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GDPR / Data Protection Policy
Oblong Ltd is committed to protecting the rights and freedoms of data subjects and safely and securely processing their data in accordance with all our legal obligations.
We hold personal data about our employees, volunteers, clients, suppliers and other individuals for a variety of business purposes.
This policy sets out how we seek to protect personal data and ensure that our staff and volunteers understand the rules governing their use of the personal data to which they have access during their work
This policy requires staff to ensure that the Data Protection Officer (DPO) be consulted before any significant new data processing activity is initiated to ensure that relevant compliance steps are addressed.
Failure to observe this policy, or the misuse of personal data is a disciplinary offence and may even constitute and criminal offence.
0.1.1. Business Purposes
Business purposes may include any of the following: -
Personnel, administrative, financial, regulatory, payroll and business development purposes.
Compliance with our legal, regulatory and corporate governance obligations and good practice
Gathering information as part of investigations by regulatory bodies or in connection with legal proceedings or requests
Ensuring business policies are adhered to (such as policies covering email and internet use)
Operational reasons, such as recording transactions, training and quality control, ensuring the confidentiality of commercially sensitive information, security vetting, credit scoring and checking
Checking references, sharing data internally for recruitment purposes, ensuring safe working practices, monitoring and managing staff access to systems and facilities and staff absences, administration and assessments
Monitoring staff conduct, disciplinary matters –
Marketing our business - Improving services
0.1.2. Personal data ‘Personal data’ means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person.
Personal data we gather may include: individuals' phone number, email address, educational background, financial and pay details, details of certificates and diplomas, education and skills, marital status, nationality, job title, and CV.
0.1.2.1. Personal Information relating to staff
Oblong holds information about employees to do with their working life in order to fulfil its responsibilities as an employer. Personal information is also held about Trustees. Much of this information is highly personal and Oblong recognises its duty to safeguard the data by all means possible and to notify staff about what is kept and why, along with information about how the data can be accessed and by whom.
0.1.2.1.1. Information held by Oblong will include:
Information relating to recruitment and selection such as application forms; shortlisting and interview assessments; references; proof of eligibility to work in the UK; where relevant, unspent criminal records and/or the outcome of Criminal Record Bureau/ Disclosure and Barring investigations.
Personal details of home address, phone number, next of kin.
Information necessary for payment of salaries, such as bank details, national insurance number, details of deductions to e.g. the courts or trade unions, expenses claims.
Information about academic and vocational qualifications and experience.
Notes of probationary and annual reviews and supervisions.
Sick notes, and medical assessments, including information relating to disabilities.
Absence records, including sickness absence, compassionate leave, unauthorised absences.
Time sheets and holiday sheets.
Details of grievance and disciplinary proceedings including current warnings (within the timescales allowed by the appropriate policies).
Reference requests and responses.
0.1.2.1.2. Purpose of keeping this data
The data kept on staff is primarily in relation to their employment with Oblong.
This data will be used for the purpose of administering and managing their employment. Information about Trustees is held for registration with the Charity Commission and Companies House and for some funding applications.
Personal information about employees and volunteers may also be kept for the purposes of applying for funding, obtaining insurance or responding to requests for information from Government offices, the Charity Commissioners or other reputable bodies.
Where possible, sensitive information will not be tied to individuals but will be given in anonymised statistical formats only.
0.1.2.1.3. Oblong will seek consent from staff and volunteers to use some personal information on an ongoing basis, including names and photographs, to be published in e.g. newsletters, annual reports, publicity leaflets or the organisation’s website.
This information will not include home or personal contact details.
Individual staff email addresses will be avoided unless necessary.
Staff may request that all or any personal information and/or photographs are restricted to internal access and this request should be complied with.
0.1.3. Special categories of personal data
Special categories of data include information about an individual's racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or similar beliefs, trade union membership (or non-membership), physical or mental health or condition, criminal offences, or related proceedings, and genetic and biometric information —any use of special categories of personal data should be strictly controlled in accordance with this policy.
0.1.4. Data controller
‘Data controller’ means the natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which, alone or jointly with others, determines the purposes and means of the processing of personal data; where the purposes and means of such processing are determined by law.
0.1.5. Data processor
‘Processor’ means a natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which processes personal data on behalf of the controller.
‘Processing’ means any operation or set of operations which is performed on personal data or on sets of personal data, whether or not by automated means, such as collection, recording, organisation, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction.
