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Wakefield Council to be investigated after personal details of a child in its care were revealed

Wakefield Town Hall.
Wakefield Town Hall.

Wakefield Council will be investigated over an alleged data breach, after personal details belonging to a child in its care were revealed. 

The local authority reported itself to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on September 19 over what it called an “isolated incident”.

It is believed that the alleged breach occurred at the council’s leaving care services department, where a document containing the child’s name, address and date of birth was circulated.

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Although other public sector organisations, such as the police, are authorised to view details of children in care, the incident led to the child being identified by people who should not have legally had access to the information.

Gillian Connolly, Wakefield Council’s corporate director for business change, said: “The council takes its responsibility for information security very seriously and we have reported this isolated incident to the Information Commissioner and have taken immediate action to address it.

“We are looking into the issue to identify any lessons to be learned and any improvements which need to be made.

“We are taking all the necessary actions to help prevent this from happening again and will support the Information Commissioner’s investigations.”

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The incident comes after Wakefield’s children’s services were rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted in July after a litany of failures were found.

This followed a focused visit by the education regulator in March, which resulted in strong criticism of the council’s management of the under-staffed service.

The education regulator said that vulnerable children were being left at risk and under-pressure social workers were being given too many cases. 

A spokeswoman for the ICO said: “Wakefield Council has made us aware of the incident and we will be making enquiries.”

It is not yet clear how long the investigation will take.