The EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) came into force across the European Union on 25th May 2018 and brought with it the most significant changes to data protection law in two decades. Based on privacy by design and taking a risk-based approach, the GDPR has been designed to meet the requirements of the digital age.
The 21st Century brings with it broader use of technology, new definitions of what constitutes personal data, and a vast increase in cross-border processing. The new Regulation aims to standardise data protection laws and processing across the EU; affording individuals stronger, more consistent rights to access and control their personal information.
The Omar Group (including all UK sites) is committed to ensuring the security and protection of the personal information that we process, and to provide a compliant and consistent approach to data protection. We have always had a robust and effective data protection program in place which complies with existing law and abides by the data protection principles. However, we recognise our obligations in updating and expanding this program to meet the demands of the GDPR and the Data Protection Bill.
We are dedicated to safeguarding the personal information under our remit and in developing a data protection regime that is effective, fit for purpose and demonstrates an understanding of, and appreciation for the new Regulation. Our preparation and objectives for GDPR compliance have been summarised in this statement and include the development and implementation of new data protection roles, policies, procedures, controls and measures to ensure maximum and ongoing compliance.
How we prepared for GDPR
The Omar Group already had a consistent level of data protection and security across our organisation; however it was our aim to be fully compliant with the GDPR by 25th May 2018.
Our preparation included
- Information Audit – we have carried out a company-wide information audit to identify and assess what personal information we hold, where it comes from, how and why it is processed and if and to whom it is disclosed.
- Policies & Procedures – revised existing data protection policies and procedures to meet the requirements and standards of the GDPR and any relevant data protection laws, including:
- Data Protection – our main policy and procedure document for data protection has been overhauled to meet the standards and requirements of the GDPR. Accountability and governance measures are in place to ensure that we understand and adequately disseminate and evidence our obligations and responsibilities; with a dedicated focus on privacy by design and the rights of individuals.
- Data Retention & Erasure – we have updated our retention policy and schedule to ensure that we meet the ‘data minimisation’ and ‘storage limitation’ principles and that personal information is stored, archived and destroyed compliantly and ethically. We have dedicated erasure procedures in place to meet the new ‘Right to Erasure’ obligation and are aware of when this and other data subject’s rights apply; along with any exemptions, response timeframes and notification responsibilities.
- Data Breaches – our breach procedures ensure that we have safeguards and measures in place to identify, assess, investigate and report any personal data breach at the earliest possible time. Our procedures are robust and have been disseminated to all employees, making them aware of the reporting lines and steps to follow.
- Subject Access Request (SAR) – we have revised our SAR procedures to accommodate the revised 30-day timeframe for providing the requested information and for making this provision free of charge. Our new procedures detail how to verify the data subject, what steps to take for processing an access request, what exemptions apply and a suite of response templates to ensure that communications with data subjects are compliant, consistent and adequate.
- Legal Basis for Processing – we have reviewed all processing activities to identify the legal basis for processing and ensuring that each basis is appropriate for the activity it relates to. Where applicable, we also maintain records of our processing activities, ensuring that our obligations under Article 30 of the GDPR and Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Bill are met.
- Privacy Notice/Policy – we have reviewed our Privacy Notices to comply with the GDPR, ensuring that all individuals whose personal information we process have been informed of why we need it, how it is used, what their rights are, who the information is disclosed to and what safeguarding measures are in place to protect their information.
- Obtaining Consent – we have revised our consent mechanisms for obtaining personal data, ensuring that individuals understand what they are providing, why and how we use it and giving clear, defined ways to consent to us processing their information. We have developed stringent processes for recording consent, making sure that we can evidence an affirmative opt-in, along with time and date records; and an easy to see and access way to withdraw consent at any time.
- Direct Marketing – we have revised the wording and processes for direct marketing, including clear opt-in mechanisms for marketing subscriptions; a clear notice and method for opting out and providing unsubscribe features on all subsequent marketing materials.
- Processor Agreements/Supplier Validation – where we use any third-party to process personal information on our behalf (i.e. Payroll, Recruitment, Hosting etc), we have secured Processor Agreements to ensure that they (as well as we), meet and understand their/our GDPR obligations. These measures include initial and ongoing reviews of the service provided, the necessity of the processing activity, the technical and organisational measures in place and compliance with the GDPR. In addition, we have contacted our existing suppliers to ensure that they are complying with the law and have incorporated appropriate GDPR audit compliance questions into our Supplier Questionnaires for new Suppliers.
- Special Categories Data – where we obtain and process any special category information, we do so in complete compliance with the Article 9 requirements and have enhanced protection on all such data. Special category data is only processed where necessary and is only processed where we have first identified the appropriate Article 9(2) basis or the Data Protection Bill Schedule 1 condition. Where we rely on consent for processing, this is explicit and is verified by a signature, with the right to modify or remove consent being clearly signposted.
Data Subject Rights
In addition to the policies and procedures mentioned above that ensure individuals can enforce their data protection rights, we provide easy to access information of an individual’s right to access any personal information that The Omar Group processes about them and to request information about:
- What personal data we hold about them
- The purposes of the processing
- The categories of personal data concerned
- The recipients to whom the personal data has/will be disclosed
- How long we intend to store your personal data for
- If we did not collect the data directly from them, information about the source
- The right to have incomplete or inaccurate data about them corrected or completed and the process for requesting this
- The right to request erasure of personal data (where applicable) or to restrict processing in accordance with data protection laws, as well as to object to any direct marketing from us and to be informed about any automated decision-making that we use
- The right to lodge a complaint or seek judicial remedy and who to contact in such instances.
Information Security and Technical and Organisational Measures
The Omar Group takes the privacy and security of individuals and their personal information very seriously and take every reasonable measure and precaution to protect and secure the personal data that we process. We have robust information security policies and procedures in place to protect personal information from unauthorised access, alteration, disclosure or destruction and have several layers of security measures, including:
- Remote access to systems and data is over an SSL encrypted connection
- Users only have access to data they need for their role
- Having a password policy in place
GDPR Roles and Employees
The Omar Group has designated Karen Wilson as our Data Compliance Manager and have appointed a data privacy team to develop and implement our roadmap for complying with the new data protection Regulation. The team are responsible for promoting awareness of the GDPR across the organisation, assessing our GDPR readiness, identifying any gap areas and implementing the new policies, procedures and measures.
The Omar Group understands that continuous employee awareness and understanding is vital to the continued compliance of the GDPR and involved our employees in our preparation plans. We have implemented an employee training program specific to the role which was provided to all employees prior to May 25th, 2018, and forms part of our induction and annual training program.
If you have any questions about Omar’s GDPR compliance activity, please contact Karen Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org