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DATA-PROTECTION  January 2007

DATA-PROTECTION January 2007

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Subject:

Re: Are 3rd party interview notes personal data?

From:

Paul Ticher <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Paul Ticher <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 4 Jan 2007 16:57:44 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (115 lines)

I think you have to establish:
    1)    Are the notes data?
    2)    Are the interviewees third parties?
    3)    If not, does any other exemption from access apply?

If the interview notes are held on paper in a working file relating to the 
grievance and are not part of a system (or are not systematically 
organised), then in light of Durant they may not be data.  Therefore there 
would be no right of access.

Normally an employee is an agent of the Data Controller, not a third party. 
So you have to establish whether the interviewees are acting on their own 
account or the organisation's.  A colleague giving evidence about an 
incident might well be acting on their own account (especially perhaps if 
they had some leeway over whether to participate or not), while a line 
manager explaining their management of the individual is more likely to be 
acting in an official capacity.  In the latter case the line manager would 
probably not be a third party, so the third party exemption from access 
could not apply.  In the former case the interviewees could withhold consent 
to the notes being shown; if this refusal is "reasonable" the notes would be 
exempt from access.

It seems to me unlikely that the 'management forecasts', 'negotiations' or 
'legal professional privilege' exemptions from access (see Schedule 7 of the 
Act) could apply, but it may be worth checking.

However, natural justice normally demands that someone should know who is 
accusing them of what.  Even if there is a potential exemption from access, 
I would have thought you would have to have good grounds on which to deny 
it.  For example you might conclude that providing access could be to the 
serious detriment of the interviewees and this outweighed the interests of 
the individual pursuing the grievance in knowing what had been said.


Paul Ticher
0116 273 8191
22 Stoughton Drive North, Leicester LE5 5UB

I hereby require any recipient of this message not to use my personal data
for direct marketing purposes.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2007 4:09 PM
Subject: Are 3rd party interview notes personal data?


> If members of our staff are interviewed in connection with a grievance
> concerning another member of staff (A) are the notes of those interviews
> classed as A's personal data? In other words, is A entitled to see them?
>
> Hilary Lawrenson, Data Protection Officer
> National Probation Service - South Yorkshire
> Head Office
> 45 Division Street
> Sheffield, S1 4GE
>
> Tel 0114 276 6911
> Fax 0114 276 1967
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