GDPR – So, what should you be doing now?

Guest Blog by Ian Bevington, Marketing Manager at Oak Innovation

GDPR – So, what should you be doing now?
GDPR is a big subject that mainstream business across Europe, including the UK, are just starting to see on the radar despite the fact that it was announced in May 2016. Firms now have less than a year to get their houses in order and become compliant with the directive.

The new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) comes in to force across Europe on 25th May 2018 so the countdown for organisations to become compliant with the new rules for data protection in order to avoid swingeing fines is well and truly under way.

It matters not a jot that the UK voted to leave the EU: your business still needs to comply with GDPR. The UK government published a consultation looking for comment from businesses and other organisations on possible exemptions and adjustments to GDPR and how the regulations will apply in UK law.

The deadline for comment passed on 10 May and on 7 August Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital, announced a new UK Data Protection Bill that would in essence ‘cut and paste’ the EU’s GDPR provisions in to UK Law.

Many companies and organisations had anticipated such a move and are already way along their journey towards compliance with GDPR. The majority are less prepared.

In the UK the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is responsible for policing the introduction of the GDPR and firms that fail to comply with the regulations. The ICO has produced an online guide which includes a 12-point check list on how to prepare for its introduction next May. This list is as follows:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Subject access requests – You should update your procedures and plan how you will handle requests within the new timescales and provide any additional information.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Children – You should start thinking now about whether you need to put systems in place to verify individuals’ ages and to obtain parental or guardian consent for any data processing activity.
  9. Data breaches – You should make sure you have the right procedures in place to detect, report and investigate a personal data breach.
  10. 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.
  11. Data Protection Officers – You should designate someone to take responsibility for data protection compliance and assess where this role will sit within your organisation’s structure and governance arrangements. You should consider whether you are required to formally designate a Data Protection Officer.
  12. International – If your organisation operates in more than one EU member state (ie: you carry out cross-border processing), you should determine your lead data protection supervisory authority. Article 29 Working Party guidelines will help you do this.

As you can see, this is not straightforward and if you are uncertain about any of these steps and processes it is important that you seek further assistance from qualified organisations.

Guest Blog by Ian Bevington, Marketing Manager at Oak Innovation – part of a series on GDPR, available at the Oak Innovation News Centre.


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