Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Derbyshire County 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 Derbyshire County Council,

Please supply totals for the following:

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

Contact Centre (Chief Executives), Derbyshire County Council

Dear Paul

Thank you for contacting Derbyshire County Council I have forwarded your
email to our FOI team for reply.

Regards
Nathan Moore
Call Derbyshire Administrator
Call Derbyshire
08456 058 058

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Raju,Aneeta (Corporate Resources), Derbyshire County Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your below enquiry received on the 4th January 2011.

We will be dealing with your request under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000. In accordance with the legislation, the deadline for
responding is 20 working days from receipt of the request, this being
the 1st February 2011. However, we shall endeavour to deal with your
request promptly, and if possible before this date.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries.

Yours sincerely,

J McElvaney,
Director of Legal Services
Derbyshire County Council.
01629 538337/ Internal 38337

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Raju,Aneeta (Corporate Resources), Derbyshire County Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your below enquiry. Please accept my apologies for the
delay in responding to you.

Please see below answers to the queries you raised:

Since the inception of Derbyshire County Council, or as far as records
go back, the annual figures for the total number of current
employees/ex-employees of Derbyshire County Council who have signed
compromise agreements directly related to the resolving of
dispute(s)/grievance(s)/internal and external
investigation(s)/whistleblowing incident(s).

It will not be possible to provide figures since the inception of the
Council as records are only held since our case management system was
first devised. Please see below figures relating to your query for the
last 5 years.

2005 - 4

2006 - 4

2007 - 3

2008 - 3

2009 - 8

2010 - 1

You also asked:

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 the Derbyshire County 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.

Derbyshire County Council does not hold this information in a recorded
format. Such terms are not included within a compromise agreement.
Please treat this as a Refusal Notice under s17 of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.

I hope this now deals with your request for information. However should
you wish the outcome to be reviewed, please follow the procedure as set
out below:

Stage 1:

In the first instance, please send in your comments, and wherever
possible, a copy of your request and the covering letter enclosing the
information or refusing your request to:

Jenny Barnes
Access to Information Officer
Solicitor
Legal Services Division
Derbyshire County Council
County Hall
Matlock
DE4 3AG

Email: [email address]

Stage 2:

After completing the above procedure, if you wish to challenge the
decision further, then you have a right to contact the Information
Commissioner's Office as follows:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Tel. 0303 123 1113/ Fax: 01625 524510
ICO Weblink: http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints.aspx


Yours sincerely,

J McElvaney,
Director of Legal Services
Derbyshire County Council.
01629 538337/ Internal 38337

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Derbyshire County Council were one of the slower respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 23 working 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