Anger at council after social care file slip-up

Town End House in East Street, Havant Picture: Google Maps
Town End House in East Street, Havant Picture: Google Maps

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A COUNCIL blunder that led to confidential social care documents being left in a disused building has been slammed as an ‘outrageously irresponsible mistake’.

Hampshire County Council has been fined £100,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office this week after personal details of more than 100 adults and children in vulnerable circumstances were found in Town End House in East Street, Havant, which the authority had moved out of.

The 45 bags of confidential waste were discovered by the buyers of the building. This was in 2014 but the fine was issued this week.

Ukip’s group leader on Hampshire County Council, Cllr Chris Wood, demanded a reason for the data breach.

He said: ‘This is an outrageously irresponsible and ultimately very expensive mistake which cannot be allowed to happen again.

‘We must be given a clear explanation as to how this occurred and cast-iron assurances that it will not be repeated.’

The penalty, which the council must pay by September 12, follows the council’s decision to close all but 11 of its 54 children’s centres.

As a result of these cuts, single dad Adam Darby was forced to resort to temporary social care for his daughter.

Adam, 31, of Sunlight Gardens, Gosport, says that he is ‘pretty disgusted’ by the negligible handling of sensitive social care data, and admits that he is worried about the future security of social services.

He said: ‘Someone should be held accountable for it.

‘If they only fine the council, there’s a chance that the people responsible for it could do it again.’

The council released a statement earlier this week in response to the fine.

A spokeswoman 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.

‘However, at no time was any information disclosed outside of the site.

‘Immediate steps were taken to investigate the matter fully, and remedial action was taken.’