Chesterfield Borough Council has paid out almost £130,000 on staff settlement orders in the last five years, we can reveal.
Figures obtained by the Derbyshire Times through a Freedom of Information request to the council found that the authority has made 16 settlement agreements costing £128,502 between 2014 and 2018.
The statistics show that the council made two settlement agreements in 2014 totalling £75,442, 11 in 2015 costing £36,000 and two in 2016 totalling £17,060. There was no payout for the one settlement in 2017 and there were no settlements last year.
So-called gagging orders, or confidentiality clauses, are normally used if an employer has been made redundant or if a disagreement takes place in the workplace. The orders prevent an employee from taking legal action against their employer or from speaking out.
Huw Bowen, Chesterfield Borough Council’s chief executive, said: “While it is not possible to go into individual cases, settlement agreements are usually used when both the employer and employee feel the relationship is no longer working and both parties feel it would be best to end the employment.
“They are not used to cover up wrongdoing on the part of the council or its employees, merely as an amicable way of ending the relationship to suit both parties where it is felt there is no fault on both sides.”
The results of our FOI show:
2014 – 2
2015 – 11
2016 – 2
2017 – 1
2018 – 0
2014 - £75,422
2015 - £36,000
2016 - £17,060
2017 - £0
2018 - £0