Hampshire County Council fined for careless data management

Hampshire County Council has been fined £100,000 after social care files containing sensitive data about adults and children were discovered in a former council building.

The files were discovered by the new owners of the premises in August 2014 and included the personal details of over 100 people.

Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), said: “Hampshire County Council failed to ensure that highly sensitive personal data about adults and children in vulnerable circumstances was disposed of.

“The council knew the building had housed a department that dealt with confidential information and should have had a proper procedure in place to check no personal data was left in the building.

“The council’s failure to look after this information was irresponsible. It not only broke the law but put vulnerable people at risk.”

In response to the fine, Hampshire County Council said: “We are very sorry that this incident occurred. Hampshire County Council takes the management and protection of its data very seriously.

“Accordingly, appropriate procedures were in place at the time, but unfortunately, on this occasion, the process was not fully adhered to.

“Immediate steps were taken to investigate the matter fully, and remedial action was taken. This has included strengthened and improved processes in the removal of, and destruction of, confidential waste from vacated buildings.”