Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Wyre Forest District 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 Wyre Forest 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

Wyre Forest District Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

Further to your recent request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act, unfortunately on this occasion we are unable to provide
you with the information sought, please note the following explanation:

This information is withheld because it is exempt from disclosure under
Section 40(2)(3)(a)(i) ‘Personal information’. This is because the
information involves low numbers which could lead to the identification
of an individual or individuals. The Freedom of Information allows a
public authority to withhold personal information if disclosure would
breach the Data Protection Principles. These are a set of rules in the
Data Protection Act 1998 which govern the handling of personal data. In
this case we consider that disclosure would breach principle 1 of the
Data Protection Act because it would not be fair or lawful having regard
to the rights of the individual or individuals, that information
relating to their claim for injury, and any compensation paid, was
disclosed in the public domain.

If you have a complaint about the handling of this Freedom of
Information Act enquiry you can view our complaints procedure at:
http://www.wyreforestdc.gov.uk/wfdc_docs....


You can also contact the Information Commissioner, using the contact
details at: www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk (
http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/ )

Regards

Louisa Bright


Freedom of Information Administration Officer
Wyre Forest District Council

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Dear Wyre Forest District Council,

Many thanks for your response.

I disagree with your reasoning for withholding the information. I believe the public interest in this case outweighs the risk that individuals will be identified.

I believe this view is reflected by the decision of a total of 90 councils to date, many of whom have submitted 'low numbers' in response to a largely identical query.

Before I resort to requesting an internal review, and possibly using up the valuable time of a senior officer, can I request that you reconsider?

May I also narrow the scope of the query by asking only for agreements between the years 2005 and 2010 i.e. the last 6 years?

Further, can I narrow the subject area by asking you to omit compromise agreements which may have been drawn up in the following circumstances:

1. Purely redundancy situations
2. Purely PILON (pay in lieu of notice) situations
3. TUPE situations
4. Equal pay claims
5. COT3 agreements (where tribunal proceedings may or may not have been initiated)

I hope this makes your request more manageable and meets with the spirit of the FOI Act,

Many thanks in advance,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Wyre Forest District Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

I will refer your request back to our HR department and contact you
again shortly.

Regards,

Louisa Bright

Freedom of Information Administration Officer
Wyre Forest District Council

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Wyre Forest District Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

Just a note to say that we are still in the process of dealing with
your request, our Legal Department are waiting to hear back from the
Information Commissioner's Office.

I will contact you again in due course.

Regards,

Louisa Bright

Freedom of Information Administration Officer
Wyre Forest District Council

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Wyre Forest District Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

I have been advised by our HR department that the response to your
query is 'low numbers'.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us.

Regards,


Louisa Bright

Freedom of Information Administration Officer
Wyre Forest District Council

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Dear Wyre Forest District Council,

Thanks for your response.

However, I'd like you to read my FOI query again and address it again in accordance with the information requested,

many thanks in advance,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Dear Wyre Forest District Council,

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

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

Your response is now long overdue.

This request has now been responded to positively and in full by 251 English Councils since 1st January 2011. I'd appreciate it very much if while conducting this internal review, you took into account all the
questions and information I have supplied to date.

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

Wyre Forest District Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

Apologies for the delay in responding to you, I have forwarded your messages onto our HR department and I am waiting to hear from them.

I will get back to you in due course.

Regards,

Louisa Bright

Freedom of Information Administration Officer
Wyre Forest District Council

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Wyre Forest District Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

Further to your email dated 5th March 2011 requesting an internal review on the answer given to your Freedom of Information request.

Please be advised that having looked at all the correspondence we can now confirm that Wyre Forest District Council has a nil return for compromise agreements signed by employees / ex-employees.

Please accept our sincere apologies for the delay in providing you with an answer and we hope we have not caused you too much inconvenience.

Regards,




Louisa Bright

Freedom of Information Administration Officer
Wyre Forest District Council

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Dear Wyre Forest District Council,

Thanks for the response. Given that your initial responses indicated there WASN'T a 'nil-return' regarding compromise agreements, there is conflicting information, which has caused some uncertainty on my part. Your review was a little sparse on detail and explanation.

Can I ask for categorical answers to the following questions?

Has Wyre Forest Council ever entered into a compromise agreement with an employee / ex-employee?

If so, was there a gagging clause related to FOI / DPA (please see the second part of my original request)?

Please note: this is not an additional request and you should not avail yourselves of another 20 working days' grace in which to answer it,

many thanks in advance,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Wyre Forest District Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

The officer who is dealing with the internal review of your request is currently out of the office, a response to your query will be sent to you week commencing Monday 28th March.

Regards,

Louisa Bright

Freedom of Information Administration Officer
Wyre Forest District Council

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Wyre Forest District Council

Dear Mr Cardin

In response to your email dated 17th March 2011:

With reference to your recent request dated 9th January

As far as records go back, the annul figures for the total of current employees / ex-employees (including teaching staff) of the Council have signed compromise agreements directly related to the resolving of dispute(s) / grievance(s) / internal and external investigations(s) / whistleblowing incident(s).

I confirm as per our response to the internal review dated 17th March 2011 that it is a nil return.

I would like to take this opportunity to apologise as it appears that your original request was perhaps misinterpreted.

Regards
Louisa Bright


Freedom of Information Administration Officer
Wyre Forest District Council

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Wyre Forest District Council were one of the slowest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 62 working days (well over twice 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