Latest Public Sector News


Public sector fined more for data breaches than private

The private sector accounts for over a third of reported data breaches but only 1% of the fines, a Freedom of Information request demonstrates.

Data from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) showed that the public sector were issued five fines, totalling £790,000, whilst only one private sector company was fined, £1,000.

The release covered self-reported personal data security breaches between 22 March 2011 and 17 February 2012. Over this period the ICO said 730 events had been flagged up as being potentially liable to a penalty or other action.

The private sector reported 263 cases, while 467 were reported by government and other public sector bodies. These include information mistakenly sent via email, to the wrong address, theft or loss of data and hardware or material disposed of improperly.

An ICO spokesperson said: “The course we choose will always depend on the circumstances of the individual case.”

The data was obtained by satellite system maker ViaSatUK, whose CEOChrisMcIntosh said: “The ICO is definitely making a welcome effort to use its stick to enforce the law. However, since it can only act against self-reported breaches undoubtedly we are not seeing the full picture. While the ICO has shown great progress in ensuring the public sector regains control over data security practices, the private sector still has a relatively free rein. As the public increasingly trusts the private sector with its information we need to ensure this information is managed responsibly, especially as the private sector reported the most thefts of data or hardware in the past year. Nobody wants to deal with the consequences of further breaches like Sony’s loss of 77 million PlayStation Network customer account records.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Cleaner, greener, safer media: Increased ROI, decreased carbon

23/06/2020Cleaner, greener, safer media: Increased ROI, decreased carbon

Evolution is crucial in any business and Public Sector Executive is no different. Long before Covid-19 even became a thought in the back of our minds, the team at PS... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >