HL Deb 07 June 1999 vol 601 cc125-6WA
Lord Williams of Elvel

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether applications for redirection of mail from one address to another are confidential between the applicant and the Post Office or whether they are available for publication to unrelated third parties; and, if so, on what authority and on what legal basis. [HL2614]

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury)

I understand that it is not Royal Mail policy to disclose information about the redirection of mail without the redirection customer's consent apart from the exceptions listed below which are consistent with its registration under the Data Protection Act:

  • Redirection information can be made available to third parties in the following circumstances.
  • If a redirected letter cannot be delivered for any reason and is returned to sender, the sender will see the new address of the customer on the redirection label.
  • Data protection opt-out boxes are used on redirection application forms and, unless customers refuse permission, selected organisations may be notified of the move through the National Change of Address Service.
  • Personal data may be disclosed for public policy reasons under Section 28 of the Data Protection Act 1984. Royal Mail's general policy is to make disclosures under this provision to bodies which have statutory or law enforcement powers.
  • Royal Mail is required to provide information about the redirection of mail to authorised bodies under the Social Security Administration Act 1992 WA 126 as amended by the Social Security Administration (Fraud) Act 1997.