Saturday, 26 January 2008

Missing Forms Not Yet Found

You're probably already aware of this but...

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has apologised after five out of eight boxes of surveys, by 1,400 students from seven colleges, disappeared.

Names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, gender and ethnicity are included in the documents.

They went missing when a Glasgow market research firm sent them to a consulting company in Edinburgh, the SFC said.

Students from Aberdeen College, Adam Smith College in Fife, Anniesland College in Glasgow, Barony College in Dumfries, North Highland College and Telford College in Edinburgh, have been affected.

The National Union of Students Scotland has advised students to change internet and banking passwords, to help protect their identity.

From the SFC site:

Students at seven colleges across Scotland took part in a survey Learner Choice in FE 2007 between 1 October and 3 December 2007.  SFC contracted York Consulting LLP to carry out the survey, who in turn sub-contracted the interviews to market research company Research Resource.

The forms contain personal data which the interviewees may prefer to remain private, such as name, address, date of birth, phone number, and demographic information (such as gender and ethnicity).  For many people much of this data is already in the public domain.  It does not include bank data or national insurance details.  Nonetheless, SFC and the contractors are very keen to alert all interviewees that this information may become disclosed in a way that they have not authorised.

...despatched eight boxes containing the original paper forms with the data collected in the survey by City Link courier to York Consulting LLP.  York Consulting LLP informed us that three boxes were received.  Despite extensive efforts by Research Resource, City Link, and York Consulting LLP, five boxes containing about 1,500 forms have not been found.

The SFC point out that they have "contacted students individually".

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