ICO requests NHS compulsory audit powers

UK data protection authority the Information Commissioner's Office has submitted a request to the Ministry of Justice to allow it to perform compulsory audits of the NHS and local government.The request to the Ministry of Justice was publicised on Tuesday, an Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) spokeswoman told ZDNet UK on Thursday, and was submitted on the 22 November.

UK data protection authority the Information Commissioner's Office has submitted a request to the Ministry of Justice to allow it to perform compulsory audits of the NHS and local government.

The request to the Ministry of Justice was publicised on Tuesday, an Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) spokeswoman told ZDNet UK on Thursday, and was submitted on the 22 November.

"In the two areas where the Information Commissioner would like to be able to use the assessment notice power — the NHS and local government — there are particularly significant and widespread data protection compliance concerns," said the business case.

The NHS suffered a series of data breaches in 2011, including the loss of a laptop that could have affected millions of patients. Local councils reported only 55 of 1,035 data losses between July 2008 and July 2011, campaign group Big Brother Watch said in November.

The ICO is in the process of putting together a business case for compulsory audit powers for the private sector, the ICO spokeswoman said. The request for more powers may be sector specific, or may cover the whole of the private sector, the spokeswoman added.