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Departmental Data Protection

Volume 502: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2009

To ask the Solicitor-General what security requirements are made by the Law Officers' Departments in respect of (a) people employed to provide audio transcription services to his Department from home, (b) the premises in which work to provide such services is carried out and (c) arrangements for the transfer of data between such premises and the Law Officers' Departments. (302692)

The Attorney-Generals' Office, the Serious Fraud Office, Treasury Solicitors, the National Fraud Office and HM Crown Prosecution Services Inspectorate do not employ people to provide this service.

In the case of the Revenue and Customs Prosecution Service any such services used are supplied by HM Revenue and Customs, who are responsible for ensuring that their security requirements are complied with.

The CPS has contracts with the providers of audio transcription services that require the greatest possible degree of security commensurate with the value of the data and the risks, so as not to compromise the confidence of the vulnerable and intimidated witnesses who have provided the evidence, and to prevent misuse of the recordings, or transcripts for criminal or other unauthorised purposes.

The contract states that “the contractors shall store or process data only at sites specifically agreed in writing by the CPS”. No permission has been sought or granted to any supplier to work outside their sites, or for any of their staff to work from home.

The four suppliers used by CPS set out their physical security arrangements for the premises as part of the tender. The details met the requirements of the CPS. The sites have subsequently been inspected and approved by staff from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

All transfer of data between such premises and the CPS is carried out by Royal Mail—Special Delivery or Tracked Document Exchange (DX) or by hand in exceptional circumstances. This accords with the conditions set out in the Cabinet Office Security Policy Framework.