Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

The request was successful.

From: Paul Cardin

9 January 2011

Dear Wigan 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

Link to this

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

10 January 2011

Dear Paul

Thank you for your requests for information received on 10th January
2011. This request has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act
2000.

Your request is outlined below.
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.

Please find below the response to your request.
I am refusing to respond to your request under Section 12 of the Freedom
of Information Act 2000, on the basis that I believe that to answer your
request would breach the appropriate limit as set out in the FOI fees
regulations. I will explain why this is the case.

We do not have a database that holds the information that you require.
The only way of collating the information would be by accessing all the
employee personnel files which equates to approximately 6000 personal
files and manually looking through each file, this would take
approximately 10 minutes per file and would therefore exceed 18 hours.

Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act allows requests to be refused
if the process of finding, collating and providing requested information
would exceed the appropriate limit set out in regulations passed by
Parliament. The appropriate limit for local government is £450, to be
calculated at a rate of £25 an hour - a total of 18 hours. We cannot say
how much it would actually cost to process the request - the £450 limit
and the assumption of an hourly rate of £25 comes from the legislation.

I believe that the time taken to gather the relevant data would be in
excess of the 18 hours as stated above.
We are obliged to provide you with advice and assistance in order to bring
your request into the 18 hours limit. I have to admit that I do not know
what advice to provide, as even by limiting the request to a certain group
of employees would still involve the manual process of finding and
retreiving the information.

If you are unhappy with any aspect of this response, an independent senior
officer will review this decision. Please let me know if you would like to
arrange this.

You can also complain to the Information Commissioner, who is the
regulator for Freedom of Information. His website is
www.informationcommisioner.gov.uk and his helpline number is 0303 1231113.

His staff may ask you to exhaust our internal complaints procedure if you
choose to complain to his office now.
Yours Sincerely

Sharon Crippin
Assistant Data Protection Officer
Business Support Services
Wigan Council
Town Hall
Wigan

Tel: (01942) 827002 Internal: 2002
email: [email address]

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

10 January 2011

Dear Wigan Borough Council,

I would like to prompt you to reconsider my request. Here are the
reasons why:

1. Since January 3rd this year, 16 English Councils have responded
fully, and without any problem. In fact, they were only too pleased
to assist with each aspect of this query.

2. It is highly unlikely that ANYBODY who has signed a Compromise
Agreement in the circumstances quoted in my request is still
working for the council. They will have almost certainly moved on -
hence, no need to work through thousands of files.

3. It should be possible for you to internally contact the
department who deals with your legal affairs in order to access and
then supply this information very readily.

I feel you have been far too willing to place a non-existent
obstacle in the way of free and fair access to public information,
without making a reasonable attempt to think it through. This may
reflect on you badly if I am forced to go to internal review and
then on to the Information Commissioner to access information which
should be very readily obtainable.

I am trying to make this easier for you. Many thanks for your rapid
response and thanks in advance for reconsidering my request,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

10 January 2011

Please quote ID 2110 on all correspondence/emails/faxes

Dear Sir

I am emailing to confirm the receipt of your recent FOI request to Wigan
Council.

We will respond as soon as possible and in any case no later than 7th
February 2011, which is 20 working days after the receipt of your request.

If you have any comments or questions in the meantime, please direct them
to [Wigan Borough Council request email], or at Wigan Council, Town Hall, Library
Street, Wigan WN1 1YN.

Your contact is Sharon Crippin, Email [email address].

Regard

Jean Brennan
Legal Team Support Officer
Business Support Services
Wigan Town Hall
Tel: 01942 827297 Int: 2297

show quoted sections

Link to this

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

14 February 2011

Dear Paul

I have asked our Human Resources Casework department to look over your request again given the comments you make below.

Detailed below is their response.

This request has been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Wigan Council does not have a single filing system relating to compromise agreements so there is no way that we can gather the information without manually looking through files.

In your reply to our initial response below, you suggest that employees who have entered into a compromise agreement are unlikely to still be in our employment. However, our casework officer does have recollection of 2 very recent cases and 1 about a year ago of employee's who have signed compromise agreements who are still in our employ.

I can therefore only repeat my view that it would mean going through every single personal file of all current and former employees going back to 2006 to establish whether a compromise agreement has been signed.

Perhaps the Council's who have been able to provide this information have a system which enables them to pull such information together quite quickly. Unfortunately, we don't have such a facility.

Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act allows requests to be refused if the process of finding, collating and providing requested information would exceed the appropriate limit set out in regulations passed by Parliament. The appropriate limit for local government is £450, to be calculated at a rate of £25 an hour - a total of 18 hours. We cannot say how much it would actually cost to process the request - the £450 limit and the assumption of an hourly rate of £25 comes from the legislation.

I believe that the time taken to gather the relevant data would be in excess of the 18 hours as stated above.

We are obliged to provide you with advice and assistance in order to bring your request into the 18 hours limit. I have to admit that I do not know what advice to provide, as even by limiting the request to a certain group of employees would still involve the manual process of finding and retrieving the information.

If you are unhappy with any aspect of this response, an independent senior officer will review this decision. Please let me know if you would like to arrange this.

You can also complain to the Information Commissioner, who is the regulator for Freedom of Information. His website is www.informationcommisioner.gov.uk and his helpline number is 0303 1231113.

His staff may ask you to exhaust our internal complaints procedure if you choose to complain to his office now.

Sharon Crippin
Assistant Data Protection Officer
Business Support Services
Wigan Council
Town Hall
Wigan
Tel: (01942) 827002 Internal: 2002
email: [email address]
www.wigan.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

14 February 2011

Dear Wigan Borough Council,

Thanks very much for your response. I appreciate your position
however this query is identical to one which has been sent to ALL
English councils. To date, since January 1st 2011, I have had 214
(two hundred and fourteen) full and detailed positive responses.
These councils did not have any difficulty in responding to my
request.

I am currently involved in research in this area, with the aim of
viewing trends and movements nationally. I would like to reduce the
scope, in good faith and in order to make the task more manageable.

Please could you exclude COT3 agreements, also compromise
agreements drawn up in the following circumstances:

1. Purely redundancy situations
2. PILON (payment in lieu of notice) situations
3. Equal pay claims
4. TUPE situations
5. Purely voluntary severance situations

I would also like to assist you further, by narrowing the time
period down to between the years 2005 to 2010 i.e. the last six
years.

Given that the vast majority of a total of 214 councils did not
find any difficulty, I imagine that they may be taking a different
approach to locating the information.

Can I suggest that you query your Accounts Department? I ask this
because when employees leave in the circumstances I am describing,
they are offered a financial incentive to end their working
contracts. Your Accounts department is required to keep a detailed
electronic record of all such payments. As they should be keeping
an adequate data storage / retrieval system, it will not be too
arduous a task for them to provide Annual total figures for
compromise agreements drawn up in these circumstances.

You could also put in a call to your Legal Department who may keep
a similar searchable database.

I hope the above information assists you. I don't believe that the
possession of an inadequate data storage / retrieval system
warrants the use of an exclusion under the FOI Act.

I’m wary of using public money wisely and although you have taken a
very long time to provide a refusal, I don’t want to resort to an
internal review too quickly. I would ask you to reconsider the
request in light of the above information.

You state that two employees remained in their jobs after signing
compromise agreements. The reduced scope of this request refers to
agreements which formed a 'full and final settlement' and the
departure of the employee.

Can I remind you about answering the second question in the initial
query? This refers to using FOI / DPA related gagging clauses aimed
at restricting an employee's statutory rights. I'd appreciate a
total for this.

I believe that the public interest in revealing this information
outweighs the public interest in not revealing it. This appears to
be a viewpoint shared by hundreds of your LGA colleagues.

I look forward to receiving your response,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

14 February 2011

Dear Paul

Many thanks for your response. I shall discuss with the department in question tomorrow and provide an update for you.

Kind Regards
Sharon

Sharon Crippin
Assistant Data Protection Officer
Business Support Services
Wigan Council
Town Hall
Wigan
Tel: (01942) 827002 Internal: 2002
email: [email address]
www.wigan.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

2 March 2011

Dear Wigan Borough Council,

Thanks. Any news on this please?

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

2 March 2011

I am currently out of the office and will return on Monday 7th March 2011. Your e mail has not been forwarded.

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

15 March 2011

Dear Wigan Borough Council,

In the absence of any ongoing response or acknowledgment,
everything seems to have ground to a halt.

Please can you provide some much-needed reassurance that you
haven't forgotten about my request?

many thanks in advance,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

16 March 2011

Hi Paul

In light of your last comments, as our HR casework system cannot provide
any information to support your request, I have asked the Finance
section to take a look over it.

