Haworth councillor's security fears at print error

Keighley News: Councillor Rebecca Poulsen Councillor Rebecca Poulsen

People’s private information could get into the wrong hands because of an IT problem at Bradford Council, the authority’s Conservative group has warned.

Councillors working from home are reporting problems with printing from the authority’s secure system, with the documents appearing at printers in colleagues’ houses instead.

Worth Valley councillor Rebecca Poulsen said she had tried to print an e-mail from a member of the public three times at her home in Haworth, but nothing came out.

She then discovered that the print-outs had emerged on the printer of her colleague Coun Debbie Davies (Con, Baildon), at her home in Baildon more than 12 miles away.

Coun Poulsen said: “Luckily this particular e-mail wasn’t particularly sensitive, although it had her name and address on, but people can send you things about child protection, adult social care, and quite sensitive things they wouldn’t want their neighbours knowing about.

“It’s quite worrying. We get told that personal data has to be handled in certain ways and as elected members we have a responsibility under the Data Protection Act.”

Coun Poulsen said when she then tried to change the printer settings, she was no longer able to select her own printer.

She said she immediately reported the matter to the council’s IT department, while Coun Davies destroyed the e-mails.

But Coun Davies said a similar incident had happened to her last year, which she had complained about at the time. She said: “I’m a bit disappointed that nothing has been done.”

Sandra Lomax, Bradford Council's assistant director for information assurance, said: “We take information security extremely seriously at Bradford Council and can assure people that tough measures are in place to ensure their personal information is protected.”

Coun David Green, leader of the Labour-run council, said officers would have to determine whether the problem was with the IT system or whether it was a training issue.

He said: “Any issue that is reported to the council’s data protection team is investigated and if there are lessons to be learned and steps to be taken, we do that.”

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