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.

A blog from Syed Ali, Lead Engagement and Regulatory Assurance Officer

30 April 2021

The information you hold about your customers is one of your biggest assets. But if you want to make the best use of it, you need to understand your data protection responsibilities.

Data protection matters because it can help you provide your customers with the products and services they want, while avoiding problems that can threaten your reputation as a business that puts its customers first.

We can help. Owners of small organisations – including small businesses, small charities, groups or clubs and sole traders – can apply for an informal session of up to two hours where you’ll work with a member of our SME team to complete a health check of your practices. At the end, you’ll receive a brief report setting out what you need to do to handle data more effectively as your business grows.

Advisory check-ups are tailored to your organisation’s size and the type of work you do, with a particular focus on areas that are important for your customers, volunteers, members and the people working alongside you. The check-ups are also free of charge.

Michael Pocock, secretary at St Dunstan’s Horticultural Society in Kent, applied for an advisory check-up in December 2020.

He said:

“The advisory check-up was really helpful. It cleared up a lot of things that I hadn’t fully taken on-board before. It was also a very comfortable experience. There was no fierce cross-questioning and I didn’t feel like anyone was trying to trip me up – I felt relaxed about it.”

Following the check-up, Michael was able to make changes that meant he could keep his members informed about matters that affected them.

Michael added:

“I think some small organisations don’t know what they don’t know and it’s helpful to get advice.”

Whether you employ staff or trade by yourself, data protection is everyone’s responsibility, and we’re here to help you keep your practices on track.

Apply for an informal advisory check-up today by completing this online form. Your details will be passed on to one of our SME team who will contact you if we’re able to arrange an online advisory check-up.

For advice for all small organisations visit our SME web hub.

Syed Ali is a Lead Engagement and Regulatory Assurance Officer, working in the ICO’s SME Service Hub to support small businesses, sole traders and small organisations with their data protection responsibilities. Syed conducts informal online advisory check-ups as part of his role, giving SMEs tailored advice and support on a one-to-one basis.