A LARGE planning consultancy has been found to have not complied with data protection laws over information gathered at a recent consultation event in Springhead.
Barton Willmore hosted the session on July 20, 2017 at Springhead Community Centre to unveil plans on behalf of Russell Homes for 265 homes in the area.
After the event, local resident John Longden raised concerns about sign-in forms and the collection of personal data.
He wrote to Barton Willmore for clarification but unsatisfied with their response he filed a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
After an investigation, the ICO ruled Barton Willmore has not complied with the requirements of the Data Protection Act in relation to providing adequate fair processing information.
John told the Independent: “At the event, we were asked to sign in and give details but we weren’t told why they needed that information or that it was voluntary to provide it.
“Also, the paperwork was left lying around openly all over the place on the tables for anyone to see.
“I wrote to Barton Willmore but they couldn’t explain why they were asking for those details. So I wrote to the ICO with a complaint.
“After looking into it, they said Barton Willmore breached a number of rules in relation to handling data.
“They said they are not going to fine them on this occasion but would write to them about the breaches to stop it happening in future.”
John added: “Barton Willmore said they are engaging with the community but they are going about things in a very underhand way. It shows this developer is not fit for this project.”
A spokesperson for Barton Willmore said: “Barton Willmore takes data protection very seriously and the advice set out in the email from the ICO has been taken on board.
“We are pleased the ICO has recognised that Barton Wilmore is wholly compliant in terms of the use and retention of data, which is collected only to record attendees at a specific event and to enable contact to be made to those people with further information at a later date, and which is deleted at the end of the project as per our existing data protection policy.”
When contacted by the Saddleworth Independent, the ICO said the outcome of this case is exempt under section 22 of the FOIA as the information will be published in due course on their website: www.ico.org.uk