We outline the work of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and how it can be a helpful source of compliance information and assistance to businesses.
The Information Commissioner’s Office is a non-departmental public organisation established in the United Kingdom to protect information rights in the public interest.
The ICO also promotes openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals. It is the Data Protection and Freedom of Information regulator, with key responsibilities under the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), as well as the UK GDPR and other acts. Individuals and corporations can seek assistance and advice from the ICO.
How can the ICO help my business, school or organisation?
Businesses and organisations must comply with data protection rules that are frequently intricate and evolving. Although the ICO is in charge of enforcing those rules, its primary job is to assist businesses by providing advice and information, and the website is a great resource and signposting location for firms to utilise in order to stay up to date on the latest developments and news.
The ICO is also a venue for individuals and businesses to complain about practises such as spamming (calls, emails, and texts) or failing to respond to data requests (which may result in action if there are enough complaints).
Who is the ICO answerable to?
The ICO reports directly to the UK Parliament and is supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sports. It has offices in Wilmslow, Cheshire, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Belfast.
Since January 2022, the UK Information Commissioner has been John Edwards. He has been New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner since February 2014 and has practised law in Wellington, New Zealand, for more than 20 years. He is a specialist in in information law.
Examples of work that the ICO does
The ICO is the regulatory body in charge of giving data protection law advice and information, enforcement and monitoring through audits and studies. It makes recommendations, decisions, and offers a place to complain.
Issues the ICO deals with, and which you can log a complaint about:
- Transparency and ethics in political campaigning, including data analytics.
- Charity fundraising tactics, such as compliance with regulations, protecting privacy and preventing nuisance phone calls.
- CCTV and facial recognition systems and privacy concerns around them, and compliance with data protection legislation.
- Credit and the use of personal information by Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs).
- Voter registration.
- Spam marketing calls, enforcing the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 20030.
- Spam emails and text messages
- Data security and journalism.
- Information possessed by the police.
- Data security for schools, universities, and institutions. Reportable issues could include a leak of confidential pupil data.
- Access to public data.