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, 20:00
St Mark PrimarySchool Worle, winner of IT club Christmas card Anna.

A WORLE primary school pupil has wowed teachers, students and judges with her graphics work and been crowed one of the winners of a Christmas card competition.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:00
Big Worle Hublaunch week, at Preanes Green.

WORLE residents were shown how to create some red carpet hairstyles and cook up a few 
delicious meals during a Big Worle Project workshop.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00
Swimmers warming up before the plunge in 2013.

If you fancy a cold dip in Weston’s Marine Lake on Christmas Day you are in luck as the annual fundraiser will be going ahead on Thursday. 
The event, organised by the Cove Restaurant, raises money for the RNLI on Christmas Day.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:00
Author Ken Hill.

A WRITER from Congresbury has published his first book at the age of 78.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:00
swings.

A CHANCE for residents to have their say on improvements to a vandalised play park will be held next month.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:00
Class six pupils line up for their Victorian class teacher Mrs Ducker.

A TALL pointed dunce hat, old-fashioned bonnets and knitted blankets were just some of the things which took pupils at Ashbrooke House Primary School back in time to the Victorian era.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:01

POLICE are appealing for witnesses after two assaults in Weston town centre.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:00
Angela Hicks receives her award from NEN chairman Paul McEldon.

A WOMAN heralded as the driving force behind the growing North Somerset Enterprise Agency has won a top award in recognition of her contribution to Weston’s business sector.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 8°C

Most Read News

Family notices
Reader travel
Advertise
Letters
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition today E-edition
Somerset�s trusted business finder