Recruitment agency faces data probe

September 15, 1995

A former part-time lecturer at North Tyneside College has heard this week that the Data Protection Registrar is to investigate his complaint about the way his private name and address were supplied to a recruitment agency.

Lecturers at the college have been told that the college will not in future be recruiting its own part-time academic staff but will instead be using Education Lecturing Services.

Principal Lawrence Toye said his decision was taken because of changes to European employment laws. "Proportional contracts have been offered to 44 part-time lecturers - the equivalent of 15 full-time posts at an extra cost to the college of Pounds 30,000 in one year alone," he said. The remainder of the work available was speculative and dependent on enrolments and would be delivered, when required, through ELS.

"In the long term this is a very fair approach," he said, adding that all FE colleges were having to review their employment of part-time staff following changes to European legislation.

Mr Toye said he had had a couple of complaints about the Data Protection Act after names were supplied to ELS.

The lecturer pursuing a breach of confidentiality complaint, who does not wish to be named, said he had received a letter this week from the data protection office which said: "It would seem that your complaint raises issues that would require investigation." His complaint centres on an unsolicited mailshot he received from ELS in Nottingham in June two weeks after being told the college would not be recruiting him.

Another former part-time lecturer at the college, Vanessa Maughan, said she had been angered by the way her name and address had been supplied and as a result had opted not to sign up with ELS. She had therefore lost the chance of a job she had thoroughly enjoyed for five years. "At my grade the pay and conditions I would have been offered would have been worse," she said.

ELS were not available for comment.

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