0.1.7. Supervisory authority
This is the national body responsible for data protection. The supervisory authority for our organisation is the Information Commissioner's Office, with which Oblong Ltd is registered - ref Z9991536.
This policy relates to the protection of the privacy of staff volunteers, job applicants trustees service users and any other person about whom Oblong Ltd hold identifiable information os a formal or informal nature.
This policy applies to all staff, who must be familiar with this policy and comply with its terms.
This policy supplements our other policies relating to internet and email use. We may supplement or amend this policy by additional policies and guidelines from time to time.
Any new or modified policy will be circulated to staff & trustees before being adopted.
0.3. Who is responsible for this policy?
As our Data Protection Officer (DPO), Jess Fishenden has overall responsibility for the day-to-day implementation of this policy. You should contact the DPO for further information about this policy if necessary.
Jess Fishenden - email@example.com
Other contact details available internally
1. The principles
Oblong Ltd shall comply with the principles of data protection (the Principles) enumerated in the EU General Data Protection Regulation. We will make every effort possible in everything we do to comply with these principles.
1.1. The Principles are:
1.1.1. Lawful, fair and transparent
Data collection must be fair, for a legal purpose and we must be open and transparent as to how the data will be used.
1.1.2. Limited for its purpose
Data can only be collected for a specific purpose.
1.1.3. Data minimisation
Any data collected must be necessary and not excessive for its purpose.
The data we hold must be accurate and kept up to date.
We cannot store data longer than necessary.
1.1.6. Integrity and confidentiality
The data we hold must be kept safe and secure.
1.2. Accountability and transparency
We must ensure accountability and transparency in all our use of personal data. We must show how we comply with each Principle. You are responsible for keeping a written record of how all the data processing activities you are responsible for comply with each of the Principles. This must be kept up to date and must be approved by the DPO.
To comply with data protection laws and the accountability and transparency Principle of GDPR, we must demonstrate compliance. You are responsible for understanding your responsibilities to ensure we meet the following data protection obligations:
Fully implement all appropriate technical and organisational measures
Maintain up to date and relevant documentation on all processing activities
Conducting Data Protection Impact Assessments
Implement measures to ensure privacy by design and default, including:
Allowing individuals to monitor processing
Creating and improving security and enhanced privacy procedures on an ongoing basis
2. Our procedures
2.1. Fair and lawful processing
We must process personal data fairly and lawfully in accordance with individuals’ rights under the first Principle. This generally means that we should not process personal data unless the individual whose details we are processing has consented to this happening.
If we cannot apply a lawful basis (explained below), our processing does not conform to the first principle and will be unlawful. Data subjects have the right to have any data unlawfully processed erased
2.1.1. Controlling vs. processing data
Oblong Ltd is classified as both a data controller and a data processor. We must maintain our appropriate registration with the Information Commissioner's Office to continue lawfully controlling and processing data.
22.214.171.124. As a data processor, we must comply with our contractual obligations and act only on the documented instructions of the data controller. If we at any point determine the purpose and means of processing out with the instructions of the controller, we shall be considered a data controller and therefore breach our contract with the controller and have the same liability as the controller.
126.96.36.199. As a data processor, we must:
Not use a sub-processor without written authorisation of the data controller
Co-operate fully with the ICO or other supervisory authority
Ensure the security of the processing
Keep accurate records of processing activities
Notify the controller of any personal data breaches
If you are in any doubt about how we handle data, contact the DPO for clarification.
2.2. Lawful basis for processing data
We must establish a lawful basis for processing data. Ensure that any data you are responsible for managing has a written lawful basis approved by the DPO. It is your responsibility to check the lawful basis for any data you are working with and ensure all your actions comply the lawful basis. At least one of the following conditions must apply whenever we process personal data:
We hold recent, clear, explicit, and defined consent for the individual’s data to be processed for a specific purpose.
The processing is necessary to fulfil or prepare a contract for the individual.
2.2.3. Legal obligation
We have a legal obligation to process the data (excluding a contract).
2.2.4. Vital interests
Processing the data is necessary to protect a person’s life or in a medical situation.
2.2.5. Public function
Processing necessary to carry out a public function, a task of public interest or the function has a clear basis in law.
2.2.6. Legitimate interest
The processing is necessary for our legitimate interests. This condition does not apply if there is a good reason to protect the individual’s personal data which overrides the legitimate interest.
