Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Data Protection

The BBC reports that an English local authority has been fined for breaches of the Data Protection Act concerning the loss of child protection information. Apparently the minutes of a child protection conference were among the items that were accidentally disclosed.

No filing system, of course, can be made 100% secure, but it must be deeply concerning to all, especially the children, that information of such a sensitive nature should have leaked into the wrong hands. It is hard to imagine a document more private and confidential than the minutes of a child protection conference, filled, as it is likely to be, with details of the minutiae of family life.

The council concerned is, of course, revising its procedures. But I think this episode should be a wake-up call to all local authorities to review the arrangements for keeping child protection information safe. Confidentiality and data security are preconditions for gaining the trust of children and their families. Without confidentiality and security no child protection system can function effectively.