Original post : 2 Apr 2013

Temporary staff must be given data protection training, ICO warns

Temporary staff must receive data protection trainingFour data breaches at the Great Ormond Street Hospital, in which letters which included information about the treatment of five patients, were sent to the wrong address, highlighted the need for better training of temps.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is warning employers to ensure that temporary staff who regularly handle personal information receive adequate data protection training.

The ICO’s investigation into the incidents found that three of the incidents related to the work of temporary staff who had not received adequate data protection training, despite their role routinely involving the handling of personal information. The trust also had no measures in place to to check whether letters were being addressed correctly before sending.

ICO Enforcement Group Manager, Sally Anne Poole, said:

“This time of year often coincides with a rise in the number of temporary workers being employed across the UK. However the temporary nature of their employment doesn’t absolve employers of their legal responsibilities for making sure people’s information is being looked after correctly.

“If organisations are employing temporary or agency workers into positions that involve the handling and sending out of personal information then they must make sure these staff have received adequate data protection training. Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust failed to do this and have now been required to sign an undertaking with our office to improve their practices.”

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