William Eichler 06 September 2016

Councils ‘struggling’ to prevent loss of sensitive data

Councils ‘struggling’ to prevent loss of sensitive data image

A small yet significant number of local authorities are ‘struggling’ to prevent the loss of sensitive data, according to a freedom of information (FoI) request.

The FoI, submitted to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) by Zurich Municipal, revealed a total of 625 cases in 2015 where a council faced a complaint of breaching the Data Protection Act.

In more than one third (34%) of completed cases, the local authority was given specific instructions on what needed to be changed or improved.

In 108 cases, for example, the local authority was asked to address the complainant’s specific concerns, and in 28 cases the ICO issued general advice on how to improve services.

Paul Tombs, the head of public services at Zurich Municipal, the public sector insurer who submitted the FoI request, said: ‘Local authorities are responsible for managing and processing a large volume of data, including sensitive information, and are continuing to do so against a challenging backdrop of squeezed budgets and limited resources.

‘As local authorities rightly focus on transforming service provision with a general move to on-line and self-service, they must ensure robust review of their data protection plans and ensure these are still fit for purpose.’

‘This research shows that a small yet significant number of councils are struggling to manage their data protection processes,’ he added.

This follows the recent revelation that councils reported 14% more security breaches over the last 12 months than the previous year.

Figures compiled by Huntsman Security showed data accidentally disclosed in error accounted for 64% of all reported breaches in this time period.

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

People Technology / HRIS Analyst

Essex County Council
Up to £42174 per annum
The Opportunity The People Technology / HRIS Analyst will be responsible for supporting the ongoing management of people-based technology including England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Principal Energy Engineer

Surrey County Council
£45,734 - £51,725 per annum
Do you have experience in working with delivering carbon reduction measures into a range of building projects? Surrey
Recuriter: Surrey County Council

Wellbeing and Independence Practitioner - Safeguarding

Essex County Council
£27203 - £31370 per annum
Please note, this role is a Fixed Term Contract until the end of March 2022. With us, you can achieve more - for yourself as well as those you work England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive

Essex County Fire & Rescue Service
c. £150,000
Are you ready for an exciting and rewarding opportunity Essex
Recuriter: Essex County Fire & Rescue Service

Housing Development Manager

City of York Council
£36,476 to £41,830 per annum
Do you want to play a key part in the delivery of “the UK’s most ambitious council-led housing programme in a generation”? York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue