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The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has fingered Wolverhampton City Council for dumping files in a skip and breaching the Data Protection Act.
Since the start of the year the ICO has been flexing its muscles handing out fines to various local authorities for allowing confidential records to be discovered by members of the public.
The Wolverhampton case came to light last October when a local paper reported that files containing names, dates of birth, bank details and employment records have been dumped in a skip at a community lesuire centre. The skip was subsequently stolen and the documents in it were dumped.
Although the council had a relationship with a waste manegement company the problem seems to have happened after council staff failed to recognise the sort of confidential data that was in the records.
Simon Entwisle, director of operations at the ICO, said the breach showed the need for staff to be educated about personal data: "An organisation's responsibility to keep information secure does not end when it is taken out of the building."
In response, Simon Warren, chief executive of Wolverhampton City Council, has signed an undertaking that staff will be made aware of its policies on data protection and confidential waste management.