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Can emails for internal use be used without permission for external communications?

0 votes
The clerk forwarded a request from a club asking for financial support. I replied emailing the clerk and other members who also received the original email suggesting that grants might be available. My email was forwarded by the clerk to the club. i did not realise this would happen. Is this usual? Does this imply a break of GDPR? Really confused as to why my emails would be directly forwarded to an outside club as I thought the Clerk would write her own communication.
asked by (1.5k points)

2 Answers

0 votes
At its simpleist, it isn't a breach of GDPR. - Public sector emails are fully subordinate to an FOI request, you must assume everything you write can / may end up on the front page of your local paper. [ Disclosure, part of my day-job is GDPR - and stopping businesses from claiming 'GDPR!!', every time they refuse to do something ]

Ideally, should the Clerk have re-written the email, yes. But similarly, there should be grants application policy / application form on your website that the Clerk could have directed the Club to.

Protecting the Clerk, however, in the absence of a policy to award grants, it should really be for councillors (not the Clerk) to respond to constituents about the possibility of a grant being awarded, as otherwise the Clerk is developing a political decision (whether or not to entertain the possibility of a grant). The Clerk can say "we don't have a policy for this", but it is for councillors to say "we'd look at it at the next meeting".
answered by (6.6k points)
Actually it isn't (Unfortunately) as straight forward as you imply. Anything a Councillor says or writes can indeed be expected to end up public due to transparency but not their email address. Unless the council has explicitly asked for permission to make public a Cllr's email then they shouldn't as it would technically be a breach - albeit one that the ICO wouldn't take action on.
When a new Cllr starts with us they signed a form stating the telephone number and email address they have given will be used internally and potentially in the public domain.
+1 vote
The clerk has an obligation to inform the council of such requests. They can request for councillors to respond to them  clerk (in these days) with their observations and queries which the clerk can seek from the sender, If the council wishes to discus and consider the merits of the matter at a council meeting or appoint a committee or fact finding working party, the clerk will then make accommodation in the agenda for same.

It's not magic it's procedure and personally, I feel it was remiss of the clerk to pass on your reply to the originator. Perhaps the clerk inadvertently forwarded it by mistake. It's good to talk, especially to your clerk.
answered by (2.3k points)
To save creating a new question, may I ask can an officer include a non councillor email into an internal email to all Councillors ?

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