According to data gleaned from a Freedom of Information request, as reported by Wigan Today, there have been a concerning number of data breaches involving Wigan Council where information of a confidential, sensitive, or protected nature has been accessed or disclosed “in an unauthorised fashion”.
Councils and private companies who local authority agencies outsource work to are high on the list when it comes to data protection breaches, and we advise and represent a large number of people claiming for data protection compensation as a result of a council data breach.
Unfortunately, this news does not come as a surprise to us.
Internal reviews have reportedly classed the state of data security at Wigan Council as “high risk”.
Although the council notes that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has been satisfied with the outcomes of reports and investigations, this does not detract from the fact that Wigan Council are said to have suffered 80 data breaches in the last two years.
Several reasons for the data issues have been identified, from simple data loss caused by administrative errors, to information being sent to the wrong address; both of which are very serious indeed.
Training, inadequate protocols and outdated IT systems are often to blame
One reason for the often high volume of data protection breaches suffered in the public sector – including councils and outsourced local authority agencies – comes down to a lack of training for staff, inadequate or missing protocols and procedures for safeguarding data, and outdated IT systems. If staff don’t know how to properly manage data to ensure its secure, and with malicious hackers often targeting outdated IT systems that can be more vulnerable to attack, a lack of training and inadequate IT are open doors to data protection breaches.
Neither are hard to resolve – training should be mandatory for all organisations, and spending money on updated IT systems can save you in the long-run from having to deal with what can end up being the very expensive fallout of a data protection breach. Councils must do more to ensure the data they hold is safe, especially because the data they do look after is often very personal and can be very sensitive indeed.
As we often say, with the new GDPR coming into force next month, it really will be a case of shape-up or pay up; and paying up could amount to millions of pounds in fines and penalties alone.
Can you claim data protection compensation for a council data breach?
Yes, you can. Of course, all cases are assessed on a case-by-case basis, but we regularly advise and represent council data breach victims, and we offer No Win, No Fee services.
With the type of data that councils hold often being very sensitive and private, a data breach caused by a council or a local authority agency can be very severe for the victims.
You don’t have to suffer in silence… For free and confidential advice, please call the team on 0800 634 75 75 today.
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.
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