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Capita Disability Assessor 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.

"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.

Our Legal Team had this to say:

"The actions of the assessor are unforgivable and in breach of the most basic of data protection rules. We're surprised it has taken a Dispatches investigation to uncover this; if he was showing images he had taken from his computer to superiors, why were they not stopping him there and then?

It seems like this has been allowed to escalate without anyone picking up on just how serious this is. Victim's information has been grossly mishandled and the assessor has risked the safety of their privacy and confidentiality."

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