Islington Council sent details of complainers to offenders on estate
Residents consider legal action after data blunder
Tenants who complained about anti-social behaviour on their estate are considering legal action against their London landlord after their personal details were passed to the 10 ASB offenders.
Islington Council had asked tenants to report nuisance behaviour on the Andover estate in Holloway after persistent problems with loud music, drug use and verbal abuse into the night.
The council secured injunctions against 10 individuals found to be causing the problems, but when it sent them the relevant paperwork it mistakenly included the personal details of 51 residents who had complained about them.
The council has been forced to draft in 24-hour police patrols and six families have asked to be moved from the estate over fears of reprisals from the offenders.
Terry Stacy, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group in the borough, has called for a public inquiry into the blunder and is in talks with residents about launching legal action on the grounds the council could be found to be in breach of the Data Protection Act.
He also claimed he had evidence that everyone who reported ASB to the council in March has also had their personal details leaked, so hundreds more residents could be affected. The council denied this was the case.
‘This is a totally shocking breach of data protection by Islington’s Labour council. Hundreds of residents’ lives are now potentially at risk,’ Mr Stacy said. ‘This is a blunder of epic proportions and heads should roll. It has dealt a fatal blow to resident confidence in the council.’
Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat candidate for London mayor, waded into the row earlier this week, branding it ‘staggering incompetence’ from the Labour council.
Louise Round, corporate director of resources at Islington Council, apologised for distress caused to residents: ‘An internal investigation will ascertain precisely how this incident occurred. We will also ask an independent professional to review procedures in our legal team and recommend any necessary improvements to our systems. Our resulting action plan will be sent to the information commissioner,’ she added.
According to the council, no serious ASB incidents have been reported on the estate since the error, and none of the individuals under injunction have been seen on the estate.