Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Bournemouth 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 Bournemouth Borough Council,

Please supply totals for the following:

Since the inception of Bournemouth Borough Council, or as far as records go back, the annual figures for the total number of current employees or ex-employees of Bournemouth Borough 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 who have agreed, following the matter being raised and made conditional as part of a compromise agreement drawn up by the body acting as Bournemouth Borough Council's legal team, 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.

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

Information Compliance, Bournemouth Borough Council

Dear Paul

Freedom of Information Request
I am writing to acknowledge your request for information received on 2nd
January 2011

We are dealing with your request and will be in contact with you again.

A response will be made within 20 working days, either supplying you
with the information which you have asked for, or explaining why we
cannot supply it. If we need any further clarification we will contact
you.

After we have responded to your request, you may receive a short
feedback form. You are under no obligation to complete the feedback
form. However, this will help us to assess and improve the service we
provide. If you would like to provide feedback with regard to the
handling of your request, you can do so by completing our online
feedback form available on the following link:
https://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/secure/fe...

Yours sincerely

Nicky Dear
Senior Solicitor

Law & Governance
Telephone: 01202 458221
e-mail: [email address]
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Susannah Nowell, Bournemouth Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin

Information Request 3144

Thank you for your information request received 2/1/2011.

Unfortunately, the estimated costs of undertaking the necessary search,
retrieval and preparation work to allow us to respond to your request will
exceed the £450 fee limit as set out in the Fee and Appropriate Limit
Regulations 2005. This is because no date parameters have been provided
in the request making it too broad. In addition the request would involve
a manual review of each employment file in order to identify relevant
recorded information. Therefore, the Council is not obliged to provide
you with the information. The fee limit equates to a maximum of 18 hours
of search, retrieval and preparation time.

A modified request will be given due consideration provided the work
involved does not, again, exceed the fee limit. Any modification to your
request will be treated as a new request for the purposes of the Freedom
of Information Act.

Please contact me again if you require any further assistance on this
matter.

You were advised in our acknowledgement to you that you may receive a
short feedback form. This is to help us assess and improve the services
we provide. This is to remind you that you may be selected to take part.
However, if you want to provide feedback to us, you can do so by
completing the online feedback form on the Council's website on the
following link:
[1]https://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/secure/fe...

If you are dissatisfied with this response you can ask for a review, which
will be dealt with through the Council's complaints procedure. Details of
the complaints procedure can be found at:

[2]http://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/Residents/...

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the Council's review you have
the right to refer the matter to the Information Commissioner's Office.
Contact details for the Information Commissioner can be found at:
[3]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Regards

Susannah Nowell
HR Advisor
Human Resources & Organisational Development

Telephone: 01202 458834
e-mail: [4][email address]
Fax: 01202 451002

VISIT OUR WEBSITE: [5]www.bournemouth.gov.uk

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3. http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/
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4. mailto:[email address]
5. http://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/
http://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/

Dear Susannah Nowell,

Many thanks for your response. Please accept my apologies for being too vague with the dates.

In order to make the task more manageable, please restrict your enquiries to the following time period: between 2005 and 2010 i.e. the last 6 years.

Allow me to narrow the scope of my request also by subject area. Please exclude all compromise agreements drawn up in the following circumstances:

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

I hope that this streamlines the task a little. Also, can I place this request into a wider context by advising you that I have made an identical approach to all English Councils. So far, over 70 councils have responded positively and in full.

I imagine that they may have placed the following phone calls:

1. To the Accounts department - where an adequate electronic data storage and retrieval system should be in use. Usually, compromise agreements in the quoted circumstances involve the employee coming to an agreement to terminate their contract on mutually agreeable terms. This generally involves a payment to purchase the employee's co-operation in the future, along with the use of gagging and penalty clauses. This payment should be found under an identifying heading within the accounts, indicating the nature of the compromise agreement.

2. To the Legal department - again, where an adequate electronic data storage and retrieval system should be in use. The nature and quantity of all compromise agreements should be stored here and should be able to be quantified by year.

I hope this information makes your task more manageable and it is now easier to satisfy my request,

many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Susannah Nowell, Bournemouth Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin

Freedom of Information Request 3210

I am writing to acknowledge your request for information received on
21/1/2011.

We are dealing with your request and will be in contact with you again.

A response will be made within 20 working days, either supplying you with
the information which you have asked for, or explaining why we cannot
supply it. If we need any further clarification we will contact you.

After we have responded to your request, you may receive a short feedback
form. You are under no obligation to complete the feedback form.
However, this will help us to assess and improve the service we provide.
If you would like to provide feedback with regard to the handling of your
request, you can do so by completing our online feedback form available on
the following link:
[1]https://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/secure/fe...

Regards

Susannah Nowell
HR Advisor
Human Resources & Organisational Development

Telephone: 01202 458834
e-mail: [2][email address]
Fax: 01202 451002

VISIT OUR WEBSITE: [3]www.bournemouth.gov.uk

Please save paper and only print out what is necessary

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2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/
http://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/

Susannah Nowell, Bournemouth Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin

Information Request 3210 - Freedom of Information Act

Further to your request for information received on 21/1/2011 please find
enclosed the material that you asked for.

The total number of compromise agreements from 2005-2010 is shown
below.

Fin Year No of Compromise Agreements
2007-08 29
2005-06 6
2006-07 21
2008-09 16
2009-10 17
Total 89

Please note we have used financial years.

The total annual figures for the number of current employees/ex-employees
who have agreed, following the matter being raised and made conditional as
part of a compromise agreement drawn up by the body acting as Bournemouth
Borough Council's legal team, to forgo their right to approach the council
in the future with Freedom of Information and/or DPA Subject Access
requests under relevant Acts is 0.

I hope that this deals with your request satisfactorily.

The information supplied to you is subject to copyright protection under
the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You are free to use it (not
including logos) for non-commercial purposes. You must re-use it
accurately and not in a misleading context, and acknowledge us as your
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enquiries about re-using all or part of this information for commercial
purposes should be directed to the Council's Corporate Information
Compliance Officer who can be contacted by email at
[1][Bournemouth Borough Council request email], or in writing to:

Bournemouth Borough Council

Legal Services

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Bournemouth

BH2 6DY

Where third party copyright material has been provided, you must ensure
you have gained the permission of the third party before reproducing the
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contact the third party for clarification.

You were advised in our acknowledgement to you that you may receive a
short feedback form. This is to help us assess and improve the services
we provide. This is to remind you that you may be selected to take part.
However, if you want to provide feedback to us, you can do so by
completing the online feedback form on the Council's website on the
following link:
[2]https://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/secure/fe...

If you are dissatisfied with this response you can ask for a review, which
will be dealt with through the Council's complaints procedure. Details of
the complaints procedure can be found at:

[3]http://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/Residents/...

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the Council's review you have
the right to refer the matter to the Information Commissioner's Office.
Contact details for the Information Commissioner can be found at:

[4]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Regards

Susannah Nowell
HR Advisor
Human Resources & Organisational Development

Telephone: 01202 458834
e-mail: [5][email address]
Fax: 01202 451002

VISIT OUR WEBSITE: [6]www.bournemouth.gov.uk

Please save paper and only print out what is necessary

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References

Visible links
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mailto:[Bournemouth Borough Council request email]
2. https://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/secure/fe...
https://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/secure/fe...
3. http://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/Residents/...
http://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/Residents/...
4. http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/
http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/
5. mailto:[email address]
6. http://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/
http://www.bournemouth.gov.uk/

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Bournemouth Borough Council were one of the slower respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 34 working days (over 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

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