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Volume 460: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 3 May 2007, Official Report, column 1826W, on DNA, on how many occasions DNA data collected by the Child Support Agency were made available to other (a) Departments, (b) agencies and (c) public authorities. (136703)

The administration of the Child Support Agency is the matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 24 May 2007:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply form the chief Executive.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 3rd May 2007, Official Report, column 1826W, on DNA on how many occasions DNA data collected by the Child Support Agency was made available to other (a) departments (b) agencies and (c) other public authorities. [136703]

The Agency does not collect DNA data; only information concerning whether there has been a referral to a DNA testing company, whether a test was conducted and the outcome of any such tests is stored.

Neither the Agency nor its contractual supplier of DNA testing facilities routinely discloses any information relating to it s clients to any third party, including other government departments, agencies or other public authorities. Indeed the contract with our supplier of DNA tests contains a confidentiality clause that prohibits the company from disclosing information gathered in the course of its work for the Agency and binds the contractual supplier to the terms of the Official Secrets Act 1911-89 and Section 123 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992.

The Agency is careful to conform to all the requirements of the Data Protection Act. The public can be confident that their privacy is assured and any personal information the Agency hold is not disclosed without consent, barring certain exceptional circumstances where disclosure is in the public interest, or to meet statutory requirements. I am not aware of any case in which the Agency has been required to share the results of a DNA test with any party other than those involved in the test.

I hope you find this answer helpful.