The Data Protection Act 1998 came in to force in March 2001. At the Council, the Information Compliance Officer is responsible for ensuring that data protection issues are managed in accordance with the Act, and it is essential that officers understand the Act’s requirements from the outset of any consultation process.
The main thrust of the Act is that when you collect personal data about people you must process it fairly and safeguard it properly. You must also tell people what you are going to do with their data and also, if they ask, give them access to what you have collected.
The Act applies whenever data capable of identifying an individual is collected: name, address, telephone number, benefits reference number, etc.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 is intended to promote the openness of public organisations by providing people with the right of access to information that public organisations hold.
In order to comply with the Act the Council must
1. Adopt a publication scheme about the information that it routinely makes available and how it can be obtained.
2. Comply with requests for the information that it holds unless that information is exempt for the Act. This information should normally be made available within 20 working days.