Following a Freedom of Information request, Folkestone & Hythe District Council (F&HDC) has informed our public face that since the financial year 2014/15 to present, it has spent in excess of £1 million pounds of tax-payers money on paying for gagging orders (otherwise known as Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs)) which have been imposed on 50 ex-employees.
All 50 employees signed a Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA’s)
No Gagging orders signed in 2019/20 so far
These figures expose F&HDC claim to be an open, transparent, organisation to be nothing but a lie! As we have said for a long time, F&HDC is probably one of the most secretive local councils in the known universe and these half century of gagging orders prove it.
For a relatively small organisation, with a tight budget, the number of gagging orders is very high and the costs of the orders also very high too. Ultimately these orders and the astronomic costs in obtaining them, are the responsibility of Dr Susan Priest as she is F&HDC’s Head of Paid Service.
The use of gagging orders has recently been the cause of great public controversy. Especially in the case of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and High Street entrepreneur Philip Green, both of whom used these orders to silence people who are claimed to have been raped, sexually or racially harassed and abused and bullied by these men.
Gagging orders are also said to be routinely used by employers to cover up incompetence, maladministration, neglect abuse of process, and law breaking in the workplace. Even though such orders are not supposed to be used to cover up illegality, or to silence public interest whistle-blowing.
So concerned is the Government about the rapidly growing scale of improperly used gagging orders, that it launched a public consultation earlier this year. It has been announced that the Government is now considering changing the law to restrict the use of these orders to fewer and much more clearly defined circumstances.
We wonder, given the high number of the gagging orders secured by F&HDCin the last five years, how many of them were secured for improper purposes?
Given persistent and long standing rumours about bullying and harassment of staff at F&HDC how many work place bullies have been protected by gagging orders? How many sexual predators/ harassers, or racists have escaped exposure and discipline. If you know about any please do contact us. Last but not least how much incompetence, neglect and illegality has been covered up by the use of gagging orders at F&HDC and how much money was lost?
If F&HDC is truly an open, transparent, organisation it should make a public statement that it will not pursue any former employees who, in the public interest, break their gagging agreements.
Of course we are not holding our breath, because such disclosures would never be countenanced by the powers be, as I’m sure that they would make life very difficult for some senior officers and politicians at F&HDC, who’s bad behaviour has been covered up by gagging orders secured at the tax-payers expense!
As always if you have something interesting to tell us about F&HDC and those who allegedly run it, our contact details are at the top. We never, ever, divulge our sources.
The Shepwayvox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime