Town halls in Scotland have handed ex-workers more than £8.3 million to buy their silence.
Under Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation all 32 councils across Scotland were asked how many staff had been awarded such agreements since 2010
The “gagging orders” - funded by the taxpayer, ensure they do not raise concerns about potential scandals or go to employment tribunals.
The biggest-spending local authority was Dundee, which signed agreements with 247 employees over five years and paid them almost £2.2m – equivalent to £8,800 each.
Clackmannanshire was the second-biggest spender with £1.9m shared among 97 staff. Shetland Islands Council spent £841,593 over five years.