NORFOLK County Council has been fined £60,000 after sensitive files relating to seven children were found in a cabinet bought from a second-hand shop, it was revealed yesterday.
The council kicked the cabinet out after an office move.
A member of the public bought the cabinet and found the social work case files.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) head of enforcement Steve Eckersley said: “For no good reason, Norfolk County Council appears to have overlooked the need to ensure it had robust measures in place to protect this information.
“It should have had a written procedure in place which made it clear that any storage items removed from the office which may have contained personal details were thoroughly checked before disposal.”
The ICO has the power to impose a penalty of up to £500,000 for data breaches.
The council’s executive director for finance and commercial services Simon George said: “We voluntarily reported ourselves to the information commissioner and we undertook a careful review to ensure that we could learn from what happened.”
In 2012 the BBC reported that Norfolk County Council was fined £80,000 after confidential and highly sensitive personal data about a child’s emotional and physical wellbeing was sent to the wrong person.
A social worker had written the wrong address on a report and hand-delivered it to a nextdoor neighbour of the intended recipient.
At that time, Mr Eckersley, then head of monitoring, said that the council had failed to monitor whether staff had completed data protection training