Capita has admitted a bug in an information management system used by 21,000 UK schools could have incorrectly linked contact details to the wrong pupils – an incident with huge implications for pupils’ data protection. The Register reports.
The error, which has been pinned on a December 2017 upgrade to the Schools Information Management System, could have resulted in schools sending out information about pupils to the wrong address.
According to an email sent out to schools in one UK county, and seen by The Register, the fault was in the SIMS software matching routine for new pupils. It is understood to affect all users nationally, regardless of whether they are locally or centrally hosted.
“The consequence of the corruption is that contact information for the incoming pupil for example, address, telephone number and email address, may have become associated with other pupil’s records, or the new pupil could themselves be linked to the wrong contact details,” the email stated.
“The problem could have impacted pre-admissions, pupils on roll and the records of school leavers.”
“If you have imported a CTF for pupils joining your school, that included parents or other contacts with a name that matched exactly to a contact record already in your database, the applicant may have been linked incorrectly to this person and some data may have changed.”
Capita said that there was a patch for the bug, and that upgrading to the Summer 2018 version would prevent any further corruption.
However, the outsourcer appeared to have been immediately unable to confirm which records were affected. In the email, the local council said that it was waiting for Capita to offer “more clarity” and that until then “we cannot identify or fix any records that have already been corrupted”.
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