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Bulk Mail Handling

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

On 17 December, the Secretary of State for Transport announced to Parliament a number of immediate measures to improve the security of personal data handled by the Department for Transport and its Agencies. This included the precautionary requirement that any bulk transfer of personal data not by electronic transmission should take place through point-to-point transfer by a secure courier.

We have kept all security arrangements under active review, and continue to improve them as needed. We have also kept closely in touch with our customers, and with the Cabinet Secretary's ongoing review of data handling in Government.

In the light of this feedback, and the need for high standards of data security combined with greater operational flexibility to meet some customer needs, I have now agreed that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, and other Department for Transport Agencies where necessary, may use secure distribution services which are not restricted solely to point-to-point networks, providing that the security arrangements are high, including identification and tracking of each individual package at each stage of the journey, as well as the use of secure premises where necessary. This is a significantly higher standard than the position prior to December.

I will keep these arrangements under review in the light of practical experience and the Cabinet Secretary's continuing review.