Rainworth Parish Council audio row

A ROW has broken out at Rainworth Parish Council after it emerged that one of its members has made a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office about the way records are kept.

Councillors were notified during a meeting on Thursday of a letter from the national body querying their policies for the storage of audio recordings of meetings.

Coun John Bradbury made the complaint after an audio recording of an October council meeting closed to the public, in which he was not present, was deleted.

Coun Linda Tift, chairman of the council, said audio recordings of meetings were only used to help the clerk compile written minutes of previous meetings and its policy was to delete them following a meeting once the minutes had been conformed as a true account by councillors.

She said: “Coun Bradbury listened to the minutes on the day of the parish council meeting.

“He handed in a letter at 6.57pm (three minutes before the start of the meeting in November) saying he wanted us not to delete the tape.

“If a councillor wants something to be included on the agenda they have to submit it three days before the meeting.

“He had five weeks to listen to those minutes so you would have thought he would have done it before the day of the meeting.

“The parish council has done nothing wrong. We put in place our own policy and we have complied with it.”

Coun Tift said the council had taken advice from the National Association of Local Councils and decided audio recordings would not be kept as part of their records but deleted after minutes were confirmed during meetings.

But Coun Bradbury said: “Before the meeting I handed in a request under the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act.

“A fortnight later when I asked about the request they said they had deleted the tape. I made a complaint straight away at that point.”

The Information Commissioner’s Office is the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest and promote openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

A spokesman said: “We have an open complaint and we are looking into it.”