6,000 Wolverhampton Council staff retrained after data protection blunder

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Almost 6,000 council workers have now been retrained in data protection after a blunder in which sensitive information was released.

Wolverhampton Civic Centre

Wolverhampton City Council had been given 50 days to retrain all of its staff - or it would be prosecuted for contempt of court.

It was ordered by the Information Commissioner Office (ICO) to give staff training after a blunder by a social worker in January 2012.

Council chiefs today revealed the training had been carried out within the 50 day limit imposed by the ICO.

A total of 5,785 workers and all 60 councillors were retrained by June 27, days before the deadline which was early this month.

Council leader Roger Lawrence said: "We have gone above and beyond what the ICO wanted us to do and hopefully that demonstrates how importantly the council takes the issue of data protection.

"Rather than simply getting staff to be trained in data protection, we have taken steps to embed the issue into the culture of the organisation."

Council chiefs admitted in the past the authority had not 'treated the protection of people's information as well as it should'.

Keith Ireland, the council's strategic director for delivery, added: "However, we have ensured that all managers and employees now understand how vitally important data protection is.


"We have got all our workforce and elected members to complete training, we have also ensured that protecting information is at the top of the agenda in team meetings, in briefings with frontline staff, in our internal communications and in our staff inductions."

The order by the Information Commissioner Office came after an investigation into the breach in January 2012.

An investigation was launched after a social worker, who had not received data protection training, sent a report to a former service user detailing their time in care.

But the worker failed to remove highly sensitive information about the recipient's sister that should not have been included.


It was also discovered by the ICO that 68 per cent of council staff were yet to be trained in data protection.

The Information Commissioner Christopher Graham today confirmed the required training had been completed.

"We are pleased that Wolverhampton City Council have now provided adequate data protection training to all of their staff," he said.

"It is important that the council maintains these practices going forward to make sure residents' information is handled correctly and kept secure.

"People are increasingly aware of the value of their information and the need to keep it secure."

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