As we all know, data is now one of the most crucial resources which drive any economy and business in today’s world. The UK Government have acknowledged this and since Brexit, they are looking to create a new data regime that benefits the UK’s businesses whilst still upholding the standards set within data protection.
The current Digital Secretary has issued a consultation Data: a new direction on the Government’s proposed reforms on the data to make it more pro-growth and pro-innovation without compromising on data protection standards.
The Consultation sets out:
- Simplifying data used by researchers and developers of AI and other cutting-edge technologies
- Build upon the unprecedented and life-saving use of data to tackle the Covid pandemic
- Reinforce the responsibility of businesses to keep personal information safe whilst enabling them to still grow and innovate
- The regulator, Information Commissioners Office (ICO) remains a world leader in how it regulates the use of data responsibly to achieve economic and social goals.
The consultation is open until Friday 19th November 2021 after which the Government will provide their response to this consultation.
What does this mean for small businesses in the meantime?
You still have to follow the current data protection regime under the Data Protection Act 2018, this means:
- Ensure you have registered as a Data Controller with the ICO;
- Any personal data processed (both customers and employees) need to be in accordance with why the data was obtained;
- Have the records of the types of personal data, why it is being processed by your business and the legal basis for that processing;
- Ensure you and your staff are regularly trained on how to deal with any issues regarding personal data, including data requests and how to handle a potential data breach;
- Follow the reporting a data breach requirements and strict time limits to the ICO, if the criteria are met;
- Appoint a data protection officer if applicable register those details with the ICO
Failure to do any of the above can lead to some huge fines of up to £17.5 million or even 4% of businesses worldwide annual turnover. Recently the ICO have been handing out fines to smaller companies that have less than 100 employees which average at £15,000!
A lot of small and start-up businesses aren’t aware of data compliance issues or how to manage data correctly; don’t worry if you’re not sure what to do or where to turn, we can help.
How to make sure you’re following data protection legislation
Our CreditFocus, supports small businesses with aspects to help keep them focused on ensuring their business can flourish and grow. It includes ‘Legal Manager’ which provides comprehensive guides that are updated regularly and news bulletins that cover all the latest legal developments.
For just £24.99 a month, you’ll be able to discover and create all the legal documents such as contracts, policies and procedures you need to be legally compliant with, as well as credit check customers and suppliers and recover any commercial debt.