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Information Commissioner’s Office gets tough on councillors – threatening monetary fines for Data Protection Act breaches.

Website has today reported that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has warned councillors in the UK that they could be fined up to £5,000 at Magistrate’s Court (or unlimited at Crown Court) if they do not register themselves as data handlers.

It is not a pre-requisite for councillors to notify the ICO – but failure to do so when necessary is a criminal offence. Councillors have been asked to consider the ‘role in which they are processing personal information’.  When carrying out their role as a representative of the residents in a ward, or if an independent councillor is not affiliated to any political party, then councillors may need to notify.

Simon Entwisle, director of operations at the ICO, said: “Most councillors have regular access to the personal information of the residents they represent. Like all organisations who handle people’s information, it is of paramount importance that they take their responsibilities under the Data Protection Act seriously.

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In order to eliminate the risk of a fine from the ICO, organisations need to know what risks they could be taking. Absolute Data specialises in helping such organisations review their data strategy, and thus improve data management systems. For more information, contact us at