Questions about town and parish councils
Follow Councillor Q&A on X/Twitter

Follow us on X/Twitter

0 votes
Our Parish clerk does not send on emails from parishioners as the clerk thinks it will  breach  data information laws. I maintain that the parishioner is writing to the elected members via the clerk. Is the parishioner legally writing to the members?
by (120 points)

5 Answers

0 votes
It may breach data protection laws because sometimes the parishioners don’t want their information sent out, so why don’t you ask your Clerk if they can forward on the body of the email so redacting any personal information.  The Clerk might be able to answer the question themselves and then just report it in their clerks report.
by (3.8k points)
+1 vote
The partitioner is writing to the councillors. They may have a scheme of delegation that permits the clerk to deal with some correspondence directly such as requests for information, but councillors should always be made aware of all incoming correspondence even if their participation in a response isn't required. The council (clerk and councillors effectively) have an obligation to comply with  GDPR, but I would argue that redaction isn't necessary, unless the E mails or paper copies are forwarded to people or organisations external to the council
by (35.4k points)
+2 votes
The simple solution is for the Clerk to ask the parishioner for their consent, then there can be no doubt. I always explain how the Council functions and the fact that the elected members are the decision-makers. If necessary, I can report the matter anonymously, but I prefer not to.
by (53.3k points)
Agreed and also point the parishioner to the Council's Privacy Notice.
+2 votes
Ideally, such matters should be set out in the PC's Privacy Notice.
by (340 points)
0 votes
In some respects, the answer is in the question;   when someone writes to "the parish council" .  A parish council is a separate legal entity in its own right which is separate from individual councillors.  This is very much like a business which is separate from its owners or directors, albeit that it is the owners/directors/staff who will deal with issues raised by any correspondence.   Putting this into a town and parish council context, correspondence is therefore technically addressed to the proper officer who is the legal entity responsible for receiving it on behalf of the parish council and your internal systems will dictate how that then is dealt with.

If parishioners wish to write or contact parish councillors as individuals rather than the council as a whole, then clearly they can do so and many councils publish their councillor contact details separately from the "corporate" address to facilitate this but everyone needs to be clear that the official lines of communication to "the parish council" is via the Clerk who will then act in accordance with the internal systems and controls that the council has agreed and which are consistent with all sorts of legislation which of course would include data protection regulations.
by (19.1k points)

Welcome to Town & Parish Councillor Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers from other members of the community. All genuine questions and answers are welcome. Follow us on Twitter to see the latest questions as they are asked - click on the image button above or follow @TownCouncilQA. Posts from new members may be delayed as we are unfortunately obliged to check each one for spam. Spammers will be blacklisted.

You may find the following links useful:

We have a privacy policy and a cookie policy.

Clares Cushions logo Peacock cushion

Clare's Cushions creates beautiful hand made cushions and home accessories from gorgeous comtemporary fabrics. We have a fantastic selection of prints including Sophie Allport and Orla Kiely designs and most covers can be ordered either alone or with a cushion inner. Buying new cushions is an affordable and effective way to update your home interior, they're also a great gift idea. Visit our site now

2,959 questions
5,775 answers
8,105 comments
10,071 users
Google Analytics Alternative