3rd April 2016
Here’s a link to details of today’s BBC 5 Live programme at 11:00am:
The above forms the link to the actual programme, which is available on BBC iPlayer for the next 30 days.
Settlement Agreements (formerly known as Compromise Agreements) are legal documents, regulated by statute, which represent ‘full and final settlements’, entered into by both employer and employee.
These contracts are very often used in dispute circumstances, when organisations feel there’s a pressing need to dispense with ‘problem people’, whilst ‘managing’ their own, sometimes embattled reputations. The ‘beauty’ of these, as far as public sector employers are concerned is, when used in conjunction with “gagging clauses”, they are a quick and cheap means of:
- disposing of staff
- concealing the employer’s own often questionable conduct
- avoiding the punitive costs and reputational risks attached to tribunals
- drawing public attention away from malpractice, impropriety, scandal, immoral conduct, abuse and potentially worse e.g. links to serious organised crime (discovered at Wirral Council).
They also very often don’t receive the kind of scrutiny from elected councillors that would be expected within democratic organisations, ostensibly set up to serve the public in an open and transparent manner. Unelected senior officers are very often entrusted with addressing and resolving these issues beyond public view and behind closed doors.
In other words, they’re a kind of ‘democratic deficit’ or ‘Get Out of Jail Free Card’.
5 Live Investigates discovered that £226 million in public money had been squandered by councils with the sole intent of cleaning their reputations and preventing former staff from spilling the beans on malpractice, abuse, etc.
Here’s the BBC article linked to the programme where the details are explored further.
And finally, a link to the detailed survey I undertook on 345 English Councils between the years 2005 and 2011, where coincidentally, public money coffers were raided for exactly the same figure of £226 million: