Dan Peters 30 May 2023

'Devastating implications' warning over data threat

Devastating implications warning over data threat image
Image: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com.

A Government threat to suspend council access to Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) data will have ‘devastating implications’ if Whitehall follows through, an expert has warned.

The sector has reacted with anger and disappointment after civil servants made ‘key changes’ to an annually-reviewed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) governing how councils will use data from the DWP and HM Revenue & Customs.

Officials have told local authorities to sign the revised document – which aims to assure the DWP that councils have data governance in place - by 10 July or face consequences.

A letter to councils from Paul Selby, deputy head of the DWP’s local authority partnership, engagement and delivery division, read: ‘In the event of a return not being submitted, DWP will consider beginning the process of suspending LA [local authority] access to our data until such time as the MOU is signed or that an individual LA is working collaboratively with DWP on a clear plan to remove obstacles to ensure the MOU can be signed.’

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If this article is of interest, check out our feature, 'How AI can assist councils with social housing allocations'.

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