Copies of call-centre telephone conversation recordings about child tax credit claims were mistakenly sent to two people in Norwich who had been pursuing a dispute with the HM Customs and Revenue.The pair had received the recordings on a CD after requesting information from the HM Customs and Revenue relating to themselves on a different matter. They subsequently passed it on to Norwich North MP Ian Gibson, who forwarded it to ministers.Dr Gibson said he was given
the disk about three weeks ago and said he had been given assurances that the problems had been sorted out.It is not clear how much data was stored on the disk, but the information is thought to be recordings of conversations about tax credit claims, which are routinely recorded for data protection purposes.“Two constituents, came to see me in my office,” he said. “They had been having a discussion with the Inland Revenue about some personal issues and had asked for the conversations to be recorded.What they wanted was a recording of their discussion on child tax credits,” he said. “In the copy they got there was other information on it. “There were things about tax credits and things like that. It was information that shouldn't be divulged.“I sent it to the minister and asked if there was a problem. I've spoken to the minister about it and the mistake has been rectified, so that it cannot happen again.” A spokeswoman for the HMRC said: “This was caused by an equipment error which we have identified and has been rectified. We have checks in place to ensure all CDs sent out to customers are correct and we have reviewed these since this incident and further strengthened them. We have apologised to the individual concerned.”
This sort of thing beggars belief and demonstrates that there is systemic failure at the heart of government in the use of confidential data.