Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Crawley Borough Council

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The request was successful.

Dear Crawley Borough Council,

Please supply totals for the following:

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

Carr, Kevin, Crawley Borough Council

Dear Sir

Further to your request for information please see below for the Council's
response.

Kevin Carr
Legal and Democratic Services

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

A total of four Compromise Agreements have been made with former
employees ( period December 2006 - July 2009 ). All of these agreements
were reached as a result of grievance proceedings

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 Crawley 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.

None

Dear Kevin,

Thanks for your quick response - I'd be very grateful if you could break the figures down annually e.g.
2006 - 1; 2007 - 2; etc and respond with details,

many thanks,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Carr, Kevin, Crawley Borough Council

Details as follows

2006 1
2007 1
2008 1
2009 1

Kevin Carr
Legal and Democratic Services

show quoted sections

Dear Kevin,

Many thanks for your time on this and your quick response. However, please could you address the second part of my query i.e. How many (if any) employees have agreed to forgo their statutory right to make future FOI and DPA requests as part of a compromise agreement?

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Carr, Kevin, Crawley Borough Council

Dear Sir

Response to the second part of your enquiry - None

Kevin Carr
Legal and Democratic Services

show quoted sections

Dear Kevin,

Many thanks,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Crawley Borough Council were one of the quickest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking only 9 days 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 - although 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