Council plans to step up security are revealed - in a leaked document

A leaked document has revealed council plans to step up the security and privacy of its official papers.

Thursday, 10th March 2016, 4:53 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th March 2016, 4:56 pm
MK Council

Councillors using their personal emails to access private documents has prompted a radical rule change over fears of a data security breach.

Despite councillors being bought a £400 ipad to access emails remotely, some choose to forward them on to their private email account to read them from there.

But from March 31, councillors have been told that continuing this could expose the council to “potentially significant fines” if there was an investigation.

In a note to all councillors, council director Tim Hannam said this could result in “reputational damage”.

He added: “The previous practice of auto-forward started when there was a lack of suitable IT solutions to allow councillors to remotely access their email accounts, so a pragmatic risk-based approach was taken to allow auto-forwarding.

“However, over time, it is clear there are growing risks to the integrity of the Council’s data and it is more difficult to maintain effective controls over its management to the extent that we cannot support a continuation of this practice.”

The move has been criticised by some veteran councillors who say they don’t want to use “various gadgets” to keep up to date with their council work.

Ahead of the rule change, new technology has been introduced to help give councillors remote access to council data through proper channels.

This includes installing a new application onto the councillors’ personal PC, laptop or mobile device.

Mr Hannam added: “It’s recognised that for some councillors, this will require a change in the way they deal with email correspondence, but I hope that the range of alternatives provided helps with making the change as easy as possible.”