Latest Public Sector News

27.09.17

Ex-Leicester council employee prosecuted for illegally taking sensitive data

A former Leicester City Council employee has been prosecuted and fined for unlawfully obtaining sensitive data of vulnerable people while working at the authority.

In its report, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said that Nilesh Morar took sensitive information about users of the council’s adult social care department without the consent of his employer – which is against the law.

He pleaded guilty to the offence and has been fined £160, as well as £364.08 in prosecution costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

During an initial investigation, the council found that Morar sent 34 emails to a private account in February 2016 before he left the organisation.

Later, it turned out that the personal information of 349 individuals had been sent to his email address, including details about service users’ medical conditions, care and financial details, including their records of debt.

“Employees need to understand the consequences of taking people’s personal information with them when they leave a job role,” said head of ICO Enforcement, Steve Eckersley. “It’s illegal and when you’re caught, you will be prosecuted.

“People’s personal data is protected by law and employees should not be helping themselves to information if they decide to set up a new business or move to a new position.”

A spokesperson for Leicester City Council told PSE that Morar had received training in data protection and the council had the correct policies and procedures in place, and that this was a “flagrant abuse of his position”. 

“He had already left the council’s employ at the time our corporate investigations team uncovered the breach so we were not able to take disciplinary action against him, but we did report the matter to the ICO, as they are able to take further action in such cases,” they continued.

“This case demonstrates that the theft of data is a serious offence for which there are consequences.”

Top Image: hanieriani

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