Borough council receives heavy fine after revealing the address of an adopted child’s parents

EnvelopesHalton Borough Council in Cheshire has been fined £70,000 after accidentally revealing the address of a child’s adoptive parents.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said the council had breached the Data Protection Act when it sent a letter about the child to the biological mother, mistakenly including the address of the parents who had adopted the youngster. The mother then passed this information on to her parents as  they wanted contact with their grandchild. They later wrote to the adoptive parents asking to visit.

According to reports, the employee who sent the letter believed checks had already taken place to establish whether the information was confidential.

The breach had occurred, the ICO concluded, because the council had no clear policy or process for checking such correspondence and had not provided its staff with sufficient training.

Halton Borough Council has since changed its policies.

Photo by Judy van der Velden via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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