WQ89607 (e) Tabled on 14/11/2023

How did the Welsh Government's communications at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic conform with the criteria for disposal outlined in the Information Management and Governance Policy, which states that officials should only retain information for as long as there is a business or regulatory need, and protect still-sensitive information?

Answered by First Minister | Answered on 24/11/2023

The ability to access web.whatsapp.com varies according to the Welsh Government issued device being used, due to differences in the coverage of web filtering between laptops and mobile devices such as iPhones.  Although the site can be accessed from Welsh Government mobile devices, it does not allow sending or receiving messages unless it is paired with an installed and registered copy of WhatsApp on a mobile device.  WhatsApp is not installed on Welsh Government issued mobile devices and staff are not able to download and install apps of their own choosing. Logs of access to this website are no longer held for the period 2020-21.

Changes to the WhatsApp deletion policy were not in scope of the Welsh Government Information Management and Governance policy as WhatsApp is not installed on Welsh Government issued devices. The Information Management and Governance policy reflects Welsh Government obligations under the Public Records Act 1958 and the Code of Practice for Records Management (FOIA s46). Minor amendments have been made to take into account advances in technology e.g., Microsoft Teams and changes in security policy.

This policy is constantly under review to ensure it reflects changes to technology and remains up to date for Welsh Government staff.