Employment Tribunal Claims & Gagging Clauses

5,528 UK university staff signed non disclosure agreements over the last 3 years.
366 resulted from employment tribunal claims that were settled prior to hearings.
These settlements involved payments to staff of £4.4M and legal costs of £7.1M.
A total of 810 staff submitted claims to employment tribunals. 
64 were settled without signing NDAs.  
2,361 staff have signed NDAs in connection with research projects. More than half of these were at just one university.
2,801 have signed NDAs for reasons other than tribunal claims or research such as restructuring, grievances or disputes.
The Questions
Q1   Over the last 3 years how many current or former university staff have submitted claims to the employment tribunal service ?
Q2   How many of these were settled prior to a full hearing date ?
Q3   How many of these settlements involved the insertion of a non disclosure (commonly known as gagging) clause in the terms of the settlement ?
Q4   What is the total figure that has been paid out in these settlements?
Q5   What has the total expenditure on legal expenses been in relation to the above disputes ?
Q6   Over the last 3 years how many current or former staff have signed non disclosure agreements purely in relation to the confidentiality of research activities ?
Q7   Over the last 3 years how many current or former staff have signed non disclosure agreements for reasons not covered above ?
What is a Non Disclosure Agreement ?
A non disclosure agreement (NDA) is any agreement that restricts the right of an individual or a university to discuss a matter in public. Usually in employment disputes they are part of a Compromise Agreement. The exact wordings vary and are kept confidential but typically the member of staff signs their agreement not to discuss their settlement with anyone apart from immediate family or professional advisers. They also agree not to publicly criticise the university or discuss the dispute that led to the agreement being signed.  
Do Non Disclosure Agreements matter ?

The main justification for using NDAs in resolving employment disputes is that both individuals and universities can put disputes behind them and move on with their reputations intact. Frequent reference is made by universities to this being standard practice both within and outside higher education. There have however been 64 instances over the last 3 years where settlements have not included NDAs so whilst the practice is common it is by no means universal. In research work the rationale for NDAs is to preserve the commercial confidentiality of the research client or the commercial confidentiality of the university itself in securing that research project. In restructuring programmes the benefit cited is to reduce the cost of the exercise by allowing different payments to be made to different staff because the staff are unable to compare their settlements with each other.

There is no scrutiny as to whether a university with 20 NDAs resulting from employment disputes is “moving on” from 20 different minor disputes or “moving on“ from one major, and possibly unresolved, problem. There is an obvious conflict between widespread use of NDAs and legitimate whistle blowing of genuine problems within universities. Within research the use of NDAs is understandable where confidential commercial research is being undertaken. The difficulty arises if staff working on a project discover ethical or other problems after they have signed NDAs. The extensive use of NDAs in restructuring programmes prevents the affected staff from engaging in public debate about the wisdom or otherwise of that restructure. The use of NDAs for staff combined with strict rules on unauthorised media interviews and vague rules on “bringing the university into disrepute” creates a system which is not at all transparent.
Zero Claims
The following 7 universities had no claims to employment tribunals over the last 3 years : Abertay, Glasgow Caledonian, Gloucestershire, Plymouth Marjon, Queen Margaret, Winchester and Worcester.  
Zero NDAs
These 13 universities did not sign any non disclosure agreements with staff for any reason over the last 3 years :  Abertay, Bath Spa, Chichester, Derby, Gloucestershire, Harper Adams, Napier, Southampton Solent, St Mary's, Swansea Metropolitan, Thames Valley, UWIC and Winchester.
Notes
Where no response was received to a particular question the space has been left blank. Appeals and complaints are ongoing to try to obtain a more complete set of answers. This page will be updated regularly with additional information as it becomes available. Totals will be updated periodically. Extracts from this report may be quoted as long as AcademicFOI.Com is acknowledged as the source.  
Top 5 Employment Tribunal Claims
Manchester       40
Leeds Met       31
UCL       27
Birmingham       25
LSE       23
Top 5 Settlement NDAs
Manchester       26
Birmingham       20
Bristol       17
UCL       15
Manchester Met       11
Top 5 Settlement Costs
Liverpool John Moores   £ 362,108
Manchester   £ 247,881
Bristol   £ 165,000
East London   £ 156,210
Cambridge   £ 148,505
Top 5 Settlement Legal Expenses
Kingston   £ 635,165
Liverpool John Moores   £ 633,064
East London   £ 477,535
LSE   £ 450,000
Durham   £ 349,000
Top 5 Research NDAs
Sheffield    1,235
Glasgow       380
Queen Mary       313
Bristol       150
Greenwich         68
Top 5 NDAs For Other Reasons
Manchester       669
Glasgow Caledonian       247
Cumbria       148
Plymouth Marjon       131
West of Scotland       136
University Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7 Comments
Aberdeen 2 0 0 0 40,422 12 1  
Abertay, Dundee 0  0 0 0 0 0 0  
Aberystwyth 17 10 10

