Council sells personal information for £500


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Nov 19, 2004
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Ho w cheap is this

Selling personal information about Sevenoaks residents netted the district council more than £500 last year, it has admitted.

Sevenoaks District Council has said that on eight occasions last year it sold the edited version of its electoral register, which contains voters' names and addresses.

The edited register is most commonly bought by marketing companies to send junk mail to homes.

The council, which is compelled to sell the edited register upon request under the Representation of the People Regulations 2002, banked £531 from the practice in 2007/8.

"We anticipate this is typical of the number of requests and income raised in previous years," it said in a statement.

Councils are duty-bound to keep two versions of the electoral register, which contains details of everyone registered to vote. The full version is kept secret but residents' details are automatically included on the edited register unless they opt out. The issue has come to the fore because the Government is considering stopping councils selling such details.

A review, headed up by information commissioner Richard Thomas and Wellcome Trust director Dr Mark Walport, concluded that selling information to marketing firms gave a "poor message" to the public.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association welcomed the review's findings.

He said: "If there's concern about what's happening with the information then it's right that there's a public debate about it. It doesn't generate a significant amount of money for individual councils, raising no more than a few thousand pounds a year for most town halls."