Search

Hundreds of data protection breaches investigated at Norfolk and Suffolk councils

PUBLISHED: 06:46 19 June 2017 | UPDATED: 08:32 19 June 2017

One of the most common causes of data protection breaches is information being emailed to the wrong person. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

One of the most common causes of data protection breaches is information being emailed to the wrong person. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

There have been hundreds of data protection breaches at our councils in the last two years, including information sent to the wrong people, being lost or even stolen.

This newspaper asked Norfolk County Council for details of data protection breaches under the Freedom of Information Act, after it was fined £60,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in March for leaving files that included sensitive information about children in a cabinet sent to a second hand shop in April 2014.

In the same year, another serious data protection breach was referred to the ICO by the council. In this case information was left insecure and released “inappropriately” to a third person, the council said.

The ICO visited the council last year to investigate its data protection measures.

It found there was “reasonable assurance” that “processes and procedures are in place and delivering data protection compliance”.

However, over the last two years, there have been 280 breaches investigated by the council. The most common was information being sent to the wrong email or postal address. This happened 112 times.

That was followed by information “inappropriately” disclosed in writing or orally to people outside of the council, which happened 67 times.

There were also breaches from equipment being stolen (once), and information or equipment being lost (12 times).

On six occasions information was inappropriately accessed by council employees.

This newspaper also asked the council how many of these breaches resulted in disciplinary proceedings. They said this happened in a “small number of cases” but would not say how many.

A spokesman for the council said: “We handle a huge amount of personal data every day and we take our duty to protect data seriously. So we decided to record every data incident no matter how small and carefully investigate and review these incidents with a view to taking our findings into account in our procedures for staff and in our training.

“In many cases there has been no loss of data or sharing of data outside of the authority; for example, many relate to emails sent to the wrong person within the organisation.”

Other News

25 minutes ago

Householders across Great Yarmouth are being reminded to make sure they carry out the right checks before handing waste to doorstep waste collectors – after one resident was left with a court bill of £720.

14:07

The new owner of a popular family attraction in the heart of the Norfolk Broads has a special affection for the park and plans to build on its successful formula.

13:22

More than 350 people have been arrested in the last year thanks to Norfolk Constabulary’s campaign targeting drug dealing in the county.

12:14

The birth of a rare creature has been the source of joy for wildlife experts in Great Yarmouth.

Most Read

Yesterday, 17:49

Snow and ice proved no deterrent to early morning coffee drinkers at Great Yarmouth’s refurbished Troll Cart pub this morning.

Read more
Kerry Robinson-Payne
Mon, 13:34

Two girls were threatened with what is believed to be a knife by a man as they were by the James Paget University Hospital.

Read more
James Paget University Hospital

A fly-tipper has been named and shamed by the council who prosecuted her for dumping a settee by a block of flats in Gorleston.

Read more
Carl Smith
Mon, 09:59

Staff at a Gorleston care home found a festive way to raise awareness of dementia.

Read more
Mon, 16:53

With winter upon us many people will be paying visits to the doctors for annual flu jabs.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 1°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the Great
Yarmouth Mercury

e-edition today

Subscribe

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter