Statistics and Registration Services Act 2007 (Disclosure of Social Security Information) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012
Executive Committee Business
Sammy Wilson (DUP)
The Member interrupted me; I had only got to the first point that I want to make. I have made the point that no identifiable information will be made public. We will seek to ensure that through a number of other steps, because there will be a strict adherence to the statistics code of practice, which should help to ensure that no information about an identifiable person is made public. The data will be stored in a dedicated facility to which only nominated users will have access. All users will be subject to relevant security checks. There will also be strong penalties for any unlawful disclosure of information, which can go right up to a term of imprisonment of up to two years. At all times, the storage and use of data will be subject to the Data Protection Act 1998. People who will be using the data will be trained so that they know their obligations about keeping data secure, disclosure of data, and so on. All those steps will be in place.
Can I give an assurance that some person at some stage may not take a chance and breach all those rules? In any human situation, one cannot give a guarantee. All I can say is that every possible step will be taken, from training to setting down clear rules to imposing sanctions against individuals who break the rules. All those steps have been and will be taken to ensure that data is as secure as possible. I hope that that at least assures Members that the issue is not being treated lightly. The statistics are an important source of information that can tell us how many people there are, the types of people, where they are located, and so on. All that information is useful in deciding future public policy.
I thank Members for their interest and support. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
Question put and agreed to.
That the Statistics and Registration Services Act 2007 (Disclosure of Social Security Information) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 be affirmed.