Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Common Council of the City of London

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 Common Council of the City of London,

Please supply totals for the following:

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

COL - EB - Information Officer, Common Council of the City of London

Dear Mr Cardin,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 (FOIA) - INFORMATION REQUEST

The City of London (CoL) acknowledges receipt of your request for
information of 2 January 2011.

Public authorities are required to respond to requests within the
statutory timescale of 20 working days beginning from the first working
day after they receive a request. The Act does not always require public
authorities to disclose the information which they hold.

The FOIA applies to the CoL as a local authority, police authority and
port health authority. The CoL is the local and police authority for the
"Square Mile", ie the historic City of London, and not for London as a
whole. Please see the following link to a map on the CoL's website, which
shows the area covered:

[1]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/maps/boundary_map.htm.
The CoL's port health authority functions extend beyond the City boundary.
For further information please see:
[2]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/porthealth.

Yours sincerely,

Information Officer
City of London
Tel: 020-7332 1209
[3]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

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COL - EB - Information Officer, Common Council of the City of London

Dear Mr Cardin,

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 (FOIA) - INFORMATION REQUEST

Following your request for information of 2 January 2011, and our
acknowledgement of 4 January, the City of London (CoL) responds as
follows.

The records on compromise agreements are retained for six years from the
termination date of the employee. The following table provides the annual
figures for the total number current /ex-employees who have signed
compromise agreements directly related to resolving disputes for the years
2006 to 2011. None of the agreements indicate that they were in respect of
grievances, internal and external investigation or whistle blowing.

Year No. of employees
2006 4
2007 9
2008 4
2009 8
2010 6
2011 2

With regard to the second part of your request, the answer is nil.

We hope that this response is of assistance.

If you wish to make a complaint about the way the CoL has managed your
enquiry, please make your complaint in writing to email address:
[1][email address]. For a link to the CoL's FOI complaints
procedure, please visit the following page:
[2]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Feedback, at the end of which is located the
FOI complaints procedure. If, having used the CoL's FOI Complaints
Procedure, you are still dissatisfied, you may request the Information
Commissioner to investigate. The Information Commissioner is a Crown
appointment, responsible for monitoring compliance with the FOIA. Please
contact: Information Commissioner, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire, SK9 5AF. Telephone: (01625) 545700. Website: [3]www.ico.gov.uk.

Please note that the Act applies to the CoL as a local authority, police
authority and port health authority. Subject to any other statutory
provisions requiring the CoL to disclose information, release of
information outside the scope of the Act is subject to the discretion of
the CoL.

The CoL holds the copyright in this communication. The supply of it does
not give you a right to re-use it in a way that would infringe that
copyright, for example, by making copies, publishing and issuing copies to
the public or to any other person. Brief extracts of any of the material
may be reproduced under the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright,
Designs and Patents Act 1988 (sections 29 and 30) for the purposes of
research for non-commercial purposes, private study, criticism, review and
news reporting, subject to an acknowledgement of the copyright owner.

Yours sincerely,

for Performance Manager
Corporate HR Unit
City of London
[4]www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Common Council of the City of London were one of the slower respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 21 working days (just 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