Council breached DPA with botched FoI response

The Scottish council of Dumfries and Galloway mistakenly published a spreadsheet containing the names, salaries and dates of birth of nearly 900 employees, as part of a response to a Freedom of Information request, the Information Commissioner’s Office said yesterday.

The information was available from the council website for more than two months, between March and June this year. It was removed after a complaint from a trade union, the ICO said. It added that it had received a number of complaints from affected individuals.

Ken Macdonald, the assistant commissioner for Scotland at the ICO, said that being open about council pay was important, but that it should not come at the expense of individual’s right to privacy.

"Procedures clearly went wrong in this case," Macdonald said, "and I’m pleased that the council is reviewing its practices in light of the lessons that have been learned."

The council is undergoing an external audit of its methods for dealing with Freedom of Information requests, and said that any weaknesses discovered would be addressed by January 2012. It will also introduce checks to ensure that personal data is handled in accordance with the Data Protection Act, the ICO said.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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