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i am dyslexic so sorry about my typing
our parish council has no data storage or retention policy and emails can be deleted by any of three individuals  plus the  councillor .we have also last month discovered that once a document or email is deleted it can not be recovered , in adittion all records regarding a new lease for the village hall of which the council is a trustee the clerk has refused to allow councillors access , we deffered adopting standing orders and communication policy etc until this month my concern is unless councillors have access to such information how can they comply with there duty as councillor trustee or the nolan principles  can we recommend an amendement to say any thing that conflicts with  our duties must be fully disclosed to all councillor and the clerks communications ie email must be accesable to councillors
by (1.1k points)
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Goodness, there's quite a lot going on in your email and to be honest, although the Nolan Principals are clearly an element of what we do as councillors, they're not really the driving force for the issues you've raised if I'm reading this correctly.
Starting with emails, there is a separate thread on here about council emails which is relevant I think.  Councillor emails should be for council business but should not be accessible by others not just for GDPR purposes but purely on the grounds that a councillor is responsible for councillor actions and I would not be happy if anyone else could technically access and use my (council) email account.  It is password protected for a reason!  However, when I leave I would fully expect the email account to be deleted.  It should not and does not hold any data that is solely held by me as a councillor.  The data controller in most parishes is the Clerk and the Clerk should be following your data retention policy with regard to deletion of any data (emails included) in accordance with your policy.
Next moving onto the issue with the Village Hall lease.  You have said that the council is the trustee.  It is important to understand that the council is a corporate body so if the council is the trustee (and there is a difference between being sole managing trustee and custodian trustee) then councillors are not trustees as individuals but work collectively as the trustee.  That doesn't mean you shouldn't have access to the lease details but the difference can be significant in terms of who does what and how.   Custodian Trustee status does not confer any management responsibilities on the council but sole managing trustee status does.  Whether you should have access to the terms of the lease will depend upon what type of trustee the council is.

Finally a point about standing orders and the communications policy.  Certainly not clear why you think the standing orders shouldn't be adopted as a result of the issues you've raised.  Some of those standing orders will be statutory so whether you've adopted them or not, they apply.  The non statutory stuff can be amended to suit your council but take care that your changes are actually workable.  Your communications policy is clearly an issue for your own council but wouldn't usually apply to internal communications between the councillors and/or clerk although no particular reason why it shouldn't.
As a former clerk turned councillor, I am very aware that the clerk receives literally hundreds of emails each week consisting mostly of complete dross (adverts, etc.) and I certainly don't want to be receiving all of that rubbish in my inbox.  I rely on our clerk to filter what is sent to me so that it's relevant.
by (19.6k points)
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thank you for your detailed response
emails once deleted can not be recovered and there is no back up or data retention policy in place this seems  highly unusual to me yes i get the trustee variation 8 new councillors out of 9 and we are refused access to the files relating to the charity seems fishy  thank you for your time
there is no correspondence file or log held , no central location re theses can be viewed standing orders i do get why the mandatory ones are to be adopted i just wish to make sure we dont have over reach by the clerk in denying reasonable access to relevant information
0 votes
Don't forget that the Nolan Principles apply to the clerk too.

Not really following Openness if they are withholding information from Councillors
by (4.7k points)
a good point about the clerk thank you
0 votes

It would be good to know the relationship between the village hall and the council.  As noted by Dell Boy, is the council the custodian trustee or sole trustee or just appoints a councilor trustee?
by (2.5k points)
it appears sole trustee as a corporate body
Thanks   If it is the sole trustee of the village hall and is leasing it out to a third party, then the you will be the ones approving it, or have approved it and responsible for its being implemented correctly.  In addition, as sole trustee, you will be running separate meetings for charity matters and taking decisions with your charity hats on.  As the the council is the trustee, you also have powers under the trust acts to inspect the various documents relating to the property in addition to the rights you have under council law.  You will all be au fait with the charity governing document and ensuring it is followed.  IMHO  I think this guidance on trusteeship is very goodgood.

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