I will try and get an answer before the end of today, if not today it
will be Friday as I am away from the office tomorrow.

Kind Regards

Sharon

Sharon Crippin
Assistant Data Protection Officer

show quoted sections

Wigan Council
Town Hall
Wigan
WN1 1YN
Tel: (01942) 827002 Internal: 2002
email: [email address]
www.wigan.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

18 March 2011

Dear Wigan Borough Council,

Hi. Still waiting. Many thanks,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

25 April 2011

Dear Wigan Borough Council,

It is now 25th April, Easter has come and gone, and I'm wondering
what you're doing regarding this request, first made on 9th January
2011, 76 working days ago.

From 345 councils asked, yours is one of the responses that stands
out from the rest, but for all the wrong reasons. It has been slow,
unnecessarily 'painful' and completely inadequate. I'd appreciate
your response as soon as possible. Failing that, I will go to an
internal review,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

3 May 2011

Dear Paul

In relation to your request, and our previous responses, I can confirm
that having made several enquiries with both HR and Financial Services, we
are still unable to provide you with the information that you have
requested.

I can only re-iterate that Wigan Council does not have a single filing
system relating to compromise agreements so there is no way that we can
gather the information without manually looking through files.

In relation to your comments with reference to our financial services
having a record of such agreements, I can confirm that we do not have a
such a code within our Financial Services system to record such payments,
and therefore cannot provide the information you require by this means as
suggested by yourself.

I can therefore only repeat my view that it would mean going through every
single personal file of all current and former employees going back
to 2006 to establish whether a compromise agreement has been signed.

Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act allows requests to be refused
if the process of finding, collating and providing
requested information would exceed the appropriate limit set out in
regulations passed by Parliament. The appropriate limit for local
government is £450, to be calculated at a rate of £25 an hour - a
total of 18 hours. We cannot say how much it would actually cost to
process the request - the £450 limit and the assumption of an hourly
rate of £25 comes from the legislation.

I believe that the time taken to gather the relevant data would be in
excess of the 18 hours as stated above.

We are obliged to provide you with advice and assistance in order to bring
your request into the 18 hours limit. I have to admit that
I do not know what advice to provide, as even by limiting the request to a
certain group of employees would still involve the manual process of
finding and retrieving the information.

If you are unhappy with any aspect of this response, an independent senior
officer will review this decision. Please let me know if you would like to
arrange this.

You can also complain to the Information Commissioner, who is the
regulator for Freedom of Information. His website is
[1]www.informationcommisioner.gov.uk and his helpline number is 0303
1231113.

His staff may ask you to exhaust our internal complaints procedure if you
choose to complain to his office now.

Sharon Crippin
Assistant Data Protection Officer
Resources Directorate
Legal & Risk
Wigan Council
Town Hall
Wigan
WN1 1YN
Tel: (01942) 827002 Internal: 2002
email: [email address]
[2]www.wigan.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

3 May 2011

Dear Wigan Borough Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of
Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Wigan Borough
Council's handling of my FOI request 'Total Annual Figures for
Compromise Agreements, etc.'.

In order to provide you with some feedback, you are the last
council of the 345 English councils asked, to come back with a
response, albeit in the negative.

Please take into account all the messages I've sent to date when
conducting this review. Please also inject some urgency into the
response and also a commitment to updating your public as the
process unfolds.

Your responses to date have been very poor, with long silences and
an apparent failure to engage.

The attitude seems to speak of a 'couldn't care less' approach to
FOI - maybe not intentional, but that's the impression received at
this end.

I feel that your systems are not adequate and not up to reporting
accurately to the public. I have had full and positive responses
from 285 English councils to date. This, to me indicates that the
majority of councils are committed to FOI and to embracing the
ideals of openness and transparency. However, your position only
seems to entrench the traditional council culture of secrecy and /
or a negligent approach. You have also failed to indicate whether
after 11 years of FOI, you have plans to improve your systems to
better meet the public requirement for public information in the
future.

I disagree that you can't provide anything that falls beneath the
£450 limit. That would be 18 hours' work - in which you could
almost certainly confirm whether the council has ever issued or
plans to issue gagging clauses related to FOI / DP (see the second
part of my original request).

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is
available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/to...

