HC Deb 24 January 2002 vol 378 c1006W
Ann Keen

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement about her Department's inquiry into the premature disclosure of the literacy and numeracy test results in September 2001. [30933]

Mr. Timms

An inquiry into the premature disclosure of the literacy and numeracy test results has been carried out by the Department's security officer, in conjunction with the Department's head of statistics and a representative of the National Statistician.

The inquiry has been unable to establish the source or nature of the leak of the 2001 Key Stage 2 test results. The main reasons for this are:

(a) There appears to have been no leak of a paper or document; the Evening Standard article on 14 September seems to have been based on one or more casual conversations from which the story was constructed; and

(b) Given the significant number of people in the Department for Education and Skills, Ofsted, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the associated contractors and those elsewhere who had access to the information, there is no prospect of identifying the person who provided the relevant information, unless the journalist concerned is prepared to reveal his source or sources.

The inquiry concludes that there is no evidence of a deliberate disclosure from Ministers, officials or advisers in the Department. Indeed, on the limited evidence available, the disclosure seems unlikely to have come from any departmental source.

The inquiry makes a number of recommendations for strengthening the control and management of sensitive information in advance of the advertised day of its disclosure. These are being taken forward.