Follow Councillor Q&A on Twitter

Follow us on Twitter

Is it usual for a parish council to name, on the agenda, those residents who have forwarded emails to be discussed? [closed]

+2 votes
I feel the action of naming, in the agenda, those residents who raise complaints is putting off residents from challenging the parish council.
closed with the note: To follow up on the question I asked, I can now confirm the parish council concerned has apologised profusely for publishing identifying data relating to correspondence received, explaining this error was due to a new and inexperienced clerk.  GDPR training will be revisited.  Apologies accepted together with assurances that all future agendas will revert to referring to correspondence received from 'a villager' and not naming any villager.  Of course, as far as planning issues go, it is correct that consent to forgo anonymity should be sought and given before any views, opinions or complaints may be considered.  However, for other matters that arise in a small community, it makes much more sense to grant parishioners a level of privacy.  And before any angry voices out there decide to have a rant and rage about me being cowardly in not wishing to have my name published in an online agenda available to all, please be reminded that we all value our privacy on this forum which is why we all choose to use a pseudonym.
by (240 points)
closed by

6 Answers

0 votes
Its certainly not the approach I would take. Indeed I actually go further and request that my Cllrs do not refer to the names of those who have written to council in public session (unless they have express permission to do so).  So Mr Last Name becomes "a parishioner has raised concerns about x y z". I know my predecessors use to and it inadvertently created tension within community and arguably put a few at risk of reprisals (particularly when they felt it good idea to name a member of the public who had written in about allegations of drug-use.
by (5.5k points)
Thank you for your prompt and helpful response.  In short, I have emailed my local parish council to highlight an issue; my name and the subject of my email have been noted in the Agenda.  The Agenda is available online and it is now obvious to all in my small community that I have raised a query relating to a contentious subject.  I feel very cross to have been 'exposed' publicly when I had expected my query to be treated in confidence.  Do you think I am within my rights to request the parish council remove my identifying details, also, do you think it is reasonable of me to ask why the parish council has only very recently started to name parishioners when previously we were afforded anonymity?
We are the same we do not name any individual on Agenda or Minutes apart from elected members. We took the view that anyone under GDPR can request the deletion of records - so very messy - easier to avoid altogether and as Progress says just say 3 Residents turned up to discuss XXXX. You should challenge this change in process.
Thank you, ClerkinEssex, for a helpful response.
+1 vote
Would probably be a breach of GDPR to name the complaints unless they gave their permission.
by (200 points)
+2 votes
Data protection legislation limits the use of personal data to that which is necessary. It would be difficult to justify a claim that your complaint cannot be considered without placing your name in the public domain. A complaint is a complaint, regardless of who voices it. Ask your Parish Council to remove your personal details or to justify, quoting data protection legislation, why it is necessary for you to be identified in this way.

For what it's worth, I take a mixed approach to this, often naming individuals in relation to good news stories, but never in relation to a complaint, either about the Council or another resident. It's sometimes easier to name than to find an appropriate form of words that avoids naming. When one of my Chairmen recently congratulated a resident on the award of a BEM in the Queen's New Year's honours list, she took the opportunity to address the Council in response. Not easy to minute without identifying her and, of course, the whole community already knew about her award anyway.
by (44.2k points)
Thank you. This is a very helpful and informative reply which will help me move forward with the issue I have.
–5 votes
Answers so far…..

Bureaucratic non sense.
GDPR is rapidly (likely already) taking over from ‘elf and safety as the pseudo, poorly understood and misquoted reason to NOT do a whole raft of things which are perfectly reasonable.
In an open and democratic process any person that feels sufficiently strongly to register a complaint with a public body should have the kahoonas and moral fibre to put their head above the parapet.

Just stop and apply a little demonstrable logic before descending into a hissy fit. Consider the code of conduct complaint process - anonymity may be granted if specifically requested for justifiable reason but the default is that the subject AND the complainant are named publicly in the decision notice.
Unless there is a specific, articulable and justifiable reason to withhold detail of a person making a complaint…..
by (6.9k points)
EXCELLENT ):0) I do like a good ‘down’ vote - especially where the logic is undeniable and the reaction is generated from what can only be presumed to be a melt.
It’s well past time people got out from behind the anonymity of the keyboard and spoke up for themselves.
From the Model Standing Orders:-
11c  The agenda, papers that support the agenda and the minutes of a meeting shall not disclose or otherwise undermine confidential information or personal data without legal justification.
11d  Councillors, staff, the Council’s contractors and agents shall not disclose confidential information or personal data without legal justification.
Thank you, DavetheClerk, This is really helpful in supporting me to address a very difficult situation. I appreciate the time you have taken to provide a positive response.
The quote from MSOs isn’t worth reading unless you are going to read it ALL rather than cherry pick and take it out of context.
Unless a complaint is explicitly stated, at the time of submission, as being confidential for a specific reason and the reason is reasonable, then it simply isn’t a confidential matter.
Excellent 2 - votes AND a flag. );0)
This just keeps getting better minus 6 votes as the polar ice caps melt.
The EVIDENCE(!!!!) is right there in front of anyone that has the ability to apply intelligence to any given situation.
Examples - Code of conduct complaints, planning comments, any number of other examples, it is NOT a breach of GDPR to include the name of a commenter if they knowingly and willingly submit their input for consideration.
Misapplication of poorly understood legislation is the refuge of the incompetent.
Stick a flag in that
I think in this instance disagree. I want members of the public to feel able to flag issues and without fear. Whether legally we have to not I will leave others to decide but am comfortable with our approach of not. Statutory consultation clearly set out name will be published (and by submitting comment you actively accept those terms). In contrast day-day correspondence am not sure that expectation exists. I want folk to flag the bin is overflowing because x didn't bother emptying it, the dog next door keeps soiling on the kids play-area etc freely without fear.
Round again - I sympathise with your thoughts, but note names of those raising issues should not be in the agenda or minutes unless permission is given.    However .... when people ask a question at a council meeting I aways ask for their name.  Likewise when listening to villagers when out and about I like to know who I am listening to.  In smaller villages everyone knows everyone so its pretty clear who is doing what and if you are unsure just pop down the pub and ask (coffee morning / whist drive / what have you).
+2 votes
My PC obscures peoples names and contact details but I’ve always wondered where to draw the line when the personal details of residents objecting to planning matters are published online
by (8.2k points)
When using most planning portals you will see active "consent" sought making clear by submitting comments your address & name will be published. For me that is where the substantive difference arises. That same principle applies to most statutory consultation as well.
0 votes
To follow up on the question I asked, I can now confirm the parish council concerned has apologised profusely for publishing identifying data relating to correspondence received, explaining this error was due to a new and inexperienced clerk.  GDPR training will be revisited.  Apologies accepted together with assurances that all future agendas will revert to referring to correspondence received from 'a villager' and not naming any villager.  Of course, as far as planning issues go, it is correct that consent to forgo anonymity should be sought and given before any views, opinions or complaints may be considered.  However, for other matters that arise in a small community, it makes much more sense to grant parishioners a level of privacy.  And before any angry voices out there decide to have a rant and rage about me being cowardly in not wishing to have my name published in an online agenda available to all, please be reminded that we all value our privacy on this forum which is why we all choose to use a pseudonym.
by (240 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

Google Analytics Alternative