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

20 May 2011

Dear Wigan Borough Council,

Hi. Any news on my review please? (not yet acknowledged)

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

1 June 2011

Dear Wigan Borough Council,

We're now into June and nothing heard. I will need to go to the
Information Commissioner if nothing is heard from you this week,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

1 June 2011

Dear Paul

I will contact the person conducting the review and find out when you
should receive a response.

Kind Regards
Sharon

Sharon Crippin
Assistant Data Protection Officer
Resources Directorate
Legal & Risk
Wigan Council
Town Hall
Wigan
WN1 1YN
Tel: (01942) 827002 Internal: 2002
email: [email address]
[1]www.wigan.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

14 June 2011

Dear Wigan Borough Council,

112 working days has elapsed since I first lodged this FOI request.

Almost 2 weeks has elapsed since your most recent assurance was
provided. I'm still waiting for an answer to this.

What is happening please? It looks like you may ultimately trail in
LAST of all 345 English Councils queried. Which is not something to
be proud of. I know somebody has to come last, but do you really
want it to be your organisation?

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

21 June 2011

Dear Wigan Borough Council,

It's 3 weeks now since your last assurance.

Can you tell me what's going on please?

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

28 June 2011

Dear Mr Cardin

The delay in conducting your review has been due to a Senior Management
Re-structure, pending senior personnel being nominated to conduct the
internal reviews.

The Senior Management responsible for the internal reviews are now in
place and all documentation relating to your request is currently with
Wigan Council's Head of Legal and Risk to ensure a full review is
conducted.

Kind Regards
Sharon

Sharon Crippin
Assistant Data Protection Officer
Resources Directorate
Legal & Risk
Wigan Council
Town Hall
Wigan
WN1 1YN
Tel: (01942) 827002 Internal: 2002
email: [email address]
[1]www.wigan.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

31 July 2011

Dear Wigan Borough Council,

Another month has gone by. We are now on working day number 145
since the original 9th January request.

I assume the senior personnel are now on task and dealing with the
internal review, but I can't be sure as you have failed to update
me,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

1 August 2011

Dear Mr Cardin

I have confirmation from the Senior Manager's secretary that the internal review will be processed this week.

Kind Regards
Sharon

Sharon Crippin
Assistant Data Protection Officer
Resources Directorate
Legal & Risk
Wigan Council
Town Hall
Wigan
WN1 1YN
Tel: (01942) 827002 Internal: 2002
email: [email address]
www.wigan.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

11 August 2011

Dear Wigan Borough Council,

We're now on working day 154. Original request lodged on January
9th 2011.

Have you not processed the review? Do you understand my
frustration?

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

11 August 2011

Dear Mr Cardin

I can confirm that the internal review is currently with the senior officer who is responsible for conducting the review.

Kind Regards
Sharon

Sharon Crippin
Assistant Data Protection Officer
Resources Directorate
Legal & Risk
Wigan Council
Town Hall
Wigan
WN1 1YN
Tel: (01942) 827002 Internal: 2002
email: [email address]
www.wigan.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

11 August 2011

Dear Wigan Borough Council,

Excuse me. You are confirming something you originally confirmed
nearly two months ago.

Please provide the senior officer's name and direct telephone
number,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

11 August 2011

Dear Mr Cardin

The senior officer responsible for conducting the review is Mr John Mitchell, Head of Service Legal and Risk, direct telephone number 01942 827023.

Kind Regards
Sharon

Sharon Crippin
Assistant Data Protection Officer
Resources Directorate
Legal & Risk
Wigan Council
Town Hall
Wigan
WN1 1YN
Tel: (01942) 827002 Internal: 2002
email: [email address]
www.wigan.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Link to this

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

11 August 2011

In addition to my last email dated today, I can confirm that the request
for internal review of your FOI request is currently with the Senior
Officer who is dealing with the review. This officer however is on leave
until Monday 22nd August 2011.

Regards

Sharon Crippin
Assistant Data Protection Officer
Resources Directorate
Legal & Risk
Wigan Council
Town Hall
Wigan
WN1 1YN
Tel: (01942) 827002 Internal: 2002
email: [email address]
[1]www.wigan.gov.uk

>>Corporate Disclaimer<<
This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and
intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom
they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please
notify the system manager.

Email may be automatically logged, monitored and/or recorded
for legal purposes.

As a public body, the Council may be required to disclose this
email or any response to it under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 unless the information in it is covered by one of the
exemptions in the Act.

