How long does personal data have to be stored under the data protection law?

The short answer is no longer than necessary.

Personal data will need to be retained for longer in some cases than in others. How long you retain different categories of personal data should be based on individual business needs. A judgement must be made about:

  • the current and future value of the information;
  • the costs, risks and liabilities associated with retaining the information; and
  • the ease or difficulty of making sure it remains accurate and up to date.

There are various legal requirements and professional guidelines about keeping certain kinds of records – such as information needed for income tax and audit purposes, or information on aspects of health and safety. If an organisation keeps personal data to comply with a requirement like this, it will not be considered to have kept the information for longer than necessary.

The CIPD have a great resource regarding HR records which can be found here.

The Data Protection Bill

The UK’s third generation of data protection law has entered Parliament.

The Data Protection Bill was published on 14 September 2017 and aims to modernise data protection laws to ensure they are effective in the years to come. 

The Information Commissioner’s (ICO) website has been updated to include new section about the Data Protection Bill.

This explains the relationship between the Bill and the GDPR, detailing the additional areas the proposed new legislation covers. It also includes links to the ICO’s GDPR and Law Enforcement pages and to a Data Protection Bill fact sheet.

Notification under the Data Protection law

When the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) come into effect next year there will no longer be a requirement to notify the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) as there is now.

There is a provision in the Digital Economy Act which means it will remain a legal requirement for data controllers to pay the ICO a data protection fee. These fees will be used to fund the ICO’s data protection work. As now, any money the ICO receives in fines will be passed directly back to the Government.

The new system will aim to make sure the fees are fair and reflect the relative risk of the organisation’s processing of personal data. The size of the data protection fee will still be based on the organisation’s size and turnover and will also take into account the amount of personal data it is processing. The final fees will be approved by Parliament before being put into place.

Gravity Forms Stop Entries Plugin Aims to Help Sites Comply with the EU’s GDPR – WordPress Tavern

Wider Gravity Forms Stop Entries is a new plugin that helps website owners protect the privacy of form submissions by preventing entries from being stored in the database. Read more…

Source: Gravity Forms Stop Entries Plugin Aims to Help Sites Comply with the EU’s GDPR – WordPress Tavern

Government to strengthen UK data protection law

People to have more control over their personal data and be better protected in the digital age under new measures announced by Digital Minister Matt Hancock.

The Government has committed to updating and strengthening data protection laws through a new Data Protection Bill which will:

  • Make it simpler to withdraw consent for the use of personal data
  • Allow people to ask for their personal data held by companies to be erased
  • Enable parents and guardians to give consent for their child’s data to be used
  • Require ‘explicit’ consent to be necessary for processing sensitive personal data
  • Expand the definition of ‘personal data’ to include IP addresses, internet cookies and DNA
  • Update and strengthen data protection law to reflect the changing nature and scope of the digital economy
  • Make it easier and free for individuals to require an organisation to disclose the personal data it holds on them
  • Make it easier for customers to move data between service providers

New criminal offences will be created to deter organisations from either intentionally or recklessly creating situations where someone could be identified from anonymised data.

Businesses will be supported to ensure they are able to manage and secure data properly. The data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), will also be given more power to defend consumer interests and issue higher fines, of up to £17 million or 4 per cent of global turnover, in cases of the most serious data breaches.

The intention of the Data Protection Bill is to implement the GDPR in full, put the UK in a strong position to secure unhindered data flows once it has left the EU, and give businesses the clarity they need about their new obligations.

The GDPR will apply fully from 25th May 2018. If you would like to know the steps to take to comply with the new rules please register for our series of email guides here.

Do I need to appoint a Data Protection Officer to comply with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations)?

Not necessarily, but you must ensure that your organisation has sufficient staff and skills to discharge your obligations under the GDPR and so you can appoint a data protection officer (DPO) if that helps you meet this criteria.

The GDPR says that they should have professional experience and knowledge of data protection law. This should be proportionate to the type of processing your organisation carries out, taking into consideration the level of protection the personal data requires.

Public authorities (except for courts acting in their judicial capacity) are required to appoint a data protection officer (DPO), as is any organisation carrying out large scale systematic monitoring of individuals (for example, online behaviour tracking); or carrying out large scale processing of special categories of data or data relating to criminal convictions and offences.

The DPO’s minimum tasks are defined in Article 39:

  • To inform and advise the organisation and its employees about their obligations to comply with the GDPR and other data protection laws.
  • To monitor compliance with the GDPR and other data protection laws, including managing internal data protection activities, advise on data protection impact assessments; train staff and conduct internal audits.
  • To be the first point of contact for supervisory authorities and for individuals whose data is processed (employees, customers etc).

You must ensure that:

  • The DPO reports to the highest management level of your organisation – ie board level.
  • The DPO operates independently and is not dismissed or penalised for performing their task.
  • Adequate resources are provided to enable DPOs to meet their GDPR obligations.


The role of DPO can be allocated to an existing employee. As long as the professional duties of the employee are compatible with the duties of the DPO and do not lead to a conflict of interests. You can also contract out the role of DPO externally.

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