Retention by DWP of recordings of telephone calls to ESA call centre - how long under GDPR?
I have an ESA appeal which turns on who said what to whom and when.
My client and his friend (both of whom have severe mental health issues) sent an ESA appeal directly to DWP in May 2017 - not to HMCTS. They claim that this is what they were instructed to do by an ESA call centre operative.
DWP never responded to the receipt of the appeal doc., it seems merely to have ‘sat’ on it because when requested it sent me a copy of it a year later.
The appeal was eventually submitted out of time as an Adesina case - part of the argument being that DWP should have responded if only to send the doc back and advise it was sent to HMCTS.
The Judge requested transcriptions of calls for the relevant period between the client’s numerous mobile numbers and the DWP.
The DWP replied that it ‘did not routinely make transcriptions of calls and under GDPR even if made were no longer available’. A mere matter of semantics I thought and so we submitted an SAR regarding the actual calls
Again the response has been ‘any information we did hold has been destroyed in line with our date retention policies’.
It is my contention, and the basis on the complaint I am about to draft to the DWP, that its retention period is obviously far too short given the nature of the challenges made against to its decisions. Matters come to light years later and as such both recordings of calls and copies of documents should be being kept for far longer.
I am aware of the GDPR principle that
’ you should only collect the data you need, and only store it for as long as you need it. These points are enshrined in Article 5 of the GDPR, which states that data must be ‘collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes’; ‘adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary’ and ‘kept… for no longer than is NECESSARY for the purposes’
Any suggestions in the light of experience as to how long the retention period should be?