Introduction

    The EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) comes into force across the European Union on 25th May 2018 and introduces the most significant changes to data protection law in two decades. Based on privacy by design and taking a risk-based approach, the GDPR has been designed to meet the requirements of the digital age.

    The new regulation aims to standardise data protection laws and processing across the EU, to provide individuals with stronger and more consistent rights to access, and to better control their personal information.

    Our commitment

    Herts for Learning is committed to ensuring the security and protection of the personal information that we process and to provide a compliant and consistent approach to data protection. We have always had a robust and effective data protection programme in place which complies with existing law and abides by the data protection principles. However, we recognise our obligations in updating and expanding this programme to meet the demands of the GDPR and the UK’s Data Protection Bill.

    Herts for Learning is dedicated to safeguarding the personal information under our remit and in developing a data protection regime that is effective, fit for purpose and demonstrates an understanding of, and appreciation for the new Regulation. Our preparation and objectives for GDPR compliance have been summarised in this statement and include the development and implementation of new data protection roles, policies, procedures, controls and measures to ensure maximum and ongoing compliance.

    How we are preparing for the GDPR

    Herts for Learning already has a consistent level of data protection and security across our organisation, and we are actively working towards compliance with the GDPR, for 25th May and beyond.

    Our preparation includes:

    • Information audit – carrying out a company-wide information audit to identify and assess what personal information we hold, where it comes from, how and why it is processed and if and to whom it is disclosed.
    • Policies and procedures – revising data protection policies and procedures to meet the requirements and standards of the GDPR and any relevant data protection laws, including:
      • Data protection – our main policy and procedure document for data protection has been overhauled to meet the standards and requirements of the GDPR. Accountability and governance measures are in place to ensure that we understand and adequately disseminate and evidence our obligations and responsibilities; with a dedicated focus on privacy by design and the rights of individuals.
      • Data retention and erasure – we are updating our retention policy and schedule. We have erasure procedures in place to meet the new ‘Right to Erasure’ obligation and are aware of when this and other data subject’s rights apply; along with any exemptions, response timeframes and notification responsibilities.

      • Data breaches – our breach procedures ensure that we have safeguards and measures in place to identify, assess, investigate and report any personal data breach at the earliest possible time. Our procedures are robust and have been disseminated to all employees, making them aware of the reporting lines and steps to follow.

      • Subject Access Request (SAR) – we are revising our SAR procedures to accommodate the revised 30-day timeframe for providing the requested information and for making this provision free of charge. Our new procedures detail how to verify the data subject, what steps to take for processing an access request, what exemptions apply and a suite of response templates to ensure that communications with data subjects are compliant, consistent and adequate.

    • Legal basis for processing – we are reviewing all processing activities to identify the legal basis for processing and ensuring that each basis is appropriate for the activity it relates to. Where applicable, we also maintain records of our processing activities, ensuring that our obligations under Article 30 of the GDPR and Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Bill are met.
       
    • Privacy notice/policy – we are revising our Privacy Notice(s) to comply with the GDPR, ensuring that all individuals whose personal information we process have been informed of why we need it, how it is used, what their rights are, who the information is disclosed to and what safeguarding measures are in place to protect their information.
       
    • Obtaining consent – we are revising our consent mechanisms for obtaining personal data, ensuring that individuals understand what they are providing, why and how we use it and giving clear, defined ways to consent to us processing their information. We have developed stringent processes for recording consent, making sure that we can evidence an affirmative opt-in, along with time and date records; and an easy-to-see and access way to withdraw consent at any time.
       
    • Direct marketing – we are revising the wording and processes for direct marketing, including clear opt-in mechanisms for marketing subscriptions; a clear notice and method for opting out and providing unsubscribe features on all subsequent marketing materials.
       
    • Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIA) – where we process personal information that is considered highly sensitive, or includes special category  data, we are developing stringent procedures and assessment templates for carrying out impact assessments that comply fully with the GDPR’s Article 35 requirements. We have implemented documentation processes that record each assessment, allow us to rate the risk posed by the processing activity and implement mitigating measures to reduce the risk posed to the data subject(s).
       
    • Processor agreements – where we use any third-party to process personal information on our behalf (i.e. Payroll, Recruitment, Hosting etc), we have obtained verification from those third-parties that they meet and understand their/our GDPR obligations. These processors include (but are not limited to):
      • Capita
      • Research Machines
      • Serco
      • Health Management Limited (trading as Optima)
      • HCSS Education
      • Sunrise
      • Booking Live
         
    • Special categories data – where we obtain and process any special category information, we do so in order to fulfil contractual obligations, and in compliance with the Article 9 requirements. We have encryptions and protections on all such data.

    Information security and technical and organisational measures

    Herts for Learning takes the privacy and security of individuals and their personal information very seriously and take every reasonable measure and precaution to protect and secure the personal data that we process. We meet the requirements of Cyber Essentials accreditation, and have robust information security policies and procedures in place to protect personal information from unauthorised access, alteration, disclosure or destruction and have several layers of security measures.

    GDPR roles and employees

    Herts for Learning has designated Lynette Dexter as our Data Protection Officer and has appointed a data privacy taskforce to develop and implement our roadmap for complying with the new data protection Regulation. The team are responsible for promoting awareness of the GDPR across the organisation, assessing our GDPR readiness, identifying any gap areas and implementing the new policies, procedures and measures.

    Herts for Learning understands that continuous employee awareness and understanding is vital to the continued compliance of the GDPR and have involved our employees in our preparation plans. We have implemented an employee communication programme which will continue beyond 25th May 2018.

    If you have any questions about our preparation for the GDPR, please contact dp.foi@hertsforlearning.co.uk

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