All Guernsey organisations/businesses/sole-traders (and all other entities established in the Bailiwick) who are doing anything with personal data are legally required to register with the Office of the Data Protection Authority (ODPA), and pay an annual fee before 28 February.
The registration requirement is new to some sectors and the ODPA is keen to support everyone in understanding what they need to do. The registration process itself is straightforward, and has a three-tier payment structure:
- £2,000/year for organisations with 50 or more FTE staff
- £50/year for all other organisations
- £0/year for registered charities and not-for-profit organisations
The simple act of registering with the ODPA does not make an entity compliant with the law – how they treat people’s data determines that. Registration is the first step in that process of engagement and responsibility. Understanding legal obligations to look after people’s data benefits entities directly as it helps build trust and confidence with their customers, service users, staff and any other people whose data they use.
Since the new registration regime came into effect on 1 January 2021, the ODPA has received the following direct registrations:
- over 1,900 small businesses (<49 staff)
- 44 large businesses (50 or more staff)
- over 440 charities/not-for-profits
In addition to these direct registrations, over 9,000 entities have registered with an ODPA Levy Collection Agent.
Below is just a small selection of the types of registrations received so far. They highlight the extraordinary breadth of the ODPA’s regulated community, and underlines how universal the use of personal data is:
- School PTAs
- Construction companies
- Residents’ Associations
- Political parties
- Elected representatives
- Beauty salons
- PR agencies
- Sports clubs
- Law firms
- Nursing homes
- Financial services companies
- Gaming companies
- Insurance providers
- Cyber security companies
- Diving companies
- IT providers
- Charity shops
- Trade associations
- Taxi operators
- After school clubs
- Regulatory bodies
Emma Martins, the Bailiwick’s Data Protection Commissioner commented: “Registration is an important first step for any organisation or entity handling personal data; an acknowledgement that there are legal responsibilities that come with the use of that data.
“We are extremely mindful of the challenges so many of our community are currently facing and will continue to provide as much support as possible to those for whom this is a new duty. Whilst we are very much focussed on those current challenges, it is also important to look ahead both to the importance of positioning the Bailiwick in a post-pandemic world as well as ensuring we are alive and responsive to the digital economy’s opportunities. Data is, and will continue to be the life blood of all sectors and activities”.
Nicole Bromley, a sole trader (t/a Copper), was one of the first to register with the ODPA on 1 January. Ms Bromley commented on the value of data to her business:
“I was previously exempt from registering with the ODPA, but it was first on my to do list on New Year’s Day as I care about my clients and recognise that looking after their personal data is win-win. Everyone has rights over their own data, and those of us who use people’s data have a legal duty to take care of it. As a one woman band showing my clients that I take this seriously helps me to build trust and confidence with them, and provide an effective, professional service. It’s great to see the ODPA are supporting all businesses to improve our understanding of our legal obligations and I’m learning lots”.