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Report into Historical Institutional Abuse Interim Advocate’s Office data breach published

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The Executive Office has today published the investigation report into the data breach which occurred in the Historical Institutional Abuse Interim Advocate’s Office on 22 May 2020.

The data breach occurred while staff from the Interim Advocate’s office were issuing the Interim Advocate’s newsletter. The recipients were visible to all who received the e-mail. It was a deeply regrettable incident which had a significant impact on victims and survivors.

The Group Internal Audit and Fraud Investigation Service was tasked by The Executive Office to carry out an independent investigation into the incident. The aim of the investigation was to establish the circumstances which led to the release of the e-mail addresses and make recommendations to address any system weaknesses that were identified during the investigation.

The investigation concluded that the data breach was attributable to procedural error. A total of nine recommendations have been made to prevent a reoccurrence of this incident and to improve data protection and information management arrangements within the Interim Advocate’s Office. These are being taken forward as a matter of urgency by TEO.

The availability of independent support for those affected by the breach was put in place following the incident, and remains available.

The full report can be accessed on The Executive Office’s website at: www.executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk/publications/data-breach-investigation-office-hia-interim-advocate

The matter has been notified to the Information Commissioner’s Office, which will conduct its own investigation separately.

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