Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Wealden District Council

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The request was successful.

Dear Wealden 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

Phil Miller, Wealden District Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

I acknowledge receipt of your FOI request which I have passed to the
relevant department. You will receive a full response within the statutory
timescale.

In the meantime, if you have any queries, please address them to me as
your Customer Relations Officer.

Yours sincerely

Phil Miller

Phil Miller
Customer Relations Officer
Tel: (01323) 443173
[1][email address] (for FOI / Complaints)
[2][email address]

>>> Paul Cardin <[FOI #57362 email]> 09/01/2011
23:02:33 >>>
Dear Wealden 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

show quoted sections

Charlie Nye, Wealden District Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin,

Please find attached, our response to your Freedom of Information Request
- 1073, dated 9th January 2011.

Kind regards,
Charlie Nye

Charlotte Nye
HR Officer
01892 602562
[1][email address]

Wealden District Council
Pine Grove
Crowborough
East Sussex
TN6 1DH

[2]www.wealden.gov.uk
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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Wealden District Council were one of the quicker respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 19 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