Sefton Council and the Surveillance State

by Larry Sweeney

8:48 AM, 3rd September 2018
About 2 months ago

Sefton Council and the Surveillance State

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Sefton Council and the Surveillance State

The surveillance state is something which we associate with Communist Soviet union, North Korea or East Germany. The Uk however, now has more CCTV cameras per head of population than any Western democracy. That is only part of the story. This Tory government has made the error of going down the devolution route, giving Useless Local authorities far too many powers. Yes the Housing act 2004 was a creation of the Labour government, but the Anti Business anti Landlord Tory government has encouraged Councils up and down the land to introduce their rotten selective licensing schemes.

This brings me to Sefton Council and the extent to which the surveillance state exists . “Mission creep personified”.

Sefton Council or “Sefton Plus” as they like to call themselves attempting to give the impression that they add something. The only thing they add is increased Council Tax bills for long suffering residents. Back to the substantive point. Seftons application form for landlords contains a section where the applicant must inform the busy body authority of the addresses of properties which the applicant owns and which are licensed elsewhere. Yes licensed in other Areas out side of Sefton. When I took Sefton to task and informed them that they must change this or I would make an ICO complaint as I did with Liverpool, their reply was astounding.

To conform with the DPA/GDPR bodies holding information have a duty to ensure all data is accurate and up to date. I asked Sefton how they intended to keep the data accurate, as I might dispose of a unit in London and acquire another in Leeds. There is no condition in their rubbish licence mandating that I supply this excessive and unnecessary info, nor does the HA 2004 allow for such information to be collated. Sefton informed me that They would expect me to supply the information to allow them to keep the info accurate and therefore remain GDPR Compliant. Yes Folks Sefton council now want us to assist them to remain legally compliant. I informed Sefton that I desperately wanted these fantastic Landlord licences but under no circumstances will I have truck with their data breaching scheme.

Over to the Information commissioner.

Larry



Comments

Neil Patterson

8:51 AM, 3rd September 2018
About 2 months ago

Hi Larry,

I have obviously had to study the new GDPR regulations and my interpretation would not concur with Sefton Council's.

They would have to show a need for processing the info outside their region. Accuracy is only required after you show a need or that the information is given with consent.

Larry Sweeney

9:02 AM, 3rd September 2018
About 2 months ago

Yes Neil.
Sefton are wrong on 2 fronts. Firstly this data collection cannot be justified. The DPA principles are clear. Furthermore Sefton cannot justify such an intrusive data collation scheme and even if it was justified, which it is not, its back to my point about keeping the data up to date and accurate. Its impossible to do so as there is no legislation requiring landlords to inform these honchos everytime we make an aquisition or disposal. Perhaps most worrying is that despite this obvious clanger which they have dropped, the Zealots plough on, instead of immediately deleating this clause which will cost them dearly. Sorry not cost the Honchos, rather the tax payer.

James Barnes

10:11 AM, 3rd September 2018
About 2 months ago

Larry

See the Regulations below, it's all online.

The Licencing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscelaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2006

Schedule 2 - Contents of applications under sections 63 and 87 of the Act

Section 2, paragraph (e)

details of other HMOs or houses that are licenced under Part 2 or 3 of the Act in respect of which the proposed licence holder is the licence holder, whether in the area of the local housing authority to which the application is made or in the area of any other housing authority.

I don't think it's a case of Sefton unnecessarily requiring excessive amounts of information, rather them being obliged to request it by the above regulations. As for GDPR, I'm not sure but would guess that this would fit under one of the exemptions.

Larry Sweeney

10:55 AM, 3rd September 2018
About 2 months ago

James its Rubbish. Look at the DPA ,Furthermore how are Sefton supposed to keep the info up to date and accurate. I doubt any landlords apart from a chap I know called Michael will want to get involved helping the Council remain GPPR compliant, by informing them every time they complete a transaction in another area. Utter Tosh and incidentally Sefton quoted that same piece to me but failed to explain how this data will be kept up to date and accurate.

James Barnes

11:42 AM, 3rd September 2018
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 03/09/2018 - 10:55
It'll be interesting to see of GDPR and HMO Licencing Regulations are found to be in conflict with each other, as I've said above though I expect the information in question will fall under an exemption. You could if you chose to withhold the information but you would then be submitting an incomplete application which might prevent you from ultimately completing the licence application and receiving a licence.

Larry Sweeney

12:09 PM, 3rd September 2018
About 2 months ago

James.
You are missing my point. Even if a landlord acceeded to this stupid request, how can the Council Stasi maintain the data as accurate unless landlords inform them every time they0 purchase or dispose of a property. Not going to happen therefore the Council with their unreasonable demand for excessive information put themselves at odds with GDPR legislation and expect Landlords to help them remain compliant. Absolute Farce. Perhaps the best bit is Sefton ploughing on ,digging deeper.

James Barnes

12:21 PM, 3rd September 2018
About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 03/09/2018 - 12:09
I do see your point, the data given on your application becomes inaccurate the moment you acquire or dispose other properties. I just don't think there's an argument that it's unreasonable or excessive to require information they're legally obliged ask for.

John Bullock

18:52 PM, 3rd September 2018
About 2 months ago

Larry you are exacting. There is a conflict between the two pieces of legislation (HHSRS2004&GDPR), which will take precedent is not for us to decide but to reasonably take a view. The Judiciary will argue it out. My personal view is that if I am to make disclosure in order that Sefton MBC remain complainant with GDPR I will charge fees remonstrative with my professional accountancy fees. If they decline payment to me I shall decline to voluntarily make disclosures pertaining to acquisitions or disposals of my property. It will leave the Council in an awkward position as they either accept they cannot maintain accurate data or they accept they collected data they could not maintain in accord with GDPR. We must never lose site that Licensing Perse has neither improved housing standards or increased convictions of unfit landlords.

Michael Barnes

19:28 PM, 3rd September 2018
About 2 months ago

Larry,
Is this HMO licensing?

James' quote of regulations suggests it is only a requirement for HMO licences.

Larry Sweeney

19:41 PM, 3rd September 2018
About 2 months ago

Good point Michael. These regs allude to HMO licensing but in this case its not HMO but selective licensing. They seem to want to apply this accross the board.

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