Thousands of Devon County Council employees may have received the wrong pay slips in what workers have called a “shocking breach of data protection”.
The pay packets, posted over the past couple of days, listed the correct employee details on the front – but another person’s information on the reverse.
Individuals in the county’s schools and libraries are known to have been affected, as well as cleaners and some staff within waste services.
In one case, a wage slip received in error gave details of the amount a worker was having deducted from their salary to pay court fines.
Devon County Council blamed the mistake on an external printing company and said they were “urgently” reviewing their contract with the firm.
They said they were still investigating the apparent error by Opus Trust Marketing (OTM) and could not confirm the number of staff affected.
One employee, who works within the council’s library system, claimed: “All of my colleagues have been sent the wrong details, but I’ve also spoken to people in other departments in the same situation, so I suspect it’s across the board.
“It is really concerning. Everybody has been asked to send them back. In terms of data protection it is a massive error. We want to know how on earth this could have happened.”
The wage slips consist of an A4 sheet of paper with the employee’s name and address on the front, and then a breakdown of wages and other payment information on the other side.
One man told the WMN his wife, a teaching assistant, had received the pay slip of one of the council’s cleaners – which even included details of their court fines.
He said: “This is a shocking breach of data protection. These wage slips include all sorts of private information – pension payments, bonuses and so on. The one my wife received in error even showed how this person’s salary was being garnished for court fines.
“They clearly weren’t checked before being sent out. At least one of her colleagues has been given the wrong one too.”
A spokesman for the county council said staff receiving the incorrect information have been asked to return the payslips.They confirmed that employees across the whole of Devon have been affected, but that the actual transfer of salaries to people’s bank accounts has not been affected.
He added: “This level of service provided by the printing company is unacceptable. We are reviewing our contract arrangements as a matter of urgency.”
OTM, a Leicester-based firm whose clients include Npower and the General Medical Council, are understood to have carried out printing for the council for around three years.
They were yesterday unavailable for comment.