Child welfare data breach highlights the importance of secure data disposal, says PHS Datashred

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After extremely sensitive child welfare documents were found dumped in a Dundee skip last week, PHS Datashred reminds businesses of the importance of secure data disposal to avoid breaching the Data Protection Act.

PHS Datashred
The Information Commissioner's Office is now able to fine businesses up to £500,000 if they lose individuals' confidential data.

It was reported last Tuesday in the Scotsman that confidential child welfare documents have been found in a skip at a refuse site in Dundee.

According to the article, the documents include the home addresses and medical details of social work service users, as well as other personal information about the health and care of the children.

The same article states that Aberdeen City Council has subsequently ordered an urgent investigation into the allegations, which if true would be considered a huge breach of the Data Protection Act.

Shredding company PHS Datashred believes that this incident highlights the importance of secure data disposal, as well as the need for confidential waste cabinets and bins.

Anthony Pearlgood, Managing Director of PHS Datashred, said: “All businesses have a duty to prevent their information from being breached to protect the privacy of their employees, customers and suppliers.

“However, social work records are particularly sensitive, and if these allegations turn out to be correct then Aberdeen City Council will be at risk of being fined by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

“Luckily, the leak of important documentation can be avoided by investing in secure bins to keep confidential waste materials safe on your site, before they are destroyed by an approved shredding company.”

PHS Datashred offers a range of confidential waste cabinets and bins for organisations to store redundant paperwork, ranging in size from 120 to 1100 litre wheelie bins, and smaller desk side containers.

All secure bins come with a lock and slot mechanism to ensure that there is no unauthorised access to the contents.

Anthony Pearlgood said: “The child welfare document data breaches should be a wakeup call for other organisations, particularly those dealing with confidential information such as councils, healthcare centres and financial services.

“The Information Commissioner's Office is now able to fine businesses up to £500,000 if they lose individuals' confidential data.

“Investing in a secure bin for your waste documents and using an accredited shredding service will give you peace of mind that your company and associates are protected against ID Fraud, as well as unnecessary fines.”


Notes for editors

About PHS
The PHS Group is a leading workplace services provider, and has traded in the UK since 1963. It has a diverse service portfolio aimed at improving work and leisure spaces, while making life much easier for facilities, building and people managers.

PHS really does ‘do more than you think’, providing products and services for:

  •     Crate rental and packaging
  •     Interior and exterior planting
  •     Laundry equipment and workwear
  •     Matting and flooring
  •     Records storage and management
  •     Shredding and recycling
  •     Testing and compliance
  •     Washrooms
  •     Waste management
  •     Water machines
  •     Workplace consumables

PHS provides these direct to UK companies, and also operates as a tier one supplier to the facilities management market, supporting the integrated service propositions of most of the major FMs.

The PHS Group’s annual turnover for the year ending March 2012 was £422 million. It employs around 5,000 personnel, operates from a wide network of 153 regional service branches, and takes care of over 250,000 customers at over 450,000 locations in the UK, Ireland, Holland, Belgium and Spain.

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Caroline Williams
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