A former senior local government officer has been hit by a hefty court fine for breaking data protection law.
Kevin Bunsell, who was head of building control at Nuneaton and Bedworth District Council, pleaded guilty at Nuneaton Magistrates’ Court to passing the personal data of rival job applicants to his partner after she had applied for a job at the council.
Bunsell, who had received training in data protection, accessed the council’s recruitment system and emailed the personal information of nine candidates to his own work email address and his partner’s Hotmail account.
The data included the name, address, telephone number and CV of each candidate, along with contact details for each of their two referees.
His partner won the job, but once the data breach had been discovered her employment was terminated and Bunsell resigned.
He admitted a charge of unlawfully sharing data in breach of s55 of the Data Protection Act, was fined £660 and ordered to pay £713.75 costs and a victim surcharge of £66.
The case has prompted a warning from the Information Commissioner’s Office, which brought the prosecution. Its director of investigations Steve Eckersley, said: “People who supply their personal information to an organisation in good faith, such as when applying for a job, have a legal right to expect it will be treated lawfully and ethically.
“Not respecting people’s legal right to privacy can have serious consequences, as this case demonstrates. Not only might you face a prosecution and fine, along with the attendant publicity, but you may also lose your job and severely damage your future career prospects.”