Downing Street has a “dysfunctional” email system which deletes messages after three months to prevent information being passed to the public in response to Freedom of Information requests, according to an incendiary report in The Independent.
It states: “Emails are only saved beyond three months if an individual saves them, which former Downing Street aides said caused ‘hugely frustrating’ problems over staff having different recollections of what was discussed an agreed at meetings.
“‘It means that people don’t remember things,’ a special adviser told the Financial Times. ‘It is dysfunctional. Then they check their emails and they don’t exist any more.'”
It seems a government official insisted the system had been introduced under a recommendation from the National Archives for “best records management”.
How can it be “best records management” to delete important information that should be saved for the record?
It will be interesting to hear the official point of view about this from the National Archives.
In the meantime – thank goodness – This Writer still has his copy of an email between the DWP and the Information Commissioner’s office, confirming that details of people who have died while claiming Employment and Support Allowance are available and may be published within the £600 cost limit for FoI requests.
The DWP may not have Downing Street’s automatic deletion system – or maybe it does. In any case, hard copy doesn’t lie.
Incidentally, at the time of writing, the petition in support of the DWP honouring the Vox Political FoI request stands at nearly 135,000 signatures. A lot of people want to know the facts.
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