No further action for Scottish Borders Council over file disposal matter

SBC Headquarters
SBC Headquarters

No new enforcement notice will be served on Scottish Borders Council over the incorrect disposal of files.

The tribunal, which had earlier allowed the council’s appeal against a £250,000 fine issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), ruled on Thursday that no further action was needed.

The decision notice states: “Negotiations between the parties concerning Scottish Borders’ procedures in relation to data protection have resulted in agreement that there is no need to issue an enforcement notice.

“The appeal is allowed and the monetary penalty notice is cancelled.

“The reasons for this decision are contained in the tribunal’s earlier ruling on the preliminary issue of liability.”

The council has been in discussions with the ICO over the steps it has taken since the fine was issued to improve data protection and disposal of files.

It is believed that this satisfied the ICO that no further steps were needed, and the tribunal’s decision notice has formalised this.

The initial appeal decision was issued in July, following last September’s fine.

At that time council leader David Parker welcomed the result and criticised the ICO for the fine.

He said: “To issue such a high monetary penalty on a public authority in this economic climate was excessive, especially when the breach was self-reported and officers took all appropriate steps on the discovery of this incident and co-operated fully with the ICO at all times.

“Data and information security is a priority at SBC - and I am confident that the work taking place across the council to address any issues will be acknowledged appropriately in the future.”

The council spent over £18,000 on the appeal.