Payroll, council tax arrears and bank details were amongst a pile of sensitive information left exposed in an open skip.
The A4 lever arch folder belonging to Gloucester City Council, contained 350 pages of data, within which there were 37 pieces of paper with at least 30 individuals’ private data.
The information was dated 2013 and was discarded in the skip alongside office equipment after workers cleared out the former office of the city council in Herbert Warehouse at Gloucester Docks.
It was discovered by the BBC funded Local Democracy Reporting Service on Monday, January 20, after being alerted to the contents of three skips which included office chairs, a suitcase and party items.
The reporter was alerted to the contents of the skip outside a former office of the city council after initially being told that the furniture items could have been recycled and they should investigate why they had not been.
A city council spokeswoman told the BBC that the “file should not have been placed in the skip”.
Adding: “We acknowledge that the file should not have been placed in the skip during the clearing of our former premises at the Herbert, Kimberly and Philpott Warehouses.
“We are conducting an investigation as to how that happened, and we will take appropriate action. The council takes information security seriously, and we want to reassure everyone that personal and sensitive data shared with us is secure.
“We have spoken to the Information Commissioner’s Office and they have given us advice.
“After this conversation our opinion is that the incident didn’t require a formal report, however we have logged it and will be reviewing our internal processes accordingly.”
The council also said a lot of the details are “out of date and now redundant”.
The skip belonged to Smith’s waste management and their divisional manager, Peter Jukes, said the waste would have been recycled appropriately.
He added he is “not prepared to comment on anything further”.
The matter came to light after photos had been taken of the skips by the LDRS and the lever arch which had a spine labelled ‘Bank Adjustment Journals 11/3/2013 1’ was in clear view.
The LDRS did not keep, use or destroy any of the personal information in the file, and it has been returned to the city council safely and securely.