Council’s ICO probe a ‘slap on the wrist’

THE Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has warned a council to improve safeguards after it published personal information.

Shepreth Parish Council was probed after residents’ addresses were visible on a consultation document and the findings have been released to the Crow.

A spokesman for the ICO said: “The complaint related to the publication of personal information within a consultation document sent out by the council.

“After making enquiries into the circumstances of the complaint, we have advised the council that they need to be clearer about how they intend to use people’s information and improve the safeguards they have in place to ensure personal data is not accidentally disclosed.

“However, we are satisfied that the council takes its obligations under the Data Protection Act seriously and we do not need to take any further action at this time.”

The investigation is thought to centre on a document that was posted to residents and was visible on a notice board.

District councillor for Shepreth Surinder Soond said things need to improve and the situation was easily avoidable.

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“I think it is a slap on the wrist and they need to be a lot more careful in handling people’s addresses in the future,” he said.

“This isn’t the first time this has happened in the village newsletter and other notifications published by the parish council.

“Obviously this is something that could have been completely prevented by the parish council clerk or the chairman, they could have removed the notice when it came to their attention or when other councillors asked for them to remove them.

“I think there should be a complete formal apology to the residents involved – it’s the right thing to do and it is the best they can do.”

The chairman of the parish council Cllr Donna Thomas declined to comment and referred the Crow to the clerk.

He was unavailable to comment at the time of going to press.