St Mungo’s may have shared beneficiary data without consent, but breached no ICO rules

25 Sep 2018 News

An ICO investigation has found that homelessness charity St Mungos’ is likely to have shared homeless people’s data with the Home Office without consent, leading to some of its beneficiaries being deported.

But the ICO ruled that St Mungo’s had acted lawfully because it had a “public interest” defence in passing on the information.

The ICO has concluded that “the current information rights practice of St Mungo’s does not raise any concerns”.

Home Office deported rough sleepers

The Home Office has previously had a policy of removing rough sleepers who come from other countries in the European Economic Area, which has been ruled unlawful and discriminatory following a judicial review, and there has been criticism of some homelessness organisations, including St Mungo’s, for supplying beneficiary information that led to deportation.

According to reports in the Guardian, St Mungo’s workers had previously been present on joint shifts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials who were focused on deporting rough sleepers.

Unite, a union representing St Mungo’s workers, said staff had repeatedly complained to it about the policy.

St Mungo’s said that since the policy was ruled unlawful on December 14 no members of its outreach teams had been present during Immigration and Customs Enforcement shifts.

A spokesman said: “Our policy is that we do not share information about individuals with the Home Office, except when an individual has given their consent, or in situations where people are at significant risk to themselves or someone else.”

 

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