The much-delayed code of practice governing the monitoring of staff emails has been put back a month to allow the incoming Information Commissioner time to review it.
The code of practice was originally scheduled for publication in January 2001, but has had several revisions since the consultation process began in November 2000 and were finally due this month.
"We want to make sure that the new boss is happy with the proposals," said Iain Bourne, strategic policy manager at the Information Commission.
The new Commissioner, Richard Thomas, takes up the post on 2 December. He was previously in charge of public policy issues at law firm Clifford Chance.
Thomas will need to ensure that, whatever the code of practice contains, it is easy to understand.
John Salmon, a partner at legal firm Masons, said: "We speak to many businesses that are confused by current, seemingly contradictory rules on monitoring staff."
The Information Commission has been promising guidelines since the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act became law in November 2000.
This introduced new powers allowing employers to access staff emails, but the Commission has been trying to balance this with employers' responsibilities under data protection legislation.
The Commission is releasing four separate codes governing recruitment and selection, record keeping, employee monitoring, and the storing of medical information.
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