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Bonkers Blog May 2013

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5 May - Going to the top

The presentation of correspondence with Bexley council is generally made in the expectation it will portray them in a poor light, no apology is made for that, but with both question and answer available to the reader they are free to reach their own conclusions.

Yesterday’s exchange between Nicholas Dowling and the Deputy Director of Human Resources could have gone either way. Was Nick concerned to see a copy of the Constitution or was his priority to expose Bexley council as a law breaker? I suspect the latter but do not condemn it. Bexley council has a proven track record of law breaking and we either all roll over and let them get on with it or someone has to make a stand. I do not believe Nick’s first priority was to cause distress to council staff as the Deputy Director has concluded but one can never be sure what others might think, so I was relieved to read yesterday’s feedback.

Utterly disgraceful, Mr. Hollier should be ashamed of himself. Your persistence is admirable!

Someone suggested that a complaint to Paul Moore, Hollier’s Director, is called for as in the past I have indicated he is inclined to adopt a more sensible position. Alas that isn’t always the case. Nick Dowling has also been on the warpath regarding Bexley council’s offences against the Data Protection Act. viz. the publication of residents’ address being the quid pro quo for asking questions at council meetings. The correspondence began in February but didn’t really get anywhere, the real question was always dodged and by the 17th April the questions were repeated to Mr. Moore as follows…

If you found the following points in my complaint dated 20th March 2013 ambiguous in some way I apologise unreservedly for not making it clearer to you:

1. Mr. Fox has made no attempt whatsoever to answer my question that he initially received on 14th February 2013. This was about Bexley Council ensuring that it is adhering to the Data Protection Act 1998 Data Principles when it insists on publishing residents sensitive personal details on the Internet in order for them to be permitted to ask questions at Full Council meetings as per the Council’s Constitution.
2. I would also like you to consider the behaviour of Mr. Hollier in this matter as well. Despite mentioning the concerns that I had expressed around the Data Protection Principles he too failed to take the opportunity to address this matter at all and reassure me that the Council was indeed adhering to the law.
3. I would like the investigation to provide me with the reasons Mr. Hollier failed to deal appropriately with the Data Protection Principles aspect of my correspondence.

Now for the removal of all doubt please let me reassure you that all I really want you to do is establish why Mr. Fox and Mr. Hollier could not confirm that Bexley Council’s Constitution has always adhered to the 1998 Data Protection Principles – and you might be kind enough to indicate why you also chose not to as well – then perhaps you might generously consider if any of these decisions by senior staff at the Council not to reassure me, despite repeated requests to do so were discourteous, unprofessional and could bring the Council’s good name into disrepute?

Its an awkward one for Mr. Moore. It is self evident that it was an abuse of the law for residents to be coerced into having their addresses put on the web just because they wished to hold Bexley council to account and he probably knew in advance that council leader Teresa O’Neill was going to perpetuate the lies and deceit at the next council meeting. Additionally, job security concerns may have impinged on his ability to make a clear statement on Bexley council’s law breaking over the past two years - so he didn’t.
Moore's Law
Mr. Moore only refers to the recent decision to adhere to the Data Protection Act and the permission granted to Mr. Dowling to ask a question unimpeded at last month’s council meeting. References to the past are studiously avoided.

I can confirm that Mr. Hollier made no reference to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 when replying to Nick’s complaint dated 21 February - if you don’t believe me, click here - and Mr. Moore has not disputed the question was asked. Maybe my correspondent’s expectation that Paul Moore would be less evasive is massively over optimistic.


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