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Private report into allegations of collusion within Slough council will not be released

A private investigation into on-goings within Slough Borough Council will not be released to the public.

The Penn report was an independent look into named staff within the council which examined allegations of collusion following an anonymous whistleblowing email received in August last year.

Following calls from councillors and media organisations for the report to be made public, the council has today confirmed its decision not to release the document.

The council said: “The Penn report contained unproven allegations, extracts of private and confidential conversations, as well as personal information on several current and former members of staff.

“As with any such investigation, we are not prepared to compromise the privacy of individuals to whom we owe a duty of care.

“The leaks of selective parts of the report into the public domain have been made without the council’s knowledge or consent and these leaks have already caused substantial distress.

“The council has reported the leak to the Information Commissioner as a potential breach of the Data Protection Act. It is for the Information Commissioner to decide whether to prosecute those individuals in possession of the report in apparent contravention of this legislation.

“We take the protection of personal information very seriously, whether that is information about a housing tenant, a looked after child, a council tax-payer, an adult social care client or confidential matters involving our staff.

“Public disclosure of any part of the report by the council or anyone else is likely to breach the Data Protection Act.

“We will immediately, again, inform the Information Commissioner if further leaks become apparent.”

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  • be_ transparent

    17:05, 23 November 2017

    The obvious answer is to make the report public but redact the minimum specific personally identifiable information. It should also be aware that whilst considering the effect on individuals release of information may have, senior members of organisations have diminished rights to privacy in data protection law in respect to their public role. It should also be very cogent of the fact that most parts of data protection law have a 'public interest test' that overrides other considerations - in other words, if the public interest is served in publishing the information it should be published anyway. To an untrained eye statements like this by the council raise more questions than they answer.

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