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Email error exposes Bank of England’s secret EU project

It seems that another email scandal has hit the news. Last week, a confidential email from the Bank of England (BoE) was inadvertently sent to the Guardian newspaper with details on how it is researching the financial risks of the UK leaving the European Union. The leaked details also included PR notes on how to deny the existence of the BoE’s confidential project.

Prime Minister David Cameron has promised that there will be an in/out referendum on the UK’s EU membership by the end of 2017 and the contents of this secret email will be highly embarrassing to the bank governor, Mark Carney. There has been talk about the UK leaving the EU for the last few years and has is often referred to as “Brexit” in the media. The leak of this email now confirms the UK is serious about leaving if its demands for EU reforms are not met.

Even though it had been assumed that such a project was underway, this ‘leak’ once again highlights the dangers of using email in an irresponsible manner. “It would be extraordinary if no one asked, how could the Bank of England get it quite so wrong with a fat finger on an email,” stated Mark Garnier, a former investment banker who sat on the Treasury select committee during the last parliament and is now considering a bid to chair it, and what he said highlights the fact that email is not always the best tool to communicate confidential information.

The email indicates that Sir Jon Cunliffe, the deputy director of financial stability, is in charge of a small group of senior staff examining what the economic effects of the UK leaving the EU would likely be. The project, dubbed “Project Bookend” in the email, was supposed to be referred to as a one that concerns itself with numerous different European economic issues and not make any reference to the forthcoming referendum.

The email, from Sir Jon Cunliffe’s private secretary to four senior executives, was written on 21 May, the Guardian reported.

Any email you compose needs to be vetted thoroughly before it is sent to any recipient. Too many people are still careless when it comes to the way they use email. Just think, what would happen if you accidentally leaked something of vital importance to the general public because you hadn’t bothered to check who you were sending your email to?

We recommend that every time you send an email, you spend at least a minute checking who the recipient is, who is CCed and BCCed in the message and what the subject line is. Once an email has been sent to the wrong person, there’s nothing you can do to stop it and recalling the message won’t work. A quick check can make all the difference and, in the end, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Read the full story on the Guardian here.