D-Day for data

1st November 2002 at 00:00
Chris Woodhead's request, under the Data Protection Act, for all the information the Department for Education and Skills holds on him is stirring up a bit of a fuss in the corridors of power.

An internal memo, written at the start of October, has landed on the Diary's desk. It tells mandarins to find all files and emails with even the slightest mention of the great man. The author seems genuinely distressed to inform readers that only "safeguarding national security" can excuse non-disclosure. "There is no exemption for internal discussion or policy advice," Even more outrageously, "I regret that there is no 'disproportionate cost' provision in the Data Protection Act". How helpless civil servants must feel, deprived of their usual knock-back to troublesome questions!

The deadline for collecting information was October 14, so Woodhead should soon be receiving several months worth of intriguing bedtime reading. Wonder if Estelle Morris, whose relationship with the former chief inspector was famously rocky, ever wrote anything interesting about him?

Email us: diary@tes.co.uk

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