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InfoLawUpdate - Disclosure and Barring Service error leads to sensitive information being disclosed

Burnetts' information law solicitor Natalie Ruane examines a case where the Disclosure and Barring Service was found in breach of the Data Protection Act.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has found that the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has been in breach of the Data Protection Act after they failed to stop the collection of minor criminal convictions that are no longer required for employment checks.

As a result of a change to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, implemented on 29 May 2013, those making applications to the DBS will not need to disclose minor and historic offences.

The error occurred after the DBS failed to update its application form and continued to include the question ‘Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offence or received a caution, reprimand or warning?’ This error was ultimately misleading to applicants.

The DBS has since signed an undertaking committing the organisation to improving its methods in looking after personal information. In addition, the organisation is reviewing and updating its guidance to all applicants. Lastly, and most importantly, the DBS have updated the application form to ensure that the DBS complies with the amended Rehabilitation of Offenders Act!

About the author

Natalie Ruane profile photo

Natalie Ruane

Natalie is a Partner and leads the Employment Law & HR team and specialises in education.

Published: Friday 9th May 2014
Categorised: Information Law

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