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Personal data - keep it private or risk fines

logo of the Think Privacy! campaignCouncils fined £'000 for mistakes over personal data

After mistakes that led to serious data breaches, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined three local authorities. If your organisation handles personal information - and that could be just a phone mumber - are your rules in place to make sure you are keeping to the law and the guidelines?

The penalties of £80,000·for Worcester County Council and £60,000 for orth Somerset CC involved highly sensitive information emailed by mistake to the wrong person. Another fine £130,000 was issued to Powys CC after details of a child protection case were also sent out to the wrong recipient.

The ICO said:

"These breaches show that there is clearly an underlying problem with Data Protection in social services departments and we will be taking this up with stakeholders from across the UK's local government sector to understand how we can support them in addressing these problems."

The ICO has produced guidance·for local authorities to help them comply with the Data Protection Act, but the Act also applies to voluntary groups. ICO have an online Guide for charities, and a special “Think Privacy!” toolkit for your colleagues and volunteers that you can download.

They can also arrange a free advisory visit fo voluntary groups.

Advisory visits involve a one day, informal visit, from the ICO to look at how your organisation works, what kind of personal information you hold and what you do with it. We can then give you practical advice about how you can make improvements to comply with the Data Protection Act.

“Advisory visits are aimed at small to medium sized businesses, charities and not for profit organisations and public authorities. We are happy to work with organisations in the public and private sectors and will prioritise those that will benefit most from a visit"

If you want a free ICO Advisory Visit, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .