Guarino & Thomson, a Limited Company registered in Scotland No. SC378918 with an office at E201 Edinburgh House, Princes Square, East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire G74 1LJ.
Data Protection Officer
Guarino & Thomson is a law company and provides legal advice and assistance to its clients. It is regulated by the Law Society of Scotland. As a company Guarino & Thomson needs to gather and use certain information (personal and sensitive data) about individuals. These individuals can include customers, suppliers, business contacts, employees and other people the organisation has a relationship with or may need to contact. This policy describes how this personal data must be collected, handled and stored to meet the company’s data protection standards and to comply with the law.
Why this policy exists
This data protection policy ensures Guarino & Thomson:
- complies with data protection law and follows good practice
- protects the rights of staff, clients and directors
- is open about how it stores and processes individuals’ personal and sensitive data
- protects itself from the risks of a data breach
Data protection law
Data Protection Law describes how we as an organisation must collect, handle and store personal and sensitive data. These rules apply regardless of whether data is stored electronically, on paper or on other materials.
To comply with data protection law, personal data must be collected and used fairly, stored safely and must not be disclosed unlawfully.
Data Protection Law is underpinned by the following important principles. These principles state that personal data must be:
- a) processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals;
- b) 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;
- c) adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed;
- d) 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;
- e) 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; and
- f) 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.
This policy applies to all personal and sensitive data that the company holds relating to identifiable individuals, even if that information technically falls outside of existing Data Protection Law. This can include:
- names of individuals;
- postal addresses;
- email addresses;
- telephone numbers; and
- any other information that is relating to individuals
Data protection risks
This policy helps to protect Guarino & Thomson from some very real data security risks, including:
- breaches of confidentiality. For instance, information being given out inappropriately;
- failing to offer choice. For instance, all individuals should be free to choose how the company uses data relating to them; and
- reputational damage. For instance, the company could suffer if hackers successfully gained access to personal and sensitive data.
The directors of Guarino & Thomson take ultimate responsibility for data protection.
Everyone who works for or with Guarino & Thomson also has some responsibility for ensuring data is collected, stored and is handled and processed in line with this policy and the data protection principles, as contained within Data Protection legislation.
Process and Procedures
Guarino & Thomson will:
- ensure that the legal basis for processing personal data is identified in advance and that all processing complies with the law;
- not do anything with personal, sensitive data (including special category data), that you would not expect given the content of this policy and the company’s privacy notice;
- ensure that appropriate privacy notices are in place advising staff and others how and why their data is being processed, and, in particular, advising data subjects of their rights;
- only collect and process the personal data that it needs for purposes it has identified in advance;
- ensure that, as far as possible, the personal data it holds is accurate, or a system is in place for ensuring that it is kept up to date as far as possible;
- only hold onto your personal data for as long as it is needed, after which time Guarino & Thomson will securely erase or delete the personal data. See the section entitled “For how long does the company keep data?” below;
- ensure that appropriate security measures are in place to ensure that personal data can only be accessed by those who need to access it and that it is held and transferred securely.
Guarino & Thomson will ensure that all staff who handle data on its behalf are aware of their responsibilities under this policy and other relevant data protection and information security policies, and that they are adequately trained and supervised.
Breaching this policy may result in disciplinary action for misconduct, including dismissal. Obtaining (including accessing) or disclosing personal data in breach of Guarino & Thomson’s data protection policies may also be a criminal offence.
For how long does the company keep data?
The company will hold personal data for the duration of a business relationship. The period for which other data is stored, in order to fulfil the service provisions provided by the company, shall vary in relation to the purpose for which the personal data is being stored and consideration shall therefore be given in this regard to determine the appropriate retention period in order to ensure that personal data is retained for as long as the company is legally required to retain such data and there being no other business or legal basis for retaining such data beyond this period. The company shall ensure that personal, sensitive and special category data is confidentially destroyed or if in electronic format deleted from the computer network.
These rules describe how and where data should be safely stored. When data is stored on paper, it should be kept in a secure place where unauthorised people cannot see or access it.
These guidelines also apply to data that is usually stored electronically but has for some reason been printed:
- When not required, the paper or files should be kept in a locked drawer or filing cabinet.
- Employees should make sure paper and printouts are not left where unauthorised people could see them.
- Printed documents which contain confidential, personal or sensitive data should not be left on desks, printers or photocopiers overnight.
- Data printouts should be shredded and disposed of securely when no longer required.
When data is stored electronically, it must be protected from unauthorised access, accidental deletion and malicious hacking attempts:
- Data should be protected by strong passwords that are changed regularly and never shared between employees.
- If data is stored on removable media (like a CD or DVD or Memory stick), these should be kept locked away securely when not being used.
- Data should only be stored on designated drives and servers and should only be uploaded to an approved cloud computing service.
- Servers containing personal data should be sited in a secure location, away from general office space.
- Data should be backed up frequently. These backups should be tested regularly, in line with the company’s standard backup procedures.
