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June 29, 2013 permalink
Social workers in Plymouth England left sensitive confidential documents with a client. A similar case occurred in Oakville Ontario in 2007.
Social workers left list of vulnerable children in paperwork given to mum
A council have apologised after social workers gave a mum a confidential list of vulnerable children in with a pile of paperwork.
The woman, whose identity is not being revealed in order to protect her own children, didn't discover the list until nine months after she was given the wad of papers.
She then phoned the social work team in Plymouth to tell them she had the documentation.
"I was sorting through minutes from child protection conferences I've had with social workers," she told her local paper. "I found minutes from October and discovered a loose piece of paper in among them. When I pulled it out, it had the first and surnames of children, including my own, and the name of their social worker."
She said the list had the names of 13 children on it.
The woman said she immediately phoned Plymouth City Council social workers to tell them and they arrived at her home shortly after.
"Usually, I can't get a hold of my social worker; she's apparently always in meetings. But within 10 minutes of me phoning, two of them were at the door," she said. "They said thank you for phoning when I handed the list over."
The Plymouth Herald reports that the mum has been left 'outraged' by the blunder.
"When I think of all the times I've phoned and asked them to come and see me and they haven't, but then when they found out I had something I shouldn't have they were straight round," she said. "All they wanted was this list back because they knew it could get them into trouble."
A Plymouth City Council spokeswoman said that they take data protection issues 'very seriously.' and they activated their information protection process as soon as they were made aware of the list being in the woman's possession.
"We were made aware on Thursday 20 June that a family had a sheet of paper containing names of children that did not relate to their own family," she said. "As soon as we were made aware, we immediately activated our information protection process. This requires immediate collection of any information to ensure that any information breaches are contained as much as possible. A social worker visited the home concerned to do this, in line with this process."
She added that they were 'very sorry' the incident occurred and are investigating how it happened. "We are contacting all families concerned to let them know what has happened," she said.
Last year the same council was reportedly fined £60,000 for sending a child neglect report to the wrong person, and were criticised by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for the Data Protection Act breach.
Source: Parent Dish