WTS checklist for Elders to destroy evidence?
They are so stepping in shit trying to avoid legal problem and I'd say yes this letter will be used against them in lawsuits and may open them up for criminal charges.
20 October 1998, to BoE from London Bethel (IBSA House, Ridgeway)
The congregation service committee should immediately review together the congregation's confidential file. On a piece of paper make a list entitled "List of Judicial Matters." For each judicial report in the file record the name of the individual (even if he has moved from your congregation), the date of the action or reproof, and the names of the members of the judicial committee that handled the matter, indicating who served as chairman and, if reinstated, the date of reinstatement. No other information should appear on this sheet. This procedure should be followed for those who were disfellowshipped, who disassociated themselves, or who were judicially reproved. Likewise, unbaptized publishers who have been dealt with in harmony with "Pay Attention to Yourselves and to All the Flock" pages 98, 99, can also be recorded on this list in the same way. For the time being, destroy all these files over five years old, with the exception of any that deal with known child molestation. To ensure confidentiality, the service committee will destroy by shredding or burning all envelopes, only retaining the S-79 card for the congregation's permanent file. Thereafter, the congregation secretary will keep the "List of Judicial Matters" up-to-date.
1 January 2001, to BoE from London Bethel
Between March and August 2000 circuit overseers discussed with bodies of elders how to bring personal and congregation files in line with the Data Protection Act. By now you should have followed all the instructions contained in the "Checklist for Complying With the Data Protection Act". This involved the destruction of most judicial records, minutes and agendas of elders' meetings that contained personal information, letters of introduction, correspondence relating to individuals, and so forth. As a further implementation of new procedures under data protection legislation, we are now giving attention to two areas; files involving child molestation. and the Record of Disfellowshipping or Disassociation (S-79b) cards.
Is this UK only? I can see them trying to track me down for my notes if it expands.....
Not that I love them to talk with my lawyer, but I'd rather avoid the $350/hr.
How many of us former elders have kept all of our notes...
WT underground had it here 5 days ago:
wonder if a copy could be sent to Angus Stewart also?
Wow, so according to Mephis, this is nothing new.
i still find it disturbing that molestation is specifically mentioned in 3 knows letters. In 1998, they saw the importance of keeping those records while all others were destroyed. But in 2001 & this latest one from 2015 wants the mole station records destroyed.
the fact there's a clear change in their procedure in regard to this issue is telling.
There's no change in policy DarioKehl. It's just restating what is current policy. It seems curious more in its timing and how it specifies to check personal files held by elders. I believe one of the cases in Australia did have some personal files still in existence, and it showed the elders to have lied about what they knew and when. Not that destroying them makes things any better either, but then successful prosecution of criminals and the protection of the community from them isn't something the WBTS ever seems concerned about.
There have been a couple of cases in Britain too, recently, where the destruction of notes and potential evidence has been commented upon by the prosecution. Not to mention cases where they've been obstructive and generally unhelpful. But nothing new here. A restatement of fact and what already happens, and has done for years as far as I know here in Britain. In terms of current investigations, production orders have already been made by the Charity Commission. Whether this is doublechecking that everything incriminating has been torched before the British public inquiry... reasonable question I think.
My understanding is that the UK (possibly the entire EU), has very strict data retention regulations. I think that's what these instructions are related to. And what's with Overly Dramatic Delivery Guy?
The issue for the organisation in the UK is that the Data Protection Act brings certain responsibilities to organisations regarding the protection of personal data. It also permits individuals to request data held about them.
As each congregation is a charity then each congregation has responsibilities under the DPA.
The trustees of the charity are the elders and, as such, they have numerous liabilities and responsibilities under charity law and other legislation, such as the DPA. Most elders have no real clue about what it really means for them personally.
For this reason and others, such as a reducing the risk of documentation being used against individual elders, the congregation or the organisation, then the org molly coddles the elders and prescribes, as usual, the detail about what should be recorded and how.
Audits of this documentation happen periodically. Any UK elder, especially if they have been the secretary or COBE/PO, should know this. I've not kept up with the detail of what is kept and how but the info has been discussed via letters and, more commonly, via elder's schools.
As far as I can tell this letter is not triggering some systematic cover-up and mass purge of documentation. It's simply making sure there are clear instructions to all elders to adhere to the existing policies. Rather than getting hung up on the letter, I think it is far more relevant to look behind this at what the instructions are for the recording and storage of information about JCs, child abuse and other congregation matters that may have a wider relevance. It's these policies and instructions that reveal more about the motivation of the WTS as to information gathering and storage.