The UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

Two key services to help organisations show accountability under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are up and running.

The ICO has today published guidance for organisations wanting to develop GDPR Codes of Conduct or Certification schemes.

From today, organisations can submit their proposals for GDPR Codes of Conduct or Certification scheme criteria to the ICO for approval.

These two services will be an asset to businesses; helping both data controllers and processors demonstrate compliance with the GDPR.

Ian Hulme, ICO Director of Regulatory Assurance, said:

“I would encourage any organisation that can speak on behalf of a group of organisations, or who has expertise in developing standards or certification criteria, to have a look at our guidance and speak to us about developing a GDPR Code of Conduct or Certification scheme.

Both mechanisms are a really good way for organisations to show their commitment to complying with data protection legislation and ultimately, build public trust and confidence in their organisation.”

Accountability is an important data protection principle and means organisations must be able to demonstrate their compliance with the GDPR. Codes of Conduct and Certification schemes are both important voluntary accountability tools.

Codes of Conduct provisions, set out in the GDPR, help organisations – such as trade, membership or professional bodies - to support compliance with data protection issues identified or specific to their sector. Organisations will be able to sign up to an ICO approved Code of conduct to demonstrate their compliance with data protection legislation. Codes of Conduct can be submitted to the ICO for approval now.

Certification is a separate provision under the GDPR. It will give businesses a tool that they can use to enhance trust in their business and demonstrate their commitment to compliance to their customers.

Scheme criteria can now be submitted for ICO approval. Controllers and processors will then be able to apply to have their personal data processing certified under the relevant scheme.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK’s independent regulator for data protection and information rights law, upholding information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals. It has its head office in Wilmslow, Cheshire, and regional offices in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.
  2. The ICO has specific responsibilities set out in the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA2018), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR), Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR) and a further five Acts / Regulations.
  3. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has provisions included in the Data Protection Act 2018. The Act also includes measures related to wider data protection reforms in areas not covered by the GDPR, such as law enforcement and security.
  4. 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.
  5. Since 25 May 2018, the ICO has the power to impose a civil monetary penalty (CMP) on a data controller of up to £17million (20m Euro) or 4% of global turnover. The maximum under the Data Protection Act 1998 was £500,000. Any monetary penalty is paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund and is not kept by ICO.
  6. To report a concern to the ICO telephone our helpline 0303 123 1113 or go to