PAYMENTS of up to £85,000 have been made to council employees to compensate for loss of employment and settle potential claims.
These “compromise agreements” – also known as settlement agreements – are usually when a member of staff is leaving, or has left, and can include confidentiality clauses.
They can be used to settle statutory claims for things like unfair dismissal – where potential tribunal costs could be higher – and when an employee’s ill health may result in them departing the organisation.
During the last three financial years, Carmarthenshire Council spent £360,839 on 28 compromise agreements, which included school staff.
Swansea Council spent £300,444 on 11 compromise agreements during the same period, also including school staff.
The three largest individual settlement sums for Swansea – £85,971, £77,457 and £49,451 – were paid to school staff.
Carmarthenshire Council’s three highest payments were £52,454, £28,312 and £25,000. The authority said these three sums factored in school staff.
The figures were in response to a freedom of information request by the Local Democracy Reporter Service.
Concerns have been raised in the past that some UK councils were routinely insisting on confidentially clauses in compromise agreements which, it was feared, would deter whistle-blowing.
Council staff who are retiring early or taking voluntary redundancy can be eligible for an “exit package” payment in acknowledgement of their earlier-than-planned departure.
The BBC reported in 2016 that Cardiff Council had used compromise agreements nearly 3,000 times between 2010 and 2015.