Sensitive data losses exposed

13:00 29 November 2011

Archant

NORTH Somerset Council has been fined £60,000 after emails containing sensitive details about a child case review were sent to the wrong recipient.

The serious breach of the Data Protection Act saw emails sent to the wrong NHS employee five times, despite the error being highlighted twice.

The unitary authority was investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which found the council had failed to ensure staff received appropriate data protection training.

A separate report released by Big Brother Watch, has also revealed North Somerset Council made 16 data protection breaches in the three years between August 2008 and August 2011.

The campaign group, which focuses on privacy issues, surveillance and civil liberties, made a Freedom of Information Act request to gain the details.

This revealed six shorthand notepads and four A4 pads containing sensitive data were found by a council contractor and handed in to police.

Confidential waste was found in a bin outside council offices and 10 laptops were stolen or lost, four of which were taken in thefts from a school.

The council fell victim to a phishing attack, meaning unauthorised access was gained to its emails as well as information regarding complaints about five individuals.

A letter concerning child protection issues was sent to the wrong recipient and a printed council email was found in the street.

Councillor Tony Lake, North Somerset Council’s executive member responsible for data protection issues, said: “We take our data security responsibilities seriously, which is why we decided to report these incidents to the Information Commissioner’s Office ourselves, so that he could carry out his own investigation.

“Of the 16 data incidents included in the report, only three of these were actual data losses.

“Because we regard this as such a serious issue, we have probably included items on the list that other councils wouldn’t - for example a missing application for a bus pass, a USB stick containing photos of a planning development which was subsequently found and a printed email found on the street that contained no sensitive or personal data.

“However, no data losses are acceptable and we are working to keep losses to an absolute minimum. The council has developed a comprehensive training programme on information governance which all staff have to complete.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 21:27
Weston Woods.

A 26-YEAR-OLD woman was knocked unconscious when she was punched by a man when she was walking dogs at the woods in Weston-super-Mare.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:00
East Hunspill Harvest Home, Smiling helpers are Isabel Tucker, Susan Mercer, Susan Meaker and Rosemary Brown.

A DEMONIC possession, witches and devils featured in the Weston Mercury and Somerset Herald in 1965.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:00
Ollie Walker is close to winning the FAB-Racing mini-moto rookie championship

A young mini-moto rider is raising funds to attend a once-in-a-lifetime event after a rampant first season in the saddle.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:30
A new cemetery could be built in Yatton.

A PLANNING application to build a cemetery on allotments in Yatton has been submitted to North Somerset Council.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00
Martin Allison is raising money for Springboard Opportunity Group.

A WESTON-SUPER-MARE man is set to cycle more than 120 miles for a children’s charity to celebrate his 65th birthday.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:00
Mower Racing.

A MOWER racing event will begin in one Somerset village on Saturday, with segways, mud buggies, zorbing and more on offer throughout the bank holiday weekend.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:44
The latest overturned car on Harp Road. (Photo: Burnham-on-Sea.com)

FOUR crashes in barely a week on a country road have led to calls for a speed reduction from a councillor.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:00
Peter Elmont with the Barnacle Buoys on the Grand Pier.

THE RNLI held an opening ceremony for its Lifeboat Week fundraiser on the Grand Pier and raised more than £2,000.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:23
Dismaland logo

MEMORABILIA for Banksy’s Dismaland exhibition has proved to be very popular in the past week – including the Weston Mercury.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:00
Jason Eaton outside theclub Cadbury House, which is set to undergo a £350,000 refurbishment.

A NORTH Somerset health club and spa is set to benefit from a £350,000 extension.

Read more

Dismaland

Dismaland
All the latest news on Dismaland and Banksy here


Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 14°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition today E-edition


Somerset's trusted business finder