Following a Freedom of Information request (FOI) I can confirm that ERYC continue to issue settlement agreements (commonly known as gagging orders).
In June 2018 I revealed that over the four-year period between 2013 and 2016 East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) issued a total of 63 Gagging Orders (Settlement Agreements) relating to school based staff.
Past Twelve Months
In July 2018 under FOI ERYC have stated:
“Over the past 12 months from the date of your request on 20 June 2018 we have records of 17 settlement agreements, 13 of which relate to school based staff.
The total figure relating to those settlement agreements within that period is £108,017.66. The total figure is inclusive of payments in lieu of notice/post-employment notice pay and any compensation payment.”
Settlement Agreements must not be used in cases that have any safeguarding implications, even if an employee proposes to resign before or during a disciplinary process.
This is because where there may be genuine grounds to believe that an individual is responsible for a breach of safeguarding rules, concluding matters via a settlement agreement would allow that individual to work at another school without any reference to the concern that was raised, which could obviously put others at risk in the future.
A settlement agreement (formerly known as compromise agreement) which prevents the school from making a DBS referral when the criteria for doing so are met would likely result in a criminal offence being committed as the school would not be complying with its legal duty to make the referral.
Are East Riding Children Safe?
In a local context 76 settlement agreements could have shocking consequences.
For example: A teacher who signed a settlement agreement may have breached safeguarding at say a Driffield School and could now be working at a Beverley School without the school in Beverley having any knowledge of the teachers past.
Is it possible for there to be 76 school based settlement agreements without safeguarding implications?
Mathew Buckley – Corrupt or Incompetent?
Why did Mathew Buckley, ERYC Head of Legal and Democratic Services, allow these settlement agreements to be signed?