Behind the obfuscation of all the recent political theatre and faux outrage, there is an important issue behind what appears to be the fairly routine use of private email addresses my elected members to conduct official Isle of Wight Council business.

A quick look at the Isle of Wight Council’s glossary of members on its official website shows that at least four members (including the chairman and a cabinet member) choose to use personal rather than council-administered email addresses.

Why the Furtive Four insist on doing this is for them to explain but there are good reasons why official council email addresses are encouraged.

Firstly, if these private accounts are ever hacked or compromised, then all council businesses contained within will be in the hands of the hackers.

In other words, the security of information that is sensitive or private (or both) is at the whim and email husbandry of individual members as opposed to the secure servers of County Hall. That puts the individual members at personal risk too.

Secondly, Freedom of Information requests for details of council business conducted on email is most easily and reliably retrievable if officers (or are they ‘staff’ these days) have access to the official council servers.

Otherwise it is down to individual members to decide which material on their devices is pertinent to the request.

Without wishing to question the importance of our elected members, higher profile politicians (including former US vice-president Hilary Clinton) have fallen foul of using private emails for official business.

This is not, as the Alliance’s rather testy response asserts, a matter of ‘political point-scoring’ or ‘looking for an argument’ — it goes to the heart of accountability and good governance.

I would be interested to hear the case for continued use of private emails for council business and indeed, why the Alliance administration – and County Hall’s officer corps – are not taking this issue more seriously.

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