This footnote also confirms that this email has been swept for
the presence of computer viruses.

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/www.wigan.gov.uk

Link to this

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

22 August 2011

Dear Mr Cardin

I refer to your e-mail requesting an internal review of the Council's
refusal of your request for information regarding Compromise agreements. I
apologise that it has taken so long to deal with this matter but I confirm
that I am now dealing with the review and will get back to you shortly.

Regards

John Mitchell

Head of Service - Legal and Risk
Resources Directorate
Wigan Borough Council
Town Hall
Library Street
Wigan WN1 1YN
Tel: 01942 827023 (Int 2023)
Fax: 01942 827093
This email together with any files transmitted with it are confidential
and intended solely for the use of the individual to whom they are
addressed. The information may be covered by legal professional privilege.
Do not copy, disclose or distribute the information. If you are not the
addressee, please contact the sender and immediately delete this email and
any attachments.

>>Corporate Disclaimer<<
This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and
intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom
they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please
notify the system manager.

Email may be automatically logged, monitored and/or recorded
for legal purposes.

As a public body, the Council may be required to disclose this
email or any response to it under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 unless the information in it is covered by one of the
exemptions in the Act.

This footnote also confirms that this email has been swept for
the presence of computer viruses.

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

23 August 2011

Dear Wigan Borough Council,

Dear Mr Mitchell. Thanks for putting your head above the parapet,
confirming that you do exist and are carrying out the function of
dealing with this review.

When reporting back, can you also explain why, some weeks ago, you
failed to return the phone messages I left with your secretary?

It's been a tale of empty promises, failure to explain, failure to
respond, despair on my part and of a general dysfunctional attitude
all round - worthy of an award in my opinion, all achieved under
your stewardship.

Please now shut the stable door, (notwithstanding the fact that the
horse bolted many moons ago),

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

4 September 2011

Dear Mr Mitchell,

This is a little redundant I know - you've already secured last
place out of 345 English councils, so that achievement is safely
"in the bag".

But in the way of a further prompt, "summer" has now gone and I'd
like to have the long-awaited findings of you internal review,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

5 September 2011

FAO Paul Cardin

Please quote ID 2789 on all correspondence/emails/faxes
Dear Sir
I am emailing to confirm the receipt of your recent FOI request to Wigan
Council.
We will respond as soon as possible and in any case no later than 3rd
October 2011, which is 20 working days after the receipt of your request.
If you have any comments or questions in the meantime, please direct them
to [Wigan Borough Council request email], or at Wigan Council, Town Hall, Library
Street, Wigan WN1 1YN.
Your contact is Rita Wood.
Regards

Jean Brennan - Legal Clerk
Business Support Services,
Resources Directorate,
Legal and Risk,
Wigan Council, Town Hall,
Library Street, Wigan, WN1 1YN
01942 827297 ( Internal ext 2297)
[1]www.wigan.gov.uk

Please don't print this email unless you really need to

"This email together with any files transmitted with it are confidential
and intended solely for the use of the individual to whom they are
addressed. The information may be covered by legal professional privilege.
Do not copy, disclose or distribute the information. If you are not the
addressee, please contact the sender and immediately delete this email and
any attachments."

>>Corporate Disclaimer<<
This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and
intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom
they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please
notify the system manager.

Email may be automatically logged, monitored and/or recorded
for legal purposes.

As a public body, the Council may be required to disclose this
email or any response to it under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 unless the information in it is covered by one of the
exemptions in the Act.

This footnote also confirms that this email has been swept for
the presence of computer viruses.

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/www.wigan.gov.uk

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

12 September 2011

Dear Mr Mitchell,

Please forward the findings of your internal review,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

16 September 2011

Dear Mr Cardin

Once again I apologise for the delay in getting back to you on this.

I have now considered your request for an internal review and my decision
is to uphold the original refusal of your request on the basis that to
answer you request would breach the appropriate limit as set in the
Freedom of Information fees regulations.

The reason for my decision is that the Council does not hold separate
records of those cases in which compromise agreements may have been signed
and as such would have no alternative but to search manually through the
paper files of thousands of employees. This would take longer than the 18
hours provided for in the regulations. Although you did try to limit the
request to specific classes of employee, because the Council maintains a
manual filing system based on the names of employees, this would not
reduce the time required to identify the relevant employees.

