Information Commissioner's Office
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Information Governance survey

The Information Commissioner’s Office is carrying out some research to understand more about information governance frameworks in local councils.

Last year 40% of FOI complaints and 10% of data protection concerns referred to the ICO related to local authorities and our audit work shows that this is often an area that councils struggle with.

The ICO is conducting a survey aimed at information governance leads at local councils.

John-Pierre Lamb, Good Practice Group Manager at the ICO, said:

“We intend to use the survey answers to identify common areas of good practice and weakness within the sector. This will help us target the advice we offer and assist us in improving information governance in local government generally.”

Survey responses will be anonymous – so neither responders nor their council will be identified.

It should take about ten minutes to answer the questions.

The survey can be accessed at ico.org.uk/igsurvey.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
  1. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
  1. The ICO can take action to change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. This includes criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit. The ICO has the power to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000.
  2. Anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles of the Data Protection Act, which make sure that personal information is:
    • fairly and lawfully processed;
    • processed for limited purposes;
    • adequate, relevant and not excessive;
    • accurate and up to date;
    • not kept for longer than is necessary;
    • processed in line with your rights;
    • secure; and
    • not transferred to other countries without adequate protection.
  3. The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) sit alongside the Data Protection Act. They give people specific privacy rights in relation to electronic communications.

    There are specific rules on:
    • marketing calls, emails, texts and faxes;
    • cookies (and similar technologies);
    • keeping communications services secure; and
    • customer privacy as regards traffic and location data, itemised billing, line identification, and directory listings.
    We aim to help organisations comply with PECR and promote good practice by offering advice and guidance. We will take enforcement action against organisations that persistently ignore their obligations.
  4. Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) are subject to a right of appeal to the (First-tier Tribunal) General Regulatory Chamber against the imposition of the monetary penalty and/or the amount of the penalty specified in the monetary penalty notice.
  5. Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
  6. To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns/.

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