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County rapped over child care papers theft

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Leicestershire CC breached the Data Protection Act following the theft of a briefcase containing sensitive personal data from a social worker’s home, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has ruled.

It has given an undertaking to the ICO to issue staff with guidance on working with sensitive papers at home.

The briefcase contained documents to be used for initiating court proceedings including sensitive personal data about 18 people, which outlined details of neglect and requested the removal of the children from their parents’ care.

It was stolen after a social worker took the briefcase home, with permission, to continue work on them, and was burgled.

ICO head of enforcement Stephen Eckersley said: “Local authorities must recognise that social workers are handling some of the most sensitive information available.

“While Leicestershire CC already recognised the risks associated with home working and had produced guidance for their staff, the guidance did not explain how papers containing personal information should be kept secure.”

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