Opinion Former Article

PCS: Union responds to data loss reports

Responding to today's publication of the Poynter review and the IPCC's report into the loss of child benefit data, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said:

"The Poynter and IPCC reports rightly conclude that the child benefit data loss cannot be blamed on an individual junior official as the government had claimed.
The government's belated recognition that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) staff, are hardworking and need clear procedures and guidelines from their senior managers, stands in stark contrast to the earlier attempt by the Chancellor to scapegoat an individual junior civil servant for the data loss.

"The government also need to recognise the impact of the rushed merger of the Inland Revenue and Customs which resulted in a lack of clarity over procedures, roles and responsibilities.

"With the government cutting 25,000 jobs in Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), closing over 200 offices and inflicting a 5% year on year budget cut by 2011, it is difficult to see how world class IT standards can be achieved without additional resources. Especially when the additional funding for IT security has to come out of existing budgets.

"The Poynter report rightly recommends that HMRC should not be driven by job cuts and savings and that resources should be put into closing the tax gap.

"PCS remains committed to working with the department in ensuring the security of data. However, if improvements in the security of IT are to be maintained and public trust is to be restored in HMRC, then the government need to provide extra resources and review its policy of cuts."

ENDS

Notes to editors

* For further information, interviews and comment please contact Alex Flynn PCS national press officer on 0207 8012820 or 07833 978216.

* PCS, the Public and Commercial Services Union is the union representing civil and public servants in central government. It has more than 315,000 members in over 200 departments and agencies. It also represents workers in parts of government transferred to the private sector. PCS is the UK's sixth largest union and is affiliated to the TUC. The general secretary is Mark Serwotka and the president Janice Godrich.

Alex Flynn
National Press Officer
Public and Commercial Services Union
160 Falcon Rd
London SW11 2LN

Direct line: 020 7801 2747
Mobile: 07833 978 216
Fax: 020 7924 1847

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