Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Buckinghamshire County 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 Buckinghamshire County Council,

Please supply totals for the following:

Since the inception of Buckinghamshire County Council, or as far as records go back, the annual figures for the total number of current employees / ex-employees of Buckinghamshire County 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 Buckinghamshire County 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

Doling, Neil, Buckinghamshire County Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for contacting Buckinghamshire County Council.

This email is to confirm receipt of your request.

Regards
Neil Doling
Freedom of Information Officer and Modern Records Manager
Freedom of Information Team
[Buckinghamshire County Council request email]
01296 383960 (or 01296 382907)
http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/bcc/foi/freedo...
Buckinghamshire County Council
County Hall
Walton Street
Aylesbury
Buckinghamshire
HP20 1UU

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Freedom of Information Mailbox, Buckinghamshire County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

Thank you for contacting Buckinghamshire County Council.

Your request for information has now been considered and the information you have requested, where held, is as follows and attached.

Our Compromise Agreements are not conditional on forgoing the right to make future FOI/DPA requests, so the figure for this aspect of the request is nil.

If you have any further queries or concerns then please contact us.

If you have a complaint about the handling of your request then please use the Council's complaints procedure (at Stage 3) in the first instance. This is available at:
http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/sites/bcc/abou...
Or by writing to:
FOI Monitoring Officer
Head of Legal and Democratic Services
Buckinghamshire County Council
County Hall
Aylesbury
Bucks
HP20 1UA
Or via email: [Buckinghamshire County Council request email]

You can also then complain to the Information Commissioner at:
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113
Fax: 01625 524510
Email: [email address]
http://www.ico.gov.uk/

Regards
Freedom of Information Team
[Buckinghamshire County Council request email]
http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/bcc/foi/freedo...
Buckinghamshire County Council
County Hall
Walton Street
Aylesbury
Buckinghamshire
HP20 1UU

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Dear Freedom of Information Mailbox,

Many thanks for your response, and for the time you have devoted to
this request. I am extremely grateful.

Now that you have reached a grand total, and because the figures
look 'on the large side', could I ask that you exclude compromise
agreements reached in the following circumstances - and re-advise?

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

I am currently engaged in research in this area and would like to
be accurate about when and how compromise agreements become the
preferred option. I trust that narrowing the scope in this way will
not prove too arduous,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Doling, Neil, Buckinghamshire County Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for contacting Buckinghamshire County Council.

This email is to confirm receipt of your request.

Regards
Neil Doling
Freedom of Information Officer and Modern Records Manager
Freedom of Information Team
[Buckinghamshire County Council request email]
01296 383960 (or 01296 382907)
http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/bcc/foi/freedo...
Buckinghamshire County Council
County Hall
Walton Street
Aylesbury
Buckinghamshire
HP20 1UU

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Dear Doling, Neil,

Hi. We're now into March. Is anything happening with this please?

Many thanks again,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Buckinghamshire County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

Thank you for contacting Buckinghamshire County Council.

Your request for information has now been considered and the information you have requested is attached.

If you have any further queries or concerns then please contact us.

If you have a complaint about the handling of your request then please use the Council's complaints procedure (at Stage 3) in the first instance. This is available at:
http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/sites/bcc/abou...
Or by writing to:
FOI Monitoring Officer
Head of Legal and Democratic Services
Buckinghamshire County Council
County Hall
Aylesbury
Bucks
HP20 1UA
Or via email: [Buckinghamshire County Council request email]

You can also then complain to the Information Commissioner at:
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Tel: 0303 123 1113
Fax: 01625 524510
Email: [email address]
http://www.ico.gov.uk/

Regards
Freedom of Information Team
[Buckinghamshire County Council request email]
http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/bcc/foi/freedo...
Buckinghamshire County Council
County Hall
Walton Street
Aylesbury
Buckinghamshire
HP20 1UU

show quoted sections

Dear Freedom of Information Mailbox,

Thanks for the time you've dedicated to this query,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Freedom of Information Mailbox, Buckinghamshire County Council

Thank you for contacting Buckinghamshire County Council. This is to
acknowledge receipt of your request, which has been logged onto our system.
We will respond as soon as possible. If you have any questions please do contact us on:
[Buckinghamshire County Council request email]
0845 3708090
Freedom of Information Officer
Buckinghamshire County Council
County Hall
Walton Street
Aylesbury
Buckinghamshire
HP20 1UU

Buckinghamshire County Council
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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Buckinghamshire County Council were one of the slowest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 43 working days (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

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