To ask Her Majesty's Government whether HS2's redundancy payments scheme contributed in whole or in part to any settlement agreements or compromise agreements with former senior members of staff; and whether any of those members of staff made protected disclosures of HS2's financial statements.
A response is provided to both 261785 and 261784 jointly, as the questions overlap. Since 1 January 2017, HS2 Ltd has entered into 47 Settlement Agreements with employees who no longer work for HS2 Ltd as at today’s date. Specifically, 26 of the 47 were employees who had themselves applied to be made redundant as part of a voluntary redundancy scheme that HS2 Limited ran in 2016. Of the remainder, 3 were with employees who were being made redundant as part of 2 discrete organisational changes. Of the 47, 10 Settlement Agreements have been entered into with staff who were members of HS2’s senior leadership team or higher (7 of the 10 were part of the voluntary redundancy programme mentioned above).
The Settlement Agreement contains terms relating to the cessation of the employment relationship between HS2 Ltd and the employee (e.g. termination date, payment owed for annual leave not taken, any other payments owed, etc). There are mutual confidentiality obligations in each Settlement Agreement but these do not apply where information is required to be disclosed by law OR where a protected disclosure is made by the employee under whistleblowing legislation. Of the 47 Settlement Agreements referred to above, no employee has raised any such protected disclosure (in relation to HS2 Ltd’s financial statements or otherwise). HS2 Ltd has not entered into any Non-Disclosure Agreements with any HS2 employee.
Before any Settlement Agreement is signed by HS2 Ltd and the employee, a certificate from an independent legal adviser must be provided, evidencing that legal advice has been given to the employee as to the effect of the terms of the Agreement. This process can lead to requests for changes to the template Agreement, which HS2 Ltd accepts where feasible.