A BOURNEMOUTH councillor accused of circulating confidential information is still waiting to get his internet and email access reinstated – four months after the case concluded.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Roger West was accused of passing on a confidential email to a third party last year.
His council email and internet access were suspended and he was referred to the Information Commissioner’s Office. (ICO) However, although the ICO decided in February to take no further action, Cllr West is still waiting to get back online.
He is seriously ill after being diagnosed with cancer of the jaw and said he needs to have his access restored so he can work from home.
Bournemouth council states they were “about to offer” to reinstate his access in February when group leader Cllr Carol Ainge said he was ill and should not be contacted.
Cllr Ainge disputes this, saying she has asked several times for Cllr West’s access to be reinstated.
Cllr West, who represents Redhill and Northbourne, said: “I think it’s completely unacceptable. I cannot do my job and represent my residents properly without internet and email access.”
Cllr Ainge said: “I was told the council was “holding everything off” until Roger was better, I assumed they meant they weren’t going to take any further action against him while he was so unwell.
“I asked them two to three weeks ago to reinstate his access but have had no reply.”
Council chief executive Tony Williams confirmed they were told in February the ICO would not take further action because it was satisfied the council had done all it could to manage the breach.
“We were about to offer to reinstate Councillor West’s council internet and email access subject to a number of conditions, when we were advised by his group leader that he had fallen very ill, and that we should not contact him further,” he said.
“We have been advised by his group leader this week that he is now well enough for us to resolve matters with him as regards this issue. We have therefore written to him today to advise him of our wish to reinstate his access to his council email subject to him agreeing to comply with council policies in the use and sharing of electronic information.”