Half of local authorities accused of 'abusing' DVLA database
Nearly half of local authorities have been banned from using the Drive and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA) database in the last three years, privacy campaigners has revealed.
A total of 294 public sector organisations have been suspended from accessing the national database, containing details of car registrations and driving licences, according to DVLA disclosures, released under Freedom of Information Act powers to Big Brother Watch.
Councils were involved in the overwhelming majority of cases, the research shows, but other parts of the public sector including Transport for London and Sussex Police were also involved.
In some cases, councils asked other council to make enquiries on their behalf without revealing this was the case, but many of the abuses were because of failure to respond to letters from the DVLA or return contracts in time.
In total 38 organisations, including major local authorities including Brighton and Hove and Camden LBC were permanently banned from using the DVLA database.
Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: ‘Concerns about the DVLA database have been voiced for several years, but it is remarkable that in just three years nearly half the country’s councils have been suspended from looking at motorists’ information.
‘It is essential members of the public know why their local council, or any other body, has faced sanctions and equally the DVLA must do far more to ensure that its data is not so wide open to abuse.’
I have first hand experience of this as DVLA banned our Street Lighting Section from using their system owing to 'deficiencies in data storage' - apparently we weren't keeping records obtained using their system in a locked cupboard, despite the offices themselves being locked and alarmed. This is after many years of storing their information obtained by postal application in the same way. Could it be possible that DVLA are being a bit too precious with their online information?Mel Harwood, Street Lighting Manager, Dudley MBC, Added: Wednesday, 12 December 2012 08:29 AM
And yet for some of these councils like East Herts they even use lawyers to stop the public finding out information on how they do business.Patrick Newman, ex local government, Stevenage, Added: Monday, 10 December 2012 06:57 PM
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