Jobcentre Plus Data Breach – Can I Claim Compensation?
This guide explores the steps you could take should a Jobcentre Plus data breach occur. You can learn more about what personal data is and the legislation in place to protect it.
There are certain steps a data controller and data processor need to take to protect your personal data. A data controller decides the purpose for processing your personal information and often processes it themselves. A data processor acts on behalf of the controller.
If they fail to adhere to data protection law that sets out their responsibilities, it could result in your personal data becoming compromised. As a result, you may suffer financial losses or a mental injury.
In some cases, you may be able to seek compensation for the impact the personal data breach has had on your life. We will explore when such claims may be justified.
In addition, we explore steps you could take following a personal data breach. You may have to change passwords, for example, or contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO upholds the rights and freedoms of data subjects and can take enforcement action against organisations that fail to adhere to data protection law.
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- What Could A Jobcentre Plus Data Breach Be?
- Has The Jobcentre Had A Data Breach?
- What Data Does A Jobcentre Plus Hold About Me?
- Could You Get Compensation For A Jobcentre Plus Data Breach?
- What Could You Claim If A Jobcentre Plus Data Breach Occurs?
- Can I Use No Win No Fee Solicitors For A Data Breach At A Jobcentre Plus?
A personal data breach is a security incident which compromises the availability, confidentiality, or integrity of your personal data. Personal data means any information that might be used to identify you.
Two key pieces of legislation guide the responsibilities a data controller and processor has to protect your personal data. These are the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.
This legislation holds data controllers and processors responsible should a breach occur due to their failure to comply with data protection laws. Additionally, it gives those affected by a personal data breach, the right to seek data breach compensation. We’ll explore this further in this guide.
Failure to adhere to data protection law could result in your personal information being compromised. As a result, you could be caused mental suffering or financial damage.
For example, a staff member may send a mass email without blind copying people’s email addresses. As a result, people may gain unauthorised access to your email address allowing them to directly identify you.
Should a Jobcentre Plus data breach occur that involves your personal data, contact our advisors for free legal advice.
Following a breach of personal information by a Jobcentre Plus employee in 2014, a claimant was approached by someone who had abused him in the past. As a result of this, the claimant moved across the country to avoid this person and suffered a major disruption to his life.
As a result of this, the Jobcentre made a payment to the claimant. This amount was then increased by £2,000 following an investigation by the Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman.
Should a Jobcentre Plus data breach occur, our advisors can discuss when you may be eligible to claim.
Personal data breaches can occur in many ways, resulting from incidences of human error such as lost or stolen paperwork or devices to cybercrime including malware and ransomware attacks. This could lead to your personal data being compromised.
Personal data is information that could be used to identify you. For example:
- Phone number
- Email address
- National insurance number
- Sort code and account number and other banking information.
Additionally, there is data that is considered more sensitive and in need of extra protection. This is known as special category data and can include:
- Information on a trade union membership
- Race and ethnicity data
- Biometric information
- Health data, such as your medical records.
Should a Jobcentre Plus data breach occur compromising your personal data, our team can discuss the steps you may wish to take.
Government Data Breach Statistics
The ICO is an independent body set up to help enforce data protection law. As part of their role, they monitor data security trends. The chart below shows reports for non-cyber incidents in the central government sector from Q4 of 2021/22.
Article 82 of the UK GDPR sets out personal data breach claim eligibility criteria. In order to claim, you must prove:
- An organisation did not comply with data protection legislation, resulting in a personal data breach.
- The failings of the organisation caused your personal data to become compromised.
- You experienced harm as a result. This could be financial losses or a mental injury, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If a personal data breach has put your rights or freedoms at risk, the organisation responsible must alert you as soon as possible. Furthermore, they must inform the ICO of the breach within 72 hours.
You may also have to take steps to protect your personal data following a breach. This could include changing passwords or cancelling credit cards.
To discuss a Jobcentre Plus data breach that involved your personal information, contact our advisors to discuss your next steps.
Personal data breach compensation has two potential heads. These are material damages and non-material damages. Material damages address the financial harm you suffered due to a personal data breach, whereas non-material damages cover the psychological harm you have experienced. This can include stress or anxiety following a personal data breach.
A precedent was set in how personal data breach compensation can be sought in the Court of Appeal for the Vidal-Hall and Others v. Google Inc. (2015) case. Previously, you could only claim for psychological harm if you had also suffered financial damage. Now, it is possible to make a claim for psychological harm independently of financial loss.
Legal professionals may use the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to potentially value your psychological injuries. This document contains a list of mental injuries alongside compensation brackets.
We’ve included examples of figures from the 16th edition of the JCG, published in April 2022, below. Please only use the figures as a guide because they will differ from what you’re actually awarded.
|Psychological harm||Severe (a)||£54,830 to £115,730||An inability to cope with life and relationships with a very poor prognosis.|
|Psychological harm||Moderately severe (b)||£19,070 to £54,830||Significant problems coping with life and relationships occur. The prognosis, however, is more optimistic than seen in cases of severe psychological harm.|
|Psychological harm||Moderate (c)||£5,860 to £19,070||Problems with life and relationships, however improvements have occurred and the prognosis is good.|
|Psychological harm||Less severe (d)||£1,540 to £5,860||Day-to-day activities and sleep are affected. The extent to which they are affected is considered when deciding the award.|
|PTSD||Severe (a)||£59,860 to £100,670||The person's ability to function in different areas of life does not return to the same level as before the trauma. This is permanent and impacts all areas of life.|
|PTSD||Moderately severe (b)||£23,150 to £59,860||Recovery may be possible with professional help and the person has a better prognosis.|
|PTSD||Moderate (c)||£8,180 to £23,150||The person will have mostly recovered with non-grossly disabling effects continuing.|
|PTSD||Less severe (d)||£3,950 to £8,180||A virtually full recovery takes place, but some minor symptoms may last beyond 1-2 years.|
Alternatively, our advisors can provide a free estimation of what your claim could be worth when you get in touch today.
Generally, you won’t be charged ongoing or upfront fees when using a solicitor representing your claim under a CFA. The awards of successful claims will have a success fee taken from them instead. However, unsuccessful claims won’t have to pay a success fee.
Should a Jobcentre Plus data breach occur, you can contact our team of advisors for free legal advice. If you would like advice on what steps you could take, you can:
Central And Local Government Data Breach Claim Resources
The following links could help you:
We have also included links to some of our other data breach guides:
- Employer Personal Data Breach Compensation Claims
- How To Report A Data Breach Incident
- Disciplinary Records Data Breach
- Solicitors Lost My Medical Records – Can I Claim?
- Sickness At Work Data Breach Compensation Claims
- UK GDPR Breach Compensation Claims
- Child Custody Data Breach Claims
- Estate Agent Data Breach Claims
Contact our advisors to learn more about the steps you could take should a Jobcentre Plus data breach occur.
Written by Brown
Edited by Mitchell/ Hampton