Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

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

Please supply Annual totals for the following:

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

Dear Tameside Borough Council,

By law, I believe the authority should have responded promptly and
by 1st February 2011.

Although I have received no response, to assist, and as an act of good faith, I would like to reduce the scope of the original request as follows:
Please exclude all COT3 Agreements and all compromise agreements
drawn up in the following circumstances:

1. Purely redundancy situations
2. Purely PILON (pay in lieu of notice) situations
3. Equal pay claims
4. TUPE situations
5. Purely voluntary severance situations

Further to this, please reduce the time period to the years between
2005 and 2010 i.e. the last six years.

I am researching this particular area and aim to view trends and
movements both regionally and nationally. It would benefit myself
and the authority if the figures reached were as accurate as
possible.

When responding, please give figures in calendar year format e.g.
2005 - 1; 2006 - 3; 2007 - 2; etc.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Dear Tameside Borough Council,

I checked today and I'm still waiting for a reply from yourselves. Since my original request, I've sent another message reducing the scope of the original one.

This is not a good response so far, as I've received nothing since my original request on 8th January 2011. Now well over a month ago,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Dear Tameside Borough Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Tameside Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.'.

Your response is now long overdue.

This request has now been responded to positively and in full by 251 English Councils since 1st January 2011. I'd appreciate it very much if while conducting this internal review, you took into account all the
questions and information I have supplied to date.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/to...

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Dear Tameside Borough Council,

I'd be most grateful if you responded to my request for an internal review, sent on 5th March.

To date, 272 councils have responded positively and in full. Your reaction, I'm afraid, ranks near the bottom of 345 English Councils in terms of speed of service and quality of response,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Sandra Stewart, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin
Thank you for your email. Can you let me have a copy of your original
request and your copy for a review and whose these emails were sent to as
I have not previously received the and my service is responsible for both
FoIAs and the subject heading of your email. The Council has a practice
of acknowledging FoIA requests with 5 working days.

Yours sincerely
Sandra Stewart
Borough Solicitor

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Dear Sandra Stewart,

Thanks for the response.

Original message sent on 8th January 2011:

"Please supply Annual totals for the following:

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."

Next message (reduction in scope) sent on 5th February 2011:

"By law, I believe the authority should have responded promptly and
by 1st February 2011.

Although I have received no response, to assist, and as an act of
good faith, I would like to reduce the scope of the original
request as follows:
Please exclude all COT3 Agreements and all compromise agreements
drawn up in the following circumstances:

1. Purely redundancy situations
2. Purely PILON (pay in lieu of notice) situations
3. Equal pay claims
4. TUPE situations
5. Purely voluntary severance situations

Further to this, please reduce the time period to the years between
2005 and 2010 i.e. the last six years.

I am researching this particular area and aim to view trends and
movements both regionally and nationally. It would benefit myself
and the authority if the figures reached were as accurate as
possible.

When responding, please give figures in calendar year format e.g.
2005 - 1; 2006 - 3; 2007 - 2; etc."

Request for internal review, sent on 5th March 2011:

"Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of
Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Tameside Borough
Council's handling of my FOI request 'Total Annual Figures for
Compromise Agreements, etc.'.

Your response is now long overdue.

This request has now been responded to positively and in full by
251 English Councils since 1st January 2011. I'd appreciate it very
much if while conducting this internal review, you took into
account all the
questions and information I have supplied to date.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is
available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/to...

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Sandra Stewart, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin
Thank you for your prompt response I can assure you we have not previously
received this email but I notice it has come via what dotheyknow.com which
may explain the problem. We have had previous issues in the past where
emails from this address do not get past the Council's firewall because
they have become corrupt or affected by virus. More than happy to deal
with your request and will do so within 20 working days.
Yours sincerely
Sandra Stewart

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Dear Sandra Stewart,

You have failed to deal with my request after promising to do so within 20 working days.

Please can you advise what is happening. This request originally went in in early January.

It's now May. Your new failure to act casts doubt over the excuse you gave regarding the first failure,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Trevor R Nunn left an annotation ()

They use a number of tactics to delay responding to requests, one is to delay acknowledging receipt to give them extra time.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/sh...

Trevor R Nunn left an annotation ()

Having carried out some further research it would appear that this council also fails to respond to quite a few request made vis WDTK for one reason or another. Strange that most councils don't appear have the same problem.

Trevor R Nunn left an annotation ()

We have had previous issues in the past where emails from this address do not get past the Council's firewall because they have become corrupt or affected by virus.

Trevor R Nunn left an annotation ()

Just made WDTK aware of the statement above.

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Appreciate your assistance on this Trevor. Many thanks.

Trevor R Nunn left an annotation ()

Here is their latest reason for delay "Council's busy year end and election period."

