Southwark Council has been warned for the second consecutive year about the way it stores “confidential information” in its Tooley Street offices – especially that regarding the borough’s vulnerable children.
After an internal review by members of Southwark Council’s Audit and Governance Committee, staff were warned about “unlocked cupboards and desks containing client, finance and employee-related documents.”
Desks were also not being properly cleared at the end of the working day and communal storage areas were also being left open despite containing confidential information.
The report stated that this constituted a “risk of children’s information being lost or misappropriated.”
Lib Dem councillor Hamish McCallum, a reserve member of the Audit and Governance Committee, described the situation as “deeply worrying.”
He said: “This data is highly sensitive. How does the Labour council keep letting it happen year after year? It is not acceptable that the council is putting some of our most vulnerable young residents at risk like this. It is also putting the council at risk of a fine for potential data protection breaches.”
While no data protection breaches had taken place nor documents gone missing, the report also stated that the council had not taken on board suggestions from the risk assessment the previous year. Following this year’s risk assessment, a council spokesman said: “Suggestions from the risk assessment will be taken on board.”