Correct / Lawful use of residents private information / data used by a Parish Council

0 votes
Could you tell me if our Parish Council clerk has miss used my information by giving my name and address to a 3rd. party - in this case a local solicitor, please. (Without my consent )

During the last 12 months I have wrote to our Parish Council clerk on a few occasions to ask general questions which had my name and address on it.
Our small community has a local Facebook group where people can ask questions, advice, items for sale etc. I answered a query from someone who was asking about how should Parish Councillors act and I cited the "principles" that the Borough and local PC's have to conduct themselves when going about their daily life and business. I got lots of kind remarks from residents who were not aware of this, but I got quite a nasty remark made by someone in the community (who does make such comments). However, I noticed that the clerk along with a few others who are friends of this person had "liked" his derogatory remark about me.

I made a comment next to this, to the clerk, stating that I was surprised that he had "liked" such a nasty remark as people who work in Public Services should not make any biased comments at all. ( I am a lecturer in Public Services).

The clerk obviously did not like that I had very courteously pointed this out, (he had only been in the job a few months), as a couple of weeks later I got a solicitors letter saying that I had "tarnished our clients good nature". This was never my intention. Also, I was asked to apologise to him on our local facebook group page.

I am sure that he gave the solicitor my address from writing to him at the P. Council. Is this a breach of Data Protection and if so, what can I do about it.?  The clerk continues to be highly strung at PC meetings and argues with frightened residents when they ask questions.

Thank you for any suggestions you may have.
asked by (180 points)

1 Answer

+1 vote

I assume from the reference to "our client" that the solicitors have written on behalf of the clerk personally rather than the Parish Council?  

In the first instance I would suggest making a complaint about the (mis)use of your personal information to the Parish Council.   However the clerk may say that he got your details from a source other than the Parish Council - which is perfectly possible in a small community.

You do also have a right to make a complaint directly to the Information Commissioner's Office which will then consider whether there has been a data protection breach.  You should be able to find the ICO's details in the Parish Council's privacy notice which will also set out how the Parish Council uses the personal information that parishioners provide to it.

Please be aware that the deliberate misuse by an employee of personal information held by his or her employer is a serious matter and can be a criminal offence.  If you look at the ICO's website you will see details of individuals who have been prosecuted for accessing their employer's database for their own purposes.  Therefore being pursuing a course of action you might want to consider how you would feel if your complaint resulted in an outcome of that nature.

answered by (340 points)
If it is the clerk (personally) that asked for the solicitors letter to be sent, there so many ways to find your details that it would be impossible to prove beyond the balance of probabilities they used Parish resources to obtain your address.

The simple answer is to ignore the solicitors letter (unless they are threatening further legal action - in which case - DON'T ignore it).

Finally, the Clerk should only communicate with the public during question time when instructed to do so by the Chairman.

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