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Student Loans Company: ICT

Volume 472: debated on Monday 25 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the IT system which co-ordinates confirmation of student loan repayments between the Student Loans Company and HM Revenue and Customs; and whether this system has failed or generated errors in the last three years. (175399)

[holding answer 18 December 2007]: There are a number of data exchanges between the Student Loans Company (SLC) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to enable the repayment of student loans. Information is principally exchanged to match student loan borrowers with live employment records, provide repayment information and confirm that employers need to be sent notice to start and stop making student loan deductions. The SLC is not aware of any IT system failures or errors that have prevented the exchange of data with HMRC in the last three years.

The Government take the protection of personal data extremely seriously. The provisions catering for the sharing of information in the Sale of Student Loans Bill will strengthen the framework for legal protection of data in respect of all loans, whether sold or unsold. The Bill will extend an existing criminal sanction prohibiting the wrongful disclosure of HMRC information outside the terms of the legislative gateway.

Data exchanges between the SLC and HMRC have all been reviewed following the Chancellor’s statement on 20 November to ensure they meet the appropriate security standards. No breaches of data protection protocols have occurred in respect of student loan administration.