Settlement agreement - 287/13
Dated: 01 May 2013
Date of request: 23/04/2013
Date of response: 01/05/2013
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 23 April 2013 in which you made a request for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.
As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.
Please provide the following information under the FOI Act for the calendar years 2012, 2011 and 2010.
I would like your answers to my questions to specify whether they refer to police officers or support staff.
How many departing staff have signed a settlement (compromise) agreement with your organisation?
How much was paid out in special severance payments as a result of these agreements?
If possible, please provide the highest single amount paid out for each of the years above.
How many of the agreements signed included:
- a confidentiality clause
- a clause forgoing the right to make Freedom of Information requests in the future either personally or via a third party
- How many were directly related to the resolving of dispute(s) / grievance(s) / internal and external investigation(s)?
- how many were related to incidents of whistleblowing?
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Legal Department of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.
I have today decided to disclose the located information to you as follows.
This information will not be disclosed and in witholding this information we will rely upon the exemption outlined in section 44 (1)(c) Information Covered by Prohibitations on Dislcoure. This states that information is exempt from disclosure if its disclosure would consitute or be punishable as contempt of court
If this information was disclosed there would be a real likelihood that disclosure would open the Force to legal action for breach of confidence. As each of these cases had an express confidentiality provision, the individual concerned has more than a reasonable expectation that the terms of the agreement would remain confidential. As such compromise agreements command a strong expectation of confidentiality from both parties, disclosure must be resisted.
As the exemption outlined in Section 44 of the Act is an absoulte, class-based exemption, there is no requirement to outline the harm that disclosure would cause or carry out the public interest test.
You should consider this a refusal under section 17 of the Act regarding this part of your request.
- a) All
Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another. Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data. For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.
The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual property rights of Northumbria Police. Your use of the information must be strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) or such other applicable legislation. In particular, you must not re-use this information for any commercial purpose.
How to complain
If you are unhappy with our decision or do not consider that we have handled your request properly and we are unable to resolve this issue informally, you are entitled to make a formal complaint to us under our complaints procedure which can be found at: http://www.northumbria.police.uk/foi/disclosurelog/foicomprights.asp
If you are still unhappy after we have investigated your complaint and reported to you the outcome, you may complain directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office and request that they investigate to ascertain whether we have dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.