Sunday, 4 May 2008

Bin there (haven't done that)

I know. I really should get back to my local Council (South Kesteven).

About a year ago I asked them whether micro-chipping bins was not a matter covered by the Data Protection Act (2001).

Their legal department responded in three stages. First: they had only been in post for a couple of days - so couldn't possibly comment. Then, a day or so later, they grew more confident and categorically stated that this was not a matter to which the DPA applied. But they'd consider it further.

Finally, they told me to go away. Or, in council-speak: "we have addressed this question in our previous e-mails and there is nothing more to add".

Oh dear. The only problem with this response is that the DPA is something I know a lot about. So does the Information Commissioner - whose Office wrote back to me wondering why the Council should think this was NOT a matter covered by the DPA.

So I really need to follow up.

Of course, this illustrates a sad trend in modern Councildom. Were I acting as a consultant on their behalf, I would have given much the same advice. (I would, of course, have taken a suitable fee for same!).

I would have identified chipping as an "active risk". The amber lights would have started flashing. They might have had the chance to avert a possible future derailment of their scheme.

But mere ratepayers are of no consequence. So the Council carries on regardless.

And if their scheme turns to ashes, it will be I, as ratepayer, who picks up the tab.

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