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Doodle, Arranging Meetings and Data Protection

About Doodle

Doodle ( is a commonly used, useful tool for ‘polling’ people for suitable slots for meetings and events. It is a free to use, advertising funded service.

See for a video tutorial.

Please take note of the following information regarding the use of Doodle

Birkbeck does not have a contractual arrangement with Doodle, and therefore Doodle is not an acceptable location for the processing of personal data.

Ideally – don’t use Doodle. In most cases it is probably more efficient, and does not entertain the risk that personal data will be processed by Doodle if you simply arrange meetings using your Microsoft Exchange calendars (via Microsoft Outlook on your PC, or Android and iOS calendar apps). 

If you do use Doodle, please follow the following guidelines:

1)      Don’t send invites from Doodle – forward on a message from your own email account – i.e. don’t enter invitee name and email addresses (personal data) into Doodle.

2)      Don’t mandate the usage of Doodle. If an invitee responds outside of Doodle DO NOT enter their personal information in Doodle.

3)      Don’t encourage your attendees to put more data than necessary in the poll response – first names or initials is not on its own personally identifiable data (to Doodle) but should be sufficient for you to identify who has responded to your poll.

4)      I.e. When you invite someone to complete a Doodle Poll – do so using the following language:

…in order to identify a suitable date for the meeting/event, please complete the following Doodle Poll: Please note that Birkbeck College does not have a contract for the use of Doodle, and so any personal data you pass to Doodle is your own choice and risk. You can reply to this poll without passing any personal information to Doodle by entering only your first name / initials in the poll reply. If you do not wish to use Doodle, please respond to me directly by email.

Arranging Meetings using Exchange/Outlook

All staff have access to an Exchange mailbox and calendar (although some groups currently choose not to). By default all Birkbeck Exchange users can view free/busy time in all other Birkbeck Exchange user’s calendars. Therefore if you are arranging a meeting amongst Exchange users, this is probably the most efficient solution.

Over and above basic free/busy visibility, the use of Exchange Calendars to schedule meetings is even more effective where further calendar visibility is granted to the meeting organiser, which is probably appropriate amongst groups who regularly work together.

The use of Exchange Calendars does however require some discipline in calendar use. It does not work well where users either (a) arrange meetings that are not recorded in their calendar, or (b) block out large swathes of time ‘just in case’ – as there is no distinction in free/busy time between important meetings that are definitely occurring, and a speculatively booked slot.

N.B. Please remember that anyone with whom you share visibility of your calendar can also view all calendar event narrative description and attachments – unless you mark events as ‘Private’.

Of course some staff don’t use an Exchange Calendar, and sometimes you are arranging meetings with external attendees – so the use of Doodle is sometimes helpful.