ICO to remain as a single Commissioner agency

The Triennial Review, launched in 2014 and published on 8 November 2016, recommends that the ICO should be restructured as a multi-member Commission to encourage a greater breadth of decision-making and accountability.

However, the Government has decided that ‘reconstituting the ICO as a multi-member Commission is not the right change to make to its governance arrangements. The new Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, took up post in July 2016. Her first priority is to ensure that the organisation is properly equipped to take forward the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will come into force in the UK in May 2018; and to provide clarity and certainty to businesses and organisations as they make preparations to implement the Regulation. Alongside this is a need to prepare the organisation for any changes to the data protection regulatory landscape after the UK exits the European Union’, Data Protection Minister, Matt Hancock MP, states in a written ministerial statement.

The ICO is already informally working to a governance structure where day to day decision-making and accountability is disseminated across the wider leadership cohort, the Review states. Elizabeth Denham told PL&B in an exclusive interview yesterday that she is currently working on a new management structure for the ICO which will include a new General Counsel position.

The government says that it is impressive that the ICO has managed to improve performance in a number of areas despite a reduction in FOI funding. The government has not finalised its proposal for a new funding structure for Data Protection work. However, the Review states that ‘any new structure should incentivise data protection compliance amongst organisations, with the greatest financial burden falling on those organisations which cost the ICO the most to regulate’.

The Review encourages the ICO to do more ‘to demonstrate its capacity to adapt to the digital and open data era; improving technological capability and quickening the pace in respect of the roll out of new delivery and management systems’.

The Triennial Review was conducted by the ALB Governance Division in the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), independently of the relationship between the Department of Culture, Media and Sport policy sponsor team and the ICO. 165 responses were received for the public consultation.

See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/triennial-review-of-the-information-commissioners-office

Read an exclusive interview with Elizabeth Denham on these and other UK data protection, as well as EU Data Protection Regulation topics in the next issue of PL&B UK Report, to be published next week. Subscribe now at www.privacylaws.com/publications