Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Aylesbury Vale District Council

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Dear Aylesbury Vale District Council,

Please supply totals for the following:

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

Records, Aylesbury Vale District Council

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Data Protection and Freedom of Information Team
Aylesbury Vale District Council

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Records, Aylesbury Vale District Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Cardin,

Thank you for your information request to Aylesbury Vale District Council, reference FOI 1338.

Please find attached our official response.

If you have any further requests please e-mail [Aylesbury Vale District Council request email] or write to the address below.

Yours sincerely,

Philip Giles
Information and Administration Officer
IT Division
Aylesbury Vale District Council
66 High Street
HP20 1SD
Tel: 01296 585771

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Aylesbury Vale District Council were one of the quickest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 17 days to respond positively and in full.

Please link here to read about the further aspects of this request:

...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.