When Dave wrote it (two days ago - I apologise for the title of this post - poetic license) this was a reasonable, if overly generous, account of what had gone wrong at HMRC. Now it looks like pretty much every argument in Darling's defence is completely invalid. At the same time it is becoming very apparent that this mistake will prove expensive for customers, banks and, when someone claims for compensation, the taxpayer. He might get away with it if the discs are found within the next few days and could hang on regardless but Darling should resign:
1) It wasn't just a random mistake
- It was a decision that senior staff were aware of.
- It wasn't the only such incident. 2,111 data protection breaches in the last year.
- Junior staff shouldn't have the ability to do this sort of thing.
- There's nothing wrong with trying to slim the staff at a government department, operations can often be simplified and the need for massive bureaucracy reduced. However, combining staff cuts in the same department with a messy merger, the massive complexities of new IT systems and the ongoing debacle of an overly complicated tax credit system is a recipe for disaster.
- The Government was warned that there were serious problems with data protection within Government departments. They ignored those warnings.
3) Darling's defence for the delay in letting everyone know the data was gone appears desperately weak
He said it was to give the banks time to prepare but why was there a delay before he told the police and then a further delay before he hold the banks? Why do the banks deny that they asked for time to prepare?