The ‘Gove email-gate’ media disaster looms large. Micheal Gove is being accused of using a personal email account for Government business. Is it a breach of the law? Is it right or wrong to use a personal email account to transact Government business?
It has long been a serious concern for senior civil servants that MPs (and local Councillors) forward email to their personal email accounts. Interestingly, the concerns have normally focused on breaches of security rather than the FoI Act. Whether Mr Gove is breaching the law will depend on the terms of the Education Department’s computer acceptable usage policy (AUP) and whether or not he is bound by then (as in has he read and agreed to them). What is of concern is that he like others before him still have not learnt the lesson from other high profile email disasters and continue to put in an email communications which would be far better conveyed by other means such as a conversation.
If you don’t want the press to see what you have said – don’t put it in an email. It is that simple.
MPs and Councillors are notorious for their misuse of email and landing themselves and their Departments and Councils in trouble (think of Jo Moore and ‘a good time to bury bad news’). They can never make the time to attend any email best practice education session which might save them and their organisations significant time and money.
Now we are about to witness yet another waste of public time and money over the ‘Gove email-gate’ disaster.