Mere months after it emerged some 14.7 million pounds (US$22.4 million) was spent on gagging UK Health Service employees, a report has exposed 13 police forces across the country signed over 300 compromise agreements with staff, spending millions.
The gagging clauses are being widely used across UK police
forces, leading to concerns they are being used to ensure the
silence of police employees. This would prevent them from speaking
out over issues of public interest, according to a Freedom of
Information survey, reported in the Telegraph.
The 13 forces which responded to the requests for information were
only the ones which agreed to provide details, meaning the actual
number enforcing the confidentiality agreements is likely to be
The Freedom of Information requests showed that some 200 officials
and civil servants put their name to compromise agreements over the
course of two years, costing some 14 million pounds. Additionally,
4,500 local authority workers entered similar arrangements.
In the case of the NHS, potential whistleblowers have been
gagged, threatened and stopped from raising concerns pertaining to
Barclay told the Daily Mail earlier this year that NHS gagging
clauses were having “having a chilling effect on
whistleblowers,” saying that “hundreds of potential
whistleblowers may have been prevented from speaking out for fear
of legal action.”
The former chief of United Lincolnshire
Hospitals Trust, Gary Walker, revealed in February that he received
a 500,000-pound ‘super gag’ in 2010. The money was offered in
exchange for keeping silent regarding his belief that his hospital
was a threat to patient safety.