Lost Data Official Never Saw Security Rulebook

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE MURPHY

THE junior official being blamed by the Government for the lost discsfiasco was never shown the Whitehall rulebook on data security, the EveningStandard can reveal today.

It is more evidence that the responsibility for the scandal goes much higher upthe management ladder than ministers claim.

Only last Wednesday, Gordon Brown claimed in the Commons that all governmentdepartments were made to follow guidelines in the "Manual Of ProtectiveSecurity", such as a requirement to encrypt discs in transit.

The Prime Minister told MPs: "There is absolutely no doubt that that is theprocedure; it just was not followed, and that is what the investigation has gotto look at." However, the PCSU union representing the unnamed 23-year-oldofficial says he never saw a copy of the manual.

That suggests either a systemic failure to explain the rules to juniors atCustoms & Revenue or that they were not regarded as important.

It now looks unlikely that the junior will be sacked or punished, which willfuel suspicions that he has been made a scapegoat for a deeper failure.

Chancellor Alistair Darling today faced pressure to make a fresh Commonsstatement on what caused the loss of two discs containing details of childrenand bank accounts belonging to 7.2 million families.

Shadow home secretary David Davis said: "We are demanding that Alistair

Darling comes back to the House because we don't know if we have been told thetruth. …