Covert monitoring of staff movement uncovered at a Pennine Hospital site.

 Earlier this month staff at Fairfield House, an administration block at Fairfield General Hospital, arrived at their offices to discover that clandestine activities had taken place overnight. It wasn’t the Tooth Fairy calling, and alas, it wasn’t a diary malfunction by Santa either. No, this was an altogether more sinister and unsettling discovery. Throughout the building, offices had been secretly fitted with small boxed devices, each fixed to the underside of desks.

Immediately UNISON members began to contact the branch to inform us. They were understandably concerned the devices may be snooping on them as they go about their daily work duties. However by lunchtime staff had been informed that the devices were part of a monitoring survey looking at the efficient use of office space.

UNISON wrote to the trust voicing our disappointment over the course of events our members had endured at Fairfield, and asked a string of pertinent questions relating to this data capturing project. In response the trust apologised for the lack of communication, and acknowledge that it would have been good practice to have notified the trades unions before the devices had been installed. However, we remain unsatisfied with responses to our questions about Data Protection and the trusts responsibilities under these regulations.

UNISON have informed the trust that it is our considered and advised opinion that the data being captured is potentially identifiable “location data” and therefore personal data under the governing regulations. We have formally requested that the trust now halt the planned “go live” date in October and complete a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) as required under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

We have asked that once the DPIA has been completed, they begin formal consultation with trades unions. At this stage we will be keen to discuss transparency, equality, and consent. All important matters, that we take very seriously.

Members can rest assured that UNISON will be keeping a close eye on this matter. We are keen to engage the views, concerns and opinions of our members, and encourage you to contact us in this regard. You can call the Branch Office on (0161) 720 2149, or you can email [email protected] which is a private account, not accessed using trust IT networks. Rest assured, as with all of our communications with members, we will treat everyone with strict confidence.

Date Online: 28/09/2018

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