Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Wandsworth Borough Council

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The request was successful.

Dear Wandsworth 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

Freedom Of Information, Wandsworth Borough Council

Freedom of Information Act request - 2011/4188 - Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements

Thank you for your request for information received on 10/01/2011.

This will be processed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Regards

Corporate Information Management Team
[Wandsworth Borough Council request email]
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Dear Freedom Of Information,

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 sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Freedom Of Information, Wandsworth Borough Council

Freedom of Information Act request - 2011/4188 - Total Annual Figures for
Compromise Agreements

Dear Mr Cardin,

I refer to your request for information relating to total annual figures
for compromise agreements, which we received on 10^th January 2011.

Please see the information in response to your questions provided below.

Financial Year Number of compromise agreements

2005/ 06 1

2006/ 07 2

2007/ 08 1

2008/ 09 2

2009/ 10 11

2010/ to date 8

No current employees/ex-employees have been asked 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.

I hope this information meets your needs. If you do not understand the
information provided or wish to discuss anything further, please feel free
to contact me and I, or another member of the team will be able to assist
you.

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If you are dissatisfied with the information provided in relation to your
request you may make representations to the Chief Executive.
Correspondence should be addressed to:

Room 162

Wandsworth Town Hall

Wandsworth High Street

London

SW18 2PU

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

James De Cort

Information Management Officer

[1][Wandsworth Borough Council request email]

show quoted sections

Dear Freedom Of Information,

Many thanks for your reply,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Wandsworth Borough Council were one of the slower respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 23 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