Tent Hire and GDPR

Monday, 11 June 2018  |  Admin

WELL, well, well… who’d have thought it? We are into a third week of GDPR and the world is still spinning on its axis; Armageddon hasn’t quite materialised, has it?

That must come as a source of disappointment to the minority; to the remainder of us GDPR is an ongoing requirement that we are becoming less fearful of with every passing day of understanding.

The quotation ‘Do unto others as you will have them do unto you’ has been the cornerstone of Tent Hire Ltd’s GDPR journey.

It was the Eureka moment that won the hearts and minds of employer and employees alike, some of whom were initially sceptical and indifferent to the process. Fear of the unknown can often do that to folk.

But when GDPR is stripped back to the bare bones, setting aside talk of ‘Privacy by Design’ or ‘Privacy Impact Assessments’, and almost humanised, it is then that the rationale for change to Data Protection Law starts to make sense.

Most of us are employees, but all of us are consumers in some way shape or form. We need to share our personal data to merely exist. And it is not unreasonable for us to expect that the processing of such information is transparent and necessary, and that its security and integrity will be an absolute given for the length of time it is required.

If that is our expectation as an individual, we can hardly scoff at implementing necessary change to achieve GDPR compliance as an organisation/business. It would be the height of hypocrisy if we did.

Tent Hire is a business steeped in family traditions and values. It was created by Albert and Pauline Cox almost 50 years ago and, with the odd exception, has only employed people from an extensive family tree.

That connection has been its source of strength, but accepted codes of practice from yesteryear don’t wash on today’s shop floor. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a prime example of that.

I for one feel that the EU-wide proclamation went, in the main, either unnoticed or fell on deaf ears. The blanket marketing/educational campaign that I understood would happen during March and April leading up to the ‘go live’ date of May 25 was a damp squib.   

The offensive amounted to a series of briefly informative radio ads, with the written press focusing on the ‘20m or 4% global turnover fine’ that all who breach the new regulation would fall foul of. Scaremongering at its despicable best.

Scratch beneath the surface of the soundbites and the motivation for change is a compelling one. Time will tell, but the days of playing fast and loose with our personal/sensitive data are over. In theory at least.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will be issuing fines as we speak, but there will be a far greater imposition of warnings, reprimands, and data processing bans.

All businesses, by now, should have taken significant steps towards compliance, yet a recent article in the Financial Times suggested that less than 10% of the UK’s 5.7m small businesses were prepared for GDPR; less than 20% of small businesses were aware of GDPR, and that 66% of small businesses had not even begun their preparations.

It is worth noting that GDPR does not have a ‘winning post’ or carry certification. It is a continual process, that needs monitoring, policing, auditing, investigating… You get the picture.

Tent Hire’s GDPR drive has been a demanding and exhaustive one, but also one that has enlightened and will enable the business to thrive and re-assure its customers, clients, suppliers and partners that we are a safe pair of hands.

Whenever we process an individual’s data, the subject concerned will be advised as to the purpose, the period said data will be retained, any third parties we will share their data with, and our identity as data controller in the arrangement.

Our legal basis for doing the above will be transparent, and thereafter we are familiar with new rights that all individuals have, and will act upon an instruction received. Our new GDPR-compliant PRIVACY NOTICE makes that clear.

Policies, procedures and operational changes have been implemented internally to ensure a support structure is in place to maintain the security and integrity of all data going forward, and the business is shortly investing in data protection training for one member of staff.

One comment from a GDPR seminar I attended in 2017 resonated: “Don’t be fearful of GDPR. See it as an opportunity and embrace it.”

We at Tent Hire are doing what is reasonably practicable to achieve just that.

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