Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to St Albans 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 successful.

Dear St. Albans 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

Freedom Information, St Albans District Council

Dear Mr Cardin - thank you for your email.


Freedom of Information Request - acknowledgement


Reference: F0317

I write with regard to your request for information sent to St Albans
City & District Council. Your request was received by the Council on the
10h of January 2011.

Under Section 10(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, we are
required to respond no later than 20 working days after the date we
receive your request.


This means that you should have a response by the 7th of February 2011.

However, if we feel that we require further information to fulfil your
request we will write to inform you within the twenty day period
[section 1(3)].


If the Council considers that we require further time to respond then we
will write to you informing you of the estimated date of response
[section 10 (3)].


If we consider that complying with the request will exceed the cost
limit then we will write to tell you within 20 working days.


I will now pass this request to the relevant department, and we will be
in contact with you in due course.

Regards

Holly Braisher
Administrative Assistant, Internal Audit
St Albans City & District Council
Civic Offices, St Peter's Street
St Albans, Herts
AL1 3JE
Direct dial: 01727 819236
Fax: 01727 819337

Historic St Albans District: a premier community
www.stalbans.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Lakshmi Raghavachari, St Albans District Council

Dear Mr Cardin

RE: Freedom of Information request F0317

Thank you for your email dated 7 January 2011 in respect of Freedom of
Information Request. You requested that the council supply the following
information.

1) 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 & external
investigation(s)/whistleblowing incident(s).

2002 = 2

2003 = 1

2004 =0

2005 = 1

2006 = 0

2007 = 2

2008 = 2

2009 = 3

2010 = 1

2) 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.

2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 = 0 for all years.

If you are dissatisfied with this response the Commissioner's Office
recommends that you first refer the matter to the Council. You can do this
by writing to me asking for an internal review of my decision. If you wish
the Council to undertake an internal review, then you must write to the
Council within 40 working days of the date of this letter. The Council
will not consider any requests received after this date unless there are
exceptional circumstances for the delay.

You have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner's Office at the
following address: Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.
You must do this no later than two months after the Local Authority's last
response to you.

Yours sincerely

Miss Lakshmi Raghavachari, FOI Coordinator Human Resources

Human Resources & Customer Services Development, St Albans District
Council, District Council Offices,

Civic Centre, St Peters Street, St Albans, Herts AL1 3JE

[1][email address] or Internal Tel: 2335 or External
Tel: 01727 819335

Historic St Albans District: A Premier Community

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

St. Albans District Council were one of the quicker respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 15 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