Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Wednesday, 2 April 2008 16:33 UK

Security fears over fraud report

By Ross Hawkins
Political reporter, BBC Radio 5 Live

Department for Work and Pensions
The DWP admits it accidentally released the wrong report

Confidential information about security lapses in a council's benefits section has been released - with passages that might help fraudsters highlighted.

The Department for Work and Pensions published the report by benefit fraud inspectors on a public website.

Paragraphs revealing "significant weaknesses" in Luton Borough Council's systems should have been deleted before publication - but they were not.

The DWP admits it released the wrong report and it has now been removed.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Chris Grayling said: "The government seems to be stumbling from disaster to disaster on personal information."

'Significant weaknesses'

The full, unedited document, published in March by the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate, specifically warns that parts of it are particularly sensitive.

Its second page says: "Highlighted parts of this report are omitted from the published version as they may assist fraudsters or may contain confidential commercial information."

Although a paragraph which should have been removed due to the sensitive information it contained was left in the report, the council took immediate action to address the security issues identified to ensure the information is not of use to fraudsters
Department for Work and Pensions

Text revealing how the council deals with cheques and sensitive post is highlighted, but has not been removed.

The report says it reveals "significant weaknesses" in the councils systems.

The council says it has put right its security problems to make sure the information cannot be used by fraudsters.

A DWP spokeswoman said: "The report was made available to Parliament and it was published on their website.

"Although a paragraph which should have been removed due to the sensitive information it contained was left in the report, the council took immediate action to address the security issues identified to ensure the information is not of use to fraudsters.

"The report has now been removed from the public website."




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