Data protection means safeguarding important information from corruption, compromise or loss. As the amount of data we create and store continues to grow, it’s becoming more important to have the right systems and processes in place.
Data protection for local authorities
You will hold many types of personal information about a wide range of people with whom you engage. Ensuring that you and your staff understand your duties and obligations as guardians of this data is an essential part of any successful local government setting.
The Data Protection Act 1998 has been superseded by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018, which took effect in May 2018. This new regime has revolutionised data protection law and information rights, acting as a catalyst for a new culture of privacy that you must embed within your organisation through effective policies and procedures.
Data protection and information sharing
Our team’s understanding of how the new regime impacts local authorities allows us to work closely with our local government clients to help them manage their data protection compliance programmes. We can guide you on data protection and how to handle and share information to ensure compliance with the new regime.
The GDPR states that you must make sure the information you hold is:
- used fairly, lawfully and transparently
- used for specified, explicit purposes
- used in a way that is adequate, relevant and limited to only what is necessary
- accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date
- kept for no longer than is necessary
- handled in a way that ensures appropriate security, including protection against unlawful or unauthorised processing, access, loss, destruction or damage.
There is stronger legal protection for more sensitive information, such as:
- political opinions
- religious beliefs
- trade union membership
- biometrics (where used for identification)
- sex life or orientation
There are additional safeguards for personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences.
Under the new regime, everyone has the right to find out what information you hold about them. These include the right to:
- know how you use their data
- access personal data
- have incorrect data updated
- have data erased
- stop or restrict the processing of their data
- data portability
- object to how their data is processed in certain circumstances
Data protection advice for local authorities
Our team of experts can help to guide you through this regulatory maze, advising you on the best approach for capturing, handling and sharing information within your organisation so you don’t fall short of your obligations. We can help you identify risks that could result in data breaches, penalties and reputational damage, and put plans in place to mitigate and manage them if they happen.
We advise local authorities on all areas of data protection and information law compliance, as well as providing guidance on freedom of expression, privacy, reputation and information rights generally. We can help you with the following:
- Drafting and reviewing data protection compliance documentation - including the data protection policy for your organisation. We support our clients in drafting and reviewing contracts, data sharing agreements and compliance documents, such as data protection and retention policies, privacy notices and impact assessments.
- Data breach management - We can provide training, advice and guidance to those who deal with data within their role, to prevent personal data breaches. However, in the event of a breach, our lawyers can assist with and advise on the appropriate course of action to ensure that you not only comply with data protection legislation, but you limit any reputational damage and any punitive action from the Information Commissioner’s Office.
- Responding to data subject access requests - We can advise on managing subject access requests and how to respond to them.
- Training and updates - We offer data protection training to staff (either at your location or our offices), tailored to the needs of your organisation, on data protection, privacy, reputation and information rights issues and developments. To receive invitations to our events, as well as information and articles on legal issues and sector developments that are of interest to you, sign up to Newsroom.
For more information
Please contact Clare Paterson.
Over the past two years, we have seen an increasing number of GDPR claims being made alleging that an individual’s data protection rights have been breached.
Since GDPR has come into effect, many companies have struggled to comply with GDPR. In this ebriefing, we look at the shocking data breach at Hackney Council.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, much of the focus has been on shoring up existing delivery and, where possible, extending arrangements if it is not possible to re-procure.
Covid-19 has resulted, on the whole, in a marked co-operation between contracting authorities and their suppliers as everybody focuses on maintaining delivery as far as possible.
As we continue to emerge from lockdown measures and deal with local measures and the short and long term economic impact of Covid-19, local authorities will need to re-assess how services will be delivered for years to come.
The Supreme Court has allowed two appeals concerning 'vicarious liability', providing helpful clarity for claims of this kind and seemingly reining in the scope of such claims.
There has been a huge rise in the use of video conferencing and online messaging services while we are at home due to the Covid-19 related lockdown.
Several myths are circulating the relaxation of data protection rules and compliance. We can help clarify these myths.
The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has recently made some noteworthy changes to its guidance around data subject access requests (DSARs).
On 8 July, news broke of the staggering fine of more than £183m the ICO intended to levy against British Airways as a result of a hack that took place in 2018, compromising 500,000 customers' data.
To receive invitations to our events, as well as information and articles on legal issues and sector developments that are of interest to you, please sign up to Newsroom.