Excl: Sandwell council leader tells MP ‘we don’t use confidentiality agreements’. Here’s one..

Earlier this year, Tory MP James Morris launched an extraordinary attack in the Commons on Sandwell Council and its leader Steve Eling, accusing the ‘moderate’-dominated council of becoming,

synonymous with local government incompetence, corruption, and cronyism.

In addition, a Morris letter to Eling and the council’s chief executive attacked the use of ‘confidentiality agreements’ to silence ex-employees:


Eling not only denied but ‘rubbished’ the claim that the council had been using confidentiality agreements – telling local newspaper the Halesowen News that the council does not use them:

se jm conf.png

eling ca

In spite of this denial, the SKWAWKBOX has obtained a copy of a Sandwell Council confidentiality agreement issued to one of its ex-employees. The confidentiality requirement is indisputable:

cav 2 hilightedcav2 hilight

The second page shown makes clear that the council is providing a cash payment to the employee in return for silence about its affairs.

The SKWAWKBOX attempted to call Steve Eling for comment. He did not pick up. An emailed enquiry was sent instead, asking:

When James Morris attacked you in January, among other things over the council’s use of confidentiality agreements, you said, according to Halesowen News, that the council doesn’t use them.

Please advise by return whether that is that still your position.

Although the enquiry was sent directly to Steve Eling, an acknowledgement was received from his assistant advising that the council’s press office would respond on his behalf. By the time of publication almost six hours later, no response had been received.

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  1. Was he being pedantic in response to a sloppy question?

    These things aren’t called “Confidentiality Agreements”.

    They’re known as “Settlement Agreements” (formerly “Compromise Agreements”).

    Guilty employers sometimes muddy the water further by calling gagging clauses (found inside SAs) “confidentiality clauses”).

    What is on the title page of the copy you have SKWAWKBOX?

  2. Wouldn’t all political parties’ SOP be to include confidentiality clauses in all contracts of employment for staff?
    They’ve been in most of mine (industry not politics) so I can’t believe it’s unusual.
    They can’t be used to prevent employees divulging illegal activity as far as I know though.
    Ready to be corrected as always.

    1. Yes but this isnt an employment contract. This is a document being handed out upon termination of employment.

      The background clauses explain that the:

      A) The person is employed in a specific capacity up until the termination date. (Which is below in clause 1).

      B) The purpose of this document is to settle any claims the employee has against them.

      Clause 4.1 then specifically refers to a Compensation Payment and it comes with a confidentiality restriction.

      Basically, its a document terminating employment early and offering Money for Silence in relation to whatever issue the employee had with them.

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