In November 2020, we were made aware of a data breach affecting hundreds of Bristol City Council residents. An email was sent out to the extensive recipient list containing the names and addresses of children who are disabled or with special educational needs. The email should have used the ‘blind carbon copy’ option, which would have hidden the vulnerable parties’ details from view, but this option was not selected when the email – asking people to take part in a consultation survey – was sent out.
Parents of the children were left ‘livid and upset’ following the breach. Bristol City Council has since apologised for the incident and asked those who received the email to delete it. The council has also acknowledged the breach in GDPR and have reported the incident to the ICO.
How do I know if my data has been breached by Bristol City Council?
The council director for children and families, Ann James, has apologised to those affected and asked everyone who received the email to delete it. Hundreds have reportedly received the email and were able to see the details of the full recipient list.
This is another example of a data breach occurring as a result of careless use of email, and appears to be the second breach of this type committed by Bristol City Council in the last two years. The Council has a duty to protect the personal information of all service users, and does not seem to have the processes and protections in place to effectively do that.
The Council has contacted the people affected to apologised and confirm that a breach of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has occurred and has been referred to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).
Who are we?
Fletchers Data Claims is a legal service provided by Fletchers Solicitors, a Top 100 UK Law Firm with over 30 years experience of fighting for consumer rights. If you have been the victim of a data breach then you may be entitled to claim for compensation for any losses or damage caused, as well as the distress that the incident has caused. The Fletchers Data Claims service is there to represent your interests and help you claim back the compensation you are entitled to either through an individual claim against the organisation that breached your data or in some cases, through representing you and others are part of a large group action (often called a ‘class action’).
How do I claim?
If your data was part of the Bristol City Council data breach then you may be entitled to compensation for the distress caused by the breach. Even if you are lucky and the breach did not result in any specific loss or damage, you are still rightly entitled by law to claim compensation for the distress caused by the incident. It is important that the council treat your data lawfully and with care and respect, and are held to account when they fail to do so.
In this case the information shared includes the names of disabled children, along with the email contact details of their parents or guardians, and it may be that both parents and children could bring cases against the council and received damages. In cases of this type the level damages awarded is based on the harm suffered by an individual, and can vary considerably depending on circumstances, but we expect these cases to be valued at around £2-3k.
All advice provided is free of charge and if we take your case on, we always work on a no win-no fee basis. That means if your claim following a data breach is not successful, you will not be charged a penny.