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Departmental Data Protection

Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what obligations his Department and its agencies place on contractors in relation to the audit of personal data and IT equipment. (176472)

Contracts awarded by the Department include standard terms and conditions which place obligations on contractors in relation to confidentiality of information, security of equipment and auditing requirements. These clauses specify that:

contractors must have prior written consent from the Department before disclosing any confidential information obtained during or arising from the contract; and

the Department and the National Audit Office have unrestricted access to their accounts, files and records; and

the Official Secrets Acts and, when appropriate, the Social Security Administration Act, apply to those contractors.

Where contractors handle personal data, the Department has built in additional data protection clauses, which require the contractor to comply with the Data Protection Act.