Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council

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The request was successful.

Dear Tonbridge & Malling 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

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council

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Thank you

Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, including:
Larkfield Leisure Centre
The Angel Centre
Tonbridge Swimming Pool
Poult Wood Golf Centre
Tonbridge Castle

Janet Chittenden, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council

FAO - Paul Cardin

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Charlie Steel, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your email.

As far as our records show (since 2004), the only compromise agreement signed was as follows: 2010 - 1

As far as our records show, there has never been an agreement signed requiring an individual 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.

I hope that this satisfies your request.

Regards,
Charlie Steel
Personnel & Customer Services Manager
Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council

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Dear Charlie Steel,

Many thanks,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council

This is an automated response to thank you for your email which has just been received.

We aim to respond fully to all emails from the public as soon as possible, where they are seeking a response. However, please note that if your enquiry is particularly complicated or requires substantial investigation then it may take up to 10 working days to provide you with a full and accurate response.

If you have access to the Internet you may wish to see if your enquiry can be dealt with online at www.tmbc.gov.uk . The Council’s website enables many forms to be completed and payments to be made online as well as providing comprehensive information.

Please do not reply to this automated response.

Thank you

Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, including:
Larkfield Leisure Centre
The Angel Centre
Tonbridge Swimming Pool
Poult Wood Golf Centre
Tonbridge Castle

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council were one of the quickest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking only 4 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