Previous Section Index Home Page

13 Dec 2007 : Column 811W—continued


13 Dec 2007 : Column 812W

On 20 November, the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC’s data handling procedures to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, the chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Mr. Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate HM Revenue and Customs made of the cost of de-sensitising the data held on the Child Benefit database prior to its transfer to the National Audit Office in March 2007. [168936]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 27 November 2007]: I refer the hon. Member to the statement given in the House by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 20 November 2007, Official Report, columns 1101-04.

On 20 November the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC’s data handling procedures to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers, will investigate HMRC’s security processes and procedures for data handling.

The full terms of reference for that review are available on the HM Treasury website at:

and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what process an IT operator could have extracted data from the HM Revenue and Customs child benefit database in the form requested by the National Audit Office. [169002]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 28 November 2007]: I refer the hon. Member to the statement given in the House by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 20 November 2007 Official Report, columns 1101-04.

On 20 November, the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC’s data handling procedures to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The full terms of reference for that review are available on the HM Treasury website at:

and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what personal data in relation to child benefit awards were provided to KPMG as part of the National Audit Office’s 2006-07 resource accounts audit for HM Revenue and Customs. [169050]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 28 November 2007]: This is a matter for the National Audit Office and the hon. Member may wish to write to the Comptroller and Auditor General about it.

Anne Main: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he plans to take to help alleviate concerns of child benefit recipients whose data were lost by HM Revenue and Customs on possible use of the data by third parties to establish contact with minors. [169261]


13 Dec 2007 : Column 813W

Jane Kennedy: My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in his original statement to the House of Commons on the data loss issue, 20 November 2007, Official Report, columns 1101-04, that police continue to have no reason to believe that the data have fallen into the wrong hands. The Acting Chairman of HMRC has also written to all customers affected to reassure those affected. The Government are continuing to discuss the broader implications of the incident with a range of organisations, and has considered appropriate steps to manage any risks resulting from the unlikely event that these data fall into the wrong hands.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what occasions discs containing personal data were lost by HM Revenue and Customs and its predecessors in each year since 1997; and whether in each case the data were (a) subsequently found and (b) considered (i) lost and (ii) stolen. [169422]

Jane Kennedy: On 20 November the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC’s data handling procedures to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, the Chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers. The full terms of reference for that review are available on the HM Treasury website at http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/newsroom_and_speeches/press/2007/press_133_07.cfm and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families in Wales had their data downloaded onto the discs that have gone missing from HM Revenue and Customs. [170577]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 3 December 2007]: The missing information contains details of all child benefit recipients: including those in Wales.

Information on families receiving child benefit at 31 August 2006 nationally and by country are published as part of National Statistics and can be found in table 1 of Child Benefit Statistics Geographical Analysis which are available on HMRC’s website at:

Jim Cousins: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what extra security measures have been put in place as a result of the recent loss of data sent between HM Revenue and Customs and Standard Life; what review of procedures was undertaken at HM Revenue and Customs following the loss of data in transit; what recommendations were made; what steps were taken; and if he will make a statement. [171493]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 6 December 2007]: On 20 November 2007 the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC’s data handling procedures to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, the Chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The full terms of reference for that review are available on the HM Treasury website at:

and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.


13 Dec 2007 : Column 814W

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether HM Revenue and Customs data consisting of (a) names and addresses of tax credit and child benefit claimants, (b) bank account details of such claimants and (c) a combination of names and addresses and bank account details are given a protective marking in accordance with the manual of protective security. [172044]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 6 December 2007]: On 20 November, the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC’s data handling procedures to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, the chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The full terms of reference for that review are available on the HM Treasury website at:

and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many occasions data from the child benefit database have been posted to recipients outside HM Revenue and Customs in the last 12 months. [173369]

Jane Kennedy: On 20 November the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC's data handling procedures to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, the chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The full terms of reference for that review are available on the HM Treasury website at:

and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the statement of 20 November 2007, Official Report, columns 1110-18, on HM Revenue and Customs, how many HM Revenue and Customs staff have been interviewed regarding the two missing discs. [173429]

