The Government has announced a new charging structure for data controllers to ensure the continued funding of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The new structure was laid before Parliament yesterday (Tuesday 20 February) as a Statutory Instrument and will come into effect on 25 May 2018, to coincide with the General Data Protection Regulation.

Until then, organisations are legally required to pay the current notification fee, unless they are exempt.

To help data controllers understand why there’s a new funding model and what they’ll be required to pay from 25 May 2018, the ICO has produced a Guide to the Data Protection Fee.

The ICO’s data protection work is currently funded through fees levied on organisations that process personal data, unless they are exempt. This is done under powers granted in the Data Protection Act 1998.

When the GDPR comes into effect on 25 May 2018, it will remove the requirement for data controllers to pay the ICO a fee.

The Government, which has a statutory duty to ensure the ICO is adequately funded, has proposed the new funding structure based on the relative risk to the data that an organisation processes.

The model is divided into three tiers and is based on a number of factors including size, turnover and whether an organisation is a public authority or charity.

For very small organisations, the fee won’t be any higher than the £35 they currently pay (if they take advantage of a £5 reduction for paying by direct debit).

Larger organisations will be required to pay £2,900. The fee is higher because these organisations are likely to hold and process the largest volumes of data, and therefore represent a greater level of risk.

There will continue to be financial penalties for not paying fees, but these will be in the form of civil monetary penalties rather than a criminal sanction.

The fees are:

Tier 1 – micro organisations. Maximum turnover of £632,000 or no more than ten members of staff. Fee: £40 (or £35 if paid by direct debit)

Tier 2 – SMEs. Maximum turnover of £36million or no more than 250 members of staff. Fee: £60

Tier 3 – large organisations. Those not meeting the criteria of Tiers 1 or 2. Fee: £2,900

Notes to Editors

  1. The Information Commissioner’s Office upholds information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.
  2. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003.
  3. The ICO can take action to change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. This includes criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit. The ICO has the power to impose a monetary penalty on a data controller of up to £500,000.
  4. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law which will apply in the UK from 25 May 2018. The Government has confirmed the UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR. The Government is introducing measures related to this and wider data protection reforms in a Data Protection Bill.
  5. Anyone who processes personal information must comply with eight principles of the Data Protection Act, which make sure that personal information is:
    • fairly and lawfully processed;
    • processed for limited purposes;
    • adequate, relevant and not excessive;
    • accurate and up to date;
    • not kept for longer than is necessary;
    • processed in line with your rights;
    • secure; and
    • not transferred to other countries without adequate protection.
  6. Civil Monetary Penalties (CMPs) are subject to a right of appeal to the (First-tier Tribunal) General Regulatory Chamber against the imposition of the monetary penalty and/or the amount of the penalty specified in the monetary penalty notice.
  7. Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
  8. To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to ico.org.uk/concerns.