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Information Commissioner warns social housing organisations must keep their tenants’ data secure

The Information Commissioner Christopher Graham has today highlighted the most important data protection issues facing the social housing sector. These include: data sharing with other organisations, data retention and secure homeworking. His comments were made at the Chartered Institute of Housing conference at Manchester Central on 25 June 2014.

In February 2014 the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) published a report (pdf) in to the social housing sector that highlighted areas where social housing organisations should improve their compliance with the Data Protection Act, as well as areas of good practice.

Ahead of the conference the Information Commissioner said:

“Over two million people live in social housing across the UK, many of them from vulnerable groups such as the disabled and the elderly. It is therefore essential social housing organisations understand their responsibilities under the Data Protection Act, especially as much of the information they handle is so sensitive.

“The ICO wants to work with the sector to help improve areas, such as data sharing, retention schedules and secure homeworking. Tenants’ trust is one of the sector’s most valuable resources, and shouldn’t be squandered on preventable breaches. By implementing clear policies and procedures alongside appropriate staff training, social housing organisations will be able to prevent these breaches and introduce the foundations of a secure data protection regime.”

 

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.
 
2. 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.

 

3. The ICO is on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn, and produces a monthly e-newsletter.

4. 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
  • Not transferred to other countries without adequate protection
Channel website: https://www.icaew.com

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