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Data Protection Dos and Don'ts


  • Comply with Data Protection Principles at all times
  • Remember the Act applies to paper files, information held electronically, video/DVD, audiotapes and photographs
  • Think of personal data held about individuals as though it were held about you
  • Get permission from the data subject to hold their personal data unless consent is obviously implied
  • Be particularly careful about sensitive data: concerning race, political opinion, religious belief, trade union membership, physical or mental health, sexual life, criminal offences
  • Hold personal data about people only when necessary
  • Do your best to ensure personal data is kept accurate and up to date
  • Tell people you hold personal data about them and tell them why you need to do so (fair processing)
  • Be open with people about information held about them
  • Ensure that you have a contract (data processing agreement) in place when sharing personal data with other organisations
  • Be very careful about passing personal data to third parties
  • Respect confidentiality and the rights of the data subject
  • Review personal data kept in files from time to time and at least annually
  • Ensure all personal data is disposed of as confidential waste
  • When writing documents, bear in mind that the data subject has a right to see information relating to them
  • Realise even deleted emails may be retrieved and revealed to those about whom they are written
  • Hold personal data in such a way that it can be collected for inspection at short notice
  • Where possible, anonymise personal data for statistical analysis
  • Only use software and hardware supported or provided by the Academy when working with personal data


  • Worry about the complexities of the Act - the Data Protection Principles are simple
  • Reveal personal data to third parties without the data subject's permission or justification (see the Academy’s guidance on Individual Rights)
  • Disclose any personal data over the telephone
  • Hold sensitive data about a person without explicit consent
  • Put personal data about an individual on the Internet without his/her permission, unless it is a condition of his/her employment or acceptance as a student
  • Send personal data outside the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Leave personal data insecure in any way, whether it is physical files or information held electronically
  • Take personal data home without particular care for security
  • Process personal data on a computer not owned, supplied or approved by the Academy
  • Part with Academy computers without advice on deletion of data from IT support
  • Use email for sending confidential communications or unencrypted personal data, as it is relatively insecure
  • Use personal data held for one purpose for a different purpose without permission from the data subject