Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Warwick District 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 Warwick District 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

contactus, Warwick District Council

Thank you for your recent email, it has reached the corporate email
address at Warwick District Council. We will respond to or forward your
enquiry to the relevant department within 5 working days. If your enquiry
is of an urgent nature please phone the Warwickshire Direct Customer
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Regards -

Warwick District Council

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References

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contactus, Warwick District Council

Good morning

Thank you for your recent email, I can confirm that your enquiry has today been forwarded to the relevant department/person.
Regards -
Warwick District Council
Email: [Warwick District Council request email]
 Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to.

________________________________________
From: Paul Cardin [[FOI #57356 email]]
Sent: 09 January 2011 22:47
To: contactus
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Dear Warwick District 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

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Freedom of information, Warwick District Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your request for information which I acknowledge was
received by the District Council on 10 January 2011.

Your request is currently being considered. If the District Council is
able to provide you with the information you have requested, then under
the Freedom Of Information Act you are entitled to receive it within 20
working days.

For your information, the FOI Act defines a number of exemptions which may
prevent release of some or all of the information you have requested. The
District Council will assess your information request in light of the
exemptions. If exemptions do apply, then the District Council may decide
not to release all, or part, of the information you have requested. You
will be informed if this is the case.

If the information you request contains reference to a third party then
they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken by the District
Council as to whether to release the information to you. You will be kept
informed if this is the case.

The District Council will not charge a fee to provide you with the
information you have requested, provided the cost of dealing with your
request is less than £450. If it appears likely that your request will
cost more than £450 to deal with then I will write to you again asking if
you are willing to pay the fees incurred, and setting out clearly what
those fees will be, in accordance with the FOI Act.

If you have any queries or should you wish to make a complaint about the
manner in which your request is being dealt with then please do not
hesitate to contact me at the above address in the first instance. Any
complaints will be dealt with under the Council's corporate complaints
procedure.

Further information about your rights under the Freedom of Information
Act, is available from the Information Commissioner's Office (01625 545
700) or [1]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk, and on the District
Council's website.

Yours sincerely

Graham Leach

Senior Committee Services Officer &

Deputy Monitoring Officer - Warwick District Council

Tel: 01926 456114 ext. 3375

Fax: 01926 456121

[2]www.warwickdc.gov.uk

Please do not print this email.

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References

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2. http://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/
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Karen Warren, Warwick District Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin

Please find attached your response, regards Karen Warren

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Dear Karen Warren,

Thank you for your response.

Please could you address the second part of my query regarding the use of FOI / DPA related clauses?

many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Karen Warren, Warwick District Council

Dear Mr Cardin, this will take a little while as I need to go back and check each one. Regards Karen

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Karen Warren, Warwick District Council

Dear Mr Cardin, the answer for part two is no, thanks Karen

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Warwick District Council were one of the quickest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 9 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 - 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