Calderdale Council has forked out more than a quarter of a million pounds in settlement agreements over the last four years.
Settlement agreements are legally binding contracts that waive an individual’s rights to make a claim covered by the agreement to an employment tribunal or court.
In total, £255,606.46 was paid by the council to staff across 15 agreements. The council shelled out just over £82,000 over eight agreements in 2014, and £82,000 across four separate agreements in 2015.
The figure rose to just under £92,000 in 2016 across two agreements. There was another settlement agreement last year, but the amount has not been disclosed as it could identify the person involved, breaching the Data Protection Act.
Paul Campbell, senior partner of Chadwick Lawrence solicitors, said: “The mean value of each settlement agreement is over £20,000; it is not clear whether the figures incorporate contractual payments but, on initial reading, it does appear to represent significant value taking into account average awards in the employment tribunal and the average salary within the region.
"What is interesting is that, for an organisation of such size, an average of three settlement agreements are concluded each year; it is quite typical for the figure to be much higher.”
A Calderdale Council spokesperson said: “Settlement payments made are in line with our pay policy and are only authorised when considered to be in the public interest. The majority of the amount covers payments such as pay in lieu of notice and accrued holiday pay, which the Council would be legally required to pay.”