Social services are under the control of local councils. They handle the highly personal information of some of the most vulnerable members of society. As such, they have a duty to keep such information safe, secure, and confidential. Any breach of this duty may be deeply distressing to those affected.
Recently, there has been increased media coverage of data breaches by social services and the sanctions imposed on councils as a result of their carelessness in processing people’s personal data. The following are typical examples of social services breaches:
- Kent County Council disclosed details of hundreds of adoptive parents in an email
- The three breaches by children’s services staff at South Gloucestershire Council
- The disclosure of disabled children’s names revealed by Bristol City Council in an email
Up to date information about the sanctions imposed on local councils can be found on the Information Commissioner Officer (ICO) website.
Mistakes in social services’ processing of personal data are usually caused by simple human error. We have seen first-hand the distress, and even danger to life, such breaches may cause to those who may already be vulnerable. People have the right to expect that their personal information will be treated with the utmost care by social services. If it is not then they might be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
We have been able to assist clients with the following claims where:
- The new contact details of a victim of domestic violence were disclosed to her abuser
- The reports, assessments, and details of a case were sent to the wrong address
- Personal details were unlawfully accessed by a social worker related to the victim
- Care records were sent to another family member
Merely providing financial compensation may not seem enough. How does money make up for the distress and anxiety caused by breaches of particularly personal and confidential information? The answer is that it doesn’t. But we have seen how important it is for our clients to have received an acknowledgement for the wrongs they have suffered. Bringing claims against social services is also important in raising awareness of some of the systemic problems social services urgently need to address. We hope it may have the benefit of reducing the likelihood of such errors being repeated.
Do you believe your data has been breached by social services or by a social worker? Get in touch with DRM Legal and we will let you know if you are eligible to bring a claim for compensation.