A 'transfer error' has been blamed for a large breach in data protection at Cornwall Council, with personal information, details of staff salaries and payouts for redundancy sent to the wrong people.

The council has admitted that "approximately" 50 employees were sent the letters relating to colleagues in the education health and social welfare directorate.

The mistake comes as the Council carrys out a large scale reorganisation involving the majority of its 6,000 staff.

A Cornwall Council spokesman said: "It has emerged that, due to a data transfer error, approximately 50 employees received letters concerning the proposed impact of the re-organisation which contained inaccurate information.

"All of the affected employees were contacted as soon as the error emerged, the inaccurate letters have been recalled and accurate letters provided.

"We have apologised to the affected employees for the error and kept the trade unions informed of the issue and the action taken to address it as part of the ongoing consultation process.

"We are implementing the relevant internal data protection procedures which will include a formal investigation into the circumstances of this data protection breach."

The council has said no one is available to discuss the breach as an investigation is underway.