A big shake-up in Data Protection law is coming into force on 25th May 2018.
This is based on the European "General Data Protection Regulation" (GDPR) which was agreed by the UK in 2016, pre-Referendum, and is only now coming into force - unaffected by Brexit.
The Regulation applies directly into UK law from that date but there will some modifications in a new Data Protection Act.
There are massive consequences for all businesses and organisations which process people's personal data, especially those who depend on mass mail-outs for marketing . The aim is to give individuals more control over how their data is used, by compelling organisations to obtain positive consent for such use, and to tighten up considerably on the security and sharing of such data. .
Churches are among many charities who will have to review their practices, particularly when it comes to censuses, databases, and IT security
There is an excellent Church Times article here about the spiritual dangers of getting too preoccupied about the concept of privacy and data rights.
The Diocese has appointed Brin Dunsire to be its Data Protection Manager and he has been running a series of eight roadshow sessions around the Diocese - these were notified to all parishes by a letter from the Bishop on 19th April.
These meetings were primarily intended for
- Parish Priests (assistant priests and Deacons also very welcome)
- Parish secretaries and administrators
- Gift Aid organisers
- Finance Committee Chairs, and other members if they wish
Brin intends to follow these up by visiting every parish during June and July but these roadshow meetings have saved a huge amount of time as the basic knowledge has been disseminated to many people at once. If a parish has not sent anyone to one of the eight meetings, paper information will be sent in advance of a booked parish meeting, and the priest and key staff will be asked to pre-read it so as to save an hour's basic-knowledge time.
Schools and Academy trusts are in a different category and should be receiving separate input from their Local Education Authorities.