Tourists found a criminal case file containing sensitive information that a social worker had dropped in a car park.
The visitors, from the Manchester area, found the confidential file in Dumfries, which is the latest in a series of data blunders that the local council has been involved in.
Dumfries and Galloway Council confirmed the criminal case file was dropped in a car park of the social work building in the town’s Irish Street on Friday.
John Alexander, director of social work, claimed that the file was back in the hands of the social worker less than half an hour after the file went missing as the tourists found it and handed it into the local police office.
He said: "I can confirm that a social worker dropped a file containing case information in the social work car park on Irish Street in Dumfries.
"The file was next to the staff member's car close to the social work building. The social worker found the file was missing within five minutes and recovered it from the police station within 20 minutes. I have already put arrangements in place to ensure this will not recur."
In 2011 the council was criticised after it published the salary details of around 900 of its staff in response to a Freedom of Information request.
Earlier this year the council inadvertently sent the phone numbers of thousands of childminders to child care providers. The latest incident came days before the council agreed a new "data protection plan" on Tuesday.
Brian Collins, depute leader of the council, Brian Collins, added: "This is exactly why our council agreed a robust data protection policy and prepared a data protection response plan back in 2011 which was agreed in February 2012.
"Whilst such plans minimise the risk of a data breach, we can never eliminate human error entirely. We can always learn from such incidents and social work will be checking procedures to see what can be done to make further improvements and make personal data even more secure. As far as this incident is concerned, it will be the subject of a report to the Information Commissioner who will determine what action, if any, is to be taken."
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