As we undertake research that collects or evaluates personal information about a living person who can be identified from the information they have provided we aim to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation for EEA and the United Kingdom.
This policy sets out how Caroline Thompson Associates seek to ensure compliance with the legislation.
This policy applies to Caroline Thompson Associates’ dealings with research participants, coaching clients, clients and third parties that may be involved in processing personal information. It covers the way personal information will be obtained, used, shared, physically stored and destroyed.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) governs the processing (i.e. obtaining, holding, organising, recording, retrieval, use, disclosure, transmission, combination and destruction) of personal and sensitive data (i.e. information relating to a living individual – the data subject) and sets out the rights of individuals whose information is processed in manual or electronic form or held in a structured filing system. There are six principles that describe the legal obligations of organisations that handle personal information about individuals. These Principles are:
Personal data shall be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to the individual.
The information we gather about an individual will be collected in a way where they are fully informed how we intend to use that information, for what purposes and how we will share it.
Personal data shall be collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes; further processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes shall not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes. We will explain why we need the information we are collecting and not use it other than for those purposes.
Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed.
We will only collect the information we need to provide the services required.
Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that personal data that are inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay.
The information we collect will be accurate and where necessary kept up to date. Inaccurate information will be removed or rectified as we become aware of the changes.
Personal data shall be kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed; personal data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the personal data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures required by the GDPR in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals.
We will not hold information for longer than is necessary.
Personal data shall be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures.
We will make sure that the personal information we hold is held securely to ensure that it does not become inadvertently available to other organisations or individuals.
Caroline Thompson Associates fully supports these principles.
Rights of Individuals
The General Data Protection Regulation creates specific rights of individuals. These include:
The right to be informed
The right of access
The right to rectification
The right to erasure
The right to restrict processing
The right to data portability
The right to object
Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling.
Handling personal information, lawfully, fairly and transparently
The first and second principles require Caroline Thompson Associates to acquire and process personal information lawfully, fairly and in a transparent way. Caroline Thompson Associates is clear at the outset about the purpose for which information is obtained and processed. Caroline Thompson Associates aims to ensure that:
research participants and potential participants, and coaching clients, are aware of the purpose or purposes for which the information is to be used and they have a choice as to whether to provide the information;
a research participant or coaching client is able to ask for confirmation of the source of their personal information;
personal information is not used in ways that would have adverse effects on individuals;
research participants and coaching clients are provided with easy to read and understand privacy notices when information is collected;
personal information will only be handled in ways that individuals would reasonably expect;
the third-party providers we work with to provide potential research participants and coaching clients must comply with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation as well;
marketing undertaken by us will be undertaken in a manner that complies with the General Data Protection Regulation;
we seek to uphold the individual’s rights with regard to their personal information.
Appropriate records will be maintained to demonstrate compliance with the above-mentioned requirements.
Consent for research participants and coaching clients
Consent will be required for certain types of information usage.
When consent is required, it must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. Requests for consent will be separate from other terms, and be in clear and plain language. The individuals consent will be “explicit” where it relates to sensitive data. Caroline Thompson Associates is required to be able to demonstrate that consent was given. We therefore maintain records of clients' consent to meet the accountability requirements for both the profession and the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation.
Consent for Audio and Video Recordings
From time to time, research participants may be asked for permission to audio and/or video record their participation in the research exercise or part of their participation (e.g. interview, group discussion, ethnographic research exercise). Recordings will only be made with the participants explicit permission, and the purpose of making the recording will be explained clearly (e.g. to have a true record of the research exercise, to aid analysis).
Where the recording or a clip/extract of the recording is to be shared with the research client or sponsor, this will always be made clear to the participant at the time of the recruitment for the research exercise, and they will be informed as to how the recording will be used and for what purpose (e.g. to illustrate points from the research findings and to support the research report);whom it will be shared with (e.g. stakeholders within the research sponsor organisation including its marketing partners like a creative agency partners); and how long the recording will be held for.
