Poynter refuses to name names

The interim report into the child benefit data loss by HM Revenue &
Customs has stopped short of naming the individuals responsible for the loss of
25 million people’s personal data.

The report, compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers chairman Kieran Poynter, is
only six pages long. Poynter said he could not name individuals as this could
prejudice investigations by the Metropolitan Police and the Information

‘My work is far from complete and my conclusions will develop as the work
progresses,’ Poynter said in the interim report’s covering letter.

Poynter also said that there was ‘no evidence’ to suggest Darling’s initial
statement on the cataclysmic data loss had been inaccurate.

It was suggested by the Tories that Darling had not given a full account of
how the data went missing when the loss was first announced in Parliament.

The PwC boss challenged the view that a senior HMRC official had been aware
of the process leading up to the data loss

This matter arose when the National Audit Office, the recipient of the data,
published a series of email sent between itself and HMRC. The correspondence
showed that a senior official had been sent emails on the decision to send the
data on two disks via unregistered mail.

Poynter, however, said: ‘I am aware that an email dated 13 March 2007 has
been published indicating that a senior manager in HMRC had knowledge of a
request for access to Child Benefit data in March 2007, by virtue of being a
copy recipient of that email.

‘The email was sent at an early stage in the chain of events, before any
final decisions about the mechanisms for delivering the data and the extent of
the data to be provided had been made. That email on its own does not prove that
the official actually took a decision in relation to the manner in which HMRC
should have responded to the request for data.’

Further reading:

Poynter’s interim report here

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