South Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway Council breached data law

Salary advice
Image caption The pay details of nearly 900 workers appeared online as a result of the error

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has found a council breached data law after personal information on hundreds of staff was published online.

The details were mistakenly released by Dumfries and Galloway Council in answer to a Freedom of Information request.

The names, salaries and dates of birth of nearly 900 workers appeared on the internet for more than two months.

The ICO said procedures had clearly "gone wrong" but that lessons had now been learned.

The personal information was available online between 23 March and 1 June this year.

It was removed after the council received a complaint from a trade union.

The ICO said it had also received a number of complaints from affected individuals.

The council commissioned an external audit of its procedures for responding to information requests and has said it will address any procedural weaknesses uncovered during the audit by January 2012.

It has also said it will also introduce checks to ensure that personal data is handled in compliance with the Data Protection Act.

Ken Macdonald, assistant commissioner for Scotland at the ICO, said: "Being open about council pay is a fundamental way that citizens can hold local authorities to account, but that should never be at the expense of upholding individuals' privacy rights.

"Procedures clearly went wrong in this case and I'm pleased that the council is reviewing its practices in light of the lessons that have been learned."

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