ICO slams Wolverhampton over data security

Wolverhampton City Council has been ordered to provide better data protection training for staff, following a series of failures.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said that it was taking enforcement action after warnings dating back more than two years.

The council must now make sure adequate training is provided within 50 days, or the matter will be treated as contempt of court.

ICO head of enforcement, Stephen Eckersley, said: “The lack of urgency displayed by Wolverhampton City Council is startling.

“Over two years ago, we reviewed the council’s practices and highlighted the need for guidance and mandatory training to help its staff keep residents’ information secure.

“Despite numerous warnings the council has failed to act, with over two thirds of its staff still remaining untrained.

“We have taken positive steps and acted before this situation is allowed to continue any longer and more people’s personal information is lost.”

In December 2011, the ICO completed an audit of the council recommending the council introduced a data protection policy and mandatory staff training.

The following month, a social worker, who had not received data protection training, sent a report to a former service user detailing their time in care.

The worker failed to remove “highly sensitive” information about the recipient’s sister that should not have been included, the ICO said.

A policy was introduced in May 2013 with mandatory training for all staff scheduled to be completed by the end of February this year.

However, the ICO said that the council has failed to meet this deadline with two thirds of the council’s staff (68%) still having not undertaken the training.

A council spokesman said: “We accept the findings in the ICO report. Employees have been undertaking compulsory data protection training and we are on track to meet the ICO’s deadline.”

Colin Marrs

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