Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Braintree 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 Braintree District Council,

Please supply totals for the following:

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

Braintree District Council

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Customer Service Centre
Tel: 01376 552525
Email: [Braintree District Council request email]

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Freedom of Information Act, Braintree District Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

Further to your Freedom of Information request received by Braintree
District Council, I write to advise you of the following. For ease of
reference your requests are repeated below followed by the Council's
reply.

1. "Since the inception of Braintree District Council, or as far
as records go back, the annual figures for the total number of
current employees or ex-employees of Braintree District Council who
have signed compromise agreements directly related to the resolving
of dispute(s) / grievance(s) / internal and external
investigation(s)/whistleblowing incident(s)."

The Council records show there have been 2 compromise agreements. 1 in
2007 and 1 in 2009. Neither of these included conditions preventing any
FOI or DPA subject access requests

2. "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 Braintree District 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."

The Council holds no information in respect of this request. - Please see
the Council's reply to question 1 above.

If you disagree with the Council's decision in respect of your freedom of
information request or are otherwise unhappy with how the Council has
dealt with your request in the first instance you may approach Sharon
Lowe, Assistant Chief Executive in writing at the following address:-

Braintree District Council, Causeway House, Bocking End, Braintree, Essex,
CM7 9HB

Should you remain dissatisfied with the outcome you have a right of appeal
under S50 of the Freedom of Information Act to appeal against the decision
by contacting the Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow SK9 5AF, [email address]

Yours sincerely,

Emma Wisbey
Governance Lawyer
Ext: 2610

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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