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Freedom of Information

United Learning is committed to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 and to the principles of accountability and the general rights of access to information, subject to legal exemptions.  The FOIA applies to our academies but not to our independent schools.

You can download documentation relating to our Freedom of Information policy and procedure using the links to the left.

Please read the Freedom of Information policy in conjunction with the Freedom of Information procedure before submitting a request.  If you require hard copies of any of the documents within the Publication Scheme, please contact the Company Secretary by post or e-mail:

United Learning
Worldwide House
Thorpe Wood

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Freedom of Information Requests

Published 19th September 2014

The details set out below provides the information you asked for.

We recognise that following recent high profile cases, "compromise" or settlement agreements have become associated in the public mind with high profile sackings, "gagging clauses" or the spending of excessive amounts of money on the removal of senior people. In our case, however, these agreements are used to protect the public purse, and we have therefore used them extensively.

Extensive legal and HR advice has suggested to us that where a member of staff is leaving an organisation as part of a restructuring of staff, for financial or performance-related reasons or is otherwise redundant, it is advisable that a settlement agreement is reached, which prevents further appeal and so provides financial protection for the employer and financial certainty about the costs of such redundancies. It has therefore become our normal practice that whenever an employee leaves one of our academies for such reasons, a form of settlement agreement has been used by the academy as a means to finalise the case, and protect the public purse from any future claim. We know that this is normal practice in many organisations in the public, private and charitable sectors.

As one of the first academy sponsors and one which has primarily taken over schools in dire financial or educational circumstances, a major part of our initial work has frequently included restructuring of the school or its merger with another as part of it becoming an academy. This has been an essential part of school turnaround. This work has sometimes been done over a period of several years to ensure that the school is able to continue operating during a time of change and improvement. This has always been done in agreement with the DfE, local authority and local governing body. In the early years of the academy programme, additional funding was often available for us to make such changes.

Thus our interpretation of a settlement agreement may well differ from some other trusts and many more departures and associated costs will qualify under this definition.

Our figures are provided over the 8 years from 2006, which are the years for which we have figures. The figure covers 36 academies and includes legal fees. Within this context, therefore, a total of 253 members of staff have left the employ of our schools since 2006 under such agreements as defined above. This amounts to a total of £4,098,751.50. We are not able in each case to identify what proportion of payments were non-contractual. However, for those agreements where we have information, around three quarters of the payments were amounts which were contractually required to be paid in the event of any redundancy or termination of contract.

We hope this answers your request sufficiently.

Regards, United Learning FOIA Team

I would be grateful if you could provide me with the following information about ULT. Could you provide details of the employment package of the chief executive - pay; pension contribution and any other remuneration plus expenses (could you provide details of what expenses were provided) for the last three years; 2012, 2011 and 2010. Details of the employment packages of the other members of the senior management team of ULT.

Published 2nd October 2014

United Learning comprises two main charities. UCST is an independent schools charity established 130 years ago to provide education for girls at a time when there was little available nationally. ULT was established just over 10 years ago by UCST as a subsidiary charity in order to allow the organisation to work through the academies programme to turn around schools which were struggling to provide high quality education in areas of significant deprivation. The Department for Education was always clear that the visible protection of public money demanded that the two charities were kept legally separate. Over the time of its involvement with the academies programme, UCST has raised close to 20m in sponsorship from donors in order to support its work with academies.

Because of this history, and because UCST is the parent charity, the senior management of ULT is provided by the senior management team of UCST. The Chief Executive and other senior managers are employees of UCST and paid solely by UCST. The costs of all central services, including finance, HR, IT and other services are shared between ULT and UCST under a cost sharing agreement, approved by the DfE, under which ULT pays for central services at or below cost.

As a result, the only pay figure which can reasonably be disclosed in response to this request is the full amount paid to the individuals concerned. This relates to all their employment within United Learning, whether in support of the independent or the state schools. It is paid to them by their employer, UCST, which is not a public authority under the Freedom of Information Act. It remains United Learning's view that the Act does not therefore require disclosure of this information. However, we do not consider it a good use of public money to continue a legal dispute about this.

The attached information answers the questions asked and covers the full 2011/12 year, although this information was not available when the question was originally asked. The information is set out by full financial year, which for United Learning is the same as the academic year, running from 1 September to 31 August. Where a member of staff joined or left the organisation in year, this is clearly shown, together with the date of joining or leaving.

Regards - FOIA Team, United Learning

The attached breakdown can be viewed here. ULT received this question at the start of 2012, and responded that this was not ULT-held information as the staff in question were employed by UCST. The journalist in question appealed this to the Information Commissioner, who upheld ULT's view, and then to the Tribunal, which upheld this view before a further appeal over-turned this. We have concluded that as most of the information asked for was in any case in the public domain through the United Learning and Charity Commission websites, it would not be a good use of public money now to continue with this legal process.

I am making this request under the Freedom of Information Act. Your organisation published the tender below: Peterborough: School catering services - 2013/S 62-104008 of 28.3.2013. My request is simply the full names and addresses of all of the companies who submitted a bid for this tender and whether they were successful or not. Please note - I do not require any confidential information about the bid itself or the bidders. Published 18th December 2014 Further to your request under the Freedom of Information Act regarding tender reference 2013/S 62-104008, please find United Learning - Freedom of Information Request - Tender for Catering Services here a list of the names and addresses of all the companies who expressed an interest in this tender and what stage of the bidding process they reached.

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