Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to East Hertfordshire District 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 East Hertfordshire 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

Freedom of Information, East Hertfordshire District Council

Dear Paul Cardin

Freedom of Information Act - Information request - F11/003

I am writing to acknowledge your written request for information received on 4th January 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, subject to the information not being exempt or containing reference to a third party.

The Act defines a number of exemptions, which may prevent release of the information you have requested. There will be an assessment of your request and if any of the exemption categories apply then the information will not be released. You will be informed if this is the case, including 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.

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

If you have any queries about the processing of your request then please do not hesitate to contact me.

It is important that you include the above FOI reference number on all correspondence related to this request.

Thank you for your request.

Yours Sincerely

Chris Cooper
Information Manager
East Herts Council
Tel: 01279 655261 Ext. 2115
E_mail: mailto:[email address]
web: www.eastherts.gov.uk
 

show quoted sections

Cooper Chris, East Hertfordshire District Council

2 Attachments

Dear Paul Cardin

Freedom of Information Act - Information Request - F11/003

After consideration of your request regarding Total Annual Figures for
Compromise Agreements, etc. I am writing to you to advise that the Council
are not obliged to supply the information you have requested.

The Council has decided that the cost to locate, retrieve and extract the
information you requested exceeds the appropriate limit as laid down in
the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and
Fees) Regulations 2004.

In accordance with Section 17 of the Freedom Of Information Act 2000 this
document and its enclosure acts as a Refusal Notice.

If you have a query or complaint about the processing of your request
please do not hesitate to contact me. The Council's leaflet Making a
complaint is enclosed.

Alternatively for more information on the Freedom of Information Act
contact the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioners Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Telephone 01625 545 700

[1]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

It is important that you include the above FOI reference number on all
correspondence related to this request.

I apologise that your request cannot be met and should you have any
further queries or wish to discuss submitting an information request in
the future then please contact me.

Chris Cooper

Information Manager
East Herts Council
Tel: 01279 655261 Ext. 2115
E_mail: [2]mailto:[email address]

web: www.eastherts.gov.uk

This email and any files transmitted with it may be confidential
and are intended for the sole use of the intended recipient,
copyright remains with East Herts Council.
If you are not the intended recipient, any use of, reliance upon,
disclosure of or copying of this email is unauthorised.
If received in error, please notify us and delete all copies.

All e-mails and attachments sent or received by East Herts
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References

Visible links
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2. mailto:[email address]

Dear Chris,

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 153 (one hundred and fifty
three) full and detailed positive responses. These councils did not
have any difficulty in responding to what they appeared to regard as a reasonable request.

I am currently involved in research in this area and in order to
assist and to make your task more manageable, can I make the following reductions in scope?

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 153 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

Cooper Chris, East Hertfordshire District Council

Dear Paul Cardin

Freedom of Information Act - Information request - F11/051

I am writing to acknowledge your revised request for information received on 3rd February 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, subject to the information not being exempt or containing reference to a third party.

The Act defines a number of exemptions, which may prevent release of the information you have requested. There will be an assessment of your request and if any of the exemption categories apply then the information will not be released. You will be informed if this is the case, including 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.

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

If you have any queries about the processing of your request then please do not hesitate to contact me.

It is important that you include the above FOI reference number on all correspondence related to this request.

Thank you for your request.

Yours Sincerely

Chris Cooper
Information Manager
East Herts Council
Tel: 01279 655261 Ext. 2115
E_mail: mailto:[email address]
web: www.eastherts.gov.uk
 

show quoted sections

Dear Chris,

Thanks for your response. The request was not just 'revised' but also reduced in good faith, and in the spirit of the Act.

Please put the extra 20 days you have now availed yourself of to good use, but I would appreciate a response well within this extra period of grace.

Please also address the second question within the original request i.e. Does the council use 'gagging clauses' within compromise agreements which restrict the employee's future ability to lodge FOI / DPA requests?

many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Cooper Chris, East Hertfordshire District Council

Dear Paul Cardin

The answer to your revised question is 4.

If you have any queries or complaint about the processing of your request please do not hesitate to contact me.

