Lib Dem Councillor, Hamish McCallum, is right to describe Southwark Council’s approach to storing confidential information as “deeply worrying.”
As reported in this week’s paper, the council has been rapped on the knuckles by its own Audit and Governance Committee for its lackadaisical attitude towards private documents.
This includes everything from leaving filing cupboards unlocked to not clearing desks of private information at the end of the working day.
Most worrying was the warning that there was a “risk of children’s information being lost or misappropriated” due to careless office management in the Children’s Services department.
Council staff were not leaving documents on park benches or dropping USB sticks out of their Tooley Street HQ windows, so it may be tempting for some council staff to think of the audit review as a storm in a tea cup.
But, just like CRB checks or any procedure essential to the running of a responsible council – careless storage of confidential information should not be excused simply because it has not yet led to an incident – especially when it concerns our most vulnerable residents.
This is the second time in as many years the council has been warned on the matter – unless they’ve misplaced last year’s report, of course!