2.3. Deciding which condition to rely on
If you are assessing the lawful basis, you must first establish that the processing is necessary. This means the processing must be a targeted, appropriate way of achieving the stated purpose. You cannot rely on a lawful basis if you can reasonable achieve the same purpose by some other means.
Remember that more than one basis may apply, and you should rely on what will best fit the purpose, not what is easiest.
Consider the following factors and document your answers:
What is the purpose for processing the data?
Can it reasonably be done in a different way?
Is there a choice as to whether to process the data?
Who does the processing benefit?
After selecting the lawful basis, is this the same as the lawful basis the data subject would expect?
What is the impact of the processing on the individual?
Are you in a position of power over them?
Are they a vulnerable person?
Would they be likely to object to the processing?
Are you able to stop the processing at any time on request, and have you factored in how to do this?
Our commitment to the first Principle requires us to document this process and show that we have considered which lawful basis best applies to each processing purpose, and fully justify these decisions.
We must also ensure that individuals whose data is being processed by us are informed of the lawful basis for processing their data, as well as the intended purpose. This should occur via a privacy notice. This applies whether we have collected the data directly from the individual, or from another source.
If you are responsible for assessing the lawful basis and implementing the privacy notice for the processing activity, you must have this approved by the DPO.
2.4. Special categories of personal data
What are special categories of personal data?
Previously known as sensitive personal data, this means data about an individual which is more sensitive, so requires more protection. This type of data could create more significant risks to a person’s fundamental rights and freedoms, for example by putting them at risk of unlawful discrimination. The special categories include information about an individual’s:
trade union membership
biometrics (where used for ID purposes)
In most cases where we process special categories of personal data we will require the data subject's explicit consent to do this unless exceptional circumstances apply, or we are required to do this by law (e.g. to comply with legal obligations to ensure health and safety at work). Any such consent will need to clearly identify what the relevant data is, why it is being processed and to whom it will be disclosed.
The condition for processing special categories of personal data must comply with the law. If we do not have a lawful basis for processing special categories of data that processing activity must cease.
2.4.1. Our responsibilities
Analysing and documenting the type of personal data we hold
Checking procedures to ensure they cover all the rights of the individual
Identify the lawful basis for processing data
Ensuring consent procedures are lawful
Implementing and reviewing procedures to detect, report and investigate personal data breaches
Store data in safe and secure ways
Assess the risk that could be posed to individual rights and freedoms should data be compromised
2.4.2. Your responsibilities
Fully understand your data protection obligations
Check that any data processing activities you are dealing with comply with our policy and are justified
Do not use data in any unlawful way
Do not store data incorrectly, be careless with it or otherwise cause us to breach data protection laws and our policies through your actions
Comply with this policy always
Raise any concerns, notify any breaches or errors, and report anything suspicious or contradictory to this policy or our legal obligations without delay
2.4.3. Responsibilities of the Data Protection Officer
Keeping the board updated about data protection responsibilities, risks and issues
Reviewing all data protection procedures and policies on a regular basis
Arranging data protection training and advice for all staff members and those included in this policy
Answering questions on data protection from staff, board members and other stakeholders
Responding to individuals such as clients and employees who wish to know which data is being held on them by us
Checking and approving with third parties that handle the company’s data any contracts or agreement regarding data processing
2.4.4. Responsibilities of other members of staff with delegated specialisations
Ensure all systems, services, software and equipment meet acceptable security standards
Checking and scanning security hardware and software regularly to ensure it is functioning properly
Researching third-party services, such as cloud services the company is considering using to store or process data
Approving data protection statements attached to emails and other marketing copy
Addressing data protection queries from clients, target audiences or media outlets
Coordinating with the DPO to ensure all marketing initiatives adhere to data protection laws and the company’s Data Protection Policy
2.5. Accuracy and relevance
We will ensure that any personal data we process is accurate, adequate, relevant and not excessive, given the purpose for which it was obtained. We will not process personal data obtained for one purpose for any unconnected purpose unless the individual concerned has agreed to this or would otherwise reasonably expect this.
Individuals may ask that we correct inaccurate personal data relating to them. If you believe that information is inaccurate you should record the fact that the accuracy of the information is disputed and inform the DPO.
2.6. Data security
You must keep personal data secure against loss or misuse. Where other organisations process personal data as a service on our behalf, the DPO will establish what, if any, additional specific data security arrangements need to be implemented in contracts with those third-party organisations.
