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So, Argyll and Bute Council have taken the …

Comment posted Spygate: James Robb asks for clarifications of the CEO’s statement by Hamish Beaton.

So, Argyll and Bute Council have taken the predictable step of calling in an Independent Examiner to establish the facts and arrive at conclusions regarding the alleged breach and eventually to “do the right thing” – by producing a list of changes.
With regard to A&BC’s desire to “do the right thing”, this may form a major component of
A&BC’s culture and of the reputation it projects to its public. The value of “doing the right thing” derives from the fact that it has a powerful influence on the confidence, trust and loyalty people, both within and external, feel. To gauge that value, consider the contribution “doing the right thing” makes to A&BC’s success, the effectiveness of its operations and its ability to implement strategic change successfully when needed. With regard to compliance, The Data Protection Agency (the ICO in the UK) has a duty to ensure that the public’s interests are protected by all organisations holding personal information within their jurisdictions. Compliance commonly requires a wide range of controls to ensure not only that data is secure from theft or loss but that it is gathered only under suitable conditions and used only under suitable restrictions. The value of personal information here arises from the possibility that a breach of legislation could lead to censure, reputational damage, fines, restrictions, and in the future even jail terms for senior executive personnel.
Will the Executive’s current actions carry the day – Not a chance. Why? Essentially, calling in an Independent Examiner without terms of reference points to a serious breach of the Data Protection Act. This breach needs reporting and it is for the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) to examine and decide the level of breach and consequences. All Data Controllers have a responsibility under the Data Protection Act 1998 to ensure appropriate and proportionate security of the personal data they hold. (DPA 1998 7th Principle). The fact that an employee has been suspended for allegedly covertly collecting and perhaps using information on data subjects (potentially all of us) surely requires reporting to the Information Commissioners Office on the grounds of an alleged serious breach. Serious breaches are undefined but may cause potential harm to the data subjects as follows: *exposure to identity theft through the release of non-public identifiers e.g. passport number; information about the private aspects of a person’s life becoming known to others e.g. financial, medical and relational circumstances. The extent of harm, which can include distress, is dependant on both the volume of personal data involved and the sensitivity of that data. Where there is significant actual or potential harm as a result of the breach, whether because of the volume of data, its sensitivity or a combination of the two, there should be a presumption to report.
[*Notification of Data Security Breaches to the Information Commissioner’s Office v 4 8-7-2010 ]
The fact that A&BC Executive have chosen at this time not to notify the Information Commissioners Office or that in this case they have not followed the ICO’s directive that “there should be a presumption to report” gives the lie that they do not understand the relationship of executive power with respect to the Data Protection Act, which is a worry in itself, and are deluded as to the long time reputational damage they are inflicting on the organisation as a whole. At some point in time the penny will drop that the ICO needs informing – A&BC Executive, the Elected Council and the Executive’s Independent Examiner live in interesting times – not a tad too dissimilar to News Of The World Executive I would have thought?

Recent comments by Hamish Beaton

  • Community raffle concerns over councillor’s reporting of Tarbert raffle to police
    Netiquette on the internet is as important as anywhere else, including work. Allowing the standards of politeness to slip simply because the medium used emboldens people who would usually not be so forthright in a face-to-face context is not acceptable.
    The language used is clearly abusive and/or derogatory. (A posting filled with foul language, or a suggestion as such, this is likely to be a breach of workplace policy, and it’s highly unprofessional. It can also be the cause for legal action depending on what is said, especially if it threatens, harasses, or slurs.)
    I am not against robust comment – and will “fight my corner” -but frankly if this “mail” was sent to me by post or at my place of work, I would have no other recourse than copy it to Security for their consideration. The fact that it has appeared at all suggests that ForArgyll perhaps condones or is prepared to accept abuse which would be totally out of place at home or in the work place – goodbye
  • Community raffle concerns over councillor’s reporting of Tarbert raffle to police
    ““Where do community events – and we’re talking little weekly get togethers here, not just annual galas, go from here with their raffles?”
    Continue as they have done for years!”
    Yes, the Law makes provision for the above. The daft thing is that a lottery licence for a public Charity Raffle for selling to the general public is free to anyone that applies. The conditions of granting a Charity Raffle licence, are to makes sure that everything is “above board” and not a scam. According to the Scottish Sun, the person selling the unlicensed lottery at the Co-op knew what they were about and allegedly chose not to seek a licence. That’s OK for that person but it creates all sort of legal problems for the shop who are now complicit in breaking the law and for the receiving charity, who, unwittingly in receipt of moneys are in breach too and maybe liable to investigation by the Charity Commission. Far from me to suggest that this person was doing anything deceitful, but their alleged disregard for the law has brought heartache, tears and opened Pandora’s box, all for the want of 10 minutes simple paperwork, which would have legitimised and enhanced their work.
  • Community raffle concerns over councillor’s reporting of Tarbert raffle to police
    Yo no responden normalmente a las agresiones abusivas. Pero, ¿sería usted terminar más si me escribió en su blog acerca de caca de perro en español?
  • Community raffle concerns over councillor’s reporting of Tarbert raffle to police
    suggest you buy a shovel and bucket from next door to the Co-Op
  • Community raffle concerns over councillor’s reporting of Tarbert raffle to police

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