Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Dorset 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 Dorset County 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 Dorset 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 Dorset 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

Dorset County Council

We acknowledge receipt of your request for information.
This will now be passed to the relevant area(s) of the authority and a
response sent within 20 working days.
If for any reason we cannot respond in full within 20 days, we will let you
know.

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Dorset County Council

Dear Mr Cardin
I am writing further to your email below.

We have managed to collate figures for Dorset County Council in relation
to this request, but are still waiting to hear back from the Schools HR
Team. Here is the information we have to date:

2001 - 2
2002 - 5
2003 - 8
2004 - -
2005 - 2
2006 - -
2007 - -
2008 - 1
2009 - 2
2010 - 1
2011 - 1

The answer to the second part of the question, regarding the condition
that employees/ex employees forego their right to approach the council in
the future with FOI and/or DPA subject access requests under the relevant
Acts, is 'none'.

If you are not completely satisfied with my response, please contact me
again, or write to the complaints officer at: Dorset County Council,
County Hall, Colliton Park, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1XJ. Or you can follow
the complaints procedure that can be found on our website
www.dorsetforyou.com at
http://212.104.140.176/index.jsp?article... If your appeal is not
resolved to your satisfaction, you have the right to apply to the
Information Commissioner for a decision.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Team
Dorset County Council

Paul Cardin <[FOI #56489 email]>
03/01/2011 09:49

To
FOI requests at Dorset County Council <[Dorset County Council request email]>
cc

Subject
Freedom of Information request - Total Annual Figures for Compromise
Agreements, etc.

Dear Dorset County 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 Dorset 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 Dorset 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

show quoted sections

Dorset County Council

Dear Mr Cardin
I am writing further to my email below.

For schools, we only have records going back to 2006 and there are 1 in
2010 and 3 in 2007 to add to the totals below.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Team
Dorset County Council

Freedom Of Information/ARCHIVIST/Dorset County Council
Sent by: Richard A Kirby/ARCHIVIST/Dorset County Council
01/02/2011 16:05

To
Paul Cardin <[FOI #56489 email]>
cc

Subject
Re: Freedom of Information request - Total Annual Figures for Compromise
Agreements, etc.

Dear Mr Cardin
I am writing further to your email below.

We have managed to collate figures for Dorset County Council in relation
to this request, but are still waiting to hear back from the Schools HR
Team. Here is the information we have to date:

2001 - 2
2002 - 5
2003 - 8
2004 - -
2005 - 2
2006 - -
2007 - -
2008 - 1
2009 - 2
2010 - 1
2011 - 1

The answer to the second part of the question, regarding the condition
that employees/ex employees forego their right to approach the council in
the future with FOI and/or DPA subject access requests under the relevant
Acts, is 'none'.

If you are not completely satisfied with my response, please contact me
again, or write to the complaints officer at: Dorset County Council,
County Hall, Colliton Park, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1XJ. Or you can follow
the complaints procedure that can be found on our website
www.dorsetforyou.com at
http://212.104.140.176/index.jsp?article... If your appeal is not
resolved to your satisfaction, you have the right to apply to the
Information Commissioner for a decision.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Team
Dorset County Council

Paul Cardin <[FOI #56489 email]>
03/01/2011 09:49

To
FOI requests at Dorset County Council <[Dorset County Council request email]>
cc

Subject
Freedom of Information request - Total Annual Figures for Compromise
Agreements, etc.

Dear Dorset County 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 Dorset 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 Dorset 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

show quoted sections

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Dorset County Council were one of the slower respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 22 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