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London councils’ DR plans are untested days ahead of general election

Local government unsure how effective their response would be to a crash.

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Almost half of London’s councils have not tested their disaster recovery policies for electoral data in the last year, despite the looming general election.

Information revealed by freedom of information requests showed that 40% of London councils that responded had foregone such testing even though all of them had backup and disaster recovery policies in place.

Peter Groucutt, managing director at Databarracks, which applied for the data, said: "It’s worrying that with the general election [tomorrow], many local councils have not tested that their procedures actually work in the event of a disaster.

"As expected, all councils to respond to our request had thorough backup and disaster recovery plans in place – which is excellent – but without testing, they could be proved useless at their time of need."

Most of the councils reported that they aimed to recover electoral data within 24 hours in the event of a problem, though some aimed for within a week and one case aimed for within a fortnight.

Databarracks also found that there was a disparity in how councils valued electoral data, with some indicating it was a top priority whilst others admitted they do not discern between different types of data.

"All of the boroughs we spoke to have good backup and disaster recovery policies in place, but now it’s time to put them to the test and make sure they really work."

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During its research Databarracks obtained data from 27 of the 32 boroughs in London, with three failing to respond and two refusing to do so, on the grounds the information was outside of the remit of freedom of information requests and owned by the Electoral Register officer.

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