Data Protection Policy

Context and overview

 

Key details

 

Approved by board / management on:18 JANUARY 2016

Policy prepared by: ANDY SILVESTER
Policy Reviewed on: 18 JANUARY 2018
Next review date: JANUARY 2019

                   

Introduction

ELAP needs to gather and use certain information about individuals.

This is usually personal contact details, address, NI and/or NHS Numbers – these are necessary requirements for health, financial and benefit casework. All such information is only recorded as stored for those specific usages

This policy describes how this personal data must be collected, handled and stored to meet the company’s data protection standards — and to comply with the law.

 

Why this policy exists

This data protection policy ensures EAST LINDSEY ADVICE PROJECT:

  • Complies with data protection law and follow good practice
  • Protects the rights of staff, clients and partners
  • Is open about how it stores and processes individuals’ data
  • Protects itself from the risks of a data breach

 

Data protection law

The Data Protection Act 1998 describes how organisations — including ELAP — must collect, handle and store personal information.

These rules apply regardless of whether data is stored electronically, on paper or on other materials.

To comply with the law, personal information must be collected and used fairly, stored safely and not disclosed unlawfully.

The Data Protection Act is underpinned by eight important principles. These say that personal data must:

  1. Be processed fairly and lawfully
  2. Be obtained only for specific, lawful purposes
  3. Be adequate, relevant and not excessive
  4. Be accurate and kept up to date
  5. Not be held for any longer than necessary
  6. Processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects
  7. Be protected in appropriate ways
  8. Not be transferred outside the European Economic Area (EEA), unless that country or territory also ensures an adequate level of protection


People, risks and responsibilities

This policy applies to:

  • The head office of EAST LINDSEY ADVICE PROJECT

          Hereafter referred to as ELAP

  • All branches and Outreach Centres of ELAP
  • All staff and volunteers of ELAP
  • All contractors, suppliers and other people working on behalf of ELAP

 

It applies to all data that the company holds relating to identifiable individuals, even if that information technically falls outside of the Data Protection Act 1998. This can include:

  • Names of individuals
  • Postal addresses
  • Email addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  •  NI and/or NHS numbers – where specifically relevant to case enquiries

 

Data protection risks

This policy helps to protect ELAP from some very real data security risks, including:

  • Breaches of confidentiality. For instance, information being given out inappropriately.
  • Failing to offer choice. For instance, all individuals should be free to choose how the company uses data relating to them.
  • Reputational damage. For instance, the company could suffer if hackers successfully gained access to sensitive data.

 

Responsibilities

Everyone who works for or with ELAP, as Staff, Volunteers and Trustees, has some responsibility for ensuring data is collected, stored and handled appropriately.

Each team that handles personal data must ensure that it is handled and processed in line with this policy and data protection principles.

However, these people have key areas of responsibility:

  • The board of directors is ultimately responsible for ensuring that [company name] meets its legal obligations.

 

The Data Compliance Officer  AMANDA WAIN, is responsible for:

  • Keeping the board updated about data protection responsibilities, risks and issues.
  • Reviewing all data protection procedures and related policies, in line with an agreed schedule.
  • Arranging data protection training and advice for the people covered by this policy.
  • Handling data protection questions from staff and anyone else covered by this policy.
  • Dealing with requests from individuals to see the data ELAP holds about them (also called ‘subject access requests’).

 

The CEO, ANDY SILVESTER, is responsible for:

  • Ensuring all IT systems, services and equipment used for storing data meet acceptable security standards.
  • Performing regular checks and scans to ensure security hardware and software is functioning properly.
  • Checking and approving any contracts or agreements with third parties that may handle the company’s sensitive data.
  • Evaluating any third-party services the company is considering using to store or process data. For instance, cloud computing services.


The CEO and DATA COMPLIANCE OFFICER are jointly and severally responsible for:

 

  • Approving any data protection statements attached to communications such as emails and letters.
  • Addressing any data protection queries from journalists or media outlets like newspapers, radio and TV
  • Where necessary, working with other staff to ensure marketing initiatives abide by data protection principles.

 

General Staff Guidelines

  • The only people able to access data covered by this policy should be those who need it for their work.
  • Data should not be shared informally. When access to confidential information is required, employees can request it from their line managers.
  • ELAP will provide training to all employees to help them understand their responsibilities when handling data.
  • Employees should keep all data secure, by taking sensible precautions and following the guidelines below.
  • In particular, strong passwords must be used and they should never be shared.
  • Personal data should not be disclosed to unauthorised people, either within the company or externally.
  • Data should be regularly reviewed and updated if it is found to be out of date. If no longer required, it should be deleted and disposed of.
  • Employees should request help from their line manager or the Data Compliance Officer if they are unsure about any aspect of data protection.



