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Chancellor’s Statement on HMRC Data Loss and Acting Chairman’s Comment

The Chancellor, Alistair Darling, has today Wednesday 25th June, made a statement to Parliament on the Poynter Review into the loss of the child benefit data discs, and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report into the circumstances surrounding the data loss.

The full statement can be viewed on the HM Treasury website:

Following publication of the report, HMRC’s Acting Chairman, Dave Hartnett, has written to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (FST), Jane Kennedy. In the letter, he said:

HMRC is absolutely committed to delivering all of their recommendations and to ensuring data security remains an explicit priority in the future.

Since the incident HMRC has significantly strengthened data security.

While the IPCC found no evidence whatsoever of misconduct or criminality by any member of HMRC, the two reports make it clear that the data loss was avoidable and a result of serious failings within HMRC. In short, it should never have happened.

Immediately following the data loss, both HMRC and the police carried out extensive searches in an attempt to locate the missing data. While the data has not been found I can confirm that there is no evidence of any fraudulent activity as a result of this loss.

The progress made by HMRC since the data loss occurred is acknowledged by Mr Poynter. He notes that of his 45 recommendations, which are designed to ensure HMRC achieves the highest standards of data security, HMRC has made good progress on 39, including 13 which have been implemented. He also notes that the issues that led directly to the data loss have now been addressed.

Poynter Review

The Poynter Review can be downloaded from the HM Treasury website.

IPCC Report

The IPCC report can be downloaded from the IPCC website.