ICO publishes GDPR guide for charities

The frequently asked questions guide gives advice on 12 areas related to the new data protection rules, which come into force in May

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published a frequently asked questions guide to the General Data Protection Regulation, aimed specifically at charities.

The document gives advice on 12 areas related to the GDPR, stringent EU data protection rules due to come into force on 25 May.

The list of questions offers particular advice to small charities, signposting them to the ICO’s specialist helpline for small organisations and its self-assessment tool.

It also offers links to the ICO’s guidance for all organisations on the GDPR and preparation for its implementation.

But the document suggests the ICO will not produce any further guidance tailored to the charity sector in response to one of the questions asking if sector-specific advice is available.

"Our guidance focuses on the general application of the GDPR," it says. "But we are engaging with representatives from the charity sector to assist them in producing their own sector-specific advice and guidance."

The advice also makes it clear that it is not necessary to rely on consent in order to process data or contact donors.

In situations where consent does not apply, "you can rely on legitimate interests for marketing activities if you can show how you use people’s data is proportionate, has a minimal privacy impact and people would not be surprised or likely to object", the document says.

It also seeks to reassure health charities and others working with sensitive personal data that they will be able to continue processing this data under the GDPR, saying the conditions for processing are likely to be similar to those given under the Data Protection Act 1998.

It says these conditions will be laid out in the Data Protection Bill, the legislation that will bring the GDPR into British law, and the ICO will produce more detailed guidance on special category data when the bill is finalised.

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