Data Protection Policy

Prompting Plus Limited needs to gather and use certain information about individuals. These can include customers, suppliers, business contacts, employees and other people the organisation has a relationship with or may need to contact. This policy describes how this personal data must be collected, handled and stored to meet the company’s data protection standards — and to comply with the law.

This policy applies to all information, in whatever form, relating to Prompting Plus Limited business activities worldwide, and to all information handled by Prompting Plus Limited relating to other organisations with whom it deals. It also covers all IT and information communications facilities operated by Prompting Plus Limited or on its behalf.

Key details

  • Policy prepared by: Peter Larter
  • Approved by board / management on: 25/05/2018
  • Policy became operational on: 25/05/2018

Why this policy exists

This data protection policy ensures Prompting Plus Limited:-

  • Complies with data protection law and follow good practice
  • Protects the rights of staff, customers and partners
  • Is open about how it stores and processes individuals’ data
  • Protects itself from the risks of a data breach

Data protection law

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) describes how organisations must collect, handle and store personal information.

These rules apply regardless of whether data is stored electronically, on paper or on other materials. To comply with the law, personal information must be collected and used fairly, stored safely and not disclosed unlawfully.

The Principles of Data Protection

Under the GDPR, the data protection principles set out the main responsibilities for organisations.

Article 5 of the GDPR requires that personal data shall be:
a) processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals.

b) collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes; further processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes shall not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes.

c) adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed.

d) accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay.

e) kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures required by the GDPR in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals; and

f) processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures.”

Article 5(2) requires that:
“the controller shall be responsible for, and be able to demonstrate, compliance with the principles.”

People, risks and responsibilities policy scope

This policy applies to:-

  • The head office of Prompting Plus Limited
  • All staff and volunteers of Prompting Plus Limited
  • All contractors, suppliers and other people working on behalf of Prompting Plus Limited.

It applies to all data that the company holds relating to identifiable individuals as specified below:

Personal data

The GDPR applies to ‘personal data’ meaning any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified in particular by reference to an identifier.

This definition provides for a wide range of personal identifiers to constitute personal data, including name, identification number, location data or online identifier, reflecting changes in technology and the way organisations collect information about people.

The GDPR applies to both automated personal data and to manual filing systems where personal data is accessible according to specific criteria. This could include chronologically ordered sets of manual records containing personal data.

Personal data that has been pseudonymised – eg key-coded – can fall within the scope of the GDPR depending on how difficult it is to attribute the pseudonym to a particular individual.

Sensitive personal data

The GDPR refers to sensitive personal data as “special categories of personal data” (see Article 9). The special categories specifically include genetic data, and biometric data where processed to uniquely identify an individual.

Personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences are not included, but similar extra safeguards apply to its processing (see Article 10).

Data protection risks

This policy helps to protect Prompting Plus Limited from some very real data security risks, including:

  • Breaches of confidentiality; For instance, information being given out inappropriately.
  • Failing to offer choice; For instance, all individuals should be free to choose how the company uses data relating to them.
  • Reputational damage; For instance, the company could suffer if hackers successfully gained access to sensitive data.

Responsibilities

Everyone who works for or with Prompting Plus Limited has some responsibility for ensuring data is collected, stored and handled appropriately.

Each team that handles personal data must ensure that it is handled and processed in line with this policy and data protection principles.

However, these people have key areas of responsibility:

The Board of Directors is ultimately responsible for ensuring that Prompting Plus Limited meets its legal obligations.

The Data Protection Officer, is responsible for:-
1. Keeping the board updated about data protection responsibilities, risks and issues.
2. Reviewing all data protection procedures and related policies, in line with an agreed schedule.
3. Arranging data protection training and advice for the people covered by this policy.
4. Handling data protection questions from staff and anyone else covered by this policy.
5. Dealing with requests from individuals to see the data Prompting Plus Limited holds about them (also called ‘subject access requests’).
6. Checking and approving any contracts or agreements with third parties that may handle the company’s sensitive data.

The IT Manager, is responsible for:-
1. Ensuring all systems, services and equipment used for storing data meet acceptable security standards.
2. Performing regular checks and scans to ensure security hardware and software is functioning properly.
3. Evaluating any third-party services the company is considering using to store or process data. For instance, cloud computing services.

The Marketing Manager is responsible for:-
1. Approving any data protection statements attached to communications such as emails and letters.
2. Addressing any data protection queries from journalists or media outlets like newspapers.
3. Where necessary, working with other staff to ensure marketing initiatives abide by data protection principles.

General staff guidelines

1. The only people able to access data covered by this policy should be those who need it for their work.
2. Data should not be shared informally. When access to confidential information is required, employees can request it from their line managers.
3. Prompting Plus Limited will provide training to all employees to help them understand their responsibilities when handling data.
4. Employees should keep all data secure, by taking sensible precautions and following the guidelines below.
5. In particular, strong passwords must be used and they should never be shared.
6. Personal data should not be disclosed to unauthorised people, either within the company or externally.
7. Data should be regularly reviewed and updated if it is found to be out of date. If no longer required, it should be deleted and disposed of.
8. Employees should request help from their line manager or the data protection officer if they are unsure about any aspect of data protection.
9. If in doubt treat ALL information as confidential.

