Disclosure of information: Data Protection Act - requests from third parties for HM Revenue & Customs’ NMW information
National minimum wage teams occasionally receive requests for information under section 29(3) from external third parties, particularly from Local Authorities. The Data Protection Act does not provide a legal gateway to supply information to third parties, such as Local Authorities and it is Departmental policy not to provide information on a voluntary basis under any circumstances.
National minimum wage officers have a statutory duty of confidentiality and it is an offence for them to make improper disclosure. Under section 19(4) of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005, staff convicted of making an improper disclosure can be sentenced to up to 2 years in prison, a fine or both.
Any such requests should therefore be firmly but politely refused by issuing the draft response to requests quoting section 29 which is available as a stock letter in SEES titled, “DPA refuse request”.