A report released by the privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch reveals the scale of data breaches by local councils, including personal information being lost, stolen or used inappropriately.
In a table of the local authorities with the largest number of data breaches between April 2011 and April 2014, Sandwell was 2nd, Telford and Wrekin 3rd and Wolverhampton 9th.
In one case a social worker left papers containing classified records about children and information linked to sex offenders on a train.
Another saw a CCTV operator use cameras to watch a colleague's wedding.
In the past three years local authorities recorded a total of 4,236 data breaches - a rate of almost four every day.
Key findings of the report (from 2011 - 2014):
- 401 instances of data loss
- 628 instances of incorrect or inappropriate data being shared on emails, letters or faxes
- 5,293 letters sent to the wrong address
- On 658 occasions, children's information was involved
- 39 resignations
- 50 dismissals
Based on the report's findings, Big Brother Watch have proposed a number of policy recommendations which would prevent and deter breaches rom occurring.
These include the introduction of custodial sentences for serious data breaches and data protection training.