Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Chelmsford 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 Chelmsford Borough Council,

Please supply totals for the following:

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

CBC Mailbox, Chelmsford City Council

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FOI Mailbox, Chelmsford City Council

CBC FOI REFERENCE NO. 1136

Dear Sir,

I acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information request of the 2nd.
January, 2011.

Your request has been passed to our Human Resources Services for a
response. It is the Council's intention to reply to you on or before
the 1st. February, 2011.

Yours faithfully
Freedom of Information Officer
Corporate Services
Chelmsford Borough Council
www.chelmsford.gov.uk
Accredited with the IiP Gold Standard

show quoted sections

Dear FOI Mailbox,

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

Although I have received no response, to assist, I would like to 'sharpen' and 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

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.

Many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

FOI Mailbox, Chelmsford City Council

CBC FOI REFERENCE NO. 1136

Dear Mr. Cardin,

Thank you for your e-mail. Apologies for the delay in the Council
response.

I am chasing your request with our Human Resources and should receive a
reply regarding the position to-morrow.

Yours faithfully
Freedom of Information Officer
Corporate Services
Chelmsford Borough Council
www.chelmsford.gov.uk
Accredited with the IiP Gold Standard

show quoted sections

FOI Mailbox, Chelmsford City Council

CBC FOI REFERENCE NO. 1136

Dear Mr. Cardin,

With reference to your Freedom of Information request.

Question 1 - Details you have requested are as follows:-

2007/2008 - 1
2008/2009 - 1
2009/2010 - 3
2010/2011 - 1

In answer to your second question - NIL

Yours faithfully,
Freedom of Information Officer
Corporate Services
Chelmsford Borough Council
[1]www.chelmsford.gov.uk
Accredited with the IiP Gold Standard

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Chelmsford Borough Council were one of the slower respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 30 working days (over 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