Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Chichester 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 Chichester District Council,

Please supply totals for the following:

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

Marilyn Blunden, Chichester District Council

Dear Mr. Cardin,

I confirm receipt of your request for information which will be dealt
with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and will be answered
within 20 working days (ie. by the 31st January 2011).

Yours sincerely,

Marilyn Blunden
FOI Co-ordinator

Chichester District Council
Tel: 01243 785166 ext 5164 | Fax: 01243 776766 |
[email address] | http://www.chichester.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Hannah Woods, Chichester District Council

Mr Cardin,

I am writing with reference to the above request dated 2nd January 2011.

Since 2007 there have been six compromise agreements.

No one is asked 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 as part of a compromise agreement.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further
information.

Hannah Woods
Personnel Officer
Personnel
Chichester District Council
Tel: 01243 53 4534 | Fax: 01243 534751 | [email address] |
[1]http://www.chichester.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Dear Hannah Woods,

Thanks for addressing the second part of my query.

With regard to the first part, please could you break down the figures annually and re-advise in calendar year format? e.g. 2006 - 1; 2007 - 3; 2008 - 2; etc.

Many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Hannah Woods, Chichester District Council

Mr Cardin,

I apologise for the delay in replying.

Compromise Agreements

2007/08 2
2008/09 2
2009/10 1
2010/11 1

Please do contact me if I can help further.

Hannah Woods

Hannah Woods
Personnel Officer
Personnel
Chichester District Council
Tel: 01243 53 4534 | Fax: 01243 534751 | [email address] |
http://www.chichester.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Chichester District Council were one of the slower respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 24 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