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Clarification of data sharing obligations of public bodies

Comment 19th July 2010

To provide a simple requirement to cover the obligations of public bodies to provide (or not) information to each other.

One example of this is Section 17 of Schedule 2 of the Local Government Act 1992, This protects peoples data collected for Council Tax purposes, but appears to conflict with legislation covering, amongst others, HMRC, the police and the CSA. All of these have generic legislation, but make many requests for information from Council Tax authorities, whereas there is specific legislation covering electoral registration and certain housing functions.

There must be many other examples of this where similar disclosure (or non-disclosure) requirements exist.

These uncertainties and conflicts could be removed by a simple piece of generic legislation which could either enable disclosure, or prevent it. I would be happy either way – I just want a) clarity and b) to stop endless arguments about whether someone is entitled to information or not

Why does this matter?

1. To provide clarity about data sharing requirements

2. To reduce bureaucracy and administration involved in assessing which of cometing regulations or legislation takes precedence.

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