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Departmental Data Protection

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many members of staff in his Department have been (a) investigated, (b) suspended and (c) dismissed for losing (i) memory sticks, (ii) laptop computers, (iii) desktop computers and (iv) mobile telephones belonging to his Department in each year since 1997. (248255)

Information on the numbers of staff in the Department for Work and Pensions that have been (a) investigated, (b) suspended and (c) dismissed for losing (i) memory sticks, (ii) laptop computers, (iii) desktop computers and (iv) mobile telephones belonging to the Department in each year since 1997 is not available in the format requested.

The Department for Work and Pensions records the numbers of staff investigated, suspended and dismissed for misconduct under general headings, but does not record this information under the specific categories requested. To extract more detailed information from individual records under the categories requested would be at disproportionate cost.

Departments have taken urgent and decisive action across government to improve data handing including minimising the amount of data put on removable media, encryption programmes for data and mobile devices that carry personal protected data and the introduction of training and education programmes to improve staff awareness of information risks.

Government take data security very seriously which is why a report into data handling procedures across government was commissioned and new measures to improve and strengthen controls in the protection of personal data were introduced.

Following publication of the Data Handling Report in June 2008, the Department for Work and Pensions has clarified its disciplinary rules and standards of behaviour to reinforce security measures around the safeguarding of data and equipment.