Information needed Response
Title and link to statistical output Excess mortality in English regions
Name of producer organisation Public Health England

Name and contact details of person dealing with report Allan Baker
Name and contact details of Head of Profession for Statistics or Lead Official Clare Griffiths
Link to published statement about the breach (if relevant)
Date of breach report 20 September 2021

Information needed Response
Relevant principle(s) and practice(s) Principle T3, practice T3.2
Date of occurrence of breach 16/09/2021

PHE produces 9 reports on excess mortality once a month, one for each English region These are preannounced for release at 2pm on the third Thursday of every month.

On this occasion, the reports had been prepared for release and were stored on a staging server before
going live. At 2pm, a Senior Public Health Data Manager attempted to push the reports to the live site so that they would be publicly accessible. This attempt did not work, however, due to a failure of the PHE servers at Porton. (ICT colleagues had sent an email at 13:25pm to say they were working to resolve significant issues affecting services hosted at Porton.)

The Porton servers were restored overnight and the regional excess mortality reports were published at
8:15am on Friday 17 September.

We believe the impact of the breach would be minimal as

  1. the reports were made available at the earliest opportunity, the day after they were due for release
  2. the contact details for the team that publish the report are available on the GOV.UK page, and the
    team received no contacts about this issue

Unfortunately, server failures are beyond the control of the team and we cannot put in place actions to
mitigate against this happening again. If this occurs again, and causes a delay which cannot be rectified so quickly, we will alert colleagues in regional teams so that they can communicate with users to warn of a delay.