Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to South Holland District 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 partially successful.

Dear South Holland 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 - 1; 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

Burton, Claire,

Dear Mr Cardin,

I write with the information you requested under the Freedom of
Information Act.

a) As far as records go back, the annual figures for the total of current
employees/ex-employees who have signed compromise agreements directly
related to the resolving of disputes/grievances/internal and external
investigations/whistle blowing incidents.

There has been one compromise agreement relating to the categories you
give. This was in 2009.

b) 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 the
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.

We do not hold this information.

I trust this answers your questions

Kind regards

Claire Burton

HR Business Partner

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Dear Claire,

Thanks for your response.

With reference to the second part of my query, can you put in a call to the legal department and ask whether it is their policy to include such 'gagging clauses'.

It's unlikely, but possible,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Burton, Claire,

Dear Paul

Our legal department does not deal with our compromise agreements, they are drawn up by external lawyers.

Regards
Claire Burton

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Dear Burton, Claire,

Many thanks. In the interests of public access rights, please contact your external lawyers and re-advise.

Many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Dear South Holland District Council,

Please can you tell me what is happening with the second part of my request.

This is an important subject and I'd like a categorical response as to whether you have included or plan to include FOI / DPA related gagging clauses in your compromise agreements.

This request has now ran over 50 working days,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Dear South Holland District Council,

Hi. We're now over 60 working days and you are not responding to my emails. I'd appreciate it if you acknowledged the request I made regarding the second part of my query.

In the interests of public access rights, please
contact your external lawyers and re-advise.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Customer Services,

Dear Mr Cardin ,

Thank you for your email .This has been forward to HR department .

Yours Sincerely ,

Customer Services .

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Burton, Claire,

Dear Mr Cardin

In response to your query, I understand that it would not be our standard policy to include a 'gagging clause' for someone to forgo their right to approach the Council in the future with Freedom of Information and/or DPA Subject Access requests under the relevant Acts.

Regards
Claire Burton
HR Business Partner

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Dear Burton, Claire,

Thanks.

But would it be a 'non-standard' option?

Please answer the question categorically. Have you ever used them? Yes or No. Would you use them in the future? Yes or No. Thanks again in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Burton, Claire,

Dear Mr Cardin,

In the compromise agreements I have access to, a gagging clause has not been used. For any compromise agreement which occurs in the future we will be advised by our lawyers what would be appropriate.

Regards
Claire Burton

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Dear Burton, Claire,

Thanks for your time.

Just to let you know that using such a gagging clause would likely be regarded as unlawful if taken through the courts. I would not recommend it either because it would be incompatible with any claim your council may make now or in the future to being "committed to openness and transparency",

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

South Holland District Council were one of the slowest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 62 working days (over three times the statutory period) 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