Let’s talk about something that’s been making waves lately: data breaches in UK councils. According to a recent investigation by Data Breach Claims, there’s been a noticeable rise in cyber-attacks hitting these local government bodies.


What’s New?

Eleanor Coleman, a data breach expert at DBC, is ringing the alarm bells, saying, “The surge in data breaches among UK councils is cause for concern. We’re crossing our fingers that these organizations are stepping up their security game to safeguard people’s personal info.”

As we all know, councils are responsible for handling loads of personal data, all while being in line with GDPR. But despite these rules, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) reports a whopping 24% spike in cyber attacks on local government systems from 2022 to 2023.

And that’s not all, personal data breaches reported by local governments have shot up a staggering 58% in the same period. Yikes!

Now, these breaches aren’t just about some emails gone astray or paperwork mishaps. They have real consequences, potentially causing great  mental and financial stress to people, and families.


The stats

Guess who’s leading in data breach pay-outs? Coventry Council takes the crown with a hefty £92K payout, closely followed by North Tyneside Council at £65K. Meanwhile, Doncaster Council seems to be having a rough time, reporting a whopping 282 data breach incidents over the last three years, with the numbers climbing each year.

Between 2021 and 2022, they clocked in 94 incidents, and the following year saw 74 more. And the hits just keep on coming, with 114 incidents logged between 2023 and March 2024.


What’s being done about these Data Breaches?!

Doncaster Council have confirmed that they are shelling out £15,000 in compensation for data breach claims since 2021.

Scott Fawcus, from City of Doncaster Council, assures us they’re not taking this lightly. They’ve got their staff trained up on data protection and a fortress of policies and procedures in place to comply with GDPR and the Data Protection Act. Still, he acknowledges that while every breach is regrettable, in the grand scheme of things, they’re dealing with a relatively small number of slip-ups considering the thousands of interactions the council juggles daily.

As for the other councils, most haven’t given a statement yet, but hopefully we can expect to see something similar here, with compensation being offered to victims.

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