Thursday, 17 January 2013

#QuackCWaC Another Data Cock Up!

A COMPUTER expert alerted Cheshire West and Chester Council to thousands of questionable data entries on its website including the disclosure of confidential details of vulnerable children.

John Murray, of Handbridge, raised alarm bells over the Open Data section of the council website which records all spending transactions of more than £500 in line with government best practice.

A data analyst by profession, Mr Murray was  accumulating spending data for a number of authorities, including Cheshire West, when he noticed an inconsistent approach to removing the details of certain suppliers.

He said: “There were 4,206 such transactions where the same supplier ID had been redacted in other records. The majority of these are payments to organisations.

“However I also observed unredacted payee names including 188 direct payments to adult social care clients and/or their carers, 15 payments for adult day and respite care, 113 payments to foster carers, 11 payments to disabled children and their carers and 37 adoption allowance payments."

Read the full story from the source Chester Chronicle

My comment: The council should have immediately reported such a serious breach to the Information Commissioner. However it was a further 2 weeks before they removed the sensitive data from their website but still hadn't reported it to the Information Commissioner, Getting rid of the evidence first?

Read CWaC spokesperson's comments on the data breach at the end of the Chronicle article for an example of how they spin reality.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

#QuackCWaC Credit Card Probe

'HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds of taxpayers money has been spent using Cheshire West and Chester Council credit cards without proper checks being carried out.

An internal audit has revealed “significant weaknesses” in the way Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) controls how the cards are used by staff.

Auditors said the weaknesses meant there was potential for the cards to be used for fraud.

They found that 41 per cent of transactions worth £374,000 had not been approved by managers, 21 per cent totalling £163,000 had not been reviewed by card holders and 21 card holders no longer worked for the council.'

Read the full story from the source Chester First

My comment: This is very worrying, firstly, how can a council responsible for spending taxpayer's money be so lax when it comes to financial control. Secondly, is #QuackCWaC just as lax in other areas?

If credit card spending is not being being monitored how an earth do we know what #QuackCWaC staff and members are spending taxpayer's money on?  

Some earlier posts of mine on the subject of credit card spending.

28 MAY 2011  CWaC Council spending on Credit Cards

31 MAY 2011 Old credit card habits die hard

24 JUNE 2011 CWaC Council spending on Credit Cards UPDATED 13/07/11