Council seeks to explain gagging orders totalling £205,000
PUBLISHED: 10:45 22 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:53 22 November 2018
After criticism of the amount of taxpayer money spent on gagging orders East Devon District Council has issued a statement.
East Devon District Council has responded to criticism after it was revealed it has spent £205,074 on gagging orders since 2014.
A statement was issued by EDDC on social media yesterday (November 21) after the Journal revealed figures it obtained using a Freedom of Information request.
There were 10 gagging orders issued by the council between 2014 and October 31, 2018, costing the taxpayer £205,074.
Gagging orders are often referred to as confidentiality clauses and are usually agreed when an employee leaves an employer due to redundancy, a work place problem or a disagreement.
Here is the full statement from EDDC:
“Following an article published by an East Devon media outlet this week about settlement agreements between the district council and its employees, the council wants to bring a greater degree of clarity to the headline-grabbing story.
“The article ignores the actual reasons why the council has used settlement agreements from time to time and that these are common practice in both the public and private sector where employers wish to bring employment to an end.
“The council has used settlement agreements to terminate the contracts of 10 individuals since 2014 for a mixture of contractual, performance and sickness issues.
“The reason that any employer enters into these agreements is particularly in circumstances where it wishes to bring employment to an end quickly and pragmatically to avoid unnecessary costs and to protect itself from tribunal costs. The figures quoted include statutory and contractual payments such as holiday and notice periods.
“Such agreements are commonly used throughout the UK and the primary reason is that the individual is required to agree not to take their employer to court. The agreements also contain a confidentiality clause.
“To validly settle statutory employment claims, a settlement agreement must satisfy several conditions that must be met including that the individual must have received legal advice from a relevant independent adviser on the terms and effect of the proposed agreement; and its effect on their ability to pursue any rights before an employment tribunal. Only certain statutory claims can be settled by a settlement agreement such as unfair dismissal or discrimination.”
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