General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new set of rules amended to the current Data Protection Act (DPA) that come into effect on 25 May 2018. It is designed to give people greater control and transparency when it comes to the personal data companies are collecting and storing.

The regulation insists on safeguarding personal information and while many businesses already do this, it’s important to make sure your business is doing it right.

Many of the GDPR’s main concepts and principles are much the same as those in the current Data Protection Act (DPA), so if you are complying properly with the current law then most of your approach to compliance will remain valid under the GDPR and can be the starting point to build from.

However, there are new elements and significant enhancements, so you will have to do some things for the first time and some things differently. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has given advice on preparing for GDPR that includes key steps that organisations can take now.  These include:

Awareness

You should make sure that decision makers and key people in your organisation are aware that the law is changing to the GDPR. They need to appreciate the impact this is likely to have.

Information you hold

You should document what personal data you hold, where it came from and who you share it with. You may need to organise an information audit.

Communicating privacy information

You should review your current privacy notices and put a plan in place for making any necessary changes in time for GDPR implementation.

Individuals’ rights

You should check your procedures to ensure they cover all the rights individuals have, including how you would delete personal data or provide data electronically and in a commonly used format.

Subject access requests

You should update your procedures and plan how you will handle requests within the new timescales and provide any additional information.

Lawful basis for processing personal data

You should identify the lawful basis for your processing activity in the GDPR, document it and update your privacy notice to explain it.

Consent

You should review how you seek, record and manage consent and whether you need to make any changes. Refresh existing consents now if they don’t meet the GDPR standard. You should read the detailed guidance the ICO has published on consent under the GDPR, and use their consent checklist to review your practices.

Data breaches

You should make sure you have the right procedures in place to detect, report and investigate a personal data breach.

Data Protection by Design and Data Protection Impact Assessments

You should familiarise yourself now with the ICO’s code of practice on Privacy Impact Assessments as well as the latest guidance from the Article 29 Working Party and work out how and when to implement them in your organisation.

The ICO is operating a dedicated advice line offering help to small organisations preparing for the new data protection law, including the General Data Protection Regulation.  

The phone service is aimed at people running small businesses or charities. To access the new service dial the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113 and select option to be diverted to staff who can offer support.

As well as advice on preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation, callers can also ask questions about current data protection rules and other legislation regulated by the ICO including electronic marketing and Freedom of Information.

 

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