Kevin Gentle, chairman of the Building & Development Committee, was found to have covertly recorded and shared a private conversation from a meeting with someone who was voicing concerns about an ongoing building project.
Mr Gentle shared the recording with a third party, who disclosed it to another industry governing body.
Later the recording was used to investigate the individual’s actions, which found no breach of industry guidelines.
The individual felt their rights were breached and their name slandered.
Emma Martins, the Bailiwick’s data protection commissioner, emphasised how the case shows the importance of ensuring policies and procedures around data protection are fit for purpose, communicated effectively and complied with.
‘Individuals who act in important positions in an official public capacity will inevitably be subject to greater scrutiny of their actions,’ Ms Martins said.
‘It is therefore the case that their conduct must at all times reflect the significant responsibilities of the role and the importance of engendering a trust and confidence in them across the community they serve.’
Individuals have a right to expect the highest standards of conduct from those elected to represent them, the authority said, and open agreement to record the conversation would achieve better results.
General lack of understanding of the law was concerning for a public representative as they often deal with highly sensitive, confidential data.
Mr Gentle had the right to appeal within 28 days but chose not to do so.
‘The States member recognises that he fell short on this occasion and we are grateful for the open and honest manner in which he engaged with us.’
A reprimand was given to reflect the breach’s nature while considering Mr Gentle’s engagement with the investigation and willingness to learn from the experience.
By highlighting this case, the authority hoped future compliance breaches will be reduced.