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Kirk Rice Blog

GDPR – Why You Should CareWritten on March 6, 2018 by Kirk Rice LLP

GDPR  – Why You Should Care

You can’t have failed to notice GDPR looming over the horizon. By the end of May, the EU General Data Protection Regulation, commonly known as GDPR, will have come in to effect, replacing the Data Protection Act that has been in place since 1998, and bringing with it tougher enforcement measures. Even if you are complying with current data protection legislation, it is highly unlikely that you can fully comply with GDPR without taking further action.

What changes?

GDPR will change how businesses and public sector organisations can handle the personal data of EU citizens and residents.  For ‘personal data’ you might firstly think about data you hold on your employees, and you’d be right, but your business is also likely to hold personal data about your customers and your suppliers for example.  The Regulation gives EU citizens and residents much more say in what personal information organisations may collect from them, and what these organisations may do with that data.

 When does the new regulation apply from?

  • 25 May 2018

Who will enforce it in the UK?

  •  The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

 What’s new?

  • There are new rights for people to access the information businesses hold about them, obligations for better data management for businesses, and a new regime of penalties

 Does Brexit matter?

  • The UK is implementing a new Data Protection Bill which largely includes all the provisions of the GDPR.  This will apply in the UK post Brexit

GDPR introduces a raft of new obligations on businesses, even those businesses with fewer than 250 employees. You may have read about exemptions for small and medium-sized businesses, but don’t get too excited (or complacent); this exemption is extremely narrow (for businesses that only process ‘occasionally’) and applies only to the requirement to document certain processing activities. Every other obligation under GDPR applies regardless of the size of the business.

Potential penalties such as 4% of turnover or €20 million (whichever is the greater) have grabbed the headlines. As well as the obvious financial risk, failure to demonstrate compliance with legal requirements, such as GDPR, can affect a businesses reputation and credibility too. Would you want to explain to a trusted customer that their personal data has been stolen?

Elizabeth Denham, the UK’s information commissioner says she is frustrated by the amount of “scaremongering”, saying “The GDPR is a step change for data protection…. It’s still an evolution, not a revolution”. I’m not sure how many businesses currently share her sentiment!

But let’s think positively about GDPR. By proving to potential and existing customers that your organisation is compliant with new laws you could bring in more business. No one wants their data lost, stolen, damaged, misused or shared without proper consent, and doing everything you can to protect your customers and grow their trust could be a unique selling point.

So buckle up and join me for a ride through GDPR. Over the coming weeks I’ll be explaining the key principles of the GDPR, the potential impact on your business and what steps you need to consider. I’ll be passing on useful tips and links, and pointing you in the right direction to move your business towards GDPR compliance.

Coming in my next update… Understanding GDPR and its Key Principles

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Any reader interested in discussing GDPR further can telephone Maxine Guest in our Ascot office on 01344 875000 or alternatively email info@kirkrice.co.uk

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Please note: advice is given for general guidance only and specific advice should be taken before acting on any of the suggestions made.