William Eichler 30 September 2021

Many councils ‘not compliant’ with data protection law

Many councils ‘not compliant’ with data protection law image

Only 12% of UK councils are compliant with GDPR when it comes to Article 5 principles relating to processing of personal data, a freedom of information request has revealed.

The Software Bureau, which powers Clean Contacts, sent out a FOI request to all UK councils in August asking how they kept their personal data up to date and accurate, particularly pertaining to home movers and people that have passed away.

Out of the 207 local authorities that responded, 12% admitted that they do not keep their data up to date and do not have any processes in place to clean or delete data.

Twenty per cent of the respondents provided a vague affirmative that they had a process to keep records clean but did not specify what these were or how regularly the data was updated.

Thirteen percent of councils refused the request on the basis that it would be too costly and time consuming to respond and 15% requested clarification as to what was meant by ‘data accuracy’ or ‘consumer data’ despite the question using the explicit wording given in GDPR Article 5.

Over a quarter of councils (28%) admitted that they only updated their data when informed by a constituent that they had moved house or that a family member had passed away.

Commenting on the findings, The Software Bureau’s Ben Warren said: ‘Data hygiene is a clear part of GDPR and by failing to have specific and regular processes in place to keep data accurate and up-to-date, many councils in the UK are not compliant with the current data protection law.

‘The fact that only 12% believe that they are compliant shows that more education and work is needed by the public sector.'

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