A new helpline has been set up to help charities get ready for new data protection legislation.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched a dedicated advice line to help small organisations prepare for a new data protection law.

The phone service is aimed at people running small businesses or charities and recognises the particular problems they face getting ready for the new law, called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The GDPR replaces the current Data Protection Act and comes into force on 25 May 2018. The legislation will strengthen the rules around personal data and requires organisations to be more accountable and transparent. It also gives people greater control over their own personal data.

The new phone line will offer additional, personal advice to small organisations that still have questions.

Information commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: “All organisations have to get ready for the new data protection rules, but we recognise that the 5.4 million small organisations in the UK face particular challenges. “Small organisations want to be ready when the new law comes into force in May 2018, but they often struggle to know where to start. They may have less time and money to invest in getting it right and are less likely to have compliance teams, data protection officers or legal experts to advise them what to do. “Our new phone service and all the other resources already on our website plus even more advice and guidance yet to come will help steer small businesses through the new law.”

People from small organisations should dial the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113 and select option four to be diverted to staff who can offer support.

The guide is packed with great ideas for what to put under your tree this December, with presents that your friends and family will love. And they're not just any presents - they're presents with purpose.

Every single one of the beautiful gifts in our guide has a real social or environmental impact with everything from luxury soap creating jobs for the blind to socks (a classic) tackling issues such as homelessness, gender equality, access to clean water, education and child health.

There's jewellery supporting women who have escaped exploitation, bags funding education projects in India, chocolates employing young adults with autism, home wares providing opportunities for those suffering from mental illness, coffee that empowers the homeless to become professional baristas, and yoga gear that funds business courses for women in rural India.

Each of the items is sorted into gifts for him, for her, for children, for under £20 and for when you might want to treat someone special.

Find your perfect gift here

Today we feature Susan Atkinson a local trustee from Homestart Orkney. Home-Start Orkney is there to help families who are struggling to cope, and who are facing additional challenges on top of daily parenting ones. Susan kindly gave us an insight into what it means tro be a trustee.

A View from the Board

1.    Please sum up the main role of your organisation.
Support for families with children up to age 5 years
2.    How long have you been a trustee?
Over 10 years
3.    What made you become a trustee?
To give something back to a service that myself and colleagues refer  many families to.
4.    What’s the best thing about being a trustee for your organisation?
Helping the organisation
5.    What’s the worst?
Wading through Policies .
6.    What’s surprised you most about being a trustee?
How heavily regulated it is - the amount of paperwork and jargon
7.    What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt while being a trustee for….?
What a fantastic job our Coordinator does in keeping Policies etc.. up to date and helping the Board
8.    How do you think people perceive your organisation?
As a lifeline for families, as an Agency to refer to
9.  What one thing would you ask people to do that would have a positive impact on the work your organisation is involved with?
Tell those in high places how vital the Service is, and get involved to support it.
10.  Are you looking for new trustees/board members? If so, who are you looking for?
General members for the Board
11.  What piece of advice would you give people who are thinking of becoming a trustee?
Give it a go - it isn't at all onerous and you will have lots of support from other Trustees.


Trustees’ Week is an annual event to showcase the great work that trustees do and highlight opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved and make a difference. Each day this week VAO will have an item on Facebook relating to the fantastic work our trustees’ do).
Data Protection law is changing on 25 May 2018 and organisations need to be ready for the GDPR. Surveys have shown however, small organisations tend to be less well prepared.

In the meantime...

 Although the data protection laws are changing with the introduction of GDPR, it’s not a wholesale change and much of what you already have in place will be suitable for the future.
 A good starting point is the 12 step guide (https://ico.org.uk/media/1624219/preparing-for-the-gdpr-12-steps.pdf) developed by the ICO to help plan an approach and think about the data flows within your organisation. The self-assessment audit within the 12 step guide can help you develop an action plan. This should provide a good starting point and comprises the first two steps of the guide. This should be achievable by December, when the ICO should have published additional guidance.

Data protections applies to all types of data and you should consider (but not limit yourself to):
Human resources
Services, and;
Don’t just think of data as what you put into and manage through your database!
Link to NCVOs really useful 12 things to think about for GDPR
Potential Facebook poll question:
Has your organisation thought about GDPR and how it will affect you?
What’s GDPR?
We are aware of it but haven’t done anything, yet.
We are beginning to work through the information we hold and how GDPR will impact us
We are totally up to speed on GDPR and have worked through our information and systems and are fully compliant.
Partnership working...

 If you work in partnership do you share data? If so, can you clearly identify the data coming in and out of your organisation and what happens to it as a result? Partnership arrangements should consider good practice not just the elements of GDPR – and those arrangements might include shared staff.

 The ICO has launched an advice line for small organisations – including third sector organisations:
Dial 0303 123 1113 and select option 4 to be directed to staff who can offer support.
As well as advice on preparing for the GDPR, callers can also ask questions about current data protection rules and other legislation regulated by the ICO, including electronic marketing and Freedom of Information.

Other information for small organisations can be found on the ICO site. https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/business/

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