Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Dudley 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 Dudley 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 Dudley 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 Dudley 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

Information Governance, Dudley Council

Mr PAUL CARDIN.

10/01/2011

Dear Mr CARDIN,

Freedom Of Information Act 2000 - Information Request 4438

I acknowledge your request for information received on 03/01/2011.

Your request is being considered and you will receive the information
requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by
the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions which may
prevent release of the information you have requested. There will be an
assessment and if any of the exemption categories apply then the
information may not be released. In some circumstances the decision to
release information, or not, will be based on a public interest test. You
will be advised of any considerations, subsequent decisions and your
rights of appeal.

If the information you request contains reference to a third party then
they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken on whether or not to
release the information to you. You will be informed if this is the case,
including your rights of appeal.

Unless otherwise requested the information may be provided in paper copy,
normal font size. If you require alternative formats, e.g. language,
audio, large print, etc. then please let me know.

There may be a fee payable for this information. This will be considered
and you will be informed if a fee is payable. In this event the fee must
be paid before the information is processed and released. The 20 working
day time limit for responses is suspended until receipt of the payment.

If you have any queries or concerns then please contact the Freedom of
Information Officer at Dudley MBC, The Council House, Dudley, West
Midlands, DY1 1HF, telephone 01384 818181, e-mail
[Dudley Borough Council request email].

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Most of the information that we provide in response to Freedom of
Information Act 2000 requests will be subject to copyright protection. In
most cases the copyright will be owned by Dudley MBC. The copyright in
other information may be owned by another person or organisation, as
indicated in the information itself. You are free to use any information
supplied for your own use, including for non-commercial research purposes.
The information may also be used for the purposes of news reporting.
However, any other type of re-use, for example, by publishing the
information or issuing copies to the public will require the permission of
the copyright owner.

For information where the copyright is owned by the Council details of the
conditions on re-use can be found on our website at [1]www.dudley.gov.uk.

For information where the copyright is owned by another person or
organisation, you must apply to the copyright owner to obtain their
permission.

Yours sincerely,
L J Bourne
(Freedom of Information Officer - Dudley MBC)

This Email and any attachments contains confidential information and is
intended solely for the individual to whom it is addressed. If this Email
has been misdirected, please notify the author as soon as possible. If you
are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute, copy,
print or rely on any of the information contained, and all copies must be
deleted immediately.Whilst we take reasonable steps to try to identify any
software viruses, any attachments to this e-mail may nevertheless contain
viruses which our anti- virus software has failed to identify. You should
therefore carry out your own anti-virus checks before opening any
documents.Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council will not accept any
liability for damage caused by computer viruses emanating from any
attachment or other document supplied with this e-mail.

Please consider the environment - do you need to print this e-mail?

References

Visible links
1. file://www.dudley.gov.uk

Information Governance, Dudley Council

Mr PAUL CARDIN,
DATE: 31st January 2011.

Dear Mr CARDIN,

Freedom Of Information Act 2000 - Information Request 4438

Your request:

Please supply totals for the following:

As far as records go back, annual figures for the total number of
current employees / ex-employees of Dudley 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 Dudley 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.

Our response:

I write to inform you that your request for information will not be
processed.

This is because the cost of locating and retrieving the information
exceeds the "appropriate limit" as stated in the Freedom of Information
(Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004 which is currently set at
£450. This limit represents the estimated cost of one person spending
18 hours in determining whether the Council holds the information, and
locating, retrieving and extracting the information. Under section 12
of the Freedom of Information Act the Council is not obliged to comply
with your request and we will not be processing your request further.

If you were to make a new request for a more narrow category of
information, for example the last two years, it may be that we could
comply with that request within the appropriate limit, although I cannot
guarantee that this will be the case.

Please contact me if you require further assistance in refining your
request.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 this letter acts
as a Refusal Notice.

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to
your request and wish to make a comment or complaint, or request a
review of the decision, you should write to the Freedom of Information
Officer at Dudley MBC, The Council House, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1
1HF, telephone 01384 818181, e-mail
[Dudley Borough Council request email]. This can also be done online at:
[1]http://www.dudley.gov.uk/customer-feedback

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the
ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints
procedure provided by Dudley MBC.

The Information Commissioner may be contacted at:
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone: 01625 545 700
[2]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,

L J Bourne
(Freedom of Information Officer - Dudley MBC)

This Email and any attachments contains confidential information and is
intended solely for the individual to whom it is addressed. If this Email
has been misdirected, please notify the author as soon as possible. If you
are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute, copy,
print or rely on any of the information contained, and all copies must be
deleted immediately.Whilst we take reasonable steps to try to identify any
software viruses, any attachments to this e-mail may nevertheless contain
viruses which our anti- virus software has failed to identify. You should
therefore carry out your own anti-virus checks before opening any
documents.Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council will not accept any
liability for damage caused by computer viruses emanating from any
attachment or other document supplied with this e-mail.

