Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Solihull Metropolitan 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 Solihull Borough 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

Shipway, Andrew (Strategic Services - Solihull MBC), Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Freedom of Information request – Ref 2510

Thank you for your request for information about the total annual figures for Compromise Agreements which we received on 7 January 2011.  Your request is being considered under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and we will aim to provide you with a response by 4 February 2011.

For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions which may prevent release of the information you have requested. If this is the case you will be advised of any considerations, subsequent decisions and your rights of appeal. There may be a fee payable for this information. This will be considered and you will be informed if a fee is payable.

Most of the information that we provide in response to FOIA requests will be subject to copyright protection. In most cases the copyright will be owned by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council. The copyright in other information may be owned by another person or organisation, as indicated in the information itself. You are free to use any information supplied for your own use including news reporting. However, any other type of re-use, for example, commercial use, publishing the information or issuing copies to the public will require the permission of the copyright owner.

Advice on the Freedom of Information Act is available from the Information Commissioners Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF, telephone: 01625 545 700, website: http://www.ico.gov.uk.

Yours sincerely

=====================================
Mr Andrew Shipway
Corporate Information Governance Manager
Corporate Performance, Policy and Information
Commissioning Division
Tel: 0121 704 6251
Email: [email address]
Fax: 0121 704 8311
Website: www.solihull.gov.uk
=====================================

show quoted sections

Summerill, Joanne (Strategic Services - Solihull MBC), Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Freedom of Information request - Ref No 2510

I am writing further to your request for information about the total
annual figures for compromise agreements, which we received on 7 January
2011. Please find our response below.

. 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).

2005 - 3

2006 - 11

2007 - 18

2008 - 9

2009 - 6

2010 - 14

. 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.

There were no cases where employees have had to compromise their right to
make requests.

I hope that the information that we have provided is to your
satisfaction. You are free to use any information supplied for your own
use, including for non-commercial research purposes. The information may
also be used for the purposes of news reporting. However, any other type
of re-use, for example, by publishing the information or issuing copies to
the public will require the permission of the copyright owner. For
information on how to apply for permission where the copyright is owned by
the Council please refer to the Council's website
[1]http://www.solihull.gov.uk/democracy/pub.... For
information where the copyright is owned by another person or
organisation, you must apply to the copyright owner to obtain their
permission.

If you are unhappy with the service that you have received in relation to
your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our
decision you should write to Andrew Shipway, Corporate Information
Governance Manager, PO Box 18, Council House, Solihull, West Midlands B91
9QS or email [2][Solihull Borough Council request email] by 25 February 2011. We aim to
deal with complaints and reviews within 10 working days.

If you are not content with the outcome of your review or complaint, you
may apply directly to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for a
decision. Generally the ICO cannot make a decision until you have
exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the Council. The
Information Commissioner can be contacted at Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, telephone: 01625 545 700, website:
[3]http://www.ico.gov.uk.

Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact
me.

Yours sincerely

Joanne Summerill

Information Governance Assistant

Information Governance Team

Corporate Performance, Policy and Information Division

Tel: 0121 704 6169

Email [4][email address]

Website: [5]http://www.solihull.gov.uk

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. http://www.solihull.gov.uk/democracy/pub...
2. mailto:[Solihull Borough Council request email]
3. http://www.ico.gov.uk/
4. mailto:[email address]
5. http://www.solihull.gov.uk/

Dear Joanne,

Many thanks for your response. I appreciate the time you have put into my query.

As your figures look a little on the high side, please could you exclude compromise agreements drawn up in the following circumstances and re-advise?

1. TUPE situations
2. Purely redundancy situations
3. Equal pay claims
4. Purely PILON (payment in lieu of notice) situations
5. COT3 agreements (where tribunal proceedings may or may not have been initiated

I am aiming to research national trends and movements in this area and am hoping to gain accurate information, and to provide a fair representation of how often they are used for every English council.

I trust that given the relatively small amount of records you will need to work through, this task will not be too arduous.

many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Summerill, Joanne (Strategic Services - Solihull MBC), Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Freedom of Information request - Ref 2547

Thank you for your follow up request for numbers of compromise agreements
excluding your specified criteria, which we received on 25 January 2011.
Your request is being considered under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and we will aim to provide you with a
response by 22 February 2011.

For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions which may
prevent release of the information you have requested. If this is the case
you will be advised of any considerations, subsequent decisions and your
rights of appeal. There may be a fee payable for this information. This
will be considered and you will be informed if a fee is payable.

Most of the information that we provide in response to FOIA requests will
be subject to copyright protection. In most cases the copyright will be
owned by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council. The copyright in other
information may be owned by another person or organisation, as indicated
in the information itself. You are free to use any information supplied
for your own use including news reporting. However, any other type of
re-use, for example, commercial use, publishing the information or issuing
copies to the public will require the permission of the copyright owner.

Advice on the Freedom of Information Act is available from the Information
Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9
5AF, telephone: 01625 545 700, website: [1]http://www.ico.gov.uk.

Yours sincerely

Joanne Summerill

Information Governance Assistant

Information Governance Team

Corporate Performance, Policy and Information Division

Tel: 0121 704 6169

Email [2][email address]

Website: [3]http://www.solihull.gov.uk

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.gov.uk/
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.solihull.gov.uk/

Summerill, Joanne (Strategic Services - Solihull MBC), Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Freedom of Information request - Ref No 2547

I am writing further to your latest request for information, which we
received on 25 January 2011.

You asked for the numbers of compromise agreements excluding the following
criteria.

1. TUPE situations

2. Purely redundancy situations

3. Equal pay claims

4. Purely PILON (payment in lieu of notice) situations

5. COT3 agreements (where tribunal proceedings may or may not have
been initiated

The only difference to our previous figures is that there was one less
compromise agreement in 2010. Hence the revised figures are as follows.

2005 - 3

2006 - 11

2007 - 18

2008 - 9

2009 - 6

2010 - 13

I hope that the information that we have provided is to your
satisfaction. You are free to use any information supplied for your own
use, including for non-commercial research purposes. The information may
also be used for the purposes of news reporting. However, any other type
of re-use, for example, by publishing the information or issuing copies to
the public will require the permission of the copyright owner. For
information on how to apply for permission where the copyright is owned by
the Council please refer to the Council's website
[1]http://www.solihull.gov.uk/democracy/pub.... For
information where the copyright is owned by another person or
organisation, you must apply to the copyright owner to obtain their
permission.

If you are unhappy with the service that you have received in relation to
your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our
decision you should write to Andrew Shipway, Corporate Information
Governance Manager, PO Box 18, Council House, Solihull, West Midlands B91
9QS or email [2][Solihull Borough Council request email] by 28 February 2011. We aim to
deal with complaints and reviews within 10 working days.

If you are not content with the outcome of your review or complaint, you
may apply directly to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for a
decision. Generally the ICO cannot make a decision until you have
exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the Council. The
Information Commissioner can be contacted at Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, telephone: 01625 545 700, website:
[3]http://www.ico.gov.uk.

Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact
me.

Yours sincerely

Joanne Summerill

Information Governance Assistant

Information Governance Team

Corporate Performance, Policy and Information Division

Tel: 0121 704 6169

Email [4][email address]

Website: [5]http://www.solihull.gov.uk

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. http://www.solihull.gov.uk/democracy/pub...
2. mailto:[Solihull Borough Council request email]
3. http://www.ico.gov.uk/
4. mailto:[email address]
5. http://www.solihull.gov.uk/

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Solihull Borough Council were one of the quicker respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 17 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