Oxford City Council apologises for potential data breach – Oxford Mail

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Oxford City Council appologieses over data breach.

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Oxford City Council appologieses over data breach.

OXFORD City Council have apologised to residents after a ‘computer error’ caused a potential data breach over rent statements.

The apology comes after locals raised the alarm of the potential breach after they recieved the wrong rent statement in the post.

One resident said: “I received a letter that was addressed to my address but not with my name.

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“I mistakenly did not read the name just opened it and it was a ‘Statement of Main Rent Account’. 

“It had another person name on it, their reference, their payments and dates, and their addresses.”

The resident said they rang the council office, who took all the details, and confirmed that ‘they were aware that there is a problem’.

The issue is said to have occurred after a new computer system that supports services the council's landlord services to its 7,800 council homes was installed.

The council subsequently asked the resident to destroy the letter and confirm he had not shown it to anyone.

Currently, the council believes around 80 homes have been affected, however, are looking to verify the number.

Caroline Green, CEO of Oxford City Council, said the problem occurred last week after quarterly rent statements were sent out.

Errors in the system meant data being transferred from the old system to the new one resulted in ‘a small proportion’ of the rent statements being sent to the wrong address.

Read also: Oxford named one of least affordable cities in UK

The council said it is currently taking ‘immediate steps’ to rectify any errors, with staff manually overriding the system to check statements, while working to resolve the underlying data issue.

Ms Green added: “Because this error is a potential breach of the Data Protection Act, the Council has reported the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to investigate.

"The ICO is an independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy.”

“The new system replaces legacy systems that were approaching the end of their useful life.

“Combining these into a single efficient platform will – once these issues are resolved – offer tenants improved reporting and access to information on rent accounts, repairs, on-line applications and two-way communications with Council and ODS staff through a dedicated customer portal.”

The council has written to tenants affected, to offer apologies for any concerns or inconveniences the error caused.

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