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.

Anulka Clarke, ICO Acting Director of Regulatory Assurance introduces our call for views in this blog as we look to update our Employment Practices guidance.

In recent times, working life has changed for millions of us in a way few could have predicted. Every industry sector and its workers have been impacted. Both in the public and private sector, and businesses large and small.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are impacting the ways decisions are made about workers; monitoring technologies are more varied and widespread in use; and the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly accelerated the trend for remote working and for obtaining health data.

When used in the workplace, these developments and other similar issues can impact on people’s privacy. It’s vital that employers understand how they can operate in the changing environment and build trust with their workers when it comes to protecting their information rights.

Data protection is not a barrier to the use of new technologies to improve and develop employment practices. Data protection enables innovation to happen responsibly, it builds trust between employers and workers. Innovation itself enables economic growth which is vital as we look towards a post pandemic future.  

We’ve launched a call for views today to help us to create practical employment guidance where personal data is used, that supports both employers and staff. It is crucial we reflect as many responses as we can from as many sectors as possible.

In order for our guidance to be pragmatic, it needs to address key issues, concerns and problems so the final guidance we produce is as practically applicable to real life situations as possible. We can only achieve this if we represent your views and opinions so please send them to us.

We want to hear from everyone who has an interest in UK employment practices.

We’re looking for responses from large and small businesses, workers, trades unions, professional and trade bodies. You might be in your first job or about to retire. If you have a view, we want to hear it. It’s easy to share your views with us, just click on the link to our survey.

Our existing Employment code has been invaluable in helping employers to comply with data protection law. While its core messages are still useful, we are updating our guidance to incorporate new ways of working in line with current legislation.

In replacing the code, we plan to produce easily accessible online resources, that reflect the way work has changed and are relevant. The employment practices and data protection guidance will cover topics including recruitment and selection, employment records, monitoring of workers, and information about workers’ health. We intend to add to this evolving resource over time.