Computer error regarding rent statements

Published: Tuesday, 20th July 2021

Statement from Caroline Green, CEO, Oxford City Council.

Oxford City Council has recently introduced a new computer system that supports our services as landlord to our 7,800 Council homes.

Late last week we encountered a problem as we sent out quarterly rent statements. There were some errors in the data transferred from the old system to the new one resulting in a small proportion of rent statements being sent to the wrong address. The Council is working to verify the number of households impacted, but we believe it to be up to around 80.

The Council has taken immediate steps to rectify any errors, with staff manually overriding the system to check statements, while we work to resolve the underlying data issues.

Because this error is a potential breach of the Data Protection Act, the Council has reported the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to investigate. The ICO is an independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy.

The Council has also written to those tenants who have been affected, offering our sincere apologies for the error and any inconvenience or concerns this may have caused them.

The new system replaces legacy systems that were approaching the end of their useful life. Combining these into a single efficient platform will – once these issues are resolved – offer tenants improved reporting and access to information on rent accounts, repairs, on-line applications and two-way communications with Council and ODS staff through a dedicated customer portal.