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Council's child record loss breached data protection rules

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Council's child record loss breached data protection rules

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Legal

'Nearly 9 out of 10' fear for safety of personal data held by Government 'Nearly 9 out of 10' fear for safety of personal data held by Government

An investigation has ruled that a council breached the Data Protection Act after sensitive records relating to the care of a young child were lost. 

The information had been requested by a family member who made a subject access request to Wokingham Borough Council.

The response contained details of the requester and their child’s involvement with the council’s social services department, including allegations of neglect and abuse carried out by the requester’s ex-partner.

However, the information was lost after a delivery driver left the documents outside the requester’s home in August 2013.

The driver had not been told about the sensitivity of the information included in the delivery and had not been informed that the delivery required a signature, or returning to the council if no one was available to sign for the package.

The council had also failed to arrange a suitable delivery time with the requester.

The Information Commissioner’s Office head of enforcement, Stephen Eckersley, said: “No one expects to have sensitive information about the care of their child left on the doorstep for anyone to stumble across. However, a series of errors by the council has led to a situation where a social service record containing damaging allegations of abuse suffered by the child, has been delivered with no consideration given to its content.

“This is not good enough and Wokingham Borough Council has now agreed to take action to make sure future deliveries containing sensitive personal information are carried out securely. They must also make sure their staff receive regular training so they can follow the council’s updated processes.”

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