Recordings will be deleted within the time frame agreed at the time of the recording. All audio/video recordings which are not needed after the life of the project will be deleted securely.
Where video/audio recordings are made and shared with the client/research sponsor, the clips which are shared will always be anonymised and the research participant will be told the name of the client/research sponsor receiving the anonymised video/audio recordings. The research participant's name or contact details will not be attached to the video/audio clip and their personal details will not be shared with the research sponsor. However, the participant will be made aware that it is possible that their face/voice could be recognised. The video/audio clip will not be shared in the public domain by Caroline Thompson Associates or the research sponsor/client.
In a situation where the research participant agrees that audio/video recordings may be shared with a research sponsor/client, Caroline Thompson Associates will obtain confirmation from the research sponsor/client that they understand the terms and conditions of how they may use the recordings and the permissions given by the research participant as outlined above, and that they will not share the recordings in the public domain.
Consent for Marketing and Prospecting Purposes
Under the Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations (PECR) there are specific requirements relating to unsolicited direct marketing communications. A solicited communication is one that is actively invited, either directly by the customer or via a third party. An unsolicited communication is one that the customer has not invited but they have indicated that they do not, for the time being, object to receiving it. If challenged, businesses would need to demonstrate that an individual has positively opted in to receiving further information from us.
Caroline Thompson Associates understands that it is unlawful to contact customers or organisations that have informed us that they do not wish to receive unsolicited marketing material. Therefore, Caroline Thompson Associates are aware of and comply with the following:
Telesales – Caroline Thompson Associates ensure that individuals and organisations they wish to contact are not registered on the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or the Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS) respectively. If they are registered or have directly notified Caroline Thompson Associates not to call, then unsolicited direct marketing calls will not be made to them.
Emails and text message – Caroline Thompson Associates will not contact individuals by email or via text message without obtaining prior consent unless the individual’s details have been obtained in the course of a sale or negotiations of a sale. Individuals will be given the opportunity to opt out of receiving further marketing emails or texts each time that such contact is made.
The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) is managed by the Direct Marketing Association and supported by Royal Mail to enable individuals to register their names and addresses to limit the amount of direct mail they receive. Unsolicited marketing material will not be sent by post to individuals that have informed Caroline Thompson Associates they do not wish to receive such information or they have registered with the MPS.
Caroline Thompson Associates maintains internal logs of individuals and organisations that have indicated that they do not wish to receive unsolicited marketing information and conduct checks against the TPS, CTPS, FPS, eMPS and MPS databases as appropriate.
When data is purchased from third parties for prospecting purposes, Caroline Thompson Associates ensures that the data has been acquired by the third party through fair and lawful means, the data can be used for the purposes of unsolicited marketing activities and that the data has been cross-checked by the third party against the appropriate preference service databases.
Computer Equipment, Security and updates
We are aware of the vulnerability of laptops, phones and removable media and the business owners takes steps to ensure the security of these devices.
We ensure that all equipment used as part of our business processes is appropriately protected and secured. The equipment we use has up to date Malware and anti-virus software. When updates are notified because of a software patch, these are applied as they become available.
The laptops that are used for business purposes are encrypted and password protected to ensure that any personal information contained within them is appropriately secured.
It is not our practice to use unsecured phones for business purposes. If a phone is used for personal information then two factor authentication is applied to the handset.
Any removable media used such as an external hard drive or USB pen drive are encrypted.
PECR and cookies
Under the PECR, as from 26 May 2011, businesses must seek consent before any cookie is set on an individual’s computer.
Cookies are small, often encrypted text files, located in browser directories. They are used by companies to help users navigate websites efficiently and perform certain functions. Cookies are also used to keep computer users logged in and their personal details private or for tracking their activity so that companies can improve the website. Cookies can be used by third parties to track information about individuals and spam them with adverts. By themselves, cookies pose no risk since they do not contain viruses.
Session cookies enable the website to track user movement from page to page so that the user does not get asked for the same information again. The most common example of this functionality is the shopping cart feature of an e-commerce website. Session cookies are never written on the hard drive and they do not collect any information from the user’s computer. Session cookies expire at the end of the user’s browser session.
