Wirral Council are wrong about the true number of compromise agreements

September 2018 Update 

Wirral Council are now agreeing that they issued 845 compromise agreements after denying it repeatedly 


The headline above sounds a little peremptory doesn’t it?  A bit harsh maybe?  Accusing an organisation of getting it wrong?  What evidence can I possibly have?

Here it is:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/cost_of_compromise_agreements#comment-45297

And just to spell it out further, so you can see I’m not stooping to hurling empty accusations, magicked from thin air…

Earlier this year, somebody made an FoI request of Wirral Council, requesting totals for their compromise agreements and gagging clauses, which I covered in this post back in August 2013.

The council kindly provided a table which referred to compromise agreements, and so-called confidentiality clauses, that had been issued over a roughly 2 year period, January 2011 to December 2013:

Wirral table gags and CAs

As you can see, down at the bottom, totals were provided.  It appeared to the waiting public that only 11, repeat 11 compromise agreements had been issued by the council.  Well, that’s what it said, didn’t it?

But no.  Here I’ll quote from the FoI response itself:

“Please note: The Council used a basic compromise agreement for a large scale voluntary redundancy/early voluntary retirement exercise.” (My emphasis)

Well, in my book, and everybody else with an unimpaired, functioning, inquisitive brain’s book, a compromise agreement is a compromise agreement is a compromise agreement.  Calling them ‘basic’ does not make them somehow different, and does not grant you carte blanche to not bother counting them all up and adding them to the total – a total that was clearly requested in the first place.

We now know, after many months of foreseeable and avoidable delay, that following the council’s response to this further FoI request, seeking clarity, and this 22nd November 2013 Wirral Globe article, the actual total is  11 + 834 = 845.

Wirral Council have not only erred on the true number of compromise agreements to another requester, but have repeatedly failed to answer Point 4 within my later request, which was the question asking them “How much?”

So…  off we go again to the Information Commissioner’s Office – who I imagine should find in my favour and ask the council to confirm that there were in fact  845 compromise agreements between January 2011 and December 2013 in total, and to release the public money costs information that was requested.

For good measure, I’ve lodged a subsequent request, asking for the identity of the law firm which gratefully received this bumper payment into its coffers, and the total of the money paid across to them (not including the actual cost of the compromise agreements, which has been requested separately within the ICO appeal).

I’ve worked out the cost of the agreements to be a total of £62,550 i.e. 834 compromise agreements at £75 a pop (the council tell me that the standard £250-£300 was negotiated down), but this is still uncertain…

… and the council that takes great pleasure in retorting…

  • ‘No…’ or…
  • ‘You’re gonna have to wait…’  or…
  • ‘We have had regard to this…’   or…
  • ‘We have to be mindful of that…’

…just haven’t got it in them to confirm it, and to thereby salvage the public money it’s going to cost to prise the damaging knowledge out of them.

Back with the answers soon I hope…

About Wirral In It Together

Campaigner for open government. Wants senior public servants to be honest and courageous. It IS possible!
This entry was posted in FoI Requests, General. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Wirral Council are wrong about the true number of compromise agreements

  1. Jonathan Hardaker says:

    Hi Paul is there any way of cutting & pasting the Wirral globe article to your blog where everybody agrees with what you have done to get the “TRUTH” out of the council officers although it took months, well done.

  2. Pingback: As the Wirral Council leader calls for an investigation into a “toxic” local Labour party, his council LIES to us in a Freedom of Information request | Wirral In It Together

  3. Pingback: Wirral Council issued 845 compromise agreements in just THREE years, costing us £62,550 | Wirral In It Together

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