Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to East Hampshire District Council

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The request was successful.

Dear East Hampshire District Council,

Please supply totals for the following:

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

East Hampshire District Council

Ref: 15512

Dear Mr Cardin

Thank you for your request for information.

Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days.

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me.
Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely,

Jo Tarrant - Legal Assistant
East Hampshire District Council
Penns Place Petersfield GU31 4EX
Direct Tel: 01730 234069 Direct Fax: 01730 233935

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-----Paul Cardin <[FOI #56624 email]> wrote: -----

To: FOI requests at East Hampshire District Council
<[East Hampshire District Council request email]>
From: Paul Cardin <[FOI #56624 email]>
Date: 03/01/2011 22:10
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Total Annual Figures for
Compromise Agreements, etc.

Dear East Hampshire District Council,

Please supply totals for the following:

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

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East Hampshire District Council

Mr Cardin

Further to your request for information re Compromise agreements I am
pleased to confirm the following:

For these years there were the following number of employees (all
ex-employees) of the Council who have signed compromise
agreements directly related to the resolving of dispute(s) / grievance(s)
/ internal and external investigation(s)/ whistleblowing incident(s).
2003 - 1
2004 - 1
2005 - 1
2006 - 0
2007 - 1
2008 - 1
2009 - 1
2010 - 2

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 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.
For all years in all cases - 0

If you require anything further, please do not hesitate to contact me
directly.

Regards

Tracy Beavis
HR Assistant
HR Transaction
East Hampshire District Council
Penns Place, Petersfield GU31 4EX
Tel: 01730 234047
[1][email address]

Information in this message is confidential and may be
privileged. It is intended solely for the person to whom
it is addressed. If you are not the intended recipient, please
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Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

East Hampshire District Council were one of the quicker respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 19 days 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