‘I’m being watched’ says ex-council boss

Pay row: Councillors met at County Hall, above, to discuss payments to former head of One Connect David McElhinney,below
Pay row: Councillors met at County Hall, above, to discuss payments to former head of One Connect David McElhinney,below
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A Fylde coast councillor claims her emails have been accessed by Lancashire County Council staff.

Coun Andrea Kay’s allegations came after the former Tory council leader, County Coun Geoff Driver, revealed he is currently seeking legal advice over claims his messages have been read.

Former Lancashire County Countil leader Coun Geoff Driver

Former Lancashire County Countil leader Coun Geoff Driver

Coun Driver claims his emails were accessed as part of an investigation into the suspension of the council’s chief executive Phil Halsall.

The investigation follows an independent review of the tendering process for a contract to run the council’s fleet services.

Coun Driver, who was appointed a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in June, said: “I’m outraged, it’s just a gross invasion of not only my privacy but of those who send me emails.

“I’m taking legal advice.”

Coun Andrea Kay

Coun Andrea Kay

County Coun Kay, Conservative representative for Thornton-Cleveleys North, also claims her emails were monitored this year.

She told The Gazette: “I complained (to council officers) about my emails, saying they shouldn’t have access.

“It happened a couple of months ago. They (council officers) assured me they wouldn’t do it again.

“Emails are private, not that I’ve got anything to hide.

“Can you imagine if a member of the public wanted to email something sensitive?

“It would be awful to think other people were reading your emails.”

Other local councillors The Gazette spoke to say while they did not believe their emails have been accessed, they are concerned about Coun Driver’s allegations.

County Hall strongly refutes Coun Driver’s claims and would look into Coun Kay’s allegations.

A LCC spokesman said: “It is unfortunate he (Coun Driver) has chosen to raise suspicion over four cases in which access to councillors’ emails by our employees was permitted, despite having already been informed those permissions were for the routine purpose of providing access to councillors’ secretaries, to support the councillors in their functions.

“The only other request to access a councillor’s email account relates to the ongoing process of collating information to enable a full and fair investigation into serious concerns that have been raised about the award of a contract to run the council’s fleet services earlier this year, together with related issues.

“A copy of the mailbox has been taken with a view to preserving evidence for the investigation and only emails relevant to that process will be reviewed and made available to the senior officer, the independent person and the disciplinary panel that will be dealing with the investigation.”

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