‘Huge amount of taxpayers’ money’ used for gagging orders at East Devon council

PUBLISHED: 15:49 19 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:17 19 November 2018

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. Picture: Alex Walton.

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. Picture: Alex Walton.

Archant

Figures obtained using a Freedom of Information request show that East Devon District Council has spent more than £200,000 on gagging orders over the past four years.

East Devon District CouncilEast Devon District Council

A total of £205,074 has been spent by East Devon District Council on gagging orders for former members of staff since 2014, according to figures obtained by the Journal.

The information, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, reveals 10 settlement agreements, or gagging orders, were agreed by EDDC between 2014 and October 31, 2018.

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.

A number of opposition councillors have said they are shocked by the amount of money spent on gagging orders.

Independent group leader at EDDC, Ben Ingham, said: “When any one of us is thinking about how we can afford to pay our latest council tax bill, I do not believe we expect one penny to be spent on gagging orders.

“If we did, non payment may become a real expectancy. As Leader of EDDC Opposition, I can tell you at no time has the current leadership contacted me to discuss this issue at all.

“This is not acceptable, but to me not surprising. Merely another piece of evidence against an exhausted regime.”

A spokeswoman for EDDC said: “Settlement agreements are legally binding contracts that waive an individual’s rights to make a claim covered by the agreement to an employment tribunal or court.

“The agreement must be in writing. They usually include some form of payment to the employee and may often include a reference. They are voluntary and have therefore been entered into on that basis by the individuals.

“Part of the agreement is that they must seek independent advice from an employment lawyer.”

Exmouth district councillor Megan Armstrong said: “I am extremely concerned at the huge amount of taxpayers’ money, which should have been used to provide services for the people of East Devon, which has been spent on gagging orders.

“The council has a duty to be open and transparent; yet over £200,000 - a vast sum - has been spent on suppressing information. Exactly what is the Conservative administration trying to hide?”

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Other News Stories

17:05

The body of a man has been found in the river at Newton Poppleford.

Read more
16:18

The body of a man has been reportedly seen in the river in Newton Poppleford.

Read more
16:30

Permission is being sought to build houses on land, previously set aside for a new doctors’ surgery in Newton Poppleford.

Read more

An elderly couple injured in a serious collision near Sidmouth are inviting those that came to their aid for a cup of tea to say thank you.

Read more

A visitor to Sidmouth has admitted to sexually assaulting a woman in the town.

Read more
11:00

A Sidmouth care home has launched a brand-new support and social group called ‘Wives’ Time’.

Read more

A Sidmouth veteran has backed the work of a national charity as part of a campaign to help injured, sick and wounded servicemen get back into work.

Read more
07:00

Tributes have been paid to a ‘warm’ and ‘caring’ councillor who lost his battle with cancer last month.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:30

A poignant production about the effect of World War One on two Sidmouth families has raised £1,500 for Sid Valley causes.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:00

Couples danced the day away at a Sidmouth shop, helping to keep vital air ambulances in the sky with a glitz and glamour afternoon.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 8°C

Most read

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sidmouth Herald twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications