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Lib Dems condemn e-mail censorship

December 15, 2011 7:15 PM
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems

censoredLiberal Democrats on Surrey County Council have condemned the censorship of e-mails to Members of the Council.

Members of the County Council have been blocked from receiving e-mails from the Chairman of the Surrey Libraries Action Movement.

Liberal Democrat leader of the Opposition Cllr Hazel Watson says:

"It is fundamental to democracy that members of the public, constituents, Surrey businesses and local organisations can communicate freely with elected members. The heavy handed decision to decide that e-mails from SLAM are Spam is undemocratic and unacceptable.

"Even the County Council's Constitution explicitly states that the delivery of correspondence will not be delayed or interfered with by officers or Members."

NOTES:

1.) County Councillors received the following email at 13.28 on 12 December:

"Over the past two weeks you will have received a series of unsolicited emails from Mr Michael Alsop, Chairman SLAM, which he has addressed to all Surrey County Councillors, the CEX and other senior officers.

This is part of his campaign against the council's plans for Community Partnership Libraries. Whilst he is at liberty to pursue his arguments as he chooses, his frequent broadcasting of email messages has become unreasonable. I have written to him today to ask him to reconsider and to address any future email to Customer Relations.

Meanwhile, any further emails from Mr Alsop will appear in your Lotus Notes in-box as junk mail, giving you the option to open or discard it."

2.) Not all County Councillors are able to retrieve email from their "junk mail" as many who are also Borough/District Councillors have their email auto forwarded.

3.) The Member/Officer Protocol of Surrey County Council, which forms part of the Constitutions states:

"42. Information and correspondence will be sent to Members by post either directly or through the pigeon holes at Members' Reception, by email or by fax as appropriate and its delivery will not be delayed or interfered with by Officers or Members."

The protocol is available online here (pdf file)