University of Lincoln - Outsourcing sparks data worry

March 27, 2008

A decision to outsource part of the University of Lincoln's human resources function to a private company has prompted questions over data protection from the University and College Union. Lincoln passed personal details, including national insurance numbers, payroll numbers and home addresses to You at Work, an employee benefits consultancy. YAW runs Lincoln's staff benefits website, which provides "leisure and retail offers", a nursery voucher scheme and healthcare benefits. The UCU alerted members to the transfer of their details and expressed concerns about data protection. The Data Protection Act gives staff the right to prevent the processing or transfer of their personal data for direct marketing purposes. In a memo to staff, the university's director of human resources said: "Security and the protection of data was a key element of their selection and YAW demonstrated software that is professionally tested, and a proven history of never having any identity-theft issues or similar incidents. YAW process the data we supply on behalf of the university in the strictest of confidence, and under no circumstances is data passed on to any other parties."

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