I can, however, inform you that it is standard practice to include
confidentiality clauses in compromise agreements and therefore although I
am not able to give you the exact numbers, it is likely that most, if not
all, would contain such a clause.

I note your views as to the inadequacy of the Council's record keeping in
this area and I will take these into account in any review of the way in
which these records are held.

If you are unhappy with my response, you may, of course, complain to the
Information Commissioner. His website is
[1]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk and his helpline number is 0303
1231113.

Regards

John Mitchell

Head of Service - Legal and Risk
Resources Directorate
Wigan Borough Council
Town Hall
Library Street
Wigan WN1 1YN
Tel: 01942 827023 (Int 2023)
Fax: 01942 827093
This email together with any files transmitted with it are confidential
and intended solely for the use of the individual to whom they are
addressed. The information may be covered by legal professional privilege.
Do not copy, disclose or distribute the information. If you are not the
addressee, please contact the sender and immediately delete this email and
any attachments.

>>Corporate Disclaimer<<
This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and
intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom
they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please
notify the system manager.

Email may be automatically logged, monitored and/or recorded
for legal purposes.

As a public body, the Council may be required to disclose this
email or any response to it under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000 unless the information in it is covered by one of the
exemptions in the Act.

This footnote also confirms that this email has been swept for
the presence of computer viruses.

References

Visible links
1. file://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

16 September 2011

Dear Wigan Borough Council,

It's regrettable that I had to email the leader of the Council Lord
Smith, in order to get you to do something.

It's also regrettable you have not addressed part 2 of the request,
which referred to FOI / DP related gagging clauses - and NOT
'confidentiality clauses. I'd have hoped for a better response from
the senior person. Your department has fallen down in just about
every key area, and your involvement has given me a clear insight
into where the dysfunction rests.

Please address this whilst I have your undivided attention,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

21 September 2011

Dear Mr Cardin,

The wording commonly used in such agreements is as follows:

" The Employee and the Council will keep confidential the terms of this
Agreement and neither will disclose, communicate or otherwise make
public the same to any third party save their respective professional
advisers( including in the case of the Employee a trade Union Adviser )
, the relevant tax and statutory authorities and otherwise as may be
required to be disclosed by law . "

You will be able to form your own view as to whether this constitutes a
"gagging clause" of the type to which you refer.

Regards

John Mitchell

Head of Service - Legal and Risk
Resources Directorate
Wigan Borough Council
Town Hall
Library Street
Wigan WN1 1YN
Tel: 01942 827023 (Int 2023)
Fax: 01942 827093
This email together with any files transmitted with it are confidential
and intended solely for the use of the individual to whom they are
addressed. The information may be covered by legal professional
privilege. Do not copy, disclose or distribute the information. If you
are not the addressee, please contact the sender and immediately delete
this email and any attachments.

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: Paul Cardin

25 September 2011

Dear Wigan Borough Council,

You have quoted an irrelevant section of your 'standard compromise
agreement' which doesn't address part 2 of the original request
i.e. FOI / DP gagging clauses.

9 months on, can you please address the point correctly and
categorically? Failing a proper response during week commencing
26th October 2011, I shall return to Lord Smith, who I'd hope will
finally pull me out of the molasses and pull off the final
breakthrough,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Link to this

Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council

26 September 2011

Dear Mr Cardin

I apologise if I had not made it clear. This is the wording of the
clause commonly used in our compromise agreement. The Council does not
place any further restrictions in the agreement. I hope this answers
your point but please let me know if you require further clarity.

Regards

John Mitchell

Head of Service - Legal and Risk
Resources Directorate
Wigan Borough Council
Town Hall
Library Street
Wigan WN1 1YN
Tel: 01942 827023 (Int 2023)
Fax: 01942 827093
This email together with any files transmitted with it are confidential
and intended solely for the use of the individual to whom they are
addressed. The information may be covered by legal professional
privilege. Do not copy, disclose or distribute the information. If you
are not the addressee, please contact the sender and immediately delete
this email and any attachments.

show quoted sections

Link to this

Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council only:

Follow this request

There is 1 person following this request

Offensive? Unsuitable?

Requests for personal information and vexatious requests are not considered valid for FOI purposes (read more).

If you believe this request is not suitable, you can report it for attention by the site administrators

Report this request

Act on what you've learnt

Similar requests

More similar requests

Event history details

Are you the owner of any commercial copyright on this page?