Dumfries and Galloway Council published a spreadsheet containing the names, salaries and dates of birth of nearly 900 current and former employees for about two months
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has revealed that Dumfries and Galloway Council breached the Data Protection Act by "accidentally" publishing a spreadsheet containing the names, salaries and dates of birth of nearly 900 current and former employees on their website.
The ICO said that the personal information was mistakenly disclosed as part of a response to a Freedom of Information Act (Scotland). But the information stayed online for over two months, between 23 March and 1 June 2011.
"It was removed after the council received a complaint from a trade union. The ICO also received a number of complaints from affected individuals," said the ICO.
The council has commissioned an external audit of its procedures for responding to information requests and has said it will address any procedural weaknesses uncovered during the audit by January 2012.
The council will also introduce appropriate checks to ensure that personal data is handled in compliance with the Data Protection Act.
ICO Assistant Commissioner for Scotland Ken Macdonald said being open about council pay is a fundamental way that citizens can hold local authorities to account, but that should never be at the expense of upholding individuals’ privacy rights.
"Procedures clearly went wrong in this case and I’m pleased that the council is reviewing its practices in light of the lessons that have been learned," Macdonald said.