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Government Departments: Disclosure of Information

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many unauthorised disclosures of information for each Government Department have been reported to the Cabinet Office in each of the last 10 years; in each case, (a) what the nature of the information disclosed was, (b) to whom the information was disclosed and (c) what the post was of the person who disclosed the information; and if he will make a statement. (249762)

The total number of leaks recorded by Cabinet Office each year since 2005, when a central record was begun, is as follows:

Total number of leaks

2005

78

2006

98

2007

50

Information for 2008 is currently being assessed. These numbers do not necessarily capture all instances of unauthorised disclosure across Government.

It is for departmental permanent secretaries to take decisions on whether leak investigations into the unauthorised disclosure of information originating in their Departments should be carried out. It has been the policy of successive Administrations not to comment on security matters other than in exceptional circumstances when it is in the public interest to do so.