I saw this earlier this week on Public Sector Forums and reflected on its significance. The Information Commissionerâ€™s Office will today (26th Jan) publish revised guidance for local authorities wishing to make secondary use of Council Tax Data, for example to populate CRM systems. Previous government guidance on data sharing has created uncertainty in many local authorities on whether they can use this data for other council functions, despite the prevailing common sense that having one authoratitive data set is preverable to building several sets of data about a citizen’s residantial status. The ICO guidance asks a series of questions together with explanations which outline the ICO’s latest approach, answers to which will determine the permissibility of using the data. The questions are as follows:
- Is it necessary for the local authority to use the information to carry out its statutory functions?
- If council tax information is used for another purpose, what effect will this have on the people the information is about?
- Would using the information cause unwarranted detriment to any individual?
- Would using the information for another purpose benefit those the local authority provides services to?
- Is the information particularly sensitive?
- Will the information be adequately protected from improper use or disclosure?
- Is there an alternative to sharing information in a form that identifies individuals?
- Do individuals understand how the local authority will use their information?
The guidance is available for Download ICO_Tax_Guidance_2007.pdf .