2.6.1. Storing data securely
· In cases when data is stored on printed paper, it should be kept in a secure place where unauthorised personnel cannot access it
Printed data should be shredded when it is no longer needed
Data stored on a computer should be protected by strong passwords that are changed regularly. We encourage all staff to use a password manager to create and store their passwords.
Avoid storing data on CDs or memory sticks. If done, must be encrypted or password protected and locked away securely when they are not being used.
The DPO must approve any cloud used to store data
Servers containing personal data must be kept in a secure location, away from general office space
Data should be regularly backed up in line with the company’s backup procedures
Data should never be saved directly to mobile devices such as laptops, tablets or smartphones - use directly from approved cloud provider when possible.
Any servers containing sensitive data must be approved and protected by security software
All possible technical measures must be put in place to keep data secure
2.6.2. Data retention
We must retain personal data for no longer than is necessary. What is necessary will depend on the circumstances of each case, considering the reasons that the personal data was obtained, but should be determined in a manner consistent with our data retention guidelines.
2.6.3. Transferring data internationally
There are restrictions on international transfers of personal data. You must not transfer personal data abroad, or anywhere else outside of normal rules and procedures without express permission from the DPO.
2.6.4. Rights of individuals
Individuals have rights to their data which we must respect and comply with to the best of our ability. We must ensure individuals can exercise their rights in the following ways:
188.8.131.52. Right to be informed
Providing privacy notices which are concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible, free of charge, that are written in clear and plain language, particularly if aimed at children.
Keeping a record of how we use personal data to demonstrate compliance with the need for accountability and transparency.
184.108.40.206. Right of access
Enabling individuals to access their personal data and supplementary information
Allowing individuals to be aware of and verify the lawfulness of the processing activities
220.127.116.11. Right to rectification
We must rectify or amend the personal data of the individual if requested because it is inaccurate or incomplete.
This must be done without delay, and no later than one month. This can be extended to two months with permission from the DPO.
18.104.22.168. Right to erasure
We must delete or remove an individual’s data if requested and there is no compelling reason for its continued processing.
22.214.171.124. Right to restrict processing
We must comply with any request to restrict, block, or otherwise suppress the processing of personal data.
We are permitted to store personal data if it has been restricted, but not process it further. We must retain enough data to ensure the right to restriction is respected in the future.
126.96.36.199. Right to data portability
We must provide individuals with their data so that they can reuse it for their own purposes or across different services.
We must provide it in a commonly used, machine-readable format, and send it directly to another controller if requested.
188.8.131.52. Right to object
We must respect the right of an individual to object to data processing based on legitimate interest or the performance of a public interest task.
We must respect the right of an individual to object to direct marketing, including profiling.
We must respect the right of an individual to object to processing their data for scientific and historical research and statistics.
184.108.40.206. Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling
We must respect the rights of individuals in relation to automated decision making and profiling.
Individuals retain their right to object to such automated processing, have the rationale explained to them, and request human intervention.
2.7. Privacy notices
2.7.1. When to supply a privacy notice
A privacy notice must be supplied at the time the data is obtained if obtained directly from the data subject. If the data is not obtained directly from the data subject, the privacy notice must be provided within a reasonable period of having obtained the data, which mean within one month.
If the data is being used to communicate with the individual, then the privacy notice must be supplied at the latest when the first communication takes place.
If disclosure to another recipient is envisaged, then the privacy notice must be supplied prior to the data being disclosed.
2.7.2. What to include in a privacy notice
Privacy notices must be concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible. They are provided free of charge and must be written in clear and plain language, particularly if aimed at children
The following information must be included in a privacy notice to all data subjects:
Identification and contact information of the data controller and the data protection officer
The purpose of processing the data and the lawful basis for doing so
The legitimate interests of the controller or third party, if applicable
The right to withdraw consent at any time, if applicable
The category of the personal data (only for data not obtained directly from the data subject)
Any recipient or categories of recipients of the personal data
Detailed information of any transfers to third countries and safeguards in place
The retention period of the data or the criteria used to determine the retention period, including details for the data disposal after the retention period
The right to lodge a complaint with the ICO, and internal complaint procedures
The source of the personal data, and whether it came from publicly available sources (only for data not obtained directly from the data subject)
Any existence of automated decision making, including profiling and information about how those decisions are made, their significances and consequences to the data subject
Whether the provision of personal data is part of a statutory of contractual requirement or obligation and possible consequences for any failure to provide the data (only for data obtained directly from the data subject)
2.8. Subject Access Requests
2.8.1. What is a subject access request?
An individual has the right to receive confirmation that their data is being processed, access to their personal data and supplementary information which means the information which should be provided in a privacy notice.