Data storage

These rules describe how and where data should be safely stored. Questions about storing data safely can be directed to the IT Manager or Data Protection Officer.

When data is stored on paper, it should be kept in a secure place where unauthorised people cannot see it.

These guidelines also apply to data that is usually stored electronically but has been printed out for some reason:

  • When not required, the paper or files should be kept in a locked drawer or filing cabinet.
  • Employees should make sure paper and printouts are not left where unauthorised people could see them, like on a printer.
  • Data printouts should be shredded and disposed of securely when no longer required.

When data is stored electronically, it must be protected from unauthorised access, accidental deletion and malicious hacking attempts:

  • Data should be protected by strong passwords that are changed regularly and never shared between employees.
  • If data is stored on removable media (like a CD or DVD), these should be kept locked away securely when not being used.
  • Data should only be stored on designated drives and servers, and should only be uploaded to an approved cloud computing services.
  • Servers containing personal data should be sited in a secure location, away from general office space.
  • Data should be backed up frequently. Those backups should be tested regularly, in line with the company’s standard backup procedures.
  • Data should never be saved directly to mobile devices like tablets or smart phones.
  • All servers and computers containing data should be protected appropriately.

Data use

Personal data is of no value unless the business can make use of it. However, it is when personal data is accessed and used that it can be at the greatest risk of loss, corruption or theft. The following rules apply except with the consent of the individual or the data controller/owner:-

  • When working with personal data, employees should ensure the screens of their computers
    are always locked when left unattended.
  • Personal data should not be shared informally. In particular, it should never be sent by email, as this form of communication is not secure.
  • Data must be encrypted before being transferred electronically. The IT manager can explain how to send data to authorised external contacts.
  • Personal data should never be transferred outside of the European Economic Area.
  • Employees should not keep or save copies of personal data to their own computers. Always access and update the central copy of any data where practical.

Data accuracy and retention

The law requires Prompting Plus Limited to take reasonable steps to ensure data is kept accurate and up to date. It is the responsibility of all employees who work with data to take reasonable steps to ensure it is kept as accurate and up to date as possible.

  • Data will be held in as few places as necessary. Staff should not create any unnecessary additional data sets.
  • Staff should take every opportunity to ensure data is updated. For instance, by confirming a customer’s details when they call.
  • Prompting Plus Limited will make it easy for data subjects to update the information Prompting Plus Limited holds about them where practical.
  • Data should be updated as inaccuracies are discovered. For instance, if a customer can no longer be reached on their stored telephone number, it should be removed from the database.
  • It is the Marketing Manager’s responsibility to ensure marketing databases are checked against industry suppression files every six months.
  • Prompting Plus Limited will keep some forms of information for longer than others.
  • Information should not be kept indefinitely, unless there are specific legal or contractual requirements.
  • When data is no longer required it will be appropriately destroyed.

Subject access requests

All individuals who are the subject of personal data held by Prompting Plus Limited are entitled to:

  • Ask what information the company holds about them and why.
  • Ask how to gain access to it.
  • Be informed how to keep it up to date.
  • Be informed how the company is meeting its data protection obligations.

If an individual contacts the company requesting this information, this is called a subject access request.

Subject access requests from individuals should be made by email, addressed to the data controller at Prompting Plus Limited. The data controller can supply a standard request form, although individuals do not have to use this.

Individuals will not be charged for a subject access request but may charge a “reasonable fee” for the administrative costs of complying with the request where the request is manifestly unfounded or excessive. The data controller will act on the subject access request without undue delay and at the latest within 28 days of receipt.

The Data Controller will always verify the identity of anyone making a subject access request before handing over any information.

What we do if we refuse to comply with a request

We will inform the individual without undue delay and within one month of receipt of the request. You will inform the individual about:

  • the reasons for not taking action
  • their right to make a complaint to the ICO or another supervisory authority; and
  • their ability to seek to enforce this right through a judicial remedy.

We will also provide this information if a request for a reasonable fee or need additional information to identify the individual.

Disclosing data for other reasons

In certain circumstances, the Data Protection Act and GDPR allows personal data to be disclosed to law enforcement agencies without the consent of the data subject. Under these circumstances, Prompting Plus Limited will disclose requested data. However, the data controller will ensure the request is legitimate, seeking assistance from the board and from the company’s legal advisers where necessary.

Providing information

Prompting Plus Limited aims to ensure that individuals are aware that their data is being processed, and that they understand:

  • How the data is being used and how to exercise their rights

To these ends, the company has a privacy statement, setting out how data relating to individuals is used by the company.
[This is available on request. A version of this statement is also available here.]