Planning portals - comments/objections - Public forum - Planning Advisory Service (PAS)
Planning portals - comments/objections
Our LPA discloses the names and addresses of those who post complaints. I have seen that other LPAs redact these names and addresses. What is the position on this. Thank you
Jane Watson:Hi We only redact signatures, telephone numbers and email addresses as names and postal addresses are not sensitive personal information.
This is true. But is it a targeted and proportionate way to consult on a planning application to have respondents' personal data on the internet (possibly for ever)?
page 25 of our guide is the bit that deals with consultation, but don't skip the opening chapters that cover principles.
We have a document retention policy so the comments are only available for a limited amount of years and will then automatically be removed from our system. In the interests of transparency the applicant also has a right to know who has made comments on their application and is entitled to be able to make any rebuttal if they feel it necessary.to do so.
Hi Marie, welcome.
We published a guide to planning and the GDPR a while ago. You won't find a definitive "do this, don't do that" but what you will find is a helpful set of principles. And, importantly, a reminder to do what your privacy notice says you will do.
FWIW I really doubt publishing complainants details is necessary, but I'm also clear that councils struggle to change the way they have always done things.
Thank you, I have read this Guide and forwared it on to our Planning Department. We re dealing withdifficult STLs and some of the more elederly people are frightened of being identified. Our Planning Department was also using blogsinstead of case law and appeal decisions which are material considerations. It took a long time to change this.
We recently started withholding name and address from PO comments for GDPR reasons. We were influenced by stakeholder privacy concerns and GDPR guidance to conduct a task in the 'least intrusive way'.
We asked Idox to put in a 'Sensitive' version of the non-redacted comment. Happy to discuss how we went about it and lessons learned if you wish.
Thank you Polly I am just an ordinary citizen but am getting enforcement on short-term lets. Many of the complainants are fearful about having their names and addresses for revealed, for more often than not the landlords can be threatening/menacing. I have taken this up with the head of my LPA who will not respond. As far as I understand people should not be identified on portals - names and addresses can lead to identification.
Further info, our Council has recently had a second PIR and is being monitored by the Local Governmament Association. Officers are extremely hard to deal with and rather entrenched.. So if you can give me some hard facts as to how you have dealt with it I would be very grateflul?
I understand, ok it is up to the LPA to decide on their own approach to GDPR, and I'm not in a position to advise on that.
However there should be a way to have name and address withheld from public disclosure where security is a concern, and it would be worth checking out what that is with your LPA. For us, it's emailing the comment directly to the planning admin team, and then asking for name and address to be redacted before it is posted online.
As a matter of course we only disclose the address with the comment but also say if anyone wants to be confidential they need to email their comment and we will still publish it but remove their address.
We don't publish any comments/objections unless they are requested and then they re redacted to remove all details (name, address, emails, numbers etc.). We find this a lot simipler than trying to manage consent issues if you publish them.