Birmingham & Black Country

Wolverhampton City Council rapped over data protection

An information watchdog has threatened Wolverhampton City Council with Contempt of Court action unless it improves its data protection training.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) ruling comes after a social worker sent out a report without omitting sensitive data about a recipient's sister.

Training must now be provided to all staff within 50 days.

The council accepted the IPO's findings and said it was improving.

'Lack of urgency'

The ICO said the order followed a series of warnings dating back more than two years.

In 2011 it recommended the council introduce a data protection policy and mandatory staff training just weeks before the social worker breach.

The policy was introduced in May 2013 and training for all staff was due to be completed by February this year.

But the ICO said two thirds of staff had still not received it.

'Numerous warnings'

ICO head of enforcement Stephen Eckersley said: "The lack of urgency displayed by Wolverhampton City Council is startling.

"Over two years ago, we reviewed the council's practices and highlighted the need for guidance and mandatory training to help its staff keep residents' information secure.

"Despite numerous warnings the council has failed to act, with over two thirds of its staff still remaining untrained.

"We have taken positive steps and acted before this situation is allowed to continue any longer and more people's personal information is lost."

A Wolverhampton City Council spokesman said: "Over the last year, employees have been undertaking compulsory data protection training and we are on track to meet the ICO's deadline to complete this.

"This is one of a number of significant measures we have put in place to improve the council's Information Governance service since the ICO's audit in 2011."

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