Councils have been accused of issuing ‘gagging orders’ to thousands of staff, many of which contained confidentiality clauses.
The investigation by the BBC found 17,571 settlement deals had been signed by councils and workers between 2010 and 2015, resulting in pay-outs of £226.7m.
The figures also suggest staff had received enhanced redundancy pay-outs for signing the agreements.
However, the Local Government Association said councils only made special payments for redundancies to help avoid costly legal action.
The figures, obtained through freedom of information requests, showed that Cardiff issued the most settlement agreements, with 2,008 signing one since 2010. The council said the policy had ended last January and had helped protect it from legal claims.
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