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FOI Clerk has asked ALL councillors to provide local data

0 votes
So a member of the public and an Ex member of the council  has asked for  an FOI on emails from a range of dates that  mention his name. The clerk has  stated in an email that the  SALC advise is to ask "All councillors to  supply by PDF or Print" any and all email they have on their system that has the  Data that contains "the requested info" ie  the ex now public member of the community.

Firstly  I have asked and had  2 FOI request from the office by 2 Clerks in the last  24 months. also 1 as a member of the public and 1 as a councillor. Neither time was any members of council were asked to provide information as part of the  FOI.

Bearing in mind all our official email address all have ****.gov.uk addresses. I think the SALC advice to be wrong both in interpretation of the legislation and its application. If for any reason  our email system has been cleaned or cleared. Who is responsible for  fulfilling the FOI.
asked by (340 points)

1 Answer

+2 votes
If the Clerk as an email admin has access to the full archive then the Clerk can do this, otherwise, it falls to councillors to collate and provide to the Clerk.

If you have used your personal email addresses for council business then those emails are also subject to FOI, including if you have wrote an email about email the councillor (e.g. as an insult between two councillors about the FOI requester) as also subject to FOI.

If the request has asked for ALL data held then it includes your emails.

(My Day Job is FOI and GDPR)
answered by (6.7k points)
Somebodyelse is spot on.

Don’t forget that all information should be provided where possible, however there are a few reasons why this may be refused:

1. It will cost too much to fulfil the request (including cost of staff time).

2. It will take too many resources and too much to time to fulfil the request.

3. The reason behind the request is vexatious.
You may find the following link useful https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-freedom-of-information/refusing-a-request/
And this is the reason why it is better for councillors to have a parish council email address and not use their personal emails.....
AMEN to that MrsAbster!!!!

Shouldn’t we have them as standard rather than having to request them. Just another way PC’s/TC’s are allowed to be unprofessional!
The SALC advice to supply the messages requested FOI' s in hard copy or PDF is poor. Many cllrs won't have the knowledge or facilities to supply E mails in pdf and others may say they have no print facilities. FOI requestors are entitled to receive FOI information in an electronic re usable format if that is practical. The best way is to export the messages into a .eml of msg format and mail those as attachments to the Clerk, who can then put them all into a zip archive. Cllrs E mail programmes should be capable of doing the message exports. If that is too difficult they could forward the messages to the clerk who export those forwarded messages and archive to zip.

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