Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to South Gloucestershire Council

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The request was successful.

Dear South Gloucestershire 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

CorporateContactCentre, South Gloucestershire Council

Thank you for your email which has been forwarded to the Freedom of
Information Office.

Corporate Contact Centre
Chief Executive & Corporate Resources Department
Tel: 01454-868009
e-mail: [South Gloucestershire Council request email]

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Donna Marks, South Gloucestershire Council

1 Attachment


Miss D C Marks

Senior Solicitor (Litigation)

Legal & Democratic Services

Telephone: 01454-868580

Email: [email address]

Important: The information in this message, and in any reply or
attachment, is provided or received for the purposes of obtaining or
providing legal advice, or advice given in a legal context, and may
therefore be subject to legal professional privilege - please refer to the
writer before disclosing to any other person.

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Dear Donna Marks,

Thanks very much for your detailed response and for the time you have devoted to this request.

I am engaged in wide-ranging research in this area and wish to obtain figures for ALL English Councils which are as accurate as possible. The purpose of this is to observe trends and movements, both regionally and nationally.

In light of this, please could you exclude COT3 agreements from the quoted figures and re-advise? It's my intention to concentrate on annual figures for compromise agreements only.

Many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Donna Marks, South Gloucestershire Council

1 Attachment

Dear sirs

Please see the revised list without the inclusion of the COT3


Donna Marks

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

South Gloucestershire Council were one of the quicker respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 20 working days (the statutory period) 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 - 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.