Thursday, 22 November 2007

HM Revenue and Customs data loss

So HM Revenue and Customs have lost a data disc containing a list of all Child Benefit claimants that they sent by post to the National Audit Office via unrecorded post.

Beyond the obvious question of why it was not sent via recorded delivery several questions spring to mind.

Firstly since the NAO requested that bank account details be removed from the data before sending and HMRC didn't want to spend money on doing this, (See here) you have ask what is going on in their IT department. It would not have been hard to do something like DELETE sortcode, accno FROM exportedtable; would it?

Secondly why were they sending an extract on disc anyway? Could the data not have been transferred electronically down a secured link? Or even better, could a secure link not have been set up with an appropriately secured view to allow the NAO to access the data direct from the HMRC server?

Perhaps I should offer them some consultancy.

It seems to me that there is complete lack of process procedure in place. Paul Gray, the civil servant in charge has resigned - are any of the politicians in charge of the department going to do the same?