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Centre admits blunder

PUBLISHED: 19:00 24 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:20 03 July 2010

WRONG DOCUMENTS: Leon Simmons was at the centre of a clerical error at Great Yarmouth's recruitment office.

WRONG DOCUMENTS: Leon Simmons was at the centre of a clerical error at Great Yarmouth's recruitment office.

A SENIOR Job Centre employee has admitted his staff blundered in giving out the personal details which could have resulted in another person's identity being used for fraudulent purposes.

JAZZ MASTER: Greg Doggett

A SENIOR Job Centre employee has admitted his staff blundered in giving out the personal details which could have resulted in another person's identity being used for fraudulent purposes.

Chris Hardy, advisory manager at the Great Yarmouth recruitment office, said a “clerical error” whereby different people's Jobseeker's Allowance documents were mixed up, resulted in Leon Simmons receiving the name and national insurance number of another man.

The former lifeguard, of Elmgrove Road, Gorleston, was visiting the Job Centre for a benefit interview last Thursday (January 17) so he could continue receiving the money, but left with the wrong attendance record card, raising the possibility the information could have been used to withdraw cash from bank accounts or other illegal activities.

He was due to attend the recruitment office in The Conge on Monday (January 21) to collect the correct card, which gives details of the efforts he has made to find a job.

Mr Hardy said: “It was purely a clerical error on our part. He came in for an interview and due to the pressure of work on our staff a mistake was made. He was given the wrong papers for somebody else and that is why we have responded as quickly as we could by asking him to come into the centre.

“His details have not gone anywhere else.”

The embarrassing mistake comes months after government officials lost the child benefit records relating to 25 million after two CDs went missing in the post.

But Mr Hardy said: “It is nothing like that. It was purely an administrative error while he was in the office and we will put that right by returning the documents he was given.

“It is a procedure that people come into the office and sign on because he is required to do that. Unfortunately, in the process two sets of documents were mixed up and the wrong set of documents were given back.”

Tony Church, spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions, said: “We have strict procedures in place to protect the security of the information that customers supply us with.

“We are investigating why this isolated incident occurred and will take any action necessary to further tighten procedures. We will be contacting the two customers involved to apologise. We have no reason to believe that any individual's personal details have been misused.”

But Mr Simmons, 20, said: “All they do is hand out bits of paper for people to sign. How can they get it wrong?”

Mr Simmons, who has previously worked for the International Breakfast Bar in Pier Walk, Gorleston as well as for Gambas restaurant in Beach Road, Gorleston was due to start part-time work on Tuesday as a labourer and scaffolder.

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