Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

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

Please supply totals for the following:

As far as records go back, annual figures for the total number of current employees / ex-employees of Doncaster 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 Doncaster 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 Requests, Doncaster Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Re: Request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Thank you for your request dated 3rd January 2011 for information.

Your request has been passed to the People, Performance & Improvement
department. They will endeavour to search for any information held to
provide you with a response as soon as is possible within 20 working days
and in any case by the 31st January 2011. If a time extension is required
you will be contacted accordingly.

If you have any queries about this matter please do not hesitate to
contact me.

Yours sincerely

Jennifer Ball
Freedom of Information Officer
Doncaster Council
Customer Strategy & Development
Neighbourhoods & Communities
Tel: 01302 737644
Fax: 01302 737510
Address:
Performance Team
The Council House
Floor 2
College Road
Doncaster
DN1 3DA

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Freedom of Information Requests, Doncaster Borough Council

1 Attachment

Please find attached the Council's response to your FOI request.
<<FINAL Response letter Cardin.pdf>>
Thank you,
Helen

Helen McCay
OD Business Consultant
People and Performance Improvement
Address: Doncaster Council
Floor 8
The Council House
College Road
DONCASTER
DN1 3AJ
Email: [email address]

P Save Paper - Do you really need to print this e-mail?

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Dear Freedom of Information Requests,

Many thanks for your detailed response.

Please may I ask you to exclude compromise agreements related to the following circumstances:

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

I am wishing to research and quantify compromise agreements which have arisen following disputes related to grievances / dignity at work complaints / investigations, etc. In these cases, it is likely that the employee will have reached an agreement to terminate the working contract and will have received a reference as part of the agreement.

I am hopeful that now you have kindly provided a certain number, it won't be too much trouble to further refine that figure and re-advise in accordance with the above,

many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Freedom of Information Requests, Doncaster Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your email I have asked the area which provided your
response to review and respond to again as soon as is possible.

Thanks

Jenny

Jennifer Ball
Freedom of Information Officer
Doncaster Council
Customer Strategy & Development
Neighbourhoods & Communities
Tel: 01302 737644
Fax: 01302 737510
Address:
Performance Team
The Council House
Floor 2
College Road
Doncaster
DN1 3DA

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Freedom of Information Requests, Doncaster Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your email, as requested the amended statistics are
provided below based on your criteria.

2005 - Total = 1 which concluded an investigation

2009 - Total = 20 - 9 averted disputes

I hope that this information is useful to you.

Yours sincerely

Jennifer Ball
Freedom of Information Officer
Doncaster Council
Customer Strategy & Development
Neighbourhoods & Communities
Tel: 01302 737644
Fax: 01302 737510
Address:
Performance Team
The Council House
Floor 2
College Road
Doncaster
DN1 3DA

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Dear Freedom of Information Requests,

Thanks for your response. Please could you explain the second set of figures?

Does this mean (20 minus 9 'averted disputes') = 11?

Or does it mean 20 (9 of which were 'averted disputes')

many thanks for your time,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Freedom of Information Requests, Doncaster Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

I am advised it means 20 in total (9 of which were 'averted disputes').

Yours sincerely

Jennifer Ball
Freedom of Information Officer
Doncaster Council
Customer Strategy & Development
Neighbourhoods & Communities
Tel: 01302 737644
Fax: 01302 737510
Address:
Performance Team
The Council House
Floor 2
College Road
Doncaster
DN1 3DA

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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Doncaster Borough Council 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