22 July 2019

Have you paid your data protection fee?

Last year the regulator for data protection, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), began taking action against organisations that had not paid their data protection fee.

The ICO stepped this up earlier this year when it began identifying organisations which they had issued fines to; 123 in total between 1 January and 31 March 2019. Of those 7 were issued to organisations in the education and childcare sector.

The first appeal of a fine for non-payment of fees – issued against Farrow and Ball – was dismissed in April with the ICO remarking that “there is no excuse for non-payment”.

Under the Data Protection (Charges and Information) Regulations 2018, organisations that process personal data need to pay a data protection fee to the ICO, unless they are exempt.

Independent schools that have charitable status will fall into tier 1. The fee for tier 1 is £40. The level of the data protection fee for other independent schools will depend on the school’s turnover and size of its workforce, although tiers 2 and 3 are likely to apply to most of them.

Schools that are not also charities will fall into tier 2 if their maximum turnover is £36 million in their financial year or they have no more than 250 members of staff. The fee for tier 2 is £60. Larger independent schools with turnovers exceeding £36 million, and where they have 251 or more members of staff, are required to pay the tier 3 fee of £2,900.

If your school has not paid its data protection fee, which must be paid annually, this can be done on the ICO’s website at www.ico.org.uk/fororganisations/register/ or by calling them on 0303 123 1113.

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Paul Watkins, Solicitor
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