Watchdog warns Charnwood council after domestic abuse data leak

Plus Leicester Railway Station revamp, Colin Pitchfork's parole, and more.

Photo of Charnwood Borough Council building in Loughborough

In focus

Watchdog warns Charnwood council after domestic abuse data leak

by Rhys Everquill

The UK's data regulator has issued a reprimand to Charnwood Borough Council after it leaked the new address of a domestic abuse victim to her ex-partner. 

The council sent a letter detailing the victim's new address to her previous address, which she shared with her ex-partner. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and council later confirmed the ex-partner opened and read the letter. 

According to the ICO, the leak caused "significant distress" to the victim and threatened their safety. The investigation highlighted that the council's process for updating addresses was not straightforward and incorrectly communicated to the victim. There was no process for staff to follow when dealing with correspondence in cases of domestic abuse.

The censure also reveals Charnwood Borough Council failed to train staff in data protection in the 12 months before the incident. 

The ICO has called on other organisations to learn lessons from the incident to ensure they are not at risk of making the same mistake. The incident reinforces the call by the Information Commissioner earlier this year for organisations to handle personal information properly to avoid putting victims of domestic abuse at risk of further danger. 

"This mistake was caused by a lack of appropriate refresher training and the absence of a clear process. It led to significant distress and had the potential to put the victim in real danger," Natasha Longson, ICO Head of Investigations, said.

"Vulnerable people need to be able to trust public sector organisations to look after their most sensitive details. We hope other organisations can learn from what went wrong in this case and ensure they know what to do to stop it happening at their organisation".

A Charnwood Borough Council spokesperson said: "We would like to sincerely apologise for the upset and distress caused by this incident.

"We fully recognise the need to handle data carefully, particularly in cases where a vulnerability has been identified.

"We accept the decision and recommendations of the ICO and welcome its acknowledgement that action has been swiftly taken by the council.

"Since this incident, we have given further training about managing data to staff and added data protection as a standard item to team meetings and staff one-to-ones.

"We are also introducing an alert system to our processes and changing our systems to include a letter creation feature with automatic correspondence address population. We are also reviewing our letter templates to reiterate the requirement for customers to update online applications following a change of address.

"Once again, we are very sorry for this error and the distress caused. We are working hard to try and ensure that something like this does not happen again".

Weather forecast

by Phil Morrish

🌬️ 🌧️ Monday, 11 December: A mild and windy start, with winds up to 30mph – but expect this to calm down this afternoon. It will stay predominantly dry with just a few afternoon showers. Temperatures will peak in the afternoon with some sunny intervals at times. A dry evening. Max: 9C | Min: 6C

🌧️ Tuesday, 12 December: A cloudy start with showery and heavy rain throughout the day. A few sunny intervals. Dry overnight. Max: 10C | Min: 6C.

🌧️ Wednesday, 13 December: A cooler day. It will stay predominantly cloudy with a bit of rain at times. A brisk north breeze gusting to 25mph will make it feel cold. A cloudy, dry night. Max: 9C | Min: 6C.

❄️ Thursday, 14 December: Slight frost. There will be a few clouds and some brighter intervals. Moderate westerly breeze. It is largely dry, with odd showers. Max: 7C | Min: 2C.

⛅ Friday, 15 December: A cloudy start. Some bright and sunny intervals will develop throughout the day. A few showers are possible, but most of us will stay dry. A moderate west breeze gusting to 20mph. Max: 7C | Min: 2C.

⛅ Weekend, 16-17 December: High pressure will increase with a moderate 20mph breeze from the south-west. Mostly cloudy. Mild on both days with average nights, too. Max: 10C | Min: 8C

In the news

by Rhys Everquill

  • Parcel Yard. Planning officers can demolish the pub next door to Leicester Railway Station, councillors have ruled. Read more
  • Horsefair House. After a successful planning application, developers can convert the Leicester office block to 40 flats. Read more
  • Colin Pitchfork. The parole board has ruled double child murderer and rapist Colin Pitchfork will not be released from prison. Read more
  • New Walk. Urgent work is underway to remove a small group of trees risking a railway bridge's structural integrity on Leicester's historic New Walk. Read more
  • Waste collection. Due to the Christmas bank holidays, Leicester City Council will change its regular waste and recycling collection days. Read more
  • General Election. The Gazette has won grant funding for general election coverage in Leicester. Read more
  • Grand Hotel. The council is restoring the building's historic street-level shopfronts and entrances to their original designs. Read more
  • Local audit. Urgent reforms are needed for local authority audits as Leicester City Council faces financial turmoil, risking bankruptcy. Read more
Local audit crisis deepens after council bankruptcy warning
Urgent reforms are needed for local authority audits as Leicester City Council faces financial turmoil, risking bankruptcy.

What's On

by Leah Everquill

🚨 – Last chance
💷 – Entry fee
🆓 – Free of charge

If you fancy some music, pop down to 2Funky Music Café for an evening of performances from artists from various Black music styles. Caribbean food will be available to buy on the night! Tickets are £5.

A production of A Christmas Carol, adapted by Kirsty Mealing, is being performed at Attenborough Arts Centre. The interesting part? None of the cast rehearses with each other until the first performance. Bah, humbug! Tickets are Pay What You Can.

The Big Difference is hosting an evening of laughs from comedians of Asian descent. Tickets are £7.50.

Head to Curve for their family Christmas show of 2023. Expect music, festivities, and, of course, owls. Hoot hoot! Suitable for children from the age of three.

Ever wondered what Leicester used to look like? Leicester Museum & Art Gallery has an exhibition showcasing fabulous photographs and art pieces of the city.

Calling all rugby fans – you can head to the Tigers Stadium for a behind-the-scenes tour. Get your tickets quickly, or there might be a scrum-ble! Tickets £8 or £10.

On the market

by Rhys Everquill

This Victorian home on Hinckley Road has been renovated and extended to provide over 2,500 sq ft of living space. It boasts a wealth of character and charm while featuring a modern kitchen and living space.

Price: Â£625,000

Check out this 4 bedroom house for sale on Rightmove
4 bedroom house for sale in Hinckley Road, Leicester, LE3 for £625,000. Marketed by Alexanders, East Midlands

Letters to the Editors

Email with your views and opinions to feature on the website and in this newsletter. Please include your name in the email.

Letter: End the two-child limit to benefit payments
“It is concerning to me that UK children are growing up in homes where they go without meals, appropriate clothing or heating”.

Sports highlights

by Rhys Everquill

  • Rugby. Leicester Tigers assistant coach Rochelle 'Rocky' Clark MBE has left the club to concentrate on her broadcasting and media career. Read more
  • Basketball. Secure your seats for the 23/24 BBL Season to watch Leicester Riders take on Caledonia Gladiators at the Morningside Arena this Friday. Read more
  • Football. Patson Daka and Harry Souttar's futures at Leicester City FC are in doubt as they have few opportunities to play. Read more


by Megan Lupton

Leicester's high street in the summer of 1950, including the store Swear and Wells on the left-hand side.

Leicester's high street in the summer of 1950, including the store Swear and Wells on the left-hand side.

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