Hannington Parish Council, Hampshire
Data Protection/Freedom of Information
These two issues are sometimes referred to as being two sides of the same coin, with the coin being 'information'. On one side is the 'right to see information' and on the other side is 'the right to have information not being seen (privacy)'. The Parish Council has received 'joint reports covering both these two issues, and so we currently have a single page on the website for the two topics.
Interestingly, the right to privacy, enshrined in The Data Protection Act 1998 came two years before The Freedom of Information Act 2000.
The Data Protection Act 1998 regulates the processing of information relating to individuals. This includes the obtaining, holding, using or disclosing of such information, and covers computerised records as well as manual filing systems and card indexes. The Parish Council has agreed that it will hold the minimum personal information necessary to enable it to perform its functions. All such information is confidential and needs to be treated with care, to comply with the law.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives people the right to request, in writing, information from public authorities. It is intended to promote a culture of openness and accountability amongst public sector bodies, and therefore facilitate better public understanding of how public authorities carry out their duties, why they make the decisions they do, and how they spend public money. A significant development in openness came with the introduction of the Transparency Code, which is dealt with on a separate page at this time.
The Parish Council last considered these two issues at its meeting in February 2017, where it agreed to the procedures to be followed for a request for information under Freedom of Interest Act 2000 (report available below).