A SOCIAL worker has appeared in court charged with disclosing information about children in care and their carers.

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard that 59-year-old Jacqueline McMillan had been using her personal email address instead of her National Fostering Agency (NFA) email address and had sent details to a former NFA employee.

The jury were told that McMillan of Brookbottom Close, Ramsbottom had admitted using her personal email and disclosing information to a third party but said her managers were aware.

Sally Penni, counsel for the prosecution, said McMillan’s employers “say she knew she shouldn’t be using emails in that way” and that staff had training in the correct procedures.

She added that the case was about the “misuse of data" and that information about children in care and their carers should not be disclosed in the first place.

In her opening statement Miss Penni told the court: “The Information Commissioners Office received a complaint from the National Fostering Agency, who were the employees of the defendant, who was a social worker employed there since 2009.

“They found she made some disclosures which she shouldn’t have.”

Miss Penni told the court McMillan was responsible for data concerning looked after children and their carers as part of her job for the NFA.

McMillan is charged with eight counts of obtaining personal data relating to looked after children and their carers between October 30, 2015 and August 13, 2016, without the consent of the National Fostering Agency.

She is also charged with one count of unlawfully disclosing data on August 13, 2016, when information was sent to an ex-employee of the NFA.

Sally Penni, prosecuting, said: “What the ICO and the NFA say is she didn’t have any legitimate reason or consent to send that data.”

Miss Penni told the jury that in a recorded interview McMillan “said she admitted sending the emails but said she did so because her managers were aware of what she was doing ­— using a personal email ­— and admitted sending information to a third party. She said she was never told she shouldn’t have been using her personal email”.

The jury heard there were defences to the charges which include having legitimate reasons or having appropriate consent.

The trial continues.