Cardiff council has deleted at least 10million emails since December; Councillors are calling for the deletion of emails to be halted.
Cardiff council has deleted at least 10million emails since December last year - and plans to get rid of millions more.
Council staff have been given warnings that historic emails will be deleted to clean up space on the authority's servers.
In December last year, just over 5.5million council emails which were seven years or older were deleted.
A further 4.5million emails were deleted from council mailboxes in March this year when emails five years and older were removed - making a total of 10million emails deleted overall, our investigation has found.
The council was also due to delete emails three years and older in June - which could potentially affect up to 12.3million messages, and will also remove emails one year and older in November - which could affect up to 33.6million items - but the council says not all these items will be deleted.
Cardiff councilinsists important information on the emails will be stored on document management systems, and councillors' mailboxes have not been affected by the email removals.
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But some councillors have called for a halt to the deletion of emails to review how important information is being restored.
Councillor Adrian Robson, Conservative leader on the authority, said: "By deleting emails after one year you are losing a lot of corporate memory from the system. It's a concern that the emails being deleted are so recent.
"Members of the public will want to know their issues that were logged two or three years ago are still remembered by the council."
Each council officer is responsible for what they are deleting in their own inbox, and to make sure important business data is preserved, the council has said.
Councillor Robson, who called for the matter to be reviewed by the audit committee, described this as a "worry".
"There needs to be clear and consistent guidance so all officers are deleting emails in the same way," he said.
Councillor Phil Bale also called for the deleting of emails to be stopped.
He said: "This is clearly a very large amount of information for any organisation to be deleting, without any public scrutiny. I would therefore urge the council's chief executive to suspend the deletion of any further council emails until the implications of this change in policy can be fully scrutinised by Cardiff councillors."
Information contained in emails which may be relevant to investigations into council officers "should be stored based on retention guidelines," the council says.
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Cardiff council, through a Freedom of Information Act request, said: "Email is not a document management system it is a communication tool.
"The council has in place a number of document management systems where information should be stored based on retention guidelines, if relevant information or required to be retained, this should be stored in the council's document management systems and in accordance with the relevant retention guidelines."
New General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules state organisations must not keep personal data for longer than they need it - and must be able to justify how long they keep this data.
GDPR laws also say standard retention periods for holding onto data should be put in place wherever possible.
Cardiff council has said it does not require permission from the Information Commissioner for its deletion of emails, and that individuals have a "right to erasure" when the data is no longer needed.
The FOI response said: "The Information Commissioner regulates the FOI Act and Data Protection laws for the UK, it does not provide permission on organisational policies and procedures."
A council spokesman said: "The removal of emails of a certain age to free up server space has been communicated extensively for several months to staff and training and guides are available which explain how to store and where to store important emails on the council's document management systems in accordance with the relevant retention guidelines."
Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Cardiff council has deleted 10million emails.
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|Publication:||Wales Online (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Aug 11, 2018|
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