2.8.2. How we deal with subject access requests
We must provide an individual with a copy of the information the request, free of charge. This must occur without delay, and within one month of receipt. We endeavour to provide data subjects access to their information in commonly used electronic formats, and where possible, provide direct access to the information through a remote accessed secure system.
If complying with the request is complex or numerous, the deadline can be extended by two months, but the individual must be informed within one month. You must obtain approval from the DPO before extending the deadline.
We can refuse to respond to certain requests, and can, in circumstances of the request being manifestly unfounded or excessive, charge a fee. If the request is for a large quantity of data, we can request the individual specify the information they are requesting. This can only be done with express permission from the DPO.
Once a subject access request has been made, you must not change or amend any of the data that has been requested. Doing so is a criminal offence.
2.9. Other Data Requests
2.9.1. Data portability requests
We must provide the data requested in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format. This would normally be a CSV file, although other formats are acceptable. We must provide this data either to the individual who has requested it, or to the data controller they have requested it be sent to. This must be done free of charge and without delay, and no later than one month. This can be extended to two months for complex or numerous requests, but the individual must be informed of the extension within one month and you must receive express permission from the DPO first.
2.9.2. Right to erasure
220.127.116.11. What is the right to erasure?
Individuals have a right to have their data erased and for processing to cease in the following circumstances:
Where the personal data is no longer necessary in relation to the purpose for which it was originally collected and / or processed
Where consent is withdrawn
Where the individual objects to processing and there is no overriding legitimate interest for continuing the processing
The personal data was unlawfully processed or otherwise breached data protection laws
To comply with a legal obligation
The processing relates to a child
18.104.22.168. How we deal with the right to erasure
We can only refuse to comply with a right to erasure in the following circumstances:
To exercise the right of freedom of expression and information
To comply with a legal obligation for the performance of a public interest task or exercise of official authority
For public health purposes in the public interest
For archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific research, historical research or statistical purposes
The exercise or defence of legal claims
If personal data that needs to be erased has been passed onto other parties or recipients, they must be contacted and informed of their obligation to erase the data. If the individual asks, we must inform them of those recipients.
2.9.3. The right to object
Individuals have the right to object to their data being used on grounds relating to their situation. We must cease processing unless:
We have legitimate grounds for processing which override the interests, rights and freedoms of the individual.
The processing relates to the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
We must always inform the individual of their right to object at the first point of communication, i.e. in the privacy notice. We must offer a way for individuals to object online.
2.9.4. The right to restrict automated profiling or decision making
We may only carry out automated profiling or decision making that has a legal or similarly significant effect on an individual in the following circumstances:
It is necessary for the entry into or performance of a contract.
Based on the individual’s explicit consent.
Otherwise authorised by law.
In these circumstances, we must:
Give individuals detailed information about the automated processing.
Offer simple ways for them to request human intervention or challenge any decision about them.
Carry out regular checks and user testing to ensure our systems are working as intended.
2.10. Third parties
Using third party controllers and processors
2.10.1. As a data controller and data processor, we must have written contracts in place with any third party [data controllers (and/or) data processors] that we use. The contract must contain specific clauses which set out our and their liabilities, obligations and responsibilities.
2.10.2. As a data controller, we must only appoint processors who can provide sufficient guarantees under GDPR and that the rights of data subjects will be respected and protected.
2.10.3. As a data processor, we must only act on the documented instructions of a controller. We acknowledge our responsibilities as a data processor under GDPR and we will protect and respect the rights of data subjects.
Our contracts must comply with the standards set out by the ICO and, where possible, follow the standard contractual clauses which are available. Our contracts with [data controllers (and/or) data processors] must set out the subject matter and duration of the processing, the nature and stated purpose of the processing activities, the types of personal data and categories of data subject, and the obligations and rights of the controller.
