Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Wolverhampton City 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 Wolverhampton City 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

Rita Rich, Wolverhampton City Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of the above Freedom of Information
Request. Your request will be dealt with as quickly as possible and a
final response should be sent to you within 20 days of receipt. If you
wish to enquire about the progress of your request, please do not hesitate
to contact me on 01902 554500.

Rita Rich

Secretary

Director for Customer and Shared Services

Wolverhampton City Council

Tel: 01902 554500

E-mail: [email address]

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Dear Rita Rich,

By law, I believe the authority should have responded promptly and
by 1st February 2011.

Although I have received no response, to assist, and as an act of good faith, I would like to reduce the scope of the original request as follows:
Please exclude all COT3 Agreements and all compromise agreements
drawn up in the following circumstances:

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

Further to this, please reduce the time period to the years between
2005 and 2010 i.e. the last six years.

I am researching this particular area and aim to view trends and
movements both regionally and nationally. It would benefit myself
and the authority if the figures reached were as accurate as
possible.

When responding, please give figures in calendar year format e.g.
2005 - 1; 2006 - 3; 2007 - 2; etc.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Rita Rich, Wolverhampton City Council

Dear Mr Cardim.

Thank you for your e-mail. The response is due today (20 working days after receipt). I shall follow this up and come back to you shortly.

Rita Rich
Secretary
Director for Customer and Shared Services
Wolverhampton City Council

Tel: 01902 554500
E-mail: [email address]

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Lynne Kitson, Wolverhampton City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin

Please find a response to your freedom of information request.

Lynne Kitson

Office Manager/Secretary to Chief Human Resources Officer

HR Shared Service

Wolverhampton City Council

01902 554046

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Dear Lynne Kitson,

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 211
(two hundred and eleven) 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. When your response didn’t arrive within the first 20 working days, I reduced the scope, in good faith and in order to make the task more manageable.

I asked if you could exclude COT3 agreements, also compromise agreements drawn up in the following circumstances:

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

I also assisted you further, by narrowing the time period down to between the years 2005 to 2010 i.e. the last six years. Given the high figures declared for 2009 and 2010, I suspect that you have not acted upon the second message I sent to you which reduced the scope of the initial request.

Given that a total of 211 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 don’t want to resort to an
internal review too quickly, and I would ask you to reconsider the
request in light of all the above.

I look forward to receiving your response,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Mail Delivery System,

This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.
A message that you sent has not yet been delivered to one or more of its
recipients after more than 24 hours on the queue on backupmx2.gxn.net.

The message identifier is: 1PoCIO-0007Vu-Ap
The subject of the message is: Re: FOI Request Compromise Agreements
The date of the message is: Sat, 12 Feb 2011 09:58:25 +0000

The address to which the message has not yet been delivered is:

[email address]
Delay reason: SMTP error from remote mail server after MAIL FROM:<[FOI #57380 email]> SIZE=5554:
host mailgate.wolverhampton.gov.uk [62.232.224.38]:
451 4.1.8 Domain of sender address [FOI #57380 email] does not resolve

No action is required on your part. Delivery attempts will continue for
some time, and this warning may be repeated at intervals if the message
remains undelivered. Eventually the mail delivery software will give up,
and when that happens, the message will be returned to you.

Lynne Kitson, Wolverhampton City Council

Dear Mr Cardin

I am emailing to confirm receipt of your email and that a response will be sent to you shortly.

Regards

Lynne Kitson
Office Manager/Secretary to Chief Human Resources Officer
HR Shared Service
Wolverhampton City Council
01902 554046

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Dear Lynne Kitson,

Hi. You said that a response would be sent 'shortly' in your last email dated 17th February.

Please can you advise what is causing the delay? We are now over 60 working days since my request and not much further forward. I'd appreciate you assistance as soon as possible,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Lynne Kitson, Wolverhampton City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin

Please find attached response. I apologise for the delay in getting this amended information to you.

Lynne Kitson
Office Manager/Secretary to Chief Human Resources Officer
HR Shared Service
Wolverhampton City Council
01902 554046

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Wolverhampton City Council were one of the slowest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 59 working days (almost three times the statutory period) 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