Birmingham Children’s Trust reprimands for breach of safeguarding plan

image caption, The child’s details were shared with another family after meeting minutes were copied incorrectly

  • Author, Shannen Headley
  • Role, BBC News, West Midlands

Birmingham Children’s Trust has been reprimanded after its child protection plan was revealed to another family.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) called the breach “inappropriate” after sensitive information was incorrectly copied from the meeting minutes.

The ICO has recommended that the trust implement a more detailed approach to ensure its compliance with data protection law.

A statement from the trust said it self-reported the incident and took steps to prevent the problem from happening again.

The trust’s child protection and assessment department was working with two neighboring families when the error occurred, the ICO said.

A child welfare plan was disclosed to a family which contained both personal information and criminal allegations relating to a child in the neighboring family.

The ICO said the information was included in error after being copied from the meeting minutes.

“Invasion of privacy”

Sally-Anne Poole, head of investigations at the ICO, said children’s personal information required “extra protection” and should be “handled with great care”.

She added: “This disclosure of personal information by social workers was a breach of confidentiality which would have caused distress to both the child and their family.

“We expect all organizations that process personal information to ensure they have robust policies and procedures in place to protect it.”

ICO recommendations

The ICO recommended that the trust take further steps to ensure compliance with data protection law, including:

  • Include a process for any social work product to be independently verified by someone other than the author before disclosure.
  • Create and implement a corporate writing policy that provides staff with the knowledge and tools to write product as needed.

A spokesman for Birmingham Children’s Trust said the incident took place in November 2022.

They said: “We have carefully considered the ICO’s recommendations and have taken steps to prevent such an event from happening again.

“We continue to monitor this area of ​​work and are also working on wider procedural changes to further help protect the personal data we work with.”

Birmingham Children’s Trust was set up in 2018 by the city council to improve services that had been failing for years.