At a minimum, our contracts must include terms that specify:
Acting only on written instructions
Those involved in processing the data are subject to a duty of confidence
Appropriate measures will be taken to ensure the security of the processing
Sub-processors will only be engaged with the prior consent of the controller and under a written contract
The controller will assist the processor in dealing with subject access requests and allowing data subjects to exercise their rights under GDPR
The processor will assist the controller in meeting its GDPR obligations in relation to the security of processing, notification of data breaches and implementation of Data Protection Impact Assessments
Delete or return all personal data at the end of the contract
Submit to regular audits and inspections and provide whatever information necessary for the controller and processor to meet their legal obligations.
Nothing will be done by either the controller or processor to infringe on GDPR.
2.12. Criminal offence data
Criminal record checks
Any criminal record checks are justified by law. Criminal record checks cannot be undertaken based solely on the consent of the subject. We cannot keep a comprehensive register of criminal offence data.
Criminal record checks will be done through an approved 3rd party provider. All data relating to criminal offences is a special category of personal data and must be treated as such.
2.13. Audits, monitoring and training
2.13.1. Data audits
Regular data audits to manage and mitigate risks will inform the data register. This contains information on what data is held, where it is stored, how it is used, who is responsible and any further regulations or retention timescales that may be relevant. You must conduct a regular data audit as defined by the DPO and normal procedures.
Everyone must observe this policy. The DPO has overall responsibility for this policy. Oblong Ltd will keep this policy under review and amend or change it as required. You must notify the DPO of any breaches of this policy. You must comply with this policy fully and always.
You will receive adequate training on provisions of data protection law specific for your role. You must complete all training as requested. If you move role or responsibilities, you are responsible for requesting new data protection training relevant to your new role or responsibilities.
If you require additional training on data protection matters, contact the DPO.
2.14. Reporting breaches
22.214.171.124. Any breach of this policy or of data protection laws must be reported as soon as practically possible. This means as soon as you have become aware of a breach. Oblong Ltd has a legal obligation to report any data breaches to the Information Commissioner within 72 hours
126.96.36.199. All members of staff have an obligation to report actual or potential data protection compliance failures. This allows us to:
Investigate the failure and take remedial steps if necessary
Maintain a register of compliance failures
Notify the ICO of any compliance failures that are material either or as part of a pattern of failures
188.8.131.52. Any member of staff who fails to notify of a breach or is found to have known or suspected a breach has occurred but has not followed the correct reporting procedures will be liable to disciplinary action.
2.14.1. Breaches should be reported to the named DPO in the first instance.
Evidence of breach should be preserved if doing so does not risk further breach.
2.14.2. Report of breach can be done by email, telephone or other private means as appropriate to urgency, however should be backed up by a physical written statement that is signed and dated, handed to named DPO (or delegated party) at first opportunity.
184.108.40.206. Written statement should include all relevant details to provide context for later audit of how breach has been dealt with.
2.14.2. Failure to comply
We take compliance with this policy very seriously. Failure to comply puts both you and the organisation at risk.
The importance of this policy means that failure to comply with any requirement may lead to disciplinary action under our procedures which may result in dismissal.
If you have any questions or concerns about anything in this policy, do not hesitate to contact the named DPO.
2.15. Staff Obligations
Oblong is the Registered Data Controller and is responsible for notification to the Information Commissioner (http://ico.org.uk/). S/he should be deferred to with any questions relating to data protection or confidentiality. However, all staff are responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy. They must:
Ensure that they have read and understood this policy as it relates to them.
Ensure that data which they supply or for which they are responsible is up-to-date, accurate, fair and relevant to its purpose, including information about themselves. Staff must notify the organisation of any changes in circumstance to enable the organisation to update personnel records accordingly.
Not keep any records on other individuals (whether other employees or clients/service users) which are unnecessary, incorrect or which contain unfounded opinion or speculation.
Not share personal information about other members of staff or clients/service users (e.g. sickness, personal circumstances), that they know as a result of handling confidential information (e.g. sick notes, application forms) or which is disclosed in confidential settings (e.g. supervision or counselling), without that person’s unambiguous agreement.
Keep data secure. Paper and external computer files must be locked up, computers must be password protected; laptops and computer disks containing personal information, open computer screens, or open paper files must not be left unattended.
Not disclose, share or transfer outside the organisation any personal information relating to other staff, volunteers, trustees, or clients/service users without the explicit consent of the individual concerned.
Dispose of personal data safely. Paper notes and records must be shredded or disposed of as ‘confidential waste’. Hard drives of redundant PCs must be destroyed or wiped clean before disposal.