38,122

       
Anglia Ruskin 9 3 3 12,500       Legal expenses insurance.
Aston 1  1 1 5,000 5,463 0 10  
Bangor 2 2 0 19,500 2,500 9 1  
Bath 9 3 3 27,500 108,000 0    
Bath Spa 2  2 0 51,000 5,537 0 0  
Bedfordshire 3 1 0 2,000 0      
Birmingham 25 20 20          
Birmingham City 3 1 1 15,000 30,000      
Bolton 5 2 2   46,457      
Bournemouth 5 3 3 18,700 130,138      
Bradford 9 5 5 122,500

80,063

176 23  
Brighton 1  1 1 10,000   0 5 Legal expenses insurance.
Bristol 17 17 17 165,000 130,000 150   Approx research total.
Brunel 6  4 4 4,000 18,026 0 49 49 NDAs involved commercialization activities.
Buckinghamshire New 4 1 1 15,331 52,567 0 9  
Cambridge 12 6 6 148,505 105,290 0 0 Period since Dec 2008.
Canterbury Christ Church 5  1 1 30,000 11,500 0 3  
Cardiff            12 7 6 29,698 82,329   23  
Central Lancashire <5 <5 <5 29,420 20,974      
Chester 4  2 2 17,000 20,900 0 0  
Chichester 1  1 0 9,000 4,000 0 0  
City 8  5 5 139,500 262,599 0 29  
Coventry 18 4 4 26,000 111,465 61 3  
Creative Arts 1  0 0 0 15,000 0 5  
Cumbria 7 4 4 47,000 17,099 0 148 119 voluntary severance
De Montfort 3 1 1       0  
Derby 8  1 0 500 49,983 0 0  
Dundee 10 10 5 44,984 500      
Durham          9 5 5 105,000 349,000      
East Anglia 4 2 1 512 0   22  
East London 12 7 7 156,210 477,535 0 18  
Edge Hill 10  4 4 27,862 125,041 0 0  
Edinburgh 13 12 0 59,500 56,624   0  
Essex 4 4 4 71,100 100,709 6 0  
Exeter 5 3 3 65,000 19,416      
Glamorgan 5 2 2 2,850 21,582 0 107 30 about knowledge transfer and 77 about consultancy work.
Glasgow 6 2 2 10,000 43,751 380 23  
Glasgow Caledonian 0 0 0 0 0   247  
Gloucestershire 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  
Glyndwr 5 1 0 3,250 30,000 0 0  
Goldsmiths, London 1 1 1   4,600 13 23  
Greenwich 9 4 4 10,000 0 68   Legal expenses insurance.
Harper Adams 1 0 0 0 0 0 0  
Heriot-Watt 2 2 2 1,090 6,000   80  
Hertfordshire 2 0 0 0 500 3 130  
Huddersfield 8 <=5 <=5 1,000 0 29 50 Legal expenses insurance.
Hull 12 6 6 57,294 77,887 0 0  
Imperial College 12 4 4 81,825 311,355      
Keele 7 1 1   76,472 60 42  
Kent 5 1 1 9,000 72,185 0 22  
King's College 16 9 9 143,490   0    
Kingston 6 2 2 30,000 635,165 0 16  
Lampeter 3 2 2 45,000 13,329 0 40  
Lancaster 6 3 3 42,000 100,000   4  
Leeds 11 3 3 101,969 1,500      
Leeds Metropolitan 31 2 2 81,891 94,150 0 12 28 collective equal pay claims.
Leeds Trinity 2 1 1     0 5  
Leicester        4 4 4 49,153 6,740     Period since Dec 2008.
Lincoln 10 5 5 25,027   0 0  
Liverpool 9 4 4 19,500 21,275 0 0 In house legal work during 2008 and 2009.
Liverpool Hope   3 0 0 0 50,913 0 25  
Liverpool John Moores 20 8 8 362,108 633,064 0 0  
London Metropolitan 24 12 9 185,250 81,110      
London South Bank 3 3 2 3,500 24,344 0 65  
Loughborough 7 4 3 2,500 75,400 0 0  
LSE 23 9 9 109,301 450,000 0 9  
Manchester 40 26 26 247,881 171,034 0 669 664 related to voluntary severance and retirement.
Manchester Met 20 11 11 110,000   46    
Middlesex 6 4 3 41,000 0 0 0 Legal insurance.
Napier <5 0 0 0 35,000 0 0  
Newcastle 6 4 4 22,240 84,427      
Newport 2  2 1 3,500 3,513 0 3  
Northampton 6 4 4 10,000 20,000 0 54  
Northumbria 3  1 1 2,000 10,718   87  
Nottingham 10 4 3 16,000 5,000 0 23  
Nottingham Trent 11 4 2 40,000 70,000     Total Q6 and Q7 = 63.
Oxford 12 8 7 85,800 209,600      
Oxford Brookes         1  0 0 0 4,000 0 10  
Plymouth 10 5 5 56,500 81,852 0 11  
Plymouth Marjon 0 0 0 0 0 0 131  
Portsmouth 2 1 1 26,000 5,830   6  
Queen Margaret 0 0 0 0 0 0 2  
Queen Mary 11 4 4 47,000 11,000 313   Superannuation scheme claims.
Queen's Belfast 13 8 6 126,800 63,309 5 6  
Reading 4  1 1 30,000 8,387 6 35  
Robert Gordon 8  6 6 55,642 100,143 0 2 30,642 of settlements and 72,809 of legal costs paid by insurance.
Roehampton 2 2 1 22,253 37,765 0 93  
Royal Holloway 9 4 2 38,575 161,070 0 20  
Salford 6 5 5

