Hundreds of HMRC staff get discipline for spying on personal data

Treasury Financial Secretary Jane Kennedy reported that more than 600 employees at at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have been disciplined in the past three years for accessing sensitive and confidential information.

Responding to a Common's request for information by the shadow home affairs spokesman, James Brokenshire, Ms Kennedy said that in a significant portion of the cases, the staff was fired.

This accounted for less than one percent of HMRC employees.

Kennedy added that the Revenue and Customs department has a "strict policy forbidding staff to access customer records unless they have a legitimate business need".

"Breaches of this policy are taken seriously and will result in the commencement of disciplinary proceedings," she said in a written statement. "Each case is treated on its merits but, in many cases, the disciplinary penalty for breach is dismissal."

ITPro reports that no HM Treasury staff has been disciplined or dismissed after the HMRC debacle at the end of 2007 which saw millions of records lost during an inter-departmental transit.