Topic: Recorder names and potential data protection issues

Hi all,

I was wondering if any LRCs out there had a written policy outlining their decision to include / exclude recorder names when supplying data to external organisations that they would be willing to share with us, or otherwise discuss their position on the matter here?  We are of the opinion that a recorder name forms a crucial element of a record, not least for verification purposes, and therefore include it when we share data and would like it to be included when others share data with us.  However, I understand that some LRCs have received advice from the Information Commissioner's Office on the matter that has led them to exclude recorder names as they may constitute personal information.

We would be really interested in hearing about the opinions and experiences of others.

Thank you! smile

Lindsay Bamforth
Biodiversity Data Analyst
Scottish Wildlife Trust


Re: Recorder names and potential data protection issues

Dear Lindsay,

here in Cambridgeshire we looked at al of this last year for the ALERC Accreditation process.  We do not give out recorder names with records when we supply data to consultants or to SLA Partners, and we have data management and access policies posted on our website:    scroll to very bottom of page to find links to these PDFs

We have this written into our formal data sharing agreements with local societies.  For records which we get from mebers of the public, etc we say that we do not give out names, details, with these records but that we will keep them in our database, and that we will share those with county recorders who are verifying data for us to enable their record to be used.


Re: Recorder names and potential data protection issues

Hi Lindsay,

At SEWBReC we take the opposite view. To us the Recorder's name is an integral part of the record, and without it the value of the record is diminished. We also feel that by withholding the name the recorder is not being credited for their efforts. We take the view that releasing a person's name as part of a record does not contravene terms of the Data Protection Act.

This was something that CCW tried to impose on the Welsh LRCs some time back, and I know that they did have a lot of contact with the ICO at the time, but I've not been able to find the emails pertaining to the outcome, I just know that CCW have allowed us to continue operating as we had been.

Best wishes,

Dave Slade
Senior IT & Records Officer,  SEWBReC
13 St Andrews Crescent, Cardiff, CF10 3DB

Re: Recorder names and potential data protection issues

The following is a quote from the "Countryside Council for Wales Policy on Release of Third Party Environmental Data April 2010"

d)    Data Protection Act 1998
Third party data often includes

Charlie Barnes
Information Officer
Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership

Re: Recorder names and potential data protection issues

Here in Kent we do not include recorder names in SLA partner data nor do we put them in when uploading to the Gateway. We do however include them in our standard reports as we follow the same line of thought that David has stated plus it makes it a lot easier for us to trace the record if there is a query from a consultant. We always include recorder names when sending data to our species recording groups for validation as it is considered an absolutely vital part of the process.

Re: Recorder names and potential data protection issues

BRERC do not routinely give out recorder names and for most purposes the name of the recorder is not needed by the enquirer.  We have always been advised that personal details should only be provided if those details are necessary, as opposed to simply being of curiosity value.  We do provide details directly for verification purposes on request.  There have been instances where recorders have complained there names had been published and the reasons vary.  One example is where a planner or ecologist is professionally compromised by their name attached to records of protected species (they may have submitted the records in a private capacity years before) for a development site.  In the past BRERC has also received complaints from relatives of recently deceased recorders.  Some recorders are young children.  We often make the mistake of assuming all recorders are merely recorders recording as part of a recording scheme or species group and that they will want their name in lights. In some cases the publication of names in itself may not contain sensitive personal detail but the linking of those names to interests and activities can cause security and other problems.  There are some criminals who trawl through data sites to establish who may be away attending a bat meeting, for example, and therefore prone to having their property burgled or suchlike (this has happened in the UK and is a known threat).

We reference our policy on our website and at the bottom of recording forms, and relevant correspondence and material.
Tim Corner

Posts: 6

Pages 1

You must login or register to post a reply

ALERC Forum → General Discussion → Recorder names and potential data protection issues