142,295

167,334

0 150 Voluntary severance arrangements.
Sheffield 7 5 5 71,500   1,235 45  
Sheffield Hallam 10 7 5 60,431 99,908   33  
SOAS 7 5 5 18,000 46,000      
Southampton   4 4 24,802       In house legal work. 
Southampton Solent 2 1 0 1,000 4,658 0 0  
St Andrews 2 1 0 40 3,850   27  
St Mary's Twickenham 3  1 0 2,000 14,864 0 0  
Staffordshire 6  2 2     0 0  
Stirling 5 2 0 0 74,239 0 3  
Strathclyde 8 4 4 137,000 5,300 0 35 110,000 superannuation claim.
Sunderland    6 5 5 24,200 10,400 20 23  
Surrey 5  2 2 32,500 63,000 0 0  
Sussex 5 5 5 38,000   12    
Swansea 4 1 0 1,000 1,849 0 4  
Swansea Metropolitan 1  1 0 55,000 10,000 0 0  
Teesside 8  2 2 41,283 35,650 0 20  
Thames Valley 7 6 0 87,141 131,102 0 0  
Trinity Carmarthen 2 2 1 18,500   0 1  
Ulster 16 9 5 13,264 43,000 0 0  
University College 27  15 15 77,009 312,306      
University of the Arts 21 9 8     0 0  
UWIC 5  5 0 41,229 37,710 0 0  
Warwick 12 4 4 27,750 215,449 0 0  
West of England 3 0 0 0 0 0 190 Research, business and innovation.
West of Scotland 15 5 5 13,018 37,341 0 136 136 voluntary severance and early retirement.
Westminster 9 5 5 53,306 62,158  0    
Winchester 0  0 0 0 0 0 0  
Wolverhampton 8 4 2 18,750 204,062 0    
Worcester 0 0 0 0 0 0 2  
York 4 4 4 25,230 11,255 0 9  
York St John 2  2 2 17,500   0 3 Legal expenses insurance.