Persistent cookies are stored on the user’s computer and are not deleted when the browser is closed. Such cookies can retain user identities and preferences, allowing those preferences to be used in future browsing sessions.
Caroline Thompson Associates are responsible for ensuring that the websites comply with the PECR and that, where necessary, appropriate information is disclosed to website users and consent is obtained from users before cookies are set.
Fairness generally requires us to be transparent, i.e. clear at outset and open with individuals about why the information is being collected and how it will be used. Assessing whether information is being processed fairly depends partly on how it is obtained. In particular, if anyone is deceived or misled when the information is obtained, then this is unlikely to be fair.
Caroline Thompson Associates aim to ensure that, in all cases, consent and privacy statements will:
be clear, fair and not misleading;
explain the consequences of providing the required information;
explain how long the information will be kept for;
explain if the replies to questions are mandatory or voluntary;
explain if the information is to be anonymised and how;
explain if the information will be transferred overseas;
explain that if the information will be shared, who with and how they will use it;
explain how individuals may be contacted e.g. telephone, email, SMS, post;
explain the individual’s rights – e.g. they can obtain a copy of their personal information;
explain who to contact if they wish to know more information about how their information is held or to opt-out of
receiving further information or if they need to complain; and
explain the individuals’ right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Caroline Thompson Associates is responsible for ensuring that the following details are communicated to research participants and coaching clients:
the identity of the business or if appropriate, its nominated representative;
the purpose(s) for which we intend to process the respondent’s personal information and if the information is to be shared or disclosed to other organisations. (so that the individual concerned can choose whether or not to enter into a relationship with the company sharing it);
the process for anonymising the information prior to it being shared with the commissioning organisation and
how customers can access the information held about them (as this may help them to spot inaccuracies or omissions in their records – see section below on Rights of Data Subjects).
Minimum amount of personal data
Under the principles of GDPR, Caroline Thompson Associates identifies the minimum amount of personal data we need to properly fulfil our purpose. We ensure that we hold that much information, but nothing further. If we need to hold particular information about certain individuals, we only collect the information for those individuals and nothing more.
Accurate and kept up-to-date
Caroline Thompson Associates will:
take reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy of any personal information they obtain;
ensure that the source of any personal information is clear;
establish if the individual has challenged the accuracy of the information, this is evaluated and recorded carefully; and
consider whether it is necessary to update the information, particularly if the purpose relies on the information being current.
Subject Access Requests
An individual has the right to see the information that Caroline Thompson Associates holds about them and can make a request to access this information. Requests must be responded to within 30 days of receipt.
In line with the GDPR, Caroline Thompson Associates will request certain information before responding to a request:
enough information to judge whether the person making the request is the individual to whom the personal information relates to avoid personal information about one individual being sent to another, accidentally or as a result of deception.
sufficient information that would reasonably be required to find the personal information amongst the records held by the company and covered by the request.
In the event of an individual making a subject access request via a third party, Caroline Thompson Associates will request written consent from the individual to confirm that the third party can request and receive information on the individual’s behalf.
An individual who makes a request is entitled to be:
told whether any personal information is held and being used;
given a description of the personal information, the reasons it is being processed, and whether it will be shared with any
other organisations or individuals;
given a copy of the information; and
given details of the source of the information (where this is available).
Requests for information from law enforcement agencies
The General Data Protection Regulation includes exemptions, which allow personal information to be disclosed to law enforcement agencies without the consent of the individual who is the subject of the information, and regardless of the purpose for which the information was originally gathered. Caroline Thompson Associates will release personal information to law enforcement agencies if required to do so.
Caroline Thompson Associates has appropriate security measures to prevent personal information held being accidentally or deliberately compromised. In particular, Caroline Thompson Associates:
have designed and organised security to fit the nature of the personal information held and the harm that may result from a security breach;
are clear about everyone’s responsibility for ensuring information security;
make sure that the correct physical and technical security is in place, backed up by robust processes and procedures and reliable, well-trained staff; and
are ready to respond to any breach of security swiftly and effectively.
