I think the latest story in loss of tax data is illuminating. According to the BBC:
An investigation has been launched after the personal and financial details of more than 50 people [that] should have been delivered to the HM Revenue & Customs office in Cumbernauld ...arrived at the headquarters of Insights Learning and Development Ltd in Dundee.
As Insight said:
the package was addressed to the HM Revenue & Customs base at Cumbernauld.
When we received the package it was quite badly damaged, which in itself was not right. When we spoke to the Inland Revenue and the courier company they very casually asked of we could re-address the package and they would pick it up for re-delivery.
A spokesman for courier company TNT said the package had been picked up for re-delivery to Cumbernauld.
So let's be clear here. A package was correctly addressed to the right person. And was damaged in transit and got to the wrong person. Isn't this a scandal about TNT, not about the Revenue.
Please ask questions about TNT's competence.
Please ask questions about out sourcing.
Please asked why Insight sought publicity out of this.
But please don't say the Revenue got this wrong. Unless they're to deliver each package personally what more are they meant to do?
And all this confirms what I think about the missing 25 million records: yes there was an error in HMRC in allowing unencrypted data to be sent unrecorded. That's undeniable. But why didn't TNT deliver it anyway? Surely, that's the real question? And if they can't answer that, why not? Because it's clear they're the really culpable party in all this. It's just that the press like finding a public sector villain. And that is straightforward misreporting.