Department for Work and Pensions 'leaked sensitive jobs data', UK Statistics Authority says

The UK Statistics Authority warned that leaks can damage the reputation of the system

The Department for Work and Pensions has come under fire from the UK Statistics Authority for leaking data on the jobs market.

Ed Humpherson, head of assessment at the UK Statistics Authority, wrote to the DWP to warn that leaks can damage the reputation of the system. 

"The Authority is deeply concerned about the impact that breaches (and apparent breaches) relating to the unauthorised, widespread sharing of statistics before their publication may have on the trustworthiness of the UK’s official statistics system," the letter read. 

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Labour Market Statistics published on Wednesday were shared ahead of their official release, the letter states. Up to 300 people saw the number on a social media network by someone who was "not approved to have pre-release access to the statistics".

Jobs data is considered sensitive because it acts as a barometer for the UK economy and can be a factor in whether the Bank of England decides to change interest rates. 

Currency and stock market prices are not unusual after a release. On Wednesday the pound ticked up slightly on the news that UK unemployment was at lows not seen since 2006.

"I would welcome your assurance that you will review – and improve where necessary – the processes relating to the handling of pre-release access within your department to ensure that such an occurrence cannot and will not happen again," Mr Humperson said.

 

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