Information Commissioners Office (ICO) Data Protection Fee – you may already have heard about this, you may have received a letter from them, or, in fact, you may already be registered. The ICO is proactive in ensuring that organisations are registered and paying, if required, a data protection fee.

Registering with the ICO for data protection has always been a requirement in certain cases, but the GDPR regulations that came into effect in 2018 seems to have spurred them on to ensure that businesses are compliant. Over the pas couple of months we have seen many letters from them to Limited companies. Be aware, whether an organisation is a Limited Company, sole trader, partnership, charity, unicorporated voluntary group, etc, it still has to ensure that it meets the requirements of GDPR and the ICO.

GDPR is a complicated area. The ICO website, is like everything GDPR, just as complicated. Below is a link to the ICO guide to data protection. This includes information about GDPR requirements and you may find useful >> https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/

If you have received a letter, or in fact you haven’t received a letter it is important that you ensure that you are registered with the ICO. Many businesses won’t need to pay the ICO annual fee. As a rule, if you are say a builder and you only hold data (personal and otherwise) to carry out the functions of paying staff, maintaining accountancy records and dealing with customers information then you won’t need to pay a fee. If however, you keep data for other purposes e.g. you’re a training company and you maintain records about students then you will be required to pay a fee. Below is a link to the ICO website for a tool to help you decide if you need to pay a fee. Please note that there are other items in the tool that may require a fee to be paid e.g. if you use CCTV for the purpose of crime prevention. Follow the link and it will provide the response > https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-fee/self-assessment/

If you need to pay a fee, the tool will tell you and the website will show the links that you need to follow to register and pay the fee. If you are not required to pay a fee, then you will still need to register this exemption with the ICO. Again, the tool will include links to enable you to complete this.  Be warned, the GDPR regulations included a massive increase in the potential fines that could be levied in relation to data breaches.  Registration and being compliant is the only option to avoid such hefty fines.