Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

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

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The request was successful.

Dear Breckland District Council,

Please supply totals for the following:

Since the inception of Breckland District Council, or as far as records go back, the annual figures for the total number of current employees / ex-employees of Breckland District 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 who have agreed, following the matter being raised and made conditional as part of a compromise agreement drawn up by the body acting as Breckland District Council's legal team, to 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 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

Allen, Sue,

Dear Mr. Cardin,

Freedom of Information Act 2000 - Information Request - compromise
agreements

I acknowledge your request for information received on 31^st January,
2011.

Your request is being considered and you will receive the information
requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by
the Freedom of Information Act 2000, subject to the information not being
exempt or containing a reference to a third party.

If appropriate, the information may be provided in paper copy, normal font
size. If you require alternative formats, e.g. language, audio, large
print, etc. then please let me know.

For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions which may
prevent release of the information you have requested. There will be an
assessment and if any of the exemption categories apply then the
information will not be released. You will be informed if this is the
case, including your rights of appeal.

If the information you request contains reference to a third party then
they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken on whether or not to
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There may a fee payable for this information. This will be considered and
you will be informed if a fee is payable. In this event the fee must be
paid before the information is processed and released. The 20 working day
time limit for responses is suspended until receipt of the payment.

If you have any queries or concerns then please contact the Freedom of
Information Officer at Breckland Council, Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke,
Dereham, Norfolk, NR19 1EE, telephone 01362 656870, e-mail
[Breckland District Council request email].

Further information is also available from the Information Commissioner
at: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF: telephone 01625 545700;
[1]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Susan Allen| Standards Officer/Chairman's Secretary| Breckland Council

Office: 01362 656870

[2][email address] | [3]www.breckland.gov.uk

[4][email address] /
[5][email address] /[6][Breckland District Council request email]

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hide quoted sections

Ralphs, Kathryn,

2 Attachments

Good Morning

Please find below response to your FOI request

Many Thanks

Kathryn Ralphs Assoc CIPD |Senior HR Advisor | Breckland Council
Office: 01362 656870
DDI: 01362 656200 |
[email address] | [1]www.breckland.gov.uk

-----Original Message-----

From: Paul Cardin [mailto:[FOI #56362 email]]

Sent: 02 January 2011 10:35

To: Freedom of Information

Subject: Freedom of Information request - Total Annual Figures for
Compromise Agreements, etc.

Dear Breckland District Council,

Please supply totals for the following:

Since the inception of Breckland District Council, or as far as

records go back, the annual figures for the total number of current

employees / ex-employees of Breckland District Council who have

signed compromise agreements directly related to the resolving of

dispute(s) / grievance(s) / internal and external investigation(s)/

whistleblowing incident(s).

1 related to the resolving of internal investigation during
2006/2007

In addition to this, annual figures for the number of current

employees / ex-employees who have agreed, following the matter

being raised and made conditional as part of a compromise agreement

drawn up by the body acting as Breckland District Council's legal

team, to forgo their right to approach the council in the future

with Freedom of Information and/or DPA Subject Access requests

under the relevant Acts.

N/A

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

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Unless expressly stated otherwise, the contents of this e-mail are

confidential, represent only the views of the sender expressed only to the

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upon Breckland Council.

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and delete the message as soon as possible.

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References

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http://www.breckland.gov.uk/

hide quoted sections

Dear Kathryn,

Thanks very much for your response,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Breckland District Council were one of the quicker respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 16 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