Employers in Brighton and across the South East should be fully aware of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. If they aren’t, the financial consequences could be severe.
The UK government continues to extend the Act’s powers so that it now places additional responsibilities on public sector organisations of all sizes – from central and local government to doctors’ surgeries and primary schools.
Employees can now use its powers to request information from these public bodies such as to support their case for unfair dismissal in an industrial tribunal. For the employer, such a request may mean trawling through hundreds of emails spanning many years of employment.
While an employee may have been fairly dismissed, failure to produce all the information requested by the tribunal can mean an employer is more liable to pay financial compensation. In some cases job reinstatement may be suggested.
As the public sector outsources more and more services to third parties, it’s increasingly possible that freedom of information requests could involve an expanding range of organisations. In March this year, Network Rail came under its remit. The question is, how many more employers will it reach out to in the future?
That’s why IT consultants are now urging organisations to have the best information retrieval systems in place.
Why is Mimecast a good choice?
It makes sense to choose an email archiving solution such as Mimecast because it helps you to quickly find and export all the emails relating to a specific employee in bulk. As they’re in a read-only format, they can’t be tampered with retrospectively.
Mimecast is also worth using for other reasons. Its Secure Email Gateway suite of services combine strong defences (that keep out sophisticated attackers) with innovative applications and policies to keep sensitive information secure.
Gary Jowett from Computer& Network Consultants in Sussex says: “We’ve helped a number of organisations retrieve vital information as a result of freedom of information requests from employees. In two instances, our customers hadn’t already installed Mimecast. So they spent a lot of valuable time trying to trace all the relevant emails on their email exchange server. It was a slow and laborious process.
“By stark contrast, another customer in Eastbourne already has Mimecast. For them the job of retrieving all the historic emails was swift and painless.”
The annual cost of using Mimecast is relatively low when you consider all the benefits it can offer. Unfortunately, many organisations only find out how valuable it is after they’ve had a freedom of information request from a former employee.
It’s, therefore, much better to be well prepared before any request arrives. In the first instance ask an experienced IT consultancy for advice. They will have advised similar organisations to your own and can provide reliable guidance on which Mimecast services you need to install.