Slap on the wrist but no fine handed out
The information commissioner’s office (ICO) has rapped The Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) for twice breaching the data protection act, but has once again decided against handing out a fine.
In the first incident, which occurred last September, saw nine case files left in a filing cabinet that the SCRA got rid of as part of an office refurbishment. The cabinet was supposed to have been destroyed but was instead sold to a second-hand furniture store, where the papers were discovered.
The case files contained names, dates of birth, social reports and referral decisions relating to children. The papers were discovered by the filing cabinet’s new owner and returned, the ICO said.
In a separate second incident legal papers containing details about a child’s court case were emailed to the wrong person, exposing information about physical abuse as well as the identities of the child’s mother and other witnesses.
"The fact that sensitive information was mishandled not once but twice by the same organisation is concerning," said Ken Macdonald, Assistant Commissioner for Scotland. "On both occasions the personal data which was compromised related to young children and was caused by human errors that could easily have been avoided. Luckily, on both occasions, the information was not circulated widely."
Neil Hunter, chief executive SCRA has signed an undertaking to ensure staff are fully aware of the organisation’s policies regarding data protection and that proper processes are put in place to ensure the policy is followed.
"I am pleased that the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration has taken action to make sure that the personal information they handle is kept secure and would urge other organisations, particularly those handling sensitive information relating to young people, to follow suit," added Macdonald.