MS denies NHS survey data will be shared with the Conservative Party
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
A Senedd Member says data gathered from a public-funded survey won’t be shared with the Conservative Party – despite his website indicating otherwise.
North Wales MS Sam Rowlands is conducting his Big Welsh NHS Survey, gathering constituents’ views on the National Health Service.
The survey is available on the MS’ website.
But a disclaimer at the end of the survey clearly states: “The information you provide is used in accordance with our Data Collection and Use policy.
“By clicking “Submit” you agree to your email address being used in accordance with that policy.
“We will not share your details with anyone outside the Conservative Party.”
But according to Rule 8 in section 2.3 of the Senedd members’ code of conduct, members are forbidden from using commission resources for communication and engagement with constituents if, indeed, it’s for political party purposes.
Mr Rowlands is also a Conwy councillor in the Pentre Mawr ward and the former leader of Conwy County Council.
Whilst the Local Democracy Reporting Service is not implying rules have been broken, Mr Rowlands’ office admitted the survey had been funded through his office budget through Welsh Parliament – and said a mistake had been made.
A spokesman for the MS commented: “Sam is unsure why the line ‘We will not share your details with anyone outside the Conservative Party’ was included in the disclaimer, as it was not included in the request we made to the website provider.
“This issue has been raised with the website provider. For the avoidance of doubt, there is no intention to share any personal details collected by the survey with the Conservative Party.”
But one anonymous Conwy councillor was unhappy.
“I don’t think it is fair at all if the Conservative Party is using public funds – Welsh Parliament money – to fund a political campaign aimed at mining or collecting data from constituents.
“The NHS is a really important public asset, and the Conservative Party should be collecting data that they can then share with the NHS for better services in North Wales.”
They added: “Mistakes do happen, but something as important as data collecting, things should be double checked. Data protection is something that is really important. These sorts of mistakes shouldn’t happen.”
A Senedd spokesman commented: “Members are the data controllers with overall responsibility for use of personal data by them or their staff.
“Data protection guidance is provided for Members of the Senedd, and all Members are required to follow the Rules and Guidance on Use of Senedd Resources, and all funding is governed by the Determination on Members’ Pay and Allowances for the Sixth Senedd.”
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