Data protection

Data protection laws exist to strike a balance between the rights of people to privacy and the ability of organisations to use information about those people for the purpose of their business.

The right to privacy of information has gained considerable prominence in recent years: people increasingly want to know how information about them is being used and who has access to it. This goes hand-in-hand with an expectation that an appropriate level of security will be used to protect that information from being lost, misused or stolen.

Housing, care and support providers hold a huge amount of information that is personal data about their tenants, leaseholders, employees, contractors and professional advisors. This means that they are a data controller within the meaning of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).

In February 2014, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the regulator responsible for ensuring compliance with the DPA, published a report about its visits to social landlords that concluded; “not all housing organisations are taking adequate measures to ensure that they comply [with the DPA]”.  In June 2014, at the annual CIH conference, the Information Commissioner said that “tenant’s trust is one of the sectors most valuable recourses and shouldn’t be squandered on preventable breaches”

Many providers do not fully appreciate their responsibilities and obligations under the DPA and so are at risk.

We can help housing, care and support providers by:

  • Presenting lively and interactive workshops
  • Preparing/reviewing data protection and related policies
  • Assisting with day-to day data protection matters such as subject access requests
  • Advising when Privacy Impact Assessments should be carried out
  • Dealing with data security breaches
  • ‘Auditing’ policies, procedures and protocols and reporting any risks identified
  • Supporting and mentoring internal data protection advisors

Contact Us

For further information and advice about data protection, please contact Robert Wassall on 023 8082 0482 or email robert.wassall@trethowans.com.

Client recommendation

"We asked Robert to do a half-day session on data protection to the management team of around thirty people. We felt that the difficulties were always going to be keeping the subject interesting and managing the expectations of a very varied audience who all had different objectives that they wanted to get out of the session. Robert succeeded on both counts. The audience were genuinely engaged and everyone walked away feeling they had learnt something useful and necessary. This was down to Robert’s excellent knowledge of the area and his entertaining style of delivery. We will be inviting Robert back again." - Nazar Al-Khalili, Executive Director - Finance, Central & Cecil

"I have recently written a Data Protection Policy for my organisation and I am very grateful to Robert for his valuable advice and guidance during this process. I have found his knowledge on the subject of data protection extremely helpful and informative and am very happy to recommend Robert to anyone seeking professional legal guidance in this area." Jane Smith, Operations Director, The Society of St James, Southampton