Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to West Oxfordshire District Council

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The request was successful.

Dear West Oxfordshire 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

Mandy Fathers, West Oxfordshire District Council

Dear Sir

Thank you for your request for information.  Please find below the
information this authority holds in relation to your request.

      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).

· During 2004/05 = 1

· During 2009/10 = 1

· During 2010/11 = 2

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.

· None

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me.  Please
remember to quote the reference.  If you are unhappy with the service you
have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint, or
request a review of our decision, you should write to The Monitoring
Officer, Woodgreen Offices, New Yatt Road, Witney OX28 1NB.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision.  Generally, the
ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints
procedure provided by the Council.  The Information Commissioner can be
contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours faithfully

Mandy Fathers

Compliance Manager

Tel: (01993) 861232

Email: [1][email address]

Website: [2]www.westoxon.gov.uk

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References

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1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.westoxon.gov.uk/

Dear Mandy Fathers,

Thank you very much for your time,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

West Oxfordshire District Council were one of the quickest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking only 4 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 - although 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