Data storage

These rules describe how and where data should be safely stored. Questions about storing data safely can be directed to the CEO or Data Compliance Officer.

When data is stored on paper, it should be kept in a secure place where unauthorised people cannot see it.

These guidelines also apply to data that is usually stored electronically but has been printed out for some reason:

 

  • When not required, the paper or files should be kept in a locked drawer or filing cabinet.
  • Employees should make sure paper and printouts are not left where unauthorised people could see them, like on a printer.
  • Data printouts should be shredded and disposed of securely when no longer required.

 

When data is stored electronically, it must be protected from unauthorised access, accidental deletion and malicious hacking attempts:

 

  • Data should be protected by strong passwords that are changed regularly and never shared between employees.
  • If data is stored on removable media (like a CD or DVD), these should be kept locked away securely when not being used.
  • Data should only be stored on designated drives and servers, and should only be uploaded to an approved cloud computing services.
  • Servers containing personal data should be sited in a secure location, away from general office space.
  • Data should be backed up frequently. Those backups should be tested regularly, in line with the company’s standard backup procedures.
  • Data should never be saved directly to laptops or other mobile devices like tablets or smart phones.
  • All servers and computers containing data should be protected by approved security software and a firewall.

 

Data Use

Personal data is of no value to ELAP unless the business can make use of it to benefit clients. However, it is when personal data is accessed and used that it can be at the greatest risk of loss, corruption or theft:

 

  • When working with personal data, employees should ensure the screens of their computers are always locked when left unattended.
  • National Insurance numbers must only be recorded when it is absolutely

Necessary (for example: when dealing with benefit enquiries, applications and Appeals), and any request for its disclosure must be accompanied by the Clients written approval for its use and storage (on the Client Information Form)

  • Personal data should not be shared informally. In particular, it should never be sent by standard email, as this form of communication is not secure.
  • Data must be encrypted before being transferred electronically. The CEO can explain how to send data to authorised external contacts.

 

  • Personal data should never be transferred outside of the European Economic Area.
  • Employees should not save copies of personal data to their own computers. Always access and update the central copy of any data.



Data Accuracy

 

The law requires ELAP to take reasonable steps to ensure data is kept accurate and up to date.


The more important it is that the personal data is accurate, the greater the effort ELAP should put into ensuring its accuracy.

It is the responsibility of all employees who work with data to take reasonable steps to ensure it is kept as accurate and up to date as possible.

 

  • Data will be held in as few places as necessary. Staff should not create any unnecessary additional data sets.
  • Staff should take every opportunity to ensure data is updated. For instance, by confirming a customer’s details when they call.
  • ELAP will make it easy for data subjects to update the information ELAP holds about them. For instance, via the contact facility on the company website www.elap.org.uk
  • Data should be updated as inaccuracies are discovered. For instance, if a customer can no longer be reached on their stored telephone number, it should be removed from the database.
  • It is the CEO’s responsibility to ensure client databases are checked against industry suppression files every six months.



Subject Access Requests

 

All individuals who are the subject of personal data held by ELAP are entitled to:

  • Ask what information the company holds about them and why.
  • Ask how to gain access to it.
  • Be informed how to keep it up to date.
  • Be informed how the company is meeting its data protection obligations.

 

If an individual contacts ELAP requesting this information, this is called a subject access request.

 

Subject access requests from individuals should be made by email or by letter addressed to the Data Compliance Officer or CEO at:



East Lindsey Advice Project

1 Little South Street

Louth

Lincolnshire

LN11 9JR



By email to:

 

Data Compliance Officer – amanda.elap@outlook.com

CEO – ceo.elap@gmail.com or andy.elap@outlook.com

 

The Data Compliance Officer can supply a standard request form, although individuals do not have to use this.

 

Individuals will be not be charged for subject access request. The data controller will aim to provide the relevant data within 14 days.

 

Organisations must contact ELAP in writing and state the precise reason and legal nature of requiring to make a subject access request in respect of Client details. Unless proven to be lawful, and subsequently verified/authorised by ELAP Management Committee, all commercial applications will be denied

 

The Data Compliance Officer will always verify the identity of anyone making a subject access request before handing over any information.




Disclosing data for other reasons

 

In certain circumstances, the Data Protection Act allows personal data to be disclosed to law enforcement agencies without the consent of the data subject.

 

Under these circumstances, ELAP will disclose requested data. However, the Data Compliance Officer and/or CEO will ensure the request is legitimate, seeking assistance from the Management Board and from the company’s legal advisers where necessary.



Providing Information

 

ELAP aims to ensure that individuals are aware that their data is being processed, and that they understand:

 

  • How the data is being used
  • How to exercise their rights

 

To these ends, the company has a privacy statement, setting out how data relating to individuals is used by the company.