Jane Kennedy: The location of the missing data discs is the subject of an ongoing police investigation and it is not appropriate to comment on any aspect of their inquiries.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the statement of 20 November 2007, Official Report, columns 1110-18, on HM Revenue and Customs, how many discrete physical searches for the two missing discs were conducted (a) between 10 November and 14 November inclusive and (b) after 14 November; what premises and facilities these covered; and how many personnel were deployed. [173430]

Jane Kennedy: The search for the missing data disks is the subject of an ongoing police investigation and it is not appropriate to comment on issues which might form part of that investigation

Child Benefit: Telephone Services

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff worked on HM Revenue and Custom's Child Benefit Helpline on each day since 1 October 2007. [173355]


13 Dec 2007 : Column 815W

Jane Kennedy: The answer is not available in the format requested. However during the period 1 November 2006 to 31 October 2007 it is estimated that an average of around 380 full time equivalent staff were employed as advisers on the child benefit helpline. HMRC keeps the demand on the child benefit helpline under constant review and has the flexibility to adjust resource as and when needed.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many calls were handled by the Child Benefit Helpline on each day between 22 November and 6 December 2007 inclusive. [173428]

Jane Kennedy: The following table provides HMRC's best current estimate of calls handled by the Child Benefit Helpline on each day from 22 November until 6 December 2007 inclusively.

Date Calls handled

22 November 2007

21,080

23 November 2007

14,786

24 November 2007

4,742

25 November 2007

1,301

26 November 2007

25,041

27 November 007

24,873

28 November 2007

19,479

29 November 2007

19,722

30 November 2007

18,031

1 December 2007

4,838

2 December 2007

1,472

3 December 2007

23,628

4 December 2007

25,551

5 December 2007

18,888

6 December 2007

16,185


Christmas

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it is his Department’s policy to use (a) incandescent light bulbs and (b) LED lights for festive decorations on departmental premises. [173493]

Angela Eagle: LED lights are used on the Christmas tree supplied by the PFI provider in 1HGR.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his Department’s policy is on the selection of (a) real and (b) artificial Christmas trees for his Department’s festive decorations; and how real trees are disposed of. [173511]

Angela Eagle: A real Christmas tree is supplied by the PFI provider for 1 Horse Guards Road. The tree will be removed subsequently and chipped and the material then used on flower beds.

Data Protection

Mr. Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what additional training has been provided in the last two weeks to the staff of HM Revenue and Customs on the safe handling of data to counteract identity theft and other data breaches. [171372]


13 Dec 2007 : Column 816W

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 6 December 2007]: On 13 November, HMRC initiated immediate increased security.

I refer the hon. Member to my remarks to the House, on 28 November 2007, Official Report, column 344, which set out the three key steps HMRC staff must now follow before transmitting bulk data.

On 20 November, the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC’s data handling procedures to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers, will investigate HMRC’s security processes and procedures for data handling.

The full terms of reference for that review are available on the HM Treasury website at:

and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

The review will cover the steps that should be taken to ensure any further measures are adhered to consistently by all staff.

Departmental Data Protection

Keith Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what procedures are in place in his Department to ensure that personal information relating to members of the public is (a) stored and (b) transported securely. [168459]

Jane Kennedy: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by right hon. friend the Prime Minister on 21 November 2007, Official Report, column 1179. The review by the Cabinet Secretary and security experts is looking at procedures within Departments and agencies for the storage and use of data. A statement on Departments' procedures will be made on completion of the review.

On 13 November HMRC initiated immediate increased security with a new process:

Where directors decide that a data transfer by disc is unavoidable such media must, in every case, be securely encrypted at the appropriate level.

On 20 November the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC's data handling procedures to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, the chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many discs containing personal data were lost in total by HM Revenue and Customs and its predecessors in the latest year for which figures are available. [168941]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 27 November 2007]: On 20 November the Chancellor announced an independent review of HMRC’s data handling procedures to be conducted by Kieran Poynter, the chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers.


13 Dec 2007 : Column 817W

The full terms of reference for that review are available on the HM Treasury website at


Next Section Index Home Page