This page provides advice and guidance to elected representatives and their staff, political parties and campaigners.
Protecting personal information
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will apply from 25 May 2018. This has direct effect in the UK but the Data Protection Bill currently before Parliament provides important implementing measures and exercises national discretions.
Elected representatives continue to have data protection responsibilities for the personal information they process in their work in a similar way to their current obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998. They will be controllers under the GDPR. This means they are responsible for ensuring all personal data handled by their office is done in a way which complies with the requirements of the GDPR.
For more information about the GDPR, including advice to help data controllers comply please see our comprehensive Guide to GDPR.
Members of Parliament
In order to help MPs comply with their GDPR responsibilities alongside our Guide to GDPR, we have produced some frequently asked questions.
We have also issued guidance specifically for MPs on constituency casework and the processing of special category data. This will be republished after the Data Protection Bill has been passed. In the meantime this guidance includes additional references to reflect any differing requirements of the GDPR.
Political parties, campaigners and candidates campaign using a variety of communication methods to engage with voters. Where such campaigning involves the processing of personal data (including electoral register information) it must be carried out in compliance with the GDPR. Contacting an individual by post, email, text or similar message, voicemail, fax, phone or automated phone to promote a political view, or otherwise influence an individual, is ‘direct marketing’ and this is also regulated by GDPR and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. We have produced guidance on how to comply. This also highlights changes resulting from GDPR. This will also be republished after the passage of the Data Protection Bill and may also to take account of any relevant matters arising from our investigation into data analytics for political purposes.
Individual political parties have dedicated teams providing advice and guidance on political campaigning activities including the use of particular systems and procedures for engaging with voters. Members should contact their own parties for advice in relation to such activity.