The General Data Protection Regulation came into operation on 25th May 2018. Charities have had mixed reactions to this and the new requirements to ensure that data is held securely. Charities are required to comply with the GDPR as with any other organisation that holds data. Even after Brexit, the equivalent of GDPR will continue to apply so committing to the principles and ethos behind GDPR remains vital.
In many ways the GDPR formalities are just common sense. Individuals have the right to be certain that their information is securely held by all organisations including charities and not then used for the wrong reasons. That in essence is the underlying principle behind the GDPR.
The next area that charities need to be conscious of is that there are an increasing number of financial claims being made by people that have suffered some form of data breach even if the organisation holding the data is blameless. On the horizon is the risk of claims being made similar to PPI as a financial loss does not have to be shown to seek compensation when a data breach occurs.
GDPR is not a "one size fits all" approach as within the general parameters each organisation needs to assess what is necessary within its own structure, taking into account it's size and facilities. It was always intended that the whole process would be evolution with charities developing their own policies and procedures but the most important aspect of that is training for their people, including their trustees, staff and volunteers. Recent research has suggested that whilst most charities in the country are complying with the GDPR processes and have adopted the necessary change in ethos and culture, they are not educating their people as well as they could. Training is lacking both for newcomers as well as existing staff and volunteers.
Clapham & Collinge Solicitors have already held a major GDPR training course and will be holding a follow-up for charities on Tuesday 15th October 2019. We have also held specific trustee training sessions, the most important of which so far is the big County Conference which is taking place on Wednesday 12th June. Click here to find out more or to book your place.
Article by Neale Grearson, Head of Clapham & Collinge Charities Department.
For more information on the legal services we offer to charities, visit our dedicated charity services webpage, call 01603 693500 or email us using the 'Make an enquiry' form. Appointments available at our Norwich, North Walsham, and Sheringham offices.