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County council spent £1.1m on non-disclosure agreements in last 21 months

Northumberland County Council has spent more than a million pounds on non-disclosure agreements – so called ‘gagging agreements’ – in the last 21 months.

At a full council meeting on Wednesday, Chronicle Live reported that the member for Berwick East Cllr Georgina Hill asked how much money had been spent “on staff compromise agreements, often dubbed gagging agreements,” since May 2017.

Cllr Nick Oliver, the cabinet member for corporate services, reported that more than £1.1m had been spent on non-disclosure termination contracts in that time, with another £1.1m being spent prior to that since 2013.

He said: “Contract termination agreements or compromise agreements, I think there's a difference between them and gagging agreements.

“The agreements that this authority enters into do often include a non-disclosure clause, but they're not non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), they're compromise agreements.

“Often there is a need to deal with an employee of the council in an equitable, quick and fair way for both sides and sometimes that means reaching a compromise.”

The figures came to light during a full council meeting, at which the authority approved its budget for 2019-20 – where cuts of £12.8m were agreed as it tries to make savings of £36m over the next three years.

PSE has reached out to Northumberland County Council for comment.


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