Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Waverley Borough 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 Waverley 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

Waverley Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your request for information relating to Compromise
Agreements.

We are dealing with your request under the Freedom of information Act 2000
and it is our intention to give you a response by 7 February 2011, 20
working days from the receipt of your email.

Yours sincerely

Christine May
Communications Assistant

We are passionate about improving lives, leisure, environment, value for money and subsidised affordable housing.

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The opinions expressed in this email are not necessarily those of Waverley Borough Council.
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Please visit our website at http://www.waverley.gov.uk

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Waverley Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

I am writing in response to your request for information relating to
compromise agreements.

I can confirm that Waverley Borough Council has no current or ex-employees
who have signed compromise agreements directly related to the resolving of
dispute(s)/grievance(s)/internal and external investigation
(s)/whistleblowing incident(s).

We also have no record of any current/ex-employees who have agreed to sign
and forgo their right to approach the council in the future with Freedom
of Information and/or DPA Subject Access requests.

Yours sincerely

Christine May
Communications Assistant

We are passionate about improving lives, leisure, environment, value for money and subsidised affordable housing.

This email, and any files attached to it, is confidential and solely for the use of the individual or organisation to whom it is addressed.
The opinions expressed in this email are not necessarily those of Waverley Borough Council.
The Council is not responsible for any changes made to the message after it has been sent.
If you are not the intended recipient of this email or the person responsible for delivering it to them you may not copy it, forward it or otherwise use it for any purpose or disclose its contents to any other person. To do so may be unlawful.

Please visit our website at http://www.waverley.gov.uk

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Waverley Borough Council were one of the quicker respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 18 working 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