Members of the British Security Industry Association’s Information Destruction section have welcomed a new self-assessment tool launched by the Information Commissioners Office.
The self-assessment tool helps small and medium sized organisations to assess their compliance with the Data Protection Act. The toolkit provides links to guidance and further information on what they need to do to comply with the Data Protection Act.
Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, said: “Good data protection practice makes business sense. It can lead to better, more efficient customer service and help to protect and enhance your reputation. It could also help you to avoid a fine.”
Under the Seventh Principle of the Data Protection Act, a business must take appropriate measures against accidental loss, destruction or damage to personal data and against unauthorised or unlawful processing of the data. To fully comply with the Data Protection Act, a data handler must have a written contract with a company capable of handling confidential waste, which can provide a guarantee that all aspects of collection and destruction are carried out in a secure and compliant manner. To ensure this, suppliers should comply with European Standard BS EN 15713:2009 for security shredding and also BS 7858 for staff vetting.
Adam Chandler, Chairman of the BSIA’s Information Destruction section, commented: “The self-assessment tool provides SMEs with a fantastic opportunity to ensure that they comply with the Data Protection Act. Compliance will help to reduce reputational risk and ensure that directors are not faced with fines or prison sentences for non-compliance. The BSIA’s Information Destruction section recommends that all SMEs make use of this free tool to ensure that they comply with the Data Protection Act. Furthermore, once an organisation has no further use for this data and needs to get it destroyed, it’s absolutely imperative that they engage with a service provider that can demonstrate rigorous compliance to BS EN 15713:2009. All of our members must do that to retain their membership so if you want to save yourself the hassle of checking out a service provider (and proper due diligence should include a site visit to the service provider’s destruction facility) then simply select one of our members to carry out this service”.
The toolkit can be accessed online via the Information Commissioner’s Office website and can be completed as one comprehensive assessment that embraces the key obligations that SMEs have in relation to processing their customers’ or clients’ personal information. Alternatively, the assessment can be broken down into separate checklists so that users can tailor it to their organisation’s particular needs and risks.
Data controllers wishing to securely dispose of confidential material in line with the Data Protection Act can consult a member of the BSIA’s Information Destruction section which consists of companies that securely destroy a range of confidential information including paper, DVDs and computer hard-drives. All section members work to a European Standard for the secure destruction of confidential material (EN 15713) as part of their ISO 9001:2008 inspection.
For more information or to source a supplier of information destruction services, please visit: www.bsia.co.uk/sections/information-destruction