Please consider the environment - do you need to print this e-mail?

References

Visible links
1. http://www.dudley.gov.uk/customer-feedback
2. file://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Dear Information Governance,

Thanks very much for your response. I appreciate your position
however this query is identical to one which has been sent to ALL
English councils. So far, I have had 132 (one hundred and thirty two) full and detailed positive responses. These councils did not have any difficulty in responding to a perfectly reasonable request.

I am currently involved in research in this area and in order to
make the task somewhat more manageable, can I make the following
changes?

Please can you exclude compromise agreements drawn up in the
following circumstances:

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

Also, to assist you further, I will narrow the time period down to
between the years 2005 to 2010 i.e. the last six years.

Given that a total of 132 councils have not found any difficulty, I
imagine that they may be taking a different approach to searching
for the information.

Can I suggest that you query your Accounts Department? I ask this
because when employees leave in the circumstances I am describing,
they are offered a financial incentive to end their working
contracts. Your Accounts department is required to keep a detailed
electronic record of all such payments. As they should be keeping
an adequate data storage / retrieval system, it will not be too
arduous a task for them to provide Annual total figures for
compromise agreements drawn up in these circumstances.

You could also put in a call to your Legal Department who may keep
a similar searchable database.

I hope the above information assists you. I don't believe that the
possession of an inadequate data storage / retrieval system
warrants the use of an exclusion under the FOI Act and look forward
to your response,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Information Governance, Dudley Council

Mr PAUL CARDIN,
WHAT DO THEY KNOW,
1st February 2011

Dear Mr CARDIN,

Freedom Of Information Act 2000 - Information Request 4588

I acknowledge your request for information received on 31/01/2011.

Your request is being considered and you will receive the information
requested within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by
the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

For your information, the Act defines a number of exemptions which may
prevent release of the information you have requested. There will be an
assessment and if any of the exemption categories apply then the
information may not be released. In some circumstances the decision to
release information, or not, will be based on a public interest test. You
will be advised of any considerations, subsequent decisions and your
rights of appeal.

If the information you request contains reference to a third party then
they may be consulted prior to a decision being taken on whether or not to
release the information to you. You will be informed if this is the case,
including your rights of appeal.

Unless otherwise requested the information may be provided in paper copy,
normal font size. If you require alternative formats, e.g. language,
audio, large print, etc. then please let me know.
There may be a fee payable for this information. This will be considered
and you will be informed if a fee is payable. In this event the fee must
be paid before the information is processed and released. The 20 working
day time limit for responses is suspended until receipt of the payment.

If you have any queries or concerns then please contact the Freedom of
Information Officer at Dudley MBC, The Council House, Dudley, West
Midlands, DY1 1HF, telephone 01384 818181, e-mail
[Dudley Borough Council request email].

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Most of the information that we provide in response to Freedom of
Information Act 2000 requests will be subject to copyright protection. In
most cases the copyright will be owned by Dudley MBC. The copyright in
other information may be owned by another person or organisation, as
indicated in the information itself. You are free to use any information
supplied for your own use, including for non-commercial research purposes.
The information may also be used for the purposes of news reporting.
However, any other type of re-use, for example, by publishing the
information or issuing copies to the public will require the permission of
the copyright owner.

For information where the copyright is owned by the Council details of the
conditions on re-use can be found on our website at [1]www.dudley.gov.uk.

For information where the copyright is owned by another person or
organisation, you must apply to the copyright owner to obtain their
permission.

Yours sincerely,

L J Bourne
(Freedom of Information Officer - Dudley MBC)

This Email and any attachments contains confidential information and is
intended solely for the individual to whom it is addressed. If this Email
has been misdirected, please notify the author as soon as possible. If you
are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute, copy,
print or rely on any of the information contained, and all copies must be
deleted immediately.Whilst we take reasonable steps to try to identify any
software viruses, any attachments to this e-mail may nevertheless contain
viruses which our anti- virus software has failed to identify. You should
therefore carry out your own anti-virus checks before opening any
documents.Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council will not accept any
liability for damage caused by computer viruses emanating from any
attachment or other document supplied with this e-mail.

Please consider the environment - do you need to print this e-mail?

References

Visible links
1. file://www.dudley.gov.uk

Information Governance, Dudley Council

PAUL CARDIN.
WHATDOTHEYKNOW.COM

28th February 2011

Dear Mr CARDIN,

Information Request 4588 - Received 31st January 2011.

