Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

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

Please supply totals for the following:

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

Freedom of Information, Darlington Borough Council

1 Attachment

<<110104 1243 - Ack letter.doc>>
Dear Mr. Cardin

Please find attached a letter acknowledging receipt of your recent request
for information.

Kind regards

Freedom of Information Officer
Darlington Borough Council
Town Hall, room 322
Feethams
Darlington
DL1 5QT
Tel: (01325) 388905
E-mail: [1][Darlington Borough Council request email]
[2]www.darlington.gov.uk

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Darlington Borough Council request email]
2. http://www.darlington.gov.uk/

Freedom of Information, Darlington Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Cardin

Please find attached the Council's response to your recent request for
information.

Kind regards

Freedom of Information Officer
Resources Group
Darlington Borough Council, Town Hall
Darlington, DL1 5QT (room 322)
Tel: (01325) 388905, Ext: 2905
E-mail: [1][Darlington Borough Council request email]
[2]www.darlington.gov.uk

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[Darlington Borough Council request email]
2. http://www.darlington.gov.uk/

Dear Freedom of Information,

Many thanks for your response. I appreciate the time you have devoted to this query.

As your figures look a little on the high side, please could you
exclude compromise agreements drawn up in the following
circumstances and re-advise?

1. TUPE situations
2. Purely redundancy situations
3. Equal pay claims
4. Purely PILON (payment in lieu of notice) situations
5. COT3 agreements (where tribunal proceedings may or may not have been initiated

I am aiming to research national trends and movements in this area
and am hoping to gain accurate information, and to provide a fair
representation of how often they are used for every English council.

I trust that given the relatively small amount of records you will
need to work through, this task will not be too arduous.

many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Freedom of Information, Darlington Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr. Cardin

The figures provided in reply to your request about the number of
compromise agreements came from the management information we hold on
leaving reasons for employees. We have separate categories for
different leaving reasons - i.e. TUPE transfer, redundancy,
resignations, compromise agreements etc.

The figures relating to compromise agreements that we provided in reply
to your FOI were taken from the 'compromise agreement' category. We
only retain the actual numbers, as opposed to the situation leading up
to a compromise agreement.

After spending some time looking to see if there are any additional
notes, we have identified only one compromise agreement from the figures
provided that could be regarded as relating to a possible redundancy
situation - i.e. one person left under a compromise agreement as an
alternative to redundancy in the current financial year.

As such, the figures we provided could only possibly be reduced by one.
The remainder all relate to compromise agreements. If this were not the
case, they would have been recorded under a different leaving reason.

I hope this clarifies our response.

Kind regards

Elaine Richardson
Corporate Information Governance Officer
Resources Group
Darlington Borough Council, Town Hall
Darlington, DL1 5QT (room 322)
Tel: (01325) 388905, Ext: 2905
www.darlington.gov.uk

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

show quoted sections

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Darlington Borough Council were one of the slower respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 36 working days (16 above 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