The Financial Conduct Authority is at the centre of a data protection scandal over a policy of “intercepting and diverting” emails of its staff to keep track of people “considered a nuisance”, according to reports.
The UK’s data watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office, has concluded that the FCA had “infringed their data protection obligations” after a former employee at the watchdog complained about the policy, according to the Times.
The policy was allegedly signed off in 2016 by the office of the then chief executive Andrew Bailey, now Governor of the Bank of England.
Some individuals’ emails were automatically diverted from intended recipients, including confidential channels including whistleblowing and independent reviews, and intercepted by a designated more senior individual at the regulator, according to the report.
The diverted recipient then had power over whether to pass on the email to the original intended recipient.
A spokeswoman for the FCA told the Times: “Like many organisations, we do redirect some emails to ensure they are received by the most appropriate recipient and to help manage our resources effectively.
“Where internal reviews, or other processes including complaints identify that improvements could be made, we consider those and take action to make improvements.”
The scandal is likely to raise major questions of the judgment of FCA management and could trigger a reprimand from officials this week.
Its own complaints commissioner will criticise it for “maladministration” of the diversion policy, according to the report.