Alternatively for more information on the Freedom of Information Act contact the Information Commissioner at:
Information Commissioners Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone 01625 545 700
www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

It is important that you include the above FOI reference number on all correspondence related to this request.

Thank you for your request.

Yours Sincerely

Chris Cooper
Information Manager
East Herts Council
Tel: 01279 655261 Ext. 2115
E_mail: mailto:[email address]
web: www.eastherts.gov.uk
 

show quoted sections

Dear Cooper Chris,

Many thanks for your response. However your response needs further explanation.

What is 4? if this is a total for a number of years, please break the total down into separate annual total figures.

Also, could you respond to the second part of the original request, as re-iterated last time around?

many thanks in advance

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

East Hertfordshire District Council

3 Attachments

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Dear East Hertfordshire District Council,

Dear Cooper Chris,

Many thanks for your response. However your response needs further
explanation.

What is 4? if this is a total for a number of years, please break
the total down into separate annual total figures.

Also, could you respond to the second part of the original request,
as re-iterated last time around?

many thanks in advance

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Freedom of Information, East Hertfordshire District Council

Dear Paul Cardin

Will get back to you asap

Yours Sincerely

Chris Cooper
Information Manager
East Herts Council
Tel: 01279 655261 Ext. 2115
E_mail: mailto:[email address]
web: www.eastherts.gov.uk
 

show quoted sections

Cooper Chris, East Hertfordshire District Council

I am sorry but I am out of the office untill 9th March 2011. Emails are being monitored and anything urgent will be responded to. If you wish to submit a Freedom of Information request please send it to [email address].ukThis email and any files transmitted with it may be confidential
and are intended for the sole use of the intended recipient,
copyright remains with East Herts Council.
If you are not the intended recipient, any use of, reliance upon,
disclosure of or copying of this email is unauthorised.
If received in error, please notify us and delete all copies.

All e-mails and attachments sent or received by East Herts
Council may be subject to disclosure under access to
information legislation.

Please note that the Council does not accept responsibility for
viruses. Before opening or using attachments, check them for
viruses.

East Hertfordshire District Council

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Dear Cooper Chris,

As nobody's responding, can I assume this is 'not urgent'.

Problem is you don't say what is and isn't urgent.

My original request was sent in early January and we're almost into March now.

I've had 283 positive responses from your LGA colleagues in the meantime.

I know we're 'almost there', but nevertheless this is very frustrating,

many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Paul Cardin

Dear East Hertfordshire District Council,

I'd appreciate a response to my request for clarity, sent on 23rd February. You replied that you'd 'get back to me' but we're now well into March, and I've heard nothing.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Cardin

Cooper Chris, East Hertfordshire District Council

Dear Paul Cardin

Further to your email dated 15^th March 2011 and I apologise for the
delayed reply.

In response to clarification in respect of the answers to the following
questions:

1. 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).

The answer is as follows:

2006/07 - 1

2007/08 - 1

2008/09 - 1

The 4^th one was a redundancy and should not have been included in the
original figure provided.

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.

The answer to this question is Nil as this is not part of our compromise
agreements.

I trust this answers your request and if you have any queries or complaint
about the processing of your request please do not hesitate to contact
me.

Alternatively for more information on the Freedom of Information Act
contact the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioners Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Telephone 01625 545 700

[1]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk

It is important that you include the above FOI reference number on all
correspondence related to this request.

Thank you for your request.

Yours Sincerely

Chris Cooper

Information Manager
East Herts Council
Tel: 01279 655261 Ext. 2115
E_mail: [2]mailto:[email address]

web: www.eastherts.gov.uk

This email and any files transmitted with it may be confidential
and are intended for the sole use of the intended recipient,
copyright remains with East Herts Council.
If you are not the intended recipient, any use of, reliance upon,
disclosure of or copying of this email is unauthorised.
If received in error, please notify us and delete all copies.

All e-mails and attachments sent or received by East Herts
Council may be subject to disclosure under access to
information legislation.

Please note that the Council does not accept responsibility for
viruses. Before opening or using attachments, check them for
viruses.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.information/
2. mailto:[email address]

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

East Hertfordshire District Council were one of the slowest respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 54 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