Below is the text of Mr Major’s written Parliamentary Answer on Departmental Files on 20th November 1985.
Mr. Cohen Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what arrangements operate for the logging of those who have access to (a) computer and (b) manual files kept by his Department on individuals; and if he will describe the procedures in operation for both categories.
Mr. Major Specific guidelines on security of automatically processed data in Government Departments are observed. They are contained in “Protection of Information in Computer Systems” and “Central Government Code of Practice No. 21”, issued by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency, which give recommended procedures to safeguard data in computer installations. Copies of these guidelines have been placed in the Library.
Benefit and other files in central and local offices are available to all staff needing access to them for the efficient conduct of business. Security is enforced by physical and technical barriers, and members of staff are not allowed access to their own benefit, medical or personnel records nor, where known, to those of relatives or friends, but no centralised or local access record is maintained.