Capita In Serious Breach Of Data Protection Act

Channel 4's Dispatches uncovered a serious breach of the Data Protection Act when an assessor, outsourced from Capita, was found to be taking photos of information for disability payment applications.

The assessor was caught taking photos of his computer screen so he could prove the applications he had worked on. In fact, he was happy to admit it, telling the undercover reporter:

"Once they've attended, take a picture. If you come to your payday and you haven't got all your assessment reports, how can you prove you've done them?"

But taking photos of disability benefits applications is a very serious breach of the Data Protection Act. The nature of the information contained in the applications is incontrovertibly highly confidential and extremely sensitive.

Such blatant breaches of this nature are indefensible.

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"Wrong And
Unacceptable"

Capita, described as an international business process outsourcing and professional services company, gained the contracts for assessment for the DWP in 2013. They employed the assessor at the centre of the investigation, who was paid on a 'per application' basis, earning anywhere between £80 to £300 per application, and he even claimed he earned £20,000 monthly by "flying through them" - and to make sure he was paid every penny of the money he was due from getting through applications, he reportedly took photos of his computer screen as proof.

The assessor was witnessed by the undercover reporter taking photos of appointments on the screen; a serious breach that can be punishable with fines of up to £500,000.

A spokesperson for Capita has confirmed that the assessor will no longer be working for Capita, and on the subject of the Data Protection breach, they said:

"All employees are trained and expected to follow detailed processes regarding the handling and protection of data. This assessor's reported actions are clearly wrong and unacceptable. We will take appropriate action against any breaches of processes."

Action MUST Be Taken

Capita has a responsibility to contact the victims of this breach. Anyone whose information has been photographed illegally can be eligible to claim compensation under the Data Protection Act and the Human Rights Act.

We act for individuals in both high profile data breaches affecting thousands of victims, as well as for individuals taking action for singular cases. The breach uncovered in this incident is like many others we have investigated. Ultimately this should never have happened and it's hard to believe that the assessor was unaware that their actions were in serious contravention of the Data Protection Act 1988.

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Our work is extremely important. We all have a right to privacy; and our rights when it comes to how our personal data and information is used and handled is enshrined in law. But for too long now organisations have flouted their duties and people have become the victims of widespread scandals where personal information that is sensitive and confidential has been leaked to people who should never have seen it.

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