UK - Trustees may find themselves breaching the Data Protection Act if they fail to act swiftly by making minutes available to members, a pensions lawyer warns.
Hammond Suddards Edge partner Francois Barker said under the Data Protection Act 1998 individuals are entitled to seek access to documents that refer to them by name. This could now include trustee minutes following a decision by pensions ombudsman David Laverick.
The ombudsman said that trustees should be made to justify all actions written in trustee minutes in a case between the TKM Group Pension Scheme and scheme member Mr Allen.
Barker said trustees have tended to resist disclosing their meeting minutes on the basis of case law.
But he said if one or more electronic copies of minutes exist it is difficult to see why an individual identified in a set of minutes would not be entitled to access them.
He added: “It is almost inevitable that the trustees (as data controller) or one of their data processors will have an electronic copy of the relevant minutes somewhere.”
This being the case, Barker argued that if a scheme member were to issue a data subject access request, the trustees would have 40 days to issue copies of everything that identifies that person.
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