The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) reported five significant data breaches to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) during the last financial year.

The department's annual resource accounts, which have just been published, reveal that data on 70 people, including names, addresses, dates of birth and family details, were lost when a computer was inadequately protected “outside secured government premises” in September last year.

In May last year, a contractor made information relating to around 50 individuals public due to unauthorised disclosure.

In its resource accounts, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it had reported two incidents to the ICO during the last year to March 2008. One of the reported incidents involved the loss of 14 payslips in November last year, prompting the department to cease printing bank details on the documents.

In November last year, 50,000 visa applications were on view to those visiting a website run by the FCO. The ICO found the department in breach of the Data Protection Act – it had to sign a formal undertaking to comply with the act in future.