I do apologise to you but I am having some difficulty in pulling together
all the information in respect of your above request within the Statutory
20 working days. The delay relates to difficulties collating all the
information.

I am however doing all I can to expedite the response and need to ask you
for an extension of time until 16th March 2011. Is this acceptable?
If you have any queries or concerns then please contact the Freedom of
Information Officer at Dudley MBC, The Council House, Dudley, West
Midlands, DY1 1HF, telephone 01384 818181, e-mail
[Dudley Borough Council request email].

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely,

L J Bourne

(Freedom of Information Officer - Dudley MBC)

This Email and any attachments contains confidential information and is
intended solely for the individual to whom it is addressed. If this Email
has been misdirected, please notify the author as soon as possible. If you
are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute, copy,
print or rely on any of the information contained, and all copies must be
deleted immediately.Whilst we take reasonable steps to try to identify any
software viruses, any attachments to this e-mail may nevertheless contain
viruses which our anti- virus software has failed to identify. You should
therefore carry out your own anti-virus checks before opening any
documents.Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council will not accept any
liability for damage caused by computer viruses emanating from any
attachment or other document supplied with this e-mail.

Please consider the environment - do you need to print this e-mail?

Dear Information Governance,

Yes, of course. Thanks for your efforts and for the time you've devoted to this request,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Information Governance, Dudley Council

PAUL CARDIN.
WHATDOTHEYKNOW.COM

Date: 17/03/2011

Dear Paul Cardin,

Your request for information received on 31/01/2011 has now been
considered and the information requested is enclosed.

Your request:

New request based on previous request as set out below.

DEAR INFORMATION GOVERNANCE, RFI 4588

I AM CURRENTLY INVOLVED IN RESEARCH IN THIS AREA AND IN ORDER TO MAKE THE
TASK SOMEWHAT MORE MANAGEABLE, CAN I MAKE THE FOLLOWING CHANGES?

PLEASE CAN YOU EXCLUDE COMPROMISE AGREEMENTS DRAWN UP IN THE FOLLOWING
CIRCUMSTANCES:

1. PURELY REDUNDANCY SITUATIONS.
2. PURELY PILON (PAYMENT IN LIEU OF NOTICE) SITUATIONS.
3. EQUAL PAY CLAIMS.
4. TUPE SITUATIONS.
5. COT3 AGREEMENTS (WHERE TRIBUNAL PROCEEDINGS MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE
BEEN INITIATED).

ALSO, TO ASSIST YOU FURTHER, I WILL NARROW THE TIME PERIOD DOWN TO BETWEEN
THE YEARS 2005 TO 2010 I.E. THE LAST SIX YEARS.

Previous request:

PLEASE SUPPLY TOTALS FOR THE FOLLOWING:

AS FAR AS RECORDS GO BACK, ANNUAL FIGURES FOR THE TOTAL NUMBER OF CURRENT
EMPLOYEES / EX-EMPLOYEES OF DUDLEY 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 DUDLEY 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.

Our response:

Please see enclosed summary information for the requested period.

Year Number of Compromise Agreements
2005 5
2006 5
2007 2
2008 7
2009 15
2010 11
Total 45

In addition within Dudley MBC, the Council's compromise agreement does NOT
have a clause asking people to forgo their DPA and FOI rights.

If you have any queries or further information needs in the future then
please contact me.

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to make a comment or complaint, or request a review of
the decision, you should write to the Freedom of Information Officer at
Dudley MBC, The Council House, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1 1HF, telephone
01384 818181, e-mail [Dudley Borough Council request email]. This can also
be done online at: [1]http://www.dudley.gov.uk/customer-feedback

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the
ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints
procedure provided by Dudley MBC.

The Information Commissioner may be contacted at:
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone: 01625 545 700
[2]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,

L J Bourne

(Freedom of Information Officer - Dudley MBC)

This Email and any attachments contains confidential information and is
intended solely for the individual to whom it is addressed. If this Email
has been misdirected, please notify the author as soon as possible. If you
are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute, copy,
print or rely on any of the information contained, and all copies must be
deleted immediately.Whilst we take reasonable steps to try to identify any
software viruses, any attachments to this e-mail may nevertheless contain
viruses which our anti- virus software has failed to identify. You should
therefore carry out your own anti-virus checks before opening any
documents.Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council will not accept any
liability for damage caused by computer viruses emanating from any
attachment or other document supplied with this e-mail.

Please consider the environment - do you need to print this e-mail?

References

Visible links
1. http://www.dudley.gov.uk/customer-feedback
2. file://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Dudley Borough Council were one of the slowest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 55 working days (well over twice 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