Trevor R Nunn left an annotation ()

Email received from WDTK

As I'm sure you're aware this is clearly nonsense from the council.

The messages sent out by WhatDoTheyKnow are simple plain text messages containing the content shown on the request threads.

The council may well not have seen the message due to their spam filter being overzealous; ideally they'd "whitelist" emails from @WhatDoTheyKnow.com so they can be sure they'll get through.

Dear Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council,

We're now into June and nothing heard. I will need to go to the Information Commissioner if nothing is heard from you this week,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Sandra Stewart, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

Thank you for your email. I am not in the office but I do know this was definitely dealt with. The Council enters into very few numbers of compromise agreements to resolve employee issues other than redundancy and equal pay claims. I will retrieve the response and resend to you tonight or tomorrow when I am in the office.

Yours sincerely,

Sandra Stewart
Borough Solicitor

Contact Details:

Postal Address Address: Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council, Council Offices, Wellington Road, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL6 6DL
Online Service Web address: www.tameside.gov.uk
Telephone Number Telephone: 0161 342 3028
Fax Number Fax: 0161 342 2747
Send us a Message E-mail: [Tameside Borough Council request email]
In Person PA to Borough Solicitor: Christine Handley

Confidentiality: This e-mail its contents and any attachments are intended only for the above named. As this e-mail may contain confidential or legally privileged information, if you are not, or suspect that you are not the above named or the person responsible for delivering the message to the above named, delete or destroy the email and any attachments immediately. The contents of this e-mail may not be disclosed to nor used by anyone other than the above named.

Security and Viruses: please note that we cannot guarantee that this message or any attachment is virus free or has not been intercepted and amended.

Monitoring: The Council undertakes monitoring of both incoming and outgoing e-mails. You should therefore be aware that if you send an e-mail to a person within the Council it may be subject to any monitoring deemed necessary by the organisation from time to time. The views of the author may not necessarily reflect those of the Council.

Access: As a public body, the Council may be required to disclose this e-mail (or any response to it) under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, unless the information in it is covered by one of the exemptions in the Act.

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Dear Sandra Stewart,

I'm pleased to hear that the council enters into very few compromise agreements that aren't redundancy / equal pay claims. That is positive.

By this measure though, it shouldn't take long for you to deal with it. And once again, I'm now wondering why five months have gone by without any results!!

You say my request was "definitely dealt with". My definition of "dealt with" would include advising the requesting member of the public the results. If you're saying requests are "dealt with" but not giving out the results it represents a rather fundamental failure to grasp your obligations and understand the basic principles of exchanging information under FOI.

I'll look forward to receiving these, but if they're not here on Monday, I'll have no other option but to turn to the Information Commissioner.

I originally made 345 requests of English Councils, but this is vying for pole position as the most unprofessional response received.

I don't want to sound ungrateful at all, but let's face it, all we've had are excuses and hollow promises and we're over 100 working days since the original request was made!!

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Sandra Stewart, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin,

Please find attached the response previously sent to you.

Please let me know if it does not address your query.

I shall also send the response to you in the body of the email in case that was the reason for non-receipt.

Once again I can only apologise for the inconvenience caused to you bythe delay in dealing with this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Sandra Stewart
Borough Solicitor

Contact Details:

Postal Address Address: Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council, Council Offices, Wellington Road, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL6 6DL
Online Service Web address: www.tameside.gov.uk
Telephone Number Telephone: 0161 342 3028
Fax Number Fax: 0161 342 2747
Send us a Message E-mail: [Tameside Borough Council request email]
In Person PA to Borough Solicitor: Christine Handley

Confidentiality: This e-mail its contents and any attachments are intended only for the above named. As this e-mail may contain confidential or legally privileged information, if you are not, or suspect that you are not the above named or the person responsible for delivering the message to the above named, delete or destroy the email and any attachments immediately. The contents of this e-mail may not be disclosed to nor used by anyone other than the above named.

Security and Viruses: please note that we cannot guarantee that this message or any attachment is virus free or has not been intercepted and amended.

Monitoring: The Council undertakes monitoring of both incoming and outgoing e-mails. You should therefore be aware that if you send an e-mail to a person within the Council it may be subject to any monitoring deemed necessary by the organisation from time to time. The views of the author may not necessarily reflect those of the Council.

Access: As a public body, the Council may be required to disclose this e-mail (or any response to it) under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, unless the information in it is covered by one of the exemptions in the Act.

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Sandra Stewart, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Re: YOUR REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

Thank you for your request for information dated the 8 January 2011 which
was received by Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council on the 19 March
2011.

I understand this request to be as follows:

"Please supply Annual totals for the following:

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."

Your request has been considered as a request under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.  In accordance with statutory requirements, it may
take up to 20 working days (approximately 4 weeks) for the Council to
consider your request and provide a formal response.  Should this 20
working day deadline need to be extended you will be notified and kept
informed.

The information relating to your request has been received from Mick
Forrest, the Assistant Executive Director for People and Performance, who
will be able to deal with any follow up of clarification requests by
contacting him by email at [1][email address]

Please be advised that there is no charge for your request.

I set out below the response to your request:

+------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| | |In addition to this, annual figures|
| | As far as records go back, the |for the number of current employees /|
| | annual figures for the total of |ex-employees (including teaching|
| | current employees / ex-employees |staff) who have agreed, following the|
| |(including teaching staff) of the |matter being raised and made|
|Year |Council who have signed compromise|conditional as part of a compromise|
| |agreements directly related to the|agreement drawn up by the body acting|
| | resolving of dispute(s) / |as the Council's legal team, to sign|
| | grievance(s) / internal and |and forgo their right to approach the|
| | external investigation(s) / |council in the future with Freedom of|
| | whistleblowing incident(s). |Information and/or DPA Subject Access|
| | |requests under the relevant Acts.  |
|-----+----------------------------------+-------------------------------------|
|2006 | 13 | None |
|-----+----------------------------------+-------------------------------------|
|2007 | 21 | None |
|-----+----------------------------------+-------------------------------------|
|2008 | 8 | None |
|-----+----------------------------------+-------------------------------------|
|2009 | 13 | None |
|-----+----------------------------------+-------------------------------------|
|2010 | 11 | None |
|-----+----------------------------------+-------------------------------------|
|2011 | 18 | None |
|-----+----------------------------------+-------------------------------------|
|TOTAL| 84 | None |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------+

Since October 2010 around 1000 employees nearly 25% of the council’s
work force (excluding schools) have left the Council under severance. 
Whilst the majority of employees entered into a compromise agreement to
terminate their employment – none of these agreements included a clause
preventing a former employee making a data access request or a FoIA
request. 

I am sorry your experience of seeking information from Tameside Council
has not been a good experience to date.  Whilst the ‘What do you
know’ website is excellent we have previously had some difficulties
before in some users being blocked by our firewall and in sometime
uploading information to the website.

I can confirm that I have asked IT to add your address to the acceptable
list of emails to avoid it being rejected by the firewall in order that
this difficulty does not arise again.

Should you have any further queries or clarification on the information
please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail.

Yours sincerely

Sandra J Stewart

Borough Solicitor

Sandra Stewart

Borough Solicitor

 

Contact Details:

Postal Address    Address:  Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council,
Council Offices, Wellington Road, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL6 6DL

Online Service    Web address:  www.tameside.gov.uk

Telephone Number    Telephone:  0161 342 3028

Fax Number    Fax:  0161 342 2747

Send us a Message    E-mail:  [Tameside Borough Council request email]

In Person    PA to Borough Solicitor:  Christine Handley

 

Confidentiality: This e-mail its contents and any attachments are intended
only for the above named. As this e-mail may contain confidential or
legally privileged information, if you are not, or suspect that you are
not the above named or the person responsible for delivering the message
to the above named, delete or destroy the email and any attachments
immediately. The contents of this e-mail may not be disclosed to nor used
by anyone other than the above named.

 

Security and Viruses: please note that we cannot guarantee that this
message or any attachment is virus free or has not been intercepted and
amended.

 

Monitoring: The Council undertakes monitoring of both incoming and
outgoing e-mails. You should therefore be aware that if you send an e-mail
to a person within the Council it may be subject to any monitoring deemed
necessary by the organisation from time to time. The views of the author
may not necessarily reflect those of the Council.

 

Access: As a public body, the Council may be required to disclose this
e-mail (or any response to it) under the Freedom of Information Act 2000,
unless the information in it is covered by one of the exemptions in the
Act.

 

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Dear Sandra Stewart,

Thank you for the information. Can I suggest you ask your IT staff to 'whitelist' all emails originating from WhatDoTheyKnow's server?

I appreciate your actions regarding my own future emails, but this way you may avoid such inefficient responses across the board in the future,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Sandra Stewart, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin
Thank you for your email. Our IT service has undertaken this but a number
of addresses are still blocked as they introduced spyware onto the
Council's system.

Whilst, I note you have had a most unfortunate experience you will note
that the significant majority of requests through the site; which we
regard as undertaking a very useful public service; are undertaken on time
with full disclosure.

I hope that we will be in a position to demonstrate that we are committed
to dealing with FoIA requests.

Yours sincerely,
Sandra Stewart

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Trevor R Nunn left an annotation ()

Their IT dept should check for emails wrongly labeled as spam on a regular basis. In addition, there was no problem until recently.

Good excuse for not answering emails you don't want to but as I stated earlier messages sent out by WhatDoTheyKnow are simple plain text messages containing the content shown on the request threads. They pose no threat to any computer system.