of this message to anyone. In such case please destroy/delete the message
immediately and notify the sender by reply email.
Opinions, conclusions and other information in this message that do not
relate to the official business of Sevenoaks District Council shall be
understood as neither given nor endorsed by the Council.
All email communications sent to or from Sevenoaks District Council may be
subject to recording and/or monitoring in accordance with relevant
legislation.
Visit the Council at [1]www.sevenoaks.gov.uk

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Sevenoaks 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:

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