Council loses data of more than 1000 pupils



East Lothian Council have lost data for over 1000 primary school children

A SCOTS council has been forced into a grovelling apology after to private details of more than 1000 school pupils were lost in a security bungle.


The records were downloaded onto a private memory stick before being taken home and lost by a council worker.


The staff member involved has now been suspended, East Lothian council said.


Parents have spoken of their concern over the data loss.


The missing storage device included names, ages, class emergency contacts and sometimes medical history of 1075 pupils at primary schools across East Lothian.


The schools affected were in Dunbar, East Linton, Innerwick, Stenton and West Barns.


Council education chief Don Ledingham issued an unreserved apology to parents via a letter yesterday.


He said: “You gave the council this information on your own child, trusting that we would properly protect it.


“I believe therefore, that it is my duty to tell you what has happened and to apologise unreservedly for any distress this matter may cause.”


He continued: “I am very sorry that, as a result of the actions of one member of staff, we have let you down.


“We will do our best to ensure this does not happen again.”


He said the file containing the information was password protected, but the device was not encrypted.


Mr Ledingham said this as a ‘clear breach’ of council IT policy.  


Marie Savage, 40, said other parents might be concerned about the data loss, but she was relaxed about the blunder.


Marie, whose two children attend Dunbar Primary School, said: “I know what information is on there and as far as my children are concerned I’m not too worried., though it may be that other parents will be more concerned about it.


“The council have been very upfront and I appreciate the fact they have notified us.”


Dee Davidson, co-chair of the Dunbar Parent Council, said: “I’m glad that we were notified but obviously it’s a concern when something like this happens.


“While the data loss was very unfortunate, most parents will understand how easy it is to lose a memory stick.


“We appreciate that East Lothian Council is treating this matter very seriously.”


In 2010 East Lothian Council accidentally published the personal details and criminal convictions of taxi drivers online, in another data protection gaffe.


Convictions from drug dealing to minor driving offences were available on the council’s website in September 2010.