Local government’s attitude towards data protection under fire from ICO


ICO criticises government mishaps

19 local councils have been fined a total of almost GBP1.9m for violating the Data Protection Act, causing the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to criticise their slack attitude towards the protection of personal data.

Fines were issued to Devon County Council, the London Borough of Lewisham and Plymouth City Council, with Leeds being the most affected with a fine of GBP95,000. Reasoning behind the fines came from errors such as leaving sensitive documents on public transport, or sending personal documents to the wrong address.

Information Commissioner Chris Graham said: “There is an underlying problem with data protection in local government. It would be far too easy to consider these breaches as simple human error. The reality is that they are caused by councils treating sensitive personal data in the same routine way they would deal with more general correspondence. We will be meeting with stakeholders from across the sector to discuss how we can support them in addressing these problems.”

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