Dear Councillor Driver
Postings on Your Web Blog - 30 April 2014
I am writing to you in connection with your web blog and the publication of material on that site arising from the meeting of the General Purposes Committee last night. During the course of today (301
April 2014) you have published firstly a commentary on the process being dealt with at the meeting last evening and secondly, later today you have chosen to publish a private & confidential letter written by me as the Monitoring Officer to the members of that Committee clearly intended for their exclusive consideration.
I regret to say that this is not the first time I have had to write to you expressing concern about publishing private and confidential information that has come into you possession even though you are full aware that when you became an elected member of Thanet District Council you undertook to comply with the Council's Code of Conduct including, (subject to a limited number of exceptions, none of which apply here) the requirement to keep the Council's confidential Information precisely that - confidential.
You were aware that the General Purpose Committee had a sensitive task to work through in circumstances where due process and the duties owed by the Council to its staff required the utmost confidence. Instead, by choosing to publish on your website details of the proceedings (which you only attended for a limited time) and by later publishing a leaked copy of my letter, you have chosen to drive a coach and horses through those principles.
As a result you have placed the work of the General Purposes Committee in jeopardy , published sensitive personal data in flagrant breach of the privacy rights of a number of data subjects and, in my view, fatally undermined the ability of the Council to consider the issues raised by me.
You should also be aware that qualified privilege attaches when issues of concern are raised internally but your conduct in publishing these can attract no such protection and as a result, you have placed yourself at significant personal risk of having multiple actions in defamation taken against you by all those named in your web-blog, If nothing else will persuade you to do the right thing, perhaps the realisation that you have placed your home and personal assets at risk, will.
Harvey Patterson Monitoring Officer Thanet District Council P 0 Box 9