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ICO calls for nominations for the second Practitioner Award for Excellence in Data Protection

The Information Commissioner is calling for nominations for the second Practitioner Award for Excellence in Data Protection, to recognise those practitioners who go above and beyond when it comes to implementing data protection in practice.

Recognising the increasingly vital role played by data protection professionals, the Commissioner says that 2018 was the year that privacy and data security went mainstream. This included a once-in-a-generation reform of data protection laws, high-profile public debates about the use of personal data, and people increasingly exercising their rights. Privacy rights remain in the international spotlight as organisations grapple with implementing new technologies and innovative services, while ensuring fairness and transparency for consumers and citizens.

The inaugural award in 2018 was won by Esther Watt, Data Protection Office (DPO) at North Kesteven Council in Lincolnshire.

Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner, said:

“There has never been a better time to be in the rapidly growing data protection community and the role of data protection practitioner, often as the formally appointed Data Protection Officer under the GDPR, is now more important than ever.

“These leaders play a crucial role in ensuring organisations’ data protection practices keep pace with changes in our digital age and truly put people at the heart of what they do.

“In what has been such a pivotal year for my office, I want to recognise the individuals that have inspired public trust and confidence and have gone above and beyond to embed a positive culture of data protection in their organisation.

“I look forward to announcing the winner at our Data Protection Practitioners’ Conference on 8 April in Manchester.”

Winner of the 2018 award, Esther Watt, said:

“It’s been a really busy and fulfilling year since winning the Data Protection Officer of the year award. On a personal level, I was interviewed by ‘Privacy Law and Business’ magazine regarding the work undertaken to ensure North Kesteven District Council was compliant with the new data protection regulations, and I’ve been busy ensuring we, as an organisation, are doing everything correctly and consistently.

“As an organisation, we have reviewed our practices and embedded the principles of GDPR and continued to educate our colleagues and elected Members; ensuring data protection considerations are routinely undertaken at the start of every project. I continue to look forward to taking data protection forward and have been excited to play a key part in this.”

The award will be judged by an in-house panel. Contenders will likely be those who have shown inspiring data protection practice and leadership, particularly in the areas of accountability and privacy by design, and contributed to upholding key rights in the GDPR. They may also have made good use of the resources available from the ICO to help organisations live up to their obligations and inspire public trust and confidence in how they handle personal information. You can enter the awards here. Entries are open until 28 February 2018.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK’s independent regulator for data protection and information rights law, upholding information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
  2. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA2018), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR).
  3. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new data protection law which applied in the UK from 25 May 2018. Its provisions are included in the Data Protection Act 2018. The Act also includes measures related to wider data protection reforms in areas not covered by the GDPR, such as law enforcement and security. The UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR.
  4. However, due to the timing of certain incidents in this investigation, civil monetary penalties have to be issued under the previous legislation, the Data Protection Act 1998. The maximum financial penalty in civil cases under former laws is £500,000.
  5. Under past and current law, the ICO can take action to change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. This includes criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit.
  6. Since 25 May 2018, the ICO has the power to impose a civil monetary penalty (CMP) on a data controller of up to £17million (20m Euro) or 4% of global turnover.
  7. The GDPR and the DPA2018 gave the ICO new strengthened powers, some of which, such as assessment notices can be used for this investigation.
  8. The data protection principles in the GDPR evolved from the original DPA, and set out the main responsibilities for organisations. Article 5 of the GDPR requires that personal data shall be:
    • Processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals;
    • Collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes;
    • Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed;
    • Accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date;
    • Kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary;
    • Processed using appropriate technical or organisational measures in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data;
    • Article 5(2) requires that “the controller shall be responsible for, and be able to demonstrate, compliance with the principles”; and
    • Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) under past and current law are subject to a right of appeal to the (First-tier Tribunal) General Regulatory Chamber against the imposition of the monetary penalty and/or the amount of the penalty specified in the monetary penalty notice. 
  9. Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by ICO.
  10. To report a concern to the ICO go to ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint.

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