New ICO tool will help SMEs comply with Data Protection Act

A new free service from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has been put together to assess how well SMEs look after personal data.

The online self-assessment tool provides links to relevant guidance and more information to generate a rating based on responses. The toolkit may be completed as one assessment that embraces key responsibilities that SMEs have in regard to processing the personal information of their customers. Users can also tailor it to their organisation's specific needs and risks.

Christopher Graham, Information Commissioner said: “Good data protection practice makes business sense. It can lead to better, more efficient customer service and help to protect and enhance your reputation. It could also help you avoid a fine from the ICO.”

Several SMEs have tested the toolkit and reported positive results.

Claire Mallia, business manager at Lincoln Gardens Primary School, said: “The toolkit provides a comprehensive overview of our data protection processes and controls and highlighting areas for development. We always look to the ICO as a valuable source of information and guidance to ensure we take all reasonable steps to fulfill our responsibilities. This will be particularly important when the reforms to data protection laws are implemented.”

Andy Wood, from GI Solutions Group, said “It was excellent - well thought out and planned. It will help me train other group members who are tasked to help with data protection. I recommend any and all companies to use this tool. It is helpful and invaluable with your training needs.”