37 HMRC data guardians appointed


Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has created a 'data guardian' role to monitor the handling and transfer data throughout the government department.

The move was revealed this week in written parliamentary answers put to the Treasury, which is overseeing the implementation of recommendations from the Chancellor of the Exchequer to strengthen data security made last November after HMRC lost two discs containing the personal data of 25 million people.

In all, 37 data guardians have been appointed across each area of HMRC's business. Jane Kennedy, financial secretary to the Treasury and MP for Liverpool Wavertree confirmed that "guidance was provided on the competencies, experience and knowledge that the role would require".

She said 24 were based in London, with a further 11 based in offices in other regional locations. Notably, two have been appointed in Tyne and Wear, where the unencrypted disks first went missing.

"Support for the HMRC data guardians has included awareness events, written material and access to additional support and guidance of departmental security specialists," she added, along with the ongoing assessment of any ongoing training requirements, funded from within the department's budget.

In another response to a written request for details about data handling procedures, minister for disabled people and MP for Stirling Anne McGuire said that stronger arrangements are now in place in the wake of the child benefit data lost on the discs that were being sent to the National Audit Office.

"Rigorous courier arrangements and a requirement that physical transfers of data must have the specific authority of a member of the senior civil service [are in practice]," she said.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

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