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Parish council pays £2,500 to resident after posting his details on Facebook

By Richard Guttridge | Cheslyn Hay & Great Wyrley | News | Published:

A parish council has paid out £2,500 in compensation to a resident after posting his details on its Facebook page.

The details were posted on Facebook

David Norris took action against Great Wyrley Parish Council after his name and address were shared amid a planning row.

Mr Norris, from Walsall, attended a parish council meeting in December 2018. The unredacted minutes of the meeting were then posted a few weeks later, containing his name, address and a warning that was given to him "regarding his behaviour and attitude".

It also included the fact Mr Norris was "already subject to a Community Protection Notice concerning his behaviour and approach towards a planning issue", his lawyers Irvings Law said.

The furious resident launched legal action after the parish council refused to remove the post, claiming leaders were in breach of data protection laws. The Facebook page had more than 1,700 followers at the time.

He complained to the Information Commissioner's Office, which confirmed the council had failed to comply with data protection laws.

Irvings Law said despite such findings, the post remained visible on the Facebook page "for some appreciable period thereafter".

Disclosed

Matthew McConville, from Irvings Law, claimed Mr Norris' information should not have been disclosed "in any event" and that the council "had compounded this unlawful disclosure by disseminating Mr Norris’ information on Facebook and within the wider community."

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The post was removed but proceedings were launched against the council. An offer of £1,500, including a confidentiality clause meaning he couldn't tell anyone about the data breach, was rejected.

Mr Norris made a counter-offer of £2,500 - and no confidentiality clause - which was accepted by the parish council.

An Irvings Law spokesman said: "Seeing the obvious weaknesses in the council’s case, DWF advised the council to settle Mr Norris’ matter.

"Firstly, the council made an offer of £1,500 (plus costs) to Mr Norris but this also included a confidentiality clause so that Mr Norris could not tell anybody about what the council had done to him.

"In response and following Mr McConville’s advice, Mr Norris made a counter-offer offer to the council in the sum of £2,500 and confirmed that he would not engage in agreeing to any confidentiality agreement given that the council did not act confidentially when they breached his personal information.

"A few days later, the council accepted Mr Norris’ offer without providing any defence to his claim.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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