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Tuesday, June 04, 2013


Whitehall equipment losses detailed

More than 370 computers, BlackBerrys, mobiles and other pieces of equipment were lost or stolen from Whitehall departments in the past year, new figures have revealed.
In written answers to Gareth Thomas, Labour MP Harrow West, government departments revealed scores of losses in the 2012/13 financial year.
The Home Office, which records the data on a calendar year, saw 69 pieces of equipment go astray in 2012 - taking the total equipment loss to more than 400 items.
The total figures are lower than in the previous year - but in 2011/12 the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) suffered a single theft of 141 brand new, inactivated BlackBerry handsets.
Mr Thomas, a shadow cabinet office minister, said: "It's incredible that so many computers, BlackBerrys and other pieces of IT equipment have been lost or stolen since this Government took office.
"It's particularly worrying that the Cabinet Office, which claims to be driving the Government's commitment to transparency, has failed to respond to this and several previous questions on this issue. Ministers should be doing all they can to make sure vital equipment are kept secure; but it looks like ministers have taken their eye off the ball yet again."
In the department's posting answers, the Attorney General's office said 44 pieces of equipment had been lost or stolen in 2012/13, compared to 30 in 2011/12. At the Scotland Office, one item disappeared, compared to four last year. The Wales Office lost one item in 2011/12 but none in the most recent year.
At the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the total fell from 32 in 2011/12 to 21 in the past year. The Department for Energy and Climate Change halved its losses from 28 items gone in 2011/12 to 14 in 2012/13.
DCLG slashed its losses from 151, including the major theft, to 11 in 2012/13. Items lost or stolen from the Department of Health fell from 63 in 2011/12 to 29 last year. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport saw a decrease of four, from 10 to six.
A Government spokesman said: "This Government has taken important steps to strip out waste and deliver value - just this week, we announced we had made £10 billion of savings last year for the taxpayer. We scrutinise every pound we spend, so we take lost or stolen equipment seriously. As was the case under previous administrations, equipment is occasionally lost or stolen and we investigate incidents."

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