Oxford City Council have apologized to local residents following a data breach that occurred at the end of July 2021. Up to 80 residents received letters from the Council containing rent statements intended for others. One resident said:

“I received a letter that was addressed to my address but not with my name. I mistakenly did not read the name just opened it and it was a ‘Statement of Main Rent Account”.

Once the resident saw that the letter had another person’s name on it, their reference, their payments and dates, he rang Oxford City Council to notify them of the error. The Council confirmed they were aware of the issue; and asked the resident to destroy the letter and confirm that it had not been shown to anybody else.

Apparently the data breach occurred because of a computer error. As the Council has installed a new system to assist with the council’s landlord services. The CEO of Oxford City Council confirmed that when the rent statements were being sent out, an error occurred while transferring data from the old to the new system. This meant that some of the rent statements were sent to the wrong address.

The CEO added that:

“Because this error is a potential breach of the Data Protection Act, the Council has reported the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to investigate.

“The ICO is an independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy.”

While this data breach might be said to be relatively minor, it does have the potential to cause distress to persons whose data has been unlawfully disclosed. If you have suffered distress as a result of a breach by your local council, please get in touch with DRM Legal. One of our specialist solicitors will advise you if you have a valid data breach claim and the level of compensation you might receive.