South Scotland

Major fine due for Scottish Borders Council records breach

Image caption The discovery of files at a recycling centre was reported to the police

A council which faces a major fine for data breaches has reassured workers over hundreds of pension records which were sent for recycling.

Scottish Borders Council said police were alerted by a member of the public.

The records, found last year, mostly related to former employees but the council said it was confident no personal information was accessed.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) will issue a fine at the end of the month.

The council said the penalty for the breach was likely to be substantial and it had also been issued notice that an ICO audit would be carried out in the next 12 months.

Securely destroyed

A total of 676 files relating to SBC's Local Government Pension Scheme had been deposited in a recycling bank by an external supplier in September 2011.

The council recovered all the files, checked them against records and then securely destroyed them.

A further 172 files had been processed at another bank but the council said this would have been carried out mechanically.

The records mainly related to former employees of the council and the council's partner agencies who left the pension scheme between 2008 and 2011.

The arrangement with the contractor involved in the breach was terminated, but the council said it had been digitising pension records in the same manner since 2005.

SBC chief executive Tracey Logan said: "I would like to reassure individuals who may have been affected that, based on the in-depth investigation carried out by our officers, we are confident that no personal information was accessed and the breach was contained upon its discovery.

"Based on the assessment of risk and due to the time that has elapsed since the breach was discovered, we have taken the decision not to write to all individuals."

However, she urged anyone who had concerns to contact the council.

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