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General Teaching Council: Data Protection

Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what discussions he has had with the General Teaching Council about its recent loss of confidential data; and what steps are being taken to (a) retrieve the data and (b) ensure that such circumstances are not able to recur. (230365)

Officials within the Department of Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) have been in close and continuous contact with the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) over the recent loss of personal data for some 11,400 teachers by a recognised courier contracted by one of their data suppliers.

Despite an extensive search of the courier’s vehicles and premises, the disc (which was password protected and encrypted and did not contain national insurance numbers or financial data) was not found. Both the GTCE and the DCSF have taken urgent steps to put additional security checks in place for the affected records.

The GTCE has already changed its systems to ensure that there will be no similar incident in future. It is putting in place enhanced security where necessary in line with the requirements of the Government’s Data Handling Procedures (June 2008) and all future data exchanges with their data processor will be via secure electronic means and not on physical discs.