- Data should never be saved directly to laptops or other mobile devices like tablets or smart phones.
- All servers and computers containing data should be protected by approved security software and a firewall.
Personal data is of no value to Guarino & Thomson unless the business can make use of it. However, it is when personal data is accessed and used that it can be at the greatest risk of loss, corruption or theft:
- Personal data should not be shared informally. In particular, it should never be sent in the body of an email or as an attachment to an email, as this form of communication is not secure.
- Data must be encrypted before being transferred electronically.
- Personal data should never be transferred outside of the European Economic Area.
- Employees should not save copies of personal data to their own computers.
- Always access and update the central copy of any data.
Data Protection law requires Guarino & Thomson to take reasonable steps to ensure data is kept accurate and up to date. The more important it is that the personal data is accurate, the greater the effort Guarino & Thomson should put into ensuring its accuracy.
It is the responsibility of all employees who work with data to take reasonable steps to ensure it is kept as accurate and up to date as possible.
- Data will be held in as few places as necessary. Staff should not create any unnecessary additional data sets.
- Staff should take every opportunity to ensure data is updated. For instance, by confirming a customer’s details when they call.
- Guarino & Thomson will make it easy for data subjects to update the information Guarino & Thomson holds about them.
- Data should be updated as inaccuracies are discovered. For instance, if a client can no longer be reached on their stored telephone number, it should be removed from the database.
Data Subject Rights
Guarino & Thomson has processes in place to ensure that it can facilitate any request made by an individual to exercise their rights under data protection law. All staff have received training and are aware of the rights of data subjects. Staff can identify such a request and know who to send it to.
All individuals who are the subject of personal data held by Guarino & Thomson are entitled to request information about how personal data is being processed, including whether personal data is being processed and the right to be allowed access to that data and to be provided with a copy of that data along with the right to obtain the following information:
- the purpose of the processing;
- the categories of personal data;
- the recipients to whom data has been disclosed or which will be disclosed;
- the retention period;
- the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office;
- the source of the information if not collected direct from the subject; and
- the existence of any automated decision making.
Guarino & Thomson will facilitate any request from a data subject who wishes to exercise their rights under data protection law as appropriate, always communicating in a concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible form and without undue delay.
The data controller will aim to provide the relevant data in response to a subject access request within 1 month. Note for more complicated requests this may take up to two months. The data controller will always verify the identity of anyone making a subject access request before handing over any information.
Data subjects have the right to request that personal data is rectified if it is found to be inaccurate or incomplete.
Data subjects have the right to have data erased and to have confirmation of erasure, but only where:
- the data is no longer necessary in relation to the purpose for which it was collected; or
- where consent is withdrawn; or
- where there is no legal basis for the processing; or
- there is a legal obligation to delete data.
Restriction of processing
Data subjects have the right to ask for certain processing to be restricted in the following circumstances:
- if the accuracy of the personal data is being contested; or
- if our processing is unlawful but the data subject does not want it erased; or
- if the data is no longer needed for the purpose of the processing but it is required by the data subject for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims; or
- if the data subject has objected to the processing, pending verification of that objection.
Data subjects have the right to receive a copy of personal data which has been provided by the data subject and which is processed by automated means in a format which will allow the individual to transfer the data to another data controller. This would only apply if Guarino & Thomson was processing the data using consent or on the basis of a contract.
Object to processing
Data subjects have the right to object to the processing of personal data relying on the legitimate interests processing condition unless Guarino & Thomson can demonstrate compelling legitimate grounds for the processing which override the interests of the data subject or for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
Special Category Personal Data
This includes the following personal data revealing:
- racial or ethnic origin
- political opinions
- religious or philosophical beliefs
- trade union membership
- the processing of genetic data, biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person
- an individual’s health
- a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation
- criminal convictions or offences
Guarino & Thomson processes special category data of clients and third parties as is necessary to provide legal services for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
Guarino & Thomson processes special category data of employees as is necessary to comply with employment and social security law. This policy sets out the safeguards we believe are appropriate to ensure that we comply with the data protection principles set out above. Guarino & Thomson also has a data pretention policy which sets out how long special category data will be held onto.
If you discover that there has been a breach of personal or sensitive data (including special category data) that may pose a risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals, you must report this in the first instance to the company’s data protection officer. The company shall then follow procedures to investigate and where appropriate ensure that the Information Commissioner’s Office is notified of the breach within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach. It is therefore important that all breaches are notified at the earliest opportunity. Failure to notify a breach within these timescales could involve a fine being imposed on the company. The company will record all data breaches regardless of their effect or degree of risk.
If the breach is likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals, it will inform the affected individuals that there has been a breach and provide them with information about its likely consequences and the mitigation measures it has taken. The importance of notifying the company of a breach is therefore highly significant and a requirement under the current Data Protection Law.
Monitoring and review
This policy was last updated on 25 May 2018 and shall be regularly monitored and reviewed, at least every two years, or as and when Data Protection Law is amended.