Social Development Ministry grilled over security

BEN HEATHER
Last updated 12:57 28/11/2012
BRENDAN BOYLE
KENT BLECHYNDEN
BRENDAN BOYLE: Said there was a strong awareness of security within the ministry.
Jacinda Ardern
JACINDA ARDERN: "Is there a lax culture toward security at MSD?"

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The Social Development Ministry has been accused of having a lax attitude towards security, as senior management are grilled by MPs.

In the Social Service Select Committee today, Labour MP Jacinda Ardern asked for assurance that the ministry had an "eye to security" in the wake of last month's public kiosk privacy breach.

"Is there a lax culture toward security at MSD?," she asked the ministry's chief executive Brendan Boyle.

Ardern also questioned the security wisdom of Work and Income payment cards being distributed to beneficiaries with their pin printed on them.

Boyle replied that there was a strong awareness of security within the ministry.

Last month, it was revealed that public kiosks could be used to access Work and Income clients' private information.

A damning report into the breach released this month showed the ministry had been alerted to failures in the kiosk but failed to respond.

A second report into wider IT security at the Ministry will be released soon and Boyle said it would "no doubt reveal room for improvement".

Ardern also pressed Boyle about a pay-out to former Work and Income boss Janet Grossman, who resigned in June only 11 months after being head-hunted by the ministry.

She suggested Grossman was sacked rather quit, citing a $97,000 pay-out figure buried in the ministry's annual report.

Boyle responded that the figure covered other management apart from Grossman, and included pay-outs for outstanding sick pay and leave.

"Let me state very carefully for the record that she resigned. I don't like the implications that something else happens; that she was sacked," he said.

Boyle faced other question from MPs which covering welfare reforms, fraud and child abuse under care of the state.

He appeared before the committee as part of the ministry's annual financial review.

Contact Ben Heather
Social Issues reporter
Email: ben.heather@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @BHeatherJourno

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