Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to City of York 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 City of York Council,

Please supply totals for the following:

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

City of York Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom Of Information Act 2000, of which we acknowledge receipt.

Your request has been passed to the appropriate officer to provide a response as soon as possible, and in any event within 20 working days, as required by the Act.

Kind regards

Miriam Townsend, for

Information Governance Officer
City of York Council
Telephone 01904 552933
[City of York Council request email]

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Dear City of York Council,

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 faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Cairns, Peter, City of York Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin

Please find attached response to your FOI request attached.

Yours sincerely

Peter Cairns LLM LLB (Hons)
Senior Lawyer, Employment and Education
Legal Services
City of York Council

Telephone: 01904 551095

<<01.02.11 response to Paul Cardin.doc>>

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City of York Council

Dear Mr Cardin,

Thanks you for your email below regarding your FOI request Y2377. A response was sent out to you on 01 February. I have contacted the officer responsible for issuing your response and they have re issued it today.

Please can you let us know if you want us to pursue your rescoped query below in light of the response to Y2377.

Kind regards

Paul Atkinson

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Dear Peter Cairns,

Many thanks for your response and for time you have devoted to this request.

I am engaging in research in this area and am concerned that your figures look a little 'on the large side'.

In the interests of accuracy, please could you exclude COT3 agreements and compromise agreements 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

In both of our interests, I am aiming to reach high standards of accuracy, and appreciate your co-operation with this request,

Many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Dear City of York Council,

Just a quick reminder about the email I sent some weeks ago on 2nd February 2011. I'd appreciate a response, especially since the first email I sent was not responded to within the 20 working days limit.

Many thanks in advance,

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Cairns, Peter, City of York Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Excluding the categories you have listed, the total number of compromise agreements is as follows:

2007 - 1
2008 - 1
2009 - 2
2010 - 7

Yours sincerely

Peter Cairns

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

City of York Council were one of the slower respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 38 working days (18 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