The EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) comes into force across the European Union on 25th May 2018 and brings with it the most significant changes to data protection law in two decades. Based on privacy by design and taking a risk-based approach, the GDPR has been designed to meet the requirements of the digital age.
HMT LLP are committed to ensuring the security and protection of the personal information that we hold and process, and to provide a compliant and consistent approach to data protection. We have always had a robust and effective data protection program in place which complies with existing law and abides by the data protection principles. However, we recognise our obligations in updating and expanding this program to meet the demands of the GDPR and the UK’s Data Protection Bill.
HMT are dedicated to safeguarding the personal information under our remit and in developing a data protection regime that is effective, fit for purpose and demonstrates an understanding of, and appreciation for the new Regulation. Our preparation and objectives for GDPR compliance have been summarised in this statement and include the development and implementation of new data protection roles, policies, procedures, controls and measures to ensure maximum and ongoing compliance.
How we prepare for GDPR
HMT already have a consistent level of data protection and security across our organisation, however it is our aim to be fully compliant with the GDPR by 25th May 2018. Our preparation includes:
- Information Audit – carrying out a company-wide information audit to identify and assess what personal information we hold, where it comes from, how and why it is processed and if and to whom it is disclosed.
- Policies & Procedures – revising and implementing data protection policies and procedures to meet the requirements and standards of the GDPR and any relevant data protection laws, including:
- Data Protection – our main policy and procedure document for data protection has been overhauled to meet the standards and requirements of the GDPR. Accountability and governance measures are in place to ensure that we understand and adequately disseminate and evidence our obligations and responsibilities; with a dedicated focus on privacy by design and the rights of individuals.
- Data Retention & Erasure – we have updated our retention policy and schedule to ensure that we meet the ‘data minimisation’ and ‘storage limitation’ principles and that personal information is stored, archived and destroyed compliantly and ethically. We have dedicated erasure procedures in place to meet the new ‘Right to Erasure’ obligation and are aware of when this and other data subject’s rights apply; along with any exemptions, response timeframes and notification responsibilities.
- Data Breaches – our breach procedures ensure that we have safeguards and measures in place to identify, assess, investigate and report any personal data breach at the earliest possible time. Our procedures are robust and have been disseminated to all employees, making them aware of the reporting lines and steps to follow.
- Subject Access Request (SAR) – we have revised our SAR procedures to accommodate the revised 30-day timeframe for providing the requested information and for making this provision free of charge. Our new procedures detail how to verify the data subject, what steps to take for processing an access request, what exemptions apply and a suite of response templates to ensure that communications with data subjects are compliant, consistent and adequate.
- Legal Basis for Processing – we have reviewed all processing activities to identify the legal basis for processing and ensuring that each basis is appropriate for the activity it relates to. Where applicable, we also maintain records of our processing activities, ensuring that our obligations under Article 30 of the GDPR and Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Bill are met.
- Privacy Notice/Policy – we have revised our Privacy Notice(s) to comply with the GDPR, ensuring that all individuals whose personal information we process have been informed of why we need it, how it is used, what their rights are, who the information is disclosed to and what safeguarding measures are in place to protect their information.
- Direct Marketing – we have revised the wording and processes for direct marketing, including clear opt-in mechanisms for marketing subscriptions when applicable; a clear notice and method for opting out and providing unsubscribe features on all subsequent marketing materials.
Data Subject Rights
In addition to the policies and procedures mentioned above that ensure individuals can enforce their data protection rights, we provide easy to access information by contacting our DPO of an individual’s right to access any personal information that HMT processes about them and to request information about: –
- What personal data we hold about them
- The purposes of the processing
- The categories of personal data concerned
- The recipients to whom the personal data has/will be disclosed
- How long we intend to store your personal data for
- If we did not collect the data directly from them, information about the source
- The right to have incomplete or inaccurate data about them corrected or completed and the process for requesting this
- The right to request erasure of personal data or to restrict processing in accordance with data protection laws, as well as to object to any direct marketing from us and to be informed about any automated decision-making that we use
- The right to lodge a complaint or seek judicial remedy and who to contact in such instances
Information Security & Technical and Organisational Measures
HMT takes the privacy and security of individuals and their personal information very seriously and take every reasonable measure and precaution to protect and secure the personal data that we process. We have robust information security policies and procedures in place to protect personal information from unauthorised access, alteration, disclosure or destruction and have several layers of security measures. We have worked with our IT supplier to ensure our security systems are compliant with GDPR.
AT HMT, we have a dedicated team who will continue to inform and monitor our strategy for GDPR on the run up to 25 May 2018 and after its enforcement.
If you would like to ask us for the details of the personal information we hold for you, or if you have any other queries about our data protection policy, please contact Melissa Dainelli our Data Protection Officer on 01491579740 or via email at mdainelli@hmtllp.