Total Annual Figures for Compromise Agreements, etc.

Paul Cardin made this Freedom of Information request to Eastleigh 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 Eastleigh Borough 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

Davies, Julia, Eastleigh Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Re: Request for Information

Thank you for your request which we received on the 4^th January 2011.

We are currently treating your request as a request for information under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

As required by law, the Council will respond to you as soon as possible
and no later than twenty working days after the receipt of your request.

Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Julia Davies

Trainee Solicitor

Eastleigh Borough Council

Civic Offices, Leigh Road

Eastleigh, SO50 9YN

Tel: 023 8068 8475

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Davies, Julia, Eastleigh Borough Council

Dear Mr Cardin

Re: Request for Information

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request which we received on
4^th January 2011. I can confirm that Eastleigh Borough Council does hold
the information requested, as set out below (in bold).

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).
None

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. None

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further enquiries
regarding your request.

If you wish to make a formal complaint with regards to your information
request please contact:

Mr Richard Ward

Head of Legal and Democratic Services

Civic Offices

Leigh Road

Hampshire

SO50 9YN

Fax: 023 80 62977

Email: [email address]

If you are unhappy with the way in which your complaint is dealt with then
you may apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The contact
details for the Information Commissioner are:

The Information Commissioners Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely

Julia Davies

Trainee Solicitor

Eastleigh Borough Council

Civic Offices, Leigh Road

Eastleigh, SO50 9YN

Tel: 023 8068 8475

show quoted sections

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

Eastleigh Borough Council were one of the quicker respondents of the 345 councils asked, taking 12 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 - although 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