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Data protection overhaul to affect SMEs

Individuals will be able to legally ask businesses to delete certain personal data from next year under the proposals outlined in the new Data Protection Bill. 

The Bill forms part of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into effect on 25 May 2018. 

The legislation will come in regardless of the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

Some of the proposals for businesses outlined in the Bill include:

  • accountability – making sure data controllers are more accountable for data processing with notification to the Information Commissioner’s Office within 72 hours of a data breach
  • risk of data protection – businesses carrying out risk data processing need to prioritise personal privacy rights when handling personal data
  • simplifying rules – rules will be associated to provide a clearer and fairer regime for data controllers and processors.

Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“While consumers need assurance from business that any personal data held will not be misused, businesses need a helping hand from government as these changes come into effect, particularly those at the smaller end of the scale. 

“This is a complex set of changes, so firms must be helped to get them right – and no small or medium-sized business working hard to adapt to the new regime should be hauled over the coals for unintentional mistakes in the early days.”

Contact us to discuss data protection for your business.

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SMEs hit with auto-enrolment fines

A total of 16,218 fines have been issued to small businesses for not complying with auto-enrolment duties in the last year.

For employers with less than 30 employees, 9,089 penalties were issued with an additional 1,143 fines handed out to employers with 31 to 250 members of staff.

Larger businesses with more than 250 staff received just 61 fines, suggesting smaller firms are more likely to ignore their auto-enrolment duties.

A Freedom of Information Act (2000) request for data from the year to March 2017 revealed:

  • businesses with less than 30 employees received an average fine of £540 for missing their duties
  • employers with 31 to 250 staff were hit with an average penalty of £990.

Darren Ryder, director of auto-enrolment at the Pensions Regulator, said:

“There are more than 500,000 employers whose duties are still to begin over the coming months. 

“I would urge each of them to check they know what they need to do and when they need to do it so they can seek our help if they need it.”

The deadline to complete your auto-enrolment duties is 5 months before your staging date, therefore it is a legal requirement to meet your responsibilities on time to avoid any penalties.

Contact us about your auto-enrolment responsibilities.