Particular care must be taken where personal data is processed ‘off-site’, at home or in other locations. This presents a greater risk of loss, damage or theft and staff must take appropriate security precautions.
2.14.1. These obligations, and the associated risks are collected in a working document entitled [Oblong Ltd - Data Protection Assessment] to be made available on shared drive or similar.
2.15. Monitoring of Staff Activity
Staff should be aware that Oblong may, if they have reason to do so, monitor use of the internet and/or emails. Private emails will never be opened intentionally but staff should be aware of the possibility of accidental access and of the right of staff to question and investigate private use.
Deliberate monitoring will only take place where there is good reason to suspect a disciplinary offence or another justified concern.
Performance and quality control monitoring will be overt and for a clear purpose. Covert monitoring will not be permitted.
2.16. Guidelines for disclosing information to internal and external sources
2.16.1. Internal information sharing
Oblong recognises that Trustees, staff and volunteers may need to share personal information with others internally within Oblong. This might include, for instance, discussion of client issues during supervision, discussion of situations to gain experience and opinion from colleagues, ‘on the job’ training. Care must be taken that this kind of information sharing is not done publicly or where it can be overheard. Such conversations should wherever possible be held without explicitly identifying the individual or organisation under discussion.
Supervision sessions are in general confidential to the supervisor and the Oblong staff member.
Ground rules for when and why confidentiality may be broken should be agreed at the start of a supervision relationship and might include, for instance:
information about the progress of work against funding targets
complex or problematic case management
discussion of the implications for colleagues of a request for flexible working
some information to colleagues about personal circumstances which are temporarily affecting performance
discussion of grievances or concerns about performance with a peer manager
Wherever possible, agreement about any breach of confidentiality should be reached in advance of the disclosure taking place.
Although the supervisor is bound by confidentiality, it is helpful for the supervisee to inform the supervisor if there are any personal circumstances which are particularly sensitive.
2.16.3. Answering requests for personal staff information
Personal information about a colleague should not usually be discussed with other staff or people outside Oblong without that person’s permission. Personal details including address and phone number, health matters or personal circumstances may not be passed on without explicit consent.
It is usually safe to reveal a colleague’s work contact (telephone and email address) in response to an enquiry regarding a work function, although these details should not be given to someone wishing to contact a colleague on a non-work related matter.
However, staff must not reveal personal details of other staff members to unknown or unverified external sources, even where these claim to be family members, friends, Government bodies or the police.
220.127.116.11. Strategies to deal with such enquiries could include:
Asking the enquirer to put their query in writing or into an email, if appropriate backed up by documentary evidence to support the request.
Informing the enquirer that a message will be passed on, either asking the person to contact the enquirer directly or agreeing to pass on a sealed envelope/incoming email message to the person.
Telling the enquirer that you will phone back once you have collected/verified the information required.
2.17. Organisational information
Trustees, staff and volunteers are bound by confidentiality in all matters relating to the internal affairs of Oblong. Confidential information concerning Board meetings, staff meetings, finances, recruitment, planning etc should not be disclosed outside the organisation unless authorisation is given to do so. This does not apply to disclosures made under the Public Interest Disclosure Act (‘whistle blowing’).
No statements concerning internal matters or policy may be made to the media without the express permission of staff.
3. Personal information relating to service users
Oblong is committed to respecting the confidentiality of those who use and/or support its services. This means respecting the right of members, benefactors, beneficiaries and volunteers to privacy and their right to expect that any personal information they give us will not be discussed or passed on to anyone outside Oblong without their permission.
Please refer to ‘staff obligations’ above for general instructions on the collection, use, storage and disposal of all personal information associated with the Oblong.
3.1. Information held by Oblong Ltd will include:
Personal or sensitive information could include names and addresses, membership details, medical and psychological conditions, financial status, employment status, living arrangements, criminal offences, and internal organisational issues/disputes. The information may be given in conversation or in written form, for example on an application/interview form or email.
3.2. Method of holding this information
Oblong keeps information on its clients/service users for the purposes of providing a service and meeting client needs.
3.2.1. Oblong will collect names and addresses, including email addresses, of volunteers for purposes of marketing our services or for quality control purposes.
This information will only be used for these purposes with the knowledge and consent of the data subject.
3.2.2. Oblong keeps information for applying for funding, monitoring how funds are spent and responding to request for information from Government offices, the Charity Commission and other reputable organisations. Statistical and depersonalised information may be used for campaigning purposes or publicity purposes.