Caroline Thompson Associates have procedures in place if we use third parties to process information to ensure that we:
only choose a data processor that provides sufficient guarantees about its security measures to protect the information and the processing it will carry out;
take reasonable steps to check that those security measures are working effectively in practice; and
put in place a written contract setting out what the data processor is allowed to do with the personal information or business information.
notify any data controllers with whom we are working, who the proposed data processor will be.
Caroline Thompson Associates requires third parties that it works with to ensure that there are adequate security measures in place to secure the information that is being held.
Restrictions on transferring information to non EEA countries
There are no restrictions on moving personal information within EEA countries. As Caroline Thompson Associates uses cloud services, we know that personal information may be transferred outside the EEA. We are open and transparent with our clients and potential clients about where their information is processed and accessed.
Caroline Thompson Associates considers the following factors when deciding whether or not to transfer information overseas:
the nature of the personal information being transferred;
how the information will be used and for how long; and
the laws and practices of the country where information is being transferred to.
We also consider additional factors such as:
the extent to which the country has adopted data protection standards in its law;
whether there is a way to make sure the standards are achieved in practice; and
whether there is an effective procedure for individuals to enforce their rights or get compensation if things go wrong.
If personal information is accidentally lost, altered or destroyed, attempts to recover it will be made promptly to prevent any damage or distress to the individuals concerned. In this regard Caroline Thompson Associates consider the following:
containment and recovery – the response to the incident includes a recovery plan and, where necessary, procedures for damage limitation.
assessing the risks – assess any risks and adverse consequences associated with the breach, as these are likely to affect how the breach needs to be contained.
notification of breaches – informing the Information Commissioner’s Office or other relevant Supervising Authority as necessary (within 72 hours), law enforcement agencies, data controllers on whose behalf we are working and individuals (whose personal information is affected) about the security breach is an important part of managing the incident.
evaluation and response – it is important to investigate the causes of the breach, as well as, the effectiveness of controls to prevent future occurrence of similar incidents.
Additionally, Caroline Thompson Associates would also look to ensure that any weaknesses highlighted by the information breach are rectified as soon as possible to prevent a recurrence of the incident.
To comply with information retention best practice, Caroline Thompson Associates establish standard retention periods for different categories of information, keeping in mind any professional rules or regulatory requirements that apply and ensuring that those retention periods are being applied in practice. Any personal information that is no longer required will either be archived or deleted in a secure manner.
Caroline Thompson Associates' retention periods for different categories of personal information are based on individual business needs and contractual obligations.
Caroline Thompson Associates understands the difference between permanently deleting a record and archiving it. If a record is archived or stored offline, it will reduce its availability and the risk of misuse or mistake. If it is appropriate to delete a record from a live system, Caroline Thompson Associates will also delete the record from any back-up of the information on that system, unless there are business reasons to retain back-ups or compensating controls in place.
Destruction of Electronic Records
All electronic files are destroyed by deletion and then the use of an electronic file shredder. This ensures that all electronic information is deleted permanently and cannot be recovered.
Secure disposal of records and computer equipment
Once the retention period expires or, if appropriate, the customer or business information is no longer required; paper records should be disposed of in a secure manner. All paper records containing customer or business information are disposed of by shredding. This includes all archived records.
All used computers, fax machines, printers and any other electronic equipment that may contain or that will have stored customer or corporate information in electronic format must be disposed of in an appropriate manner after the information has been completely wiped off. An external provider will be used to ensure that the memory on the devices is completely clean of information before the item is disposed of.
All training is documented and reviewed regularly.
Data Protection Officer
Caroline Thompson Associates does not at this time meet the requirements for a dedicated Data Protection Officer but this is kept under review as the type of work and range of clients/research participants changes. We are committed to meeting the needs of the General Data Protection Regulation and if our business requires a DPO, we will seek to appoint one.
This policy will be reviewed periodically considering changing business priorities and practices and to consider any changes in legislation.