Review begins into HMRC data loss

The Poynter Review on the loss of benefits data by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs is under way, with a report to the chancellor of the exchequer due in December. The review team appointed to investigate the loss of child-benefit data from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is scheduled to publish an initial report on 14 December, 2007. Kieran Poynter, the chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers, is leading the review on what lead to the loss of two CDs containing confidential personal information, including national insurance numbers and bank account details. The Poynter Review will make interim recommendations on any further, urgent measures that HMRC should put in place to guarantee the confidentiality of personal data.

A further report will follow in spring 2008, when the review team have considered the wider implications for data security, in consultation with the Independent Police Complaints Commission and information commissioner Richard Thomas.

The second report is expected to make recommendations on:

* How internal processes and culture can be strengthened to achieve appropriate data security in the future
* Whether HMRC’s wider procedures for the handling of confidential data and liaison with other organisations should be changed to reduce risks in terms of data security, and how this might be done

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