The Information Commissioner's Office have made an absurd demand that each councillor should pay a fee to register as a data controller under the terms of the Data Protection Act. The guidance says that while councillors can rely on the notification of their local council or political party for some of their work this does not cover their role:
"as a representative of the residents in their ward – Councillors are likely to have to notify in their own right – for example, if they use personal information to timetable surgery appointments or take forward
complaints made by local residents."
The Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is determined to put a stop to this red tape.
At the Local Government Association conference he said:
“Councillors and monitoring officers now have to grapple with the latest missive from the Information Commissioner.
Councillors are being told to pay £35 a year to register as a data controller. If you don’t pay, you face the threat of court, a criminal conviction, and an unlimited fine.
Clearly, councillors should respect data protection rules.
But we will be working with the Ministry of Justice to find a common sense solution, such as allowing councillors to be covered by their corporate council registration.
Councillors shouldn’t have to pay £140 over their term of office to be allowed to reply to their constituents’ letters.
This is nothing less than a tax on volunteering