Is your organisation at risk of being fined for a serious breach of the Data Protection Act?
People continue to expect high standards from public services. Are their expectations different regarding customer service from government to that of the commercial sector?
In reality they are sometimes more demanding of excellence.
Residents get most of their information about their council through the media. This means a local authority has limited influence over how its performance is presented. This clearly affects how residents view local government.
Any personal data that they provide without question to a commercial company such as a supermarket or an on-line retail outlet is often regarded with more suspicion when provided to the public sector and yet our hands are tied in terms of any joined up service provision without the shared use of information about our businesses and our customers. It is a legal requirement under the Data Protection Act for Local Authorities to ensure that all personal information gathered is adequately protected. When data is lost or disclosed in error, resulting in fines from the Information Commissioners Office, public confidence quite rightly diminishes.
Is there anything we can do to minimise the risk?
With increasing scrutiny being placed upon best and transparent handling practices for public data, Local Government is being more robustly monitored to ensure that data protection, transparency, where appropriate, and data audit trails all meet an acceptable standard. The recent letter sent to all local authorities jointly by the Permanent Secretary of Communities & Local Government and the Information Commissioner sets out an expectation in information governance and identifies the process for consulting developing and monitoring conformance to best practice guidelines. Likely changes to European and UK law to enforce the requirements is also now under discussion.
Best practice systems that help compliance are crucial to underpinning effective use and secure exchange of information both within councils, between councils and with other public sector and voluntary services. Our customers need to be sure that any data they provide is treated with appropriate privacy, confidentiality and kept safe from any risk of misuse.
Fortunately there is help and support to aid compliance.
Birmingham City Council, in conjunction with the Information Commissioners’ Office, the esd-toolkit and MetaCompliance, is hosting a one day conference exploring how organisations can navigate and overcome the pitfalls of information governance. The Information Commissioner’s Office, who want to help Local Authorities avoid the negative aspects of storing data will also be exploring good practice and common development areas identified through its audit work.
Who should attend? The event is designed for anyone with information governance responsibilities and for those working in policy & performance.
Registration is free and lunch and refreshments will be provided.
Key features of the day:
- Alvin West, Team Manager (Audit) and David Simmons, Lead Auditor, Information Commissioner's Office will explain the work of the Good Practice team.
- Anna Kelpie from MetaCompliance Limited will present how to make compliance easier in a workshop outlining a best practice approach to user awareness for information governance.
- Sheila Apicella from esd-toolkit, will explain how controlled vocabularies and data standards hosted within esd-toolkit support compliance.
- Tim Adams from the Local Government Association's esd-toolkit programme manager will describe how LG Inform, the new practical response to the sector’s call for greater freedom to take responsibility for its own regulation and improvement, uses these standards and forecast its future developments for 2012.
Click here to see the full agenda.
To find out more about the event and book please click here