Workforce, Pensions and Training

08.04.19

Newham Council leaked sensitive gang information months before wave of ‘serious gang violence’

The London Borough of Newham has been fined after it accidently revealed sensitive personal information on more than 200 suspected gang members which were acquired by rival gangs.

The council has been fined £145,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) after it judged it “unnecessary, unfair and excessive” for the authority to share the information, when the risks of such sensitive information “should have been obvious.”

The accidental data breach occurred in early 2017, months before a wave of serious gang violence in Newham which included victims who were named in the breach.

The mayor of Newham previously apologised personally for the “profoundly regretful data breach” to the mother of a 14-year-old boy named in the matrix who died in September 2017.

The ICO investigation found that in January 2017, a Newham Council employee sent an email containing the unredacted version of a database known as the ‘Gangs Matrix’ to 44 recipients, which included external organisations.

The database had been sent to the council by the Metropolitan Police Service as part of its work with partners to tackle gang violence, and included detailed information on alleged gang members.

The breach saw the dates of birth, home addresses, offending records and alleged gang of 203 people shared, and between May and September 2017 rival gang members were able to obtain photographs of the information via Snapchat.

In 2017, Newham experienced a wave of “serious gang violence,” with some of the victims including people featured on the Gangs Matrix.

Whilst the ICO said it was not possible to say whether the data breach had resulted in the incidents, it highlighted the “significant harm and distress” that can be caused by the breach of sensitive personal information.

Newham Council said it had made a “serious administrative error,” accepted the gravity of the breach and said it deeply regrets that it happened.

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said: “On behalf of Newham Council I accept the seriousness of the unredacted Gangs Matrix list being distributed on this single occasion in January 2017 and am sorry that it happened.”

She said the council had made changes to the management and processing of personal data to comply with data protection laws, with an “enhanced culture of safeguarding” across the organisation.

Deputy commissioner, James Dipple-Johnstone, commented: “Our investigation concluded that it was unnecessary, unfair and excessive for Newham Council to have shared the unredacted database with a large number of people and organisations, when a redacted version was readily available.

“The risks associated with such a transfer of sensitive information should have been obvious.”

Image credit - CribbVisuals

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Neath Port Talbot Council threatens to pull out of £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal

17/04/2019Neath Port Talbot Council threatens to pull out of £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal

A council has threatened to pull out of Swansea Bay’s £1.3bn city deal unless it starts delivering projects in the next six months. ... more >
Flintshire council takes over litter enforcement services from controversial Kingdom

17/04/2019Flintshire council takes over litter enforcement services from controversial Kingdom

Flintshire County Council has taken over litter enforcement services in the county and urged residents to “take responsibility” over ... more >
City council rejoins ICS after reforms agreed in privatisation and accountability row

17/04/2019City council rejoins ICS after reforms agreed in privatisation and accountability row

Nottingham City Council is to rejoin its local NHS integrated care system (ICS) after significant reforms were made to the way the system runs in... more >

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... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
New unitary authorities formally takeover from Dorset’s nine councils

01/04/2019New unitary authorities formally takeover from Dorset’s nine councils

Two new unitary authorities have officially taken control of local government in Dorset following the merging of nine local authorities. Given the go-ahead by parliament in May last year, th... more >
Spending ban over Northamptonshire County Council lifted

29/03/2019Spending ban over Northamptonshire County Council lifted

Northamptonshire County Council will have its spending ban lifted after commissioners reported the authority is “now living within its own means.” The section 114 notice banned a... more >

the raven's daily blog

Self-build builds potential for more and better homes

15/04/2019Self-build builds potential for more and better homes

The director of The Right to Build Task Force – which advises stakeholders on bringing on more custom and self-build homes – Mario Wolf, who is currently on secondment from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, discusses challenges the public sector needs to engage with to deliver housing supply growth. In... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Connecting the North East

15/04/2019Connecting the North East

Cabinet member for economic regeneration at Northumberland County Council Richard Wearmouth outlines the plans to reintroduce passenger services ... more >
What about social care?

15/04/2019What about social care?

Glen Garrod, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), outlines the challenges facing the social care workforce... more >
How public sector IT can exploit the last 'big things'

15/04/2019How public sector IT can exploit the last 'big things'

Martin Ferguson, director of policy and research at Socitm, outlines the technology-related trends to look out for in the public sector throughou... more >
Brexit's systemic fallout

15/04/2019Brexit's systemic fallout

The third in a trilogy of Brexit articles for PSE, Chris Painter, Professor Emeritus at Birmingham City University, considers the wider constitut... more >

interviews

Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

17/12/2018Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

One of the public sector’s key technology partners has recently welcomed a new member to its team. Matt Spencer, O2’s head of public ... 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 to invest in technology to help make better use of their resources. Bu... more >
New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

05/11/2018New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

The new chief executive of one of the new unitary authorities in Dorset has outlined his approach to culture and work with employees, arguing tha... more >
Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >

public sector focus

View all News