Spreadsheet Errors – Media stories

There is a good chance that you will have suffered from the knock-on effects of a spreadsheet error, but has it ever been as bad as any of these?

A list of the high profile mishaps caused by spreadsheet errors

(as reported by the traditional and online media)

BBC News – 26 August, 2020
Spreadsheet error led to Edinburgh hospital opening delay. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-53893101″

Vaughan Today – 25 January, 2021
The spreadsheet that Canadian employers were required to fill in to apply for Emergency Wage Support was full of errors. Employers make the Canada Revenue Agency mistakes

CBS Chicago – 13 January, 2021
Flight delays caused by spreadsheet error. Southwest Flight Delays At Midway Caused By Paperwork Problems

Perry County News – 29 December, 2020
Positivity rates could rise statewide due to miscalculation https://www.perrycountynews.com/content/county-health-officer-pleased-limited-cases-still-urges-caution

Computer Weekly – 7 December, 2020
HMRC referred 11 data security incidents to ICO in 2019-20 https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252493223/HMRC-referred-11-data-security-incidents-to-ICO-in-2019-20

BBC News – 7 December, 2020
ITV breached Ofcom competition rules over postal votes https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-55218398

The Lane Report – 7 December, 2020
Law students receive wrong results from state https://www.lanereport.com/135387/2020/12/law-students-receive-wrong-results-from-state/

Guardian – 25 November, 2020
Data glitch ‘may have led to more than 1,500 Covid deaths in England’ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/25/data-glitch-may-have-led-to-more-than-1500-covid-deaths-in-england

Tech Times – 26 November, 2020
Brazil’s Health Ministry Password Leak https://www.techtimes.com/articles/254527/20201126/brazil-health-ministry-leak-president-bolsonaro-16m-covid-records.htm

Infosecurity Magazine – 27 November, 2020
NHS Error Exposes Data on Hundreds of Patients and Staff https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/nhs-error-exposes-data-hundreds/

The Daily Telegraph – 4 November, 2020
Thousands of positive Covid19 tests go unreported for days due to spreadsheet error https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2020/11/04/palantir-talks-provide-contact-tracing-uk-government/

Politifact – 7 November, 2020
Spreadsheet error causes accusation of voting fraud in US 2020 Presidential election https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/nov/07/facebook-posts/no-fairfax-officials-virginia-didnt-give-100000-tr/

Des Moines Register – 6 November, 2020
Vote recount required in US 2020 election after spreadsheet error during copy and paste!Jasper County vote count error, now corrected, gives Hart lead in unsettled U.S. House race

The Sunday Times – 14 April, 2019
Humble Pi author Matt Parker’s comedy of maths errors. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/magazine/the-sunday-times-magazine/humble-pi-author-matt-parkers-comedy-of-maths-errors-0qw0q2rqq

The Brookings Register – 27 March, 2019
School construction halted due to incorrect bids. https://brookingsregister.com/article/district-seeking-new-bids-on-next-phase-of-mms-construction

News Channel 8 – 22 Jan 2019
Students accidentally emailed acceptance to wrong list. https://www.wfla.com/news/pinellas-county/usf-st-pete-offers-apology-reason-for-mistake-acceptance-letters/1717286986

Health IT Security – 13 Dec 2018
Patient Data leaked due to emailing of unencrypted spreadsheet. https://healthitsecurity.com/news/email-error-lack-of-encryption-breaches-nebraska-patient-data

The Times Record – 07 Dec 2018
City Council Budget & Payment Errors https://www.timesrecord.com/articles/local/bath-fixes-landfill-debt-error/

The Canberra Times – 23 July 2018
Festival budget overspend due to Excel error https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/floriade-budget-bungle-strengthens-case-for-overhaul-20180720-p4zsq6.html

Deeside.com – 12 July 2018
Council accidentally breaches its lending limit by £2 million http://www.deeside.com/council-accidentally-breaches-its-lending-limit-by-2-million/

