Local authorities must consider the benefits and risks to the public before sharing personal data between departments or other agencies, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has warned.
According to the UK’s privacy watchdog, local authorities must consider several key factors, including identifying the intended benefits and potential risks, both to the individuals affected and to the public, before sharing personal information.
The ICO believes it is essential for local agencies to address any risks and take reasonable steps to safeguard personal information.
“If local authorities intend to share personal details, they must ensure that there is protection for the people the information is about,” said Iain Bourne, head of information sharing at the ICO. “We expect local authorities to take a sensible approach to information sharing which enables them to fulfil their data protection responsibilities whilst providing high quality public services.”
Other factors to consider include, consent, transparency about what and when data is being shared and ensuring that the quality and accuracy of information is good enough to support the use, the ICO said.