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Confidential information on show
A MAN has told the Hillingdon Times how he was able to clearly see confidential information about vulnerable people through a window at Hillingdon Council.
The father-of-two said he was walking past the Social Services department at the Civic Centre when he saw the information.
The Uxbridge resident, who asked not to be named, said: “I was delivering a letter to the Civic Centre and as I walked past some windows I noticed it was quite messy and that’s what caught my eye.
“It wasn’t as if I went there purposely to look. It is open for anyone to walk past and anyone could have seen it.
“I could see clearly in through the window. There were no blinds or anything shielding the view through the window.”
The pictures were taken from a camera phone and names, date of births and transcripts of conversations can be seen in them.
He added: “After I thought about it, I thought it might have just been a one-off so I went back the next weekend with my friend and it was the same.
“This is information about vulnerable people which was on show. It could have been a peadophile who had seen it and tracked the kids down.
“The issue is that they are left lying around and not locked away. Who is going to get told about, are the staff going to start clearing them away?
“You have trust in these people and think of them as a responsible authority, but this is the way they treat confidential information.
“You would be mortified if you walked past there and saw that there was a psychiatric report being done on someone you know. It is not information that should be in the public domain.”
Fran Beasley, deputy chief executive, said: “I would like to reassure residents that we have taken immediate action to ensure such an incident does not happen again.
"We take such matters extremely seriously and have completed a thorough investigation into this incident and taken immediate steps to move any personal documents away from windows. In addition, we are also installing reflective film on all relevant ground floor windows to prevent anyone from looking through into private offices.
“Staff have been reminded about their duty to take care of files and documents so that they are stored securely.
“As parts of our building are open to residents and information such as planning applications are made freely available, it is important that we balance the needs of our residents with any additional security measures that we put in place.”