The States of Guernsey is supporting a self-funding model for the Office of the Data Protection Authority (ODPA), to reinforce its role as a fully independent regulatory body.
The ODPA is the operational body that carries out the regulatory functions of The Data Protection (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2017 delegated by the Data Protection Authority. Its new self-funding model means that, from January 2021, most of its operational costs will be met by annual fees paid by the regulated community (i.e. local businesses and other organisations who handle personal data), with the States of Guernsey contributing around £300,000 per year.
The way the ODPA is funded has changed because it is legally and politically obliged to operate independently of the States of Guernsey. Reinforcing this independence is an important part of the ODPA’s effective regulatory oversight and being able to demonstrate this independence is critical to the Bailiwick’s retaining its ‘adequacy’ status with the European Commission. This status allows the free-flow of data between the islands and the EU which is crucial to the Bailiwick’s current and future economic success.
Deputy Mary Lowe, President of the Committee for Home Affairs commented: “Data is an essential part of the modern economy. It is a precious commodity in both our business and personal lives and needs to be properly safeguarded. The Committee has been working closely with the Authority and we are in agreement that moving the ODPA to become self funding will prove important in demonstrating that while the States creates the Data Protection legislation, the Authority is able to act without fear or favour in its investigations”.
Emma Martins, the Bailiwick’s Data Protection Commissioner, commented on the work that has led to this point: ‘The States of Guernsey civil servants, politicians, as well as ODPA staff and board members have worked hard since 2018 to reach agreement on how best to fund the ODPA. Our focus was always on ensuring that we agreed on a low-cost, low-admin model that is as fair as possible to local businesses. Especially at this challenging time for everyone, we want people to focus their efforts on running their businesses well, rather than filling in bureaucratic forms. We are pleased to finally be in a position to start work preparing for the changes ahead and we will publish further details over the coming months”.