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Paul Gray, the civil service boss who resigned because of the loss of the child benefit database, has got himself a nice little Whitehall contract.

Gray will work on special projects for the Cabinet Office after less than two weeks' gardening leave. Gray quit as chairman of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs on 20 November - he took responsibility for the loss of two CDs containing the entire child benefit database. His resignation letter said he was standing down as a result of "a substantial operational failure".

Vince Cable, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, said the appointment made a mockery of his resignation.

But a statement from the Cabinet Office said Gray remained a senior civil servant until the end of the year - since he was being paid anyway he may as well do some work. Gray will report to Sir Gus O'Donnell, cabinet secretary, and run "special projects to develop civil service skills".

The job, like his contract, lasts until 31 December.

It emerged at the weekend that the Department of Work and Pensions may have lost another unencrypted CD containing details of 40,000 housing benefit claimants. The disc was sent by courier to a West Yorkshire council.

Officials told The Sunday Times they were monitoring the situation and had found no evidence of fraud. They believe the discs are still somewhere in the system. The Times story is here. ®

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