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Law tweaked to help scrutiny of States

Law tweaked to help scrutiny of States

Wednesday 08 January 2020

Law tweaked to help scrutiny of States


Changes have been made to Guernsey's Data Protection law so the States' Scrutiny Committee have more luck in getting information together for any investigation into States matters.

In the past, the law has been used as an excuse for the very slow hand-over of information, documents and data to the Scrutiny Management Committee.

The Committee usually acts after incidents that raise eye brows, or seem to suggest questionable conduct has taken place. It looked into Home Affairs after the release of very negative review of its governance, and also started an investigation into Education after questions were raised over how fair a recruitment process was.

Home Affairs has made the changes to the law, it said, to "reduce the hurdle - perceived or otherwise - faced by States Committees or Board when providing data [to Scrutiny]". 

This is because the powers the scrutiny body has to take any tangible action are often quite limited, even when it comes to getting hold of documentation and information ahead of holding a public hearing.

"These new regulations allow for the personal data of individuals – known in law as “data subjects” - to be provided by committees to the SMC, on the basis SMC undertakes not to publish the data without the data subject’s consent," a spokesperson for Home Affairs explained.

Mary_Lowe.jpeg

Pictured: Home Affairs President, Deputy Mary Lowe. 

"The new measures do not compel any Committee to provide relevant personal information in un-redacted form, but do provide a clearer legal framework to support committees who choose to do so."

Should Scrutiny eventually get more legally enforceable and defined powers, these changes would likely be nullified, but right now the changes will apply to any SMC review. 

Home President, Deputy Mary Lowe, said: "The Committee was aware of the difficulties committees could face in having to balance their efforts to be fully open with the need for due considerations about the disclosure of personal data of individuals who have not given their consent. This clearer legal framework will assist SMC and other Committees. We are happy to make these changes.”

Pictured top: SMC President Deputy Chris Green. 

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