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Argyll and Bute Council has apologised after a technical glitch led to the email addresses of hundreds of residents being leaked during a competition process.
Entrants to the authority’s contest to win a year’s free council tax were left staggered when a reminder dropped into their inboxes and they were able to view the details of other contestants.
Numerous email addresses belonging to council taxpayers across the area were made visible when the communication went out late last week.
One resident contacted the council to register her concerns – and was told that she wasn’t the first to flag up the issue.
The resident said: ‘I received the email about the competition to win a year’s free council tax and was invited to click a link.
‘When I did so, there was no message, but I could see all these email addresses which had been made visible.
‘I have literally every single email address up on my screen. This is a complete breach of confidentiality.
‘I phoned the council and they said they were aware of a technical error and that I was the second person who had called up.’
A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council said: ‘We emailed people to remind them that there is still time to enter a prize draw to win a year’s free council tax by signing up for council tax e-billing.
‘Unfortunately, an error resulted in email addresses being visible.
‘We have followed relevant guidance in investigating the matter.
‘We apologise to residents affected, and assure them that action has been taken.’
The competition – which has now closed – was launched by the council at the start of this year to encourage residents to sign up to its new e-billing service.
The online facility enables taxpayers to log in any time to see their bills, access copies of letters and view their current instalment plan.
When launching the competition, Councillor Rory Colville, policy lead for customer services, said: ‘It’s also a great opportunity to help us cut down on the amount of paper we all use.
‘I hope that people make the most of this great opportunity.’