Labour Party breaches the Data Protection Act….Again! Says the Information Commissioner’s Office
I made my third “Subject Access Request” (SAR) to the Labour Party on December 8 last year.
My goal was to try — again — to discover why I was suspended by the Labour Party on October 26 2016.
In 21 months, I have never had the opportunity to rebute and refute a still-unspecified allegation by a still-unnamed complainant. Repeated requests for a progress report from Sam Matthews, head of disputes in the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit, have been ignored: not a single word of response has been given to numerous emails and telephone calls.
I made my most recent SAR under Section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (which has since been replaced by the General Data Protection Regulation and the new Data Protection Act 2018).
With a statutory requirement to fulfil my request within 40 calendar days, the Labour Party was obliged to respond by January 18 2018.
I was never optimistic this deadline would be met. My previous SAR — in April last year — had been satisfied after more than 100 days. And only after an intervention by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Even then, some information had been withheld — rather strangely, I thought — “because it relates to advice given under legal professional privilege”.
My pessimism was well-founded. Not least because repeated email reminders to Jordan Hall, the Labour Party’s Data Protection Officer, had met only with the laughably-worded auto-reponse: “Thank you for your email. We aim to respond to all queries within 10 working days. Please note that it is not always possible and there may be instance where further time is required. If your query is urgent, please call 02077831498 otherwise we will respond in due course. Alternatively, please contact your Regional office.”
Telephone calls to Mr Hall were never returned.
It is now 228 days since I made a request that the Labour Party was required to fulfil within 40 calendar days.
But there is good news!
Yet again, the ICO has promised “a record will be kept on file and may help inform any future action we consider appropriate in regard to Labour’s handling of personal data”.
Finally, in a letter dated July 23, the Labour Party has been told to respond to my SAR “within the next 14 days” (Monday, August 6).
I will keep readers posted. But I am not holding my breath.