3.2.3. No unrelated data will be kept and any sensitive data held by the organisation will be deleted at the request of the individual concerned.
3.2.4. Location of data
All personal data is kept in locked filing cabinets and/or in password protected computer file or password protected cloud based systems.
3.2.5. Recording and accessing information
Written records of any dealings with clients/service users may be made with the client’s permission if the purpose of such records is clearly explained to the client. Only essential information should be recorded and these records must be processed in line with Data Protection principles, stored securely and destroyed when no longer needed. Voluntary agreement to supply personal information such as names and addresses will be taken to imply consent to recording that information for Oblong necessary purposes. However, where practicable, data protection information will be given and explicit consent will be sought (or the opportunity to withdraw consent will be offered) on an appropriate letter or form.
3.3. Sharing information
3.3.1. Where client information is to be shared with a partner organisation or where Oblong is contacting a third party on the client’s behalf, the client must if possible and practicable confirm their agreement by giving signed authorisation.
3.3.2. Where funders require personal information about the beneficiaries of services for audit purposes, this information will be collected on forms which clearly indicate who will receive the information and include provision for service users to sign a consent declaration.
3.3.3. Personal information should not be conveyed to other organisations or individuals via telephone calls or faxes without adequate safeguards regarding confidentiality.
3.3.4. External requests for information about an individual should not be sanctioned. Where appropriate, staff may agree to pass on the request to that individual to respond to if they so choose. See advice above for strategies for dealing with requests for information from unknown or unverified enquirers.
3.3.5. Email communications may not be private – please see Oblongs policy on email and internet use. Consult DPO for guidance if needed.
3.3.6. Names or contact details should never be released to the media in response to requests for ‘case studies’. Media enquiries may, however, be passed on to service users so that they can choose whether or not to respond to them.
3.3.7. Statistical information may be used for research, monitoring and funding purposes but must not be attributable to an individual. Where, for publicity purposes, Oblong wishes to use an attributed quotation from a client or service user the individual’s express permission must be sought before this can used.
3.4. Collecting and safeguarding information
Oblong also recognises its duty to safeguard the information it holds on external groups and individuals. Oblong will regularly update information, dispose of outdated data and check that storage and archive systems are secure.
3.4.1. All written materials membership applications and packs, registration forms, newsletter forms, training application forms etc will be designed to ensure that only necessary data is being collected and that this is kept with permission.
3.4.2. If Oblong wishes to use personal information for purposes such as ‘direct marketing’ (e.g. of courses or new services on offer), the organisation will inform the person concerned at the time of collecting the data that it may be used for this purpose. People/organisations will be provided with the opportunity to opt out of being contacted in this way (e.g. by ticking an opt-out box on a form or email).
3.4.3. Mailing and membership lists will only be passed on to other organisations/individuals in order to comply with funding/legal requirements or with the express consent of those listed.
Oblong reserves the right to break confidentiality if it believes that:
a child is at risk of being harmed
a person’s life or safety is at risk
if required by statute (e.g. there is a legal obligation to report drug trafficking, money laundering, terrorist activity to the police)
if required under a contractual obligation (e.g. where services are purchased by a local authority and that contract requires disclosure of certain information)
if required by a court order
3.5.1. Information may also be disclosed if the individual concerned has given explicit, preferably written, consent.
In particular, maintaining the confidentiality of identifiable third parties in the course of a ‘subject access request’ will be considered on a case by case basis.
3.5.2. In all the above cases, the Chair must be informed immediately.
3.5.3. In other cases where breaking confidentiality may seem appropriate, this must only be done with the knowledge of appropriate managers or trustees and the person whose confidentiality is to be breached must be informed. They should be informed of their right of complaint and appeal using the appropriate grievance procedure.
4. Other Appendices
You may wish to include further listings here of internal contacts and/or external sources of further information and advice. For example: -
Privacy Impact Assessments
Gov.UK have several pages devoted to Data Protection laws and allied regulations
ACAS guidance linking workplace issues and employment law to the Data Protection Act.
4.1. Other relevant policies & documents
It is also good practice to signpost and/or cross reference the policy with others in your corporate suite. This could include guidance on: -
Social Media Use at Work
Oblong Ltd - Data Protection Assessment
Drafted and agreed by staff on / / 20
Agreed by Board or Trustees on / / 20
Executive Owner of Policy - Jess Fishenden or acting DPO.
To be reviewed May 2021