A new, free service from the UK’s data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has been designed to make it easier for charities to assess how well they look after personal data.
The law says that any business owner or organisation dealing with personal information – including charities – is responsible for keeping clients’, customers’ or patients’ data safe. It doesn’t matter what the business is or how small it is, information security is your responsibility.
The ICO has launched an online self-assessment tool that will help SMEs to assess their compliance with the Data Protection Act. The toolkit provides handy links to relevant guidance and further information, and will generate a rating based on responses.
The easy-to-use toolkit may be completed as one comprehensive assessment that embraces the key obligations that charities have in relation to processing their customers’ or clients’ personal information. Alternatively, it can be broken down into separate checklists so users can tailor it to their organisation’s particular needs and risks.
June Cairns-Smith, from small charity Guild of St. Mary and St. Anne, said: “I think it is an excellent tool. We are currently producing policies and guidance and the toolkit is really useful in assisting us in producing a GAP analysis and subsequent action plan on what needs to be addressed, with hints and tips as to where to go for additional guidance.”
The Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham added: “Good data protection practice makes business sense. It can lead to better, more efficient customer service and help to protect and enhance your reputation. It could also help you avoid a fine from the ICO.”
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