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Breach leads to ICO data protection warning

Category: Legal Technologies

22 November, 2013

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has warned companies that temporary workers need just as much data protection training as permanent staff, following a series of breaches at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust.

In total, four breaches occurred between January 28th 2012 and June 18th this year, due to letters being sent to the wrong address, containing information about the treatment of five patients.

An investigation carried out by the ICO found that three of the incidents related to the work of temporary employees who had not received adequate data protection training - this was despite their role regularly involving the handling of personal details.

The trust had also failed to establish measures to check whether letters were being addressed to the correct people before they were sent.

Sally Anne Poole, ICO Enforcement Group Manager, said the temporary nature of these people's roles does not absolve them of their legal responsibilities for ensuring people’s information is being properly looked after.

"If organisations are employing temporary or agency workers into positions that involve the handling and sending out of personal information, then they must make sure these staff have received adequate data protection training," she explained.

"Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust failed to do this and have now been required to sign an undertaking with our office to improve their practices."

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