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data protection in social care - £70K says you can't do right for doing wrong!

17 May 2012

A council has been fined £70,000 under the Data Protection Act after highly sensitive and confidential information was stolen from a social worker’s home.

In this case the social worker took records home to work on them, storing them in a laptop bag alongside his encrypted computer. The material was under lock and key. Unfortunately he was the victim of a burglary.

The vast majority of those working with children and vulnerable adults are committed and hardworking. They often give up time outside work to catch up. Employers must ensure they are properly equipped and trained to do this safely. If not, more fines like that announced yesterday, are likely.

This is an important decision. A laptop bag is an insecure place for any papers and policies for staff authorised to take paperwork home must make it clear that all such records should be kept secure, and away from other valuable items. And remember, policies are no use unless they are accompanied by regular training!

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