To comply with the advice from PARSOL in relation to the Data Protection Act, and to advertise the online service, we recommend that councils amend the templates for letters/advice for:
a) potential appellants - informing them of the right of appeal, preferably when acknowledging their application, and
b) neighbours and other interested parties - informing them that an appeal has been made.
They should include words along the lines of the following - though you may wish to make the advice more specific for example by suggesting that they do not include:
Such specific advice is particularly useful where you have a policy of not publishing such information on your own websites, as it should reduce the amount of blanking out you need to do prior to scanning.
"The Planning Inspectorate have introduced an online appeals service that you can use to make your appeal online. You can find the service through the Appeals area of the Planning Portal. The Inspectorate will publish details of the appeal on the internet (on the Appeals area of the Planning Portal). If you supply personal information belonging to someone else, please ensure that you have their permission. More detailed information about copyright and privacy matters is available on the Planning Portal."
"The Planning Inspectorate have introduced an online appeals service that you can use to comment on this appeal. You can find the service through the Appeals area of the Planning Portal. If you supply information about someone else, please ensure that you have their permission. More detailed information about copyright and privacy matters is available on the Planning Portal."
It would be useful if councils could amend the letters sent out at application stage to advise recipients that any comments they send to the council will be copied to the Inspectorate in the event of an appeal, so they should only include information that they are happy may be made available over the internet.
Please note that as a result of the Inspectorate's decision to suspend scanning and publishing, only a limited amount of personal information is now made available through the online appeals service Search facility - ie the name and address of the appellant and their agent (if any).