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DATA-PROTECTION  January 2019

DATA-PROTECTION January 2019

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Subject:

Re: FW: [data-protection] Use of Council Tax Data

From:

Derek O'Connor <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Derek O'Connor <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 11 Jan 2019 09:03:20 +0000

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Thanks for all who responded, interesting views all of them. 
 
My view before posing the question was that it would be ok, and the responses have confirmed that. 
 
My initial (simplistic) thinking was that although an LA would not have a public task function in recovering debt on behalf of a (or any) Utility Co, it could be argued that it would have a legitimate interest (subject to meeting the necessary test) in doing so, as long as it entered into a robust contract, paying particular attention to ensuring sufficient security guarantees were included. 
 
There are of course a number of concerns to be addressed and a DPIA will no doubt tease them out. 
 
Regards 
 
Derek O'Connor 
Rheolwr Llywodraethu Gwybodaeth / Information Governance Manager 
Cyngor Bwrdeistef Sirol CONWY County Borough Council 
E-Bost / E-Mail: [log in to unmask] 
Ffon/Tel 01492 574016 
 
 
  
 
-----Original Message----- 
From: This list is for those interested in Data Protection issues [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Owen Thomas 
Sent: 10 January 2019 17:54 
To: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: Re: [data-protection] FW: [data-protection] Use of Council Tax Data 
 
I'm not so sure that the GPC makes much irrelevant as while it opens with the provision "A local authority has power to do anything that individuals generally may do" it's also worth remembering that individuals are also bound by privacy / data protection law - either directly if they're LAs acting like individuals under GPC, or indirectly if they're actual individuals standing in from of a regulator / court etc that is obliged (as a public authority) to act compatibly with things like HRA. 
 
Looking at the specific case discussed here, yes, an LA has authority to offer a debt collection service in the same way as an individual does. Now, suppose an individual sets up their own collection agency / service and then writes to LAs asking for access to their Council Tax databases - would the individual be likely to receive an open-armed welcome?  FOI should refuse it as taxpayers' personal data, there doesn't seem to be an immediate path for said databases to be re-used under ROPSI (Reg 13(2) inst. would seem relevant). 
 
I may have misunderstood GPC etc, but if the Localism Act grants a general power to behave the way individuals CAN, it strikes me as a bit of a stretch to carry that forward into an ability to behave in ways that individuals legally cannot. 
 
Either way, agreement to disagree tabled here - if someone wants to give it a try and let us know how they get on that'd be great. 
 
 
Owen Thomas 
Deputy Data Protection Officer 
Data Protection Office 
Strategy, Performance and Transformation Directorate Sunderland City Council 
0191 5611263 
 
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