Children's trust reprimand over data breach

Typing on laptop
Data about the child was shared to another family after meeting minutes were incorrectly copied over [PA]

Birmingham Children's Trust has been issued a reprimand after a child's protection plan was disclosed to another family.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) called the breach "inappropriate" after the sensitive information was copied across from meeting minutes incorrectly.

The ICO has recommended the trust implement a more detailed approach to ensure its compliance with data protection law.

A statement from the trust said it self-reported the incident and has taken steps to prevent the issue from happening again.

The child protection and review department at the trust was working with two neighbouring families when the error happened, said the ICO.

A child protection plan was disclosed to one family that contained both personal information and criminal allegations relating to a child from the neighbouring family.

The ICO said the information was included in error after being copied across from meeting minutes.

'Violation of privacy'

Sally-Anne Poole, Head of Investigations at the ICO, said children’s personal information requires "extra protection" and must be "handled with great care".

She added: "This disclosure of personal information by social workers was a violation of privacy that would have caused distress to both the child and their family.

“We expect all organisations processing personal information to ensure they have robust policies and procedures in place to protect it."

ICO's reccomendations

The ICO recommended the trust should take further steps to ensure its compliance with data protection law, including:

  • Include a process for any social care product to be independently checked by someone other than the author prior to disclosure.

  • Create and implement a corporate redaction policy, which ensures staff have the knowledge and tools, to redact the product if necessary.

A Birmingham Children’s Trust spokesperson said the incident happened in November 2022.

They said: "We have carefully considered the ICO recommendations and have taken steps to help prevent such an occurrence from happening again.

"We are continuing to monitor this area of activity, and we are also working on broader procedural changes to further help protect the personal data we work with".

Birmingham Children's Trust was established in 2018 by the city council to improve services which had been failing for years.