Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities: Theft

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities written question – answered at on 21 November 2023.

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Photo of Sarah Olney Sarah Olney Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what data their Department holds on the (a) number and (b) cost of replacing (i) laptops, (ii) mobile phones, (iii) memory sticks and (iv) external hard drives that have been (A) lost and (B) stolen in the last 12 months.

Photo of Felicity Buchan Felicity Buchan Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

This department has over 3,500 staff and almost all have access to devices to enable them to work effectively.

Sadly, on rare occasions, some devices are lost or stolen. This is not a unique problem for Government and I note that according to the Huffington Post ‘Sheffield Lib Dems HQ [was] burgled’ in 2019 leading to local campaign organiser Kurtis Crossland appealing for ‘replacement laptops and mobile phones.’ A link to this article is available here.

In 2022, this department recorded ten lost/stolen laptops and eight lost/stolen phones – which is a very small proportion of total devices.

All departmental IT is security encrypted. The department does not provide or support memory sticks or external drives. Details of Government contracts are published online. Departmental security investigates each reported loss from the department. There has been no reported data loss or compromise as a result of these losses.

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