Council censored for leaving case files in dumped cabinet

DataIQ News

As data blunders go, Norfolk County Council is up there with the worst after it was found that council chiefs had left files that included sensitive information about children in a cabinet which was sent to a second-hand shop following an office clear-out.

The breach only came to light after social work case files - including information relating to seven children - were discovered in the cabinet by a member of the public who had just purchased it from the shop.

Information Commissioner’s Office head of enforcement Steve Eckersley said: “The council had disposed of some furniture as part of an office move but had failed to ensure that the cabinets were empty before disposal.

“Councils have a duty to look after any personal information they hold, all the more so when highly sensitive information is concerned – in particular about adults and children in vulnerable circumstances.

“For no good reason Norfolk County Council appears to have overlooked the need to ensure it had robust measures in place to protect this information. It should have had a written procedure in place which made it clear that any storage items removed from the office which may have contained personal were thoroughly checked before disposal.”

The council has been fined £60,000 and warned about its future conduct.

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