Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Amber Valley Borough Council

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The request was successful.

Dear Amber Valley Borough Council,

Please supply totals for the following:

Since the inception of Amber Valley Borough Council, or as far as records go back, the annual figures for the total number of current employees or ex-employees of Amber Valley 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 Amber Valley 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

Jones, Joan, Amber Valley Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin

Please see attached.

Joan Jones
Civic Links & FOI Officer
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Jones, Joan, Amber Valley Borough Council

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Cardin

Please see attached response.

Joan Jones
Civic Links & FOI Officer
This email is private. If you are not the intended recipient, please
notify the sender by return, destroying the email without disclosing or
relying upon it. We may by law have to disclose this email. We monitor
both sent and received emails. The attachments are opened at your own
risk. For more information, visit our website.

Dear Joan,

Many thanks for your reply and the information,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Amber Valley Borough Council were one of the quickest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking only 10 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 - although 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