Independent – 03 July 2018
KPMG audits full of spreadsheet errors https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/kpmg-conviviality-audit-wine-rack-bargain-booze-financial-reporting-council-big-four-accountants-a8428686.html

Komo News – 19 Feb 2016
Seattle students sent wrong exam results
http://komonews.com/news/local/oops-hundreds-of-seattle-student-test-results-mailed-to-wrong-address

Financial Times – 21 Jul 2015
FT reports from 16th Annual conference of the European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group in London
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0fdc6e62-2f23-11e5-91ac-a5e17d9b4cff.html#axzz3geid2SKC

Financial Times Blog ‘Alphaville’ – 29 Jun 2015
Law firm Slater and Gordon share trading suspended due to accidental mis-reporting due to spreadsheet error>
http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2015/06/29/2129518/slater-gordon-oops-we-double-counted-the-cash/

StreetsBlog San Fransisco – 22 Jun 2015
Cycling statistics misreported when traffic lane layouts changed
http://sf.streetsblog.org/2015/06/22/sfmta-retracts-report-of-651-jump-in-bike-traffic-on-san-jose-avenue/

Guardian – 19 Jun 2015
Sydney Siege review not given letter because of spreadsheet tab error
http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jun/19/sydney-siege-review-not-given-monis-letter-because-of-spreadsheet-tab-error

Melbourne Herald Sun – 25 May 2015
Local Government Association overcharges councils for membership over a 10 year period
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/local-government-association-says-it-will-issue-refunds-after-mathematical-error-led-to-councils-being-overcharged-more-than-70k/story-fnii5yv7-1227368489707

Telegraph – 16 May 2015
WI members miss out on Buck House tea party due to admin spreadsheet error
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/theroyalfamily/11608366/Womens-Institute-in-disgrace-over-royal-party-let-down.html

The Actuary – 8 Apr 2015
Spreadsheet errors prove costly for UK companies
http://www.theactuary.com/news/2015/04/spreadsheet-errors-prove-costly-for-uk-companies

Telegraph – 7 Apr 2015
20% of large businesses have suffered losses due to spreadsheet errors.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/11518242/Stupid-errors-in-spreadsheets-could-lead-to-Britains-next-corporate-disaster.html

Stuff.co.nz – 2 Apr 2015
Winner of Glammies forced to return trophy
http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/sheep/67594845/Glammies-testing-error-causes-no-contest-in-NZs-tastiest-lamb-competition

Wall Street Journal – 16 Oct 2014
Spreadsheet Mistake Costs Tibco Shareholders $100 Million
http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2014/10/16/spreadsheet-mistake-costs-tibco-shareholders-100-million/

Guardian – 18 Apr 2013
Austerity policy based on error-strewn economic paper
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/apr/18/uncovered-error-george-osborne-austerity

Guardian 4 Apr 2013
Spreadsheet risk and the threat of cyber attacks in finance
http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2013/apr/04/spreadsheet-risk-cyber-threat-finance

Accounting Web – 10 Oct 2012West Coast mainline franchising process restarted
http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/article/rail-franchising-excel-error-strikes-again/532450

Telegraph – 4 Jan 2012
London 2012 Olympics tickets over-sold
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/8992490/London-2012-Olympics-lucky-few-to-get-100m-final-tickets-after-synchronised-swimming-was-overbooked-by-10000.html

Telegraph – 30 Sep 2011
Office for National Statistics releases incorrect figures
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/8800148/ONS-rapped-for-publishing-wrong-construction-figures.html

Guardian – 1 Jul 2011
MI5 track wrong phone numbers
http://www.theguardian.com/government-computing-network/2011/jul/01/mi5-data-collection-errors

Telegraph – 1 Nov 2010
Bus driver arrested for stealing fares
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8102127/Fare-theft-bus-driver-walks-free-after-employer-admits-miscalculation.html

Guardian – 20 Jun 2007
Votes not initially counted in election
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2007/jun/20/scotland.devolution

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