Our specialist information-law solicitors provide support to community organisations on all aspects of data protection and freedom of information.
Whether your community organisation is storing, copying or transferring personal data or is faced with requests for confidential information, our information-law team can work in partnership with you to ensure you are taking appropriate measures to ensure compliance with legislation.
The way personal information about individuals is used by organisations, businesses and the Government is controlled by The Data Protection Act 1998. Those responsible for storing, copying or transferring this data are bound by the Data Protection Act to follow the data-protection principles, which have been put in place to ensure information is:
- Used fairly and lawfully and with a legal ground for processing.
- Used for limited, specifically stated purposes.
- Used in a way that is adequate, relevant and not excessive.
- Kept for no longer than is absolutely necessary.
- Handled according to people’s data-protection rights.
- Kept safe and secure.
- Not transferred outside the European Economic Area without adequate protection for the data-protection rights of individuals.
When the information being used is of a sensitive nature and refers to an individual's ethnic background, political opinions, religious beliefs, health, sexual health or criminal records, there is stronger legal protection.
The Freedom of Information Act provides public access to information held by public authorities. There are two ways in which it does this:
- Public authorities are obliged to publish certain information about their activities.
- Members of the public are entitled to request information from public authorities.
The Freedom of Information Act covers all recorded information that is held by a public authority, such as government departments, local authorities, the NHS, schools and police forces, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and by UK-wide public authorities based in Scotland. Information held by Scottish public authorities is covered by Scotland’s own Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
Our data protection and freedom of information service
At Anthony Collins Solicitors our information-law team uses their extensive social-business sector knowledge and experience to work in partnership with you, as a community organisation, to provide clear, practical advice on all aspects of information law.
We understand that you can handle a wide variety of sensitive and confidential personal data. We will work closely with you to help provide solutions to data-protection issues, such as requests for disclosures of personal data to third parties and complex subject access requests under the Data Protection Act 1998.
We can assist community organisations with any issues that arise under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, in particular when entering into contracts with public-sector bodies. We can also provide training for community organisations on data protection and freedom of information, all of our training is bespoke to your organisation and the sector in which you operate.
Our specialist information-law team will provide advice and support to you on all aspects of information law, including:
- Advice on data security, data breaches and reputation management.
- Drafting of, and advice in relation to, policy documentation, privacy notices, data-processing contracts and data-sharing protocols.
- Advice in relation to requests for disclosure, subject access and applicable exemptions.
- Advice in relation to collection and handling of personal data and, particularly, sensitive personal data and the legal grounds for processing under the Data Protection Act.
- Advice on the direct marketing rules under the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.
- Assisting with making Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and advice in relation to the receipt of such requests, including applicable exemptions.
- Advice on privacy affecting technologies such as CCTV.
- Advice in relation to DBS checks and conviction information.
- Review of commercial contracts and advice in relation to Freedom of Information Act and Data Protection clauses, including implications for outsourcing, cloud computing and international data transfers.
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