DCMS Assumes Data Protection Policy Responsibility And ICO Sponsorship

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Responsibility and oversight for privacy protection moves from the Ministry of justice to the Departmen for Culture, Media and Sport

Responsibility for data protection policy and sponsorship of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is transferring from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed the changes in a written ministerial statement and all transfers will occur immediately.

“This change will see responsibility for data protection policy as well as sponsorship of The National Archives and the Information Commissioner’s Office move to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS),” a DCMS spokesperson told TechWeekEurope. “Changes in departmental sponsorship do not affect how these bodies operate.

“DCMS already sponsors Ofcom, the independent communications regulator. Responsibility for data protection policy and sponsorship of the Information Commissioner’s Office (which upholds information rights), fit with the Department’s broader commitment to support the Digital Economy, and to protect the interests of citizens and consumers.”

ICO future

ChristopherGraham350Earlier this week, the ICO said it was “monitoring” the MoJ following concerns over the time it is taking to respond to some Freedom of Information (FoI) requests. Indeed, 85 percent of all such requests take longer than the 20 working day limit.

Information Commissioner Christopher Graham is confident the transfer will not impact the organisation’s ability to protect the data privacy of citizens.

“It makes sense for the ICO to be well connected to debates around the impact and potential of the digital economy – but at the same time we need independence to do our job,” he said. “DCMS has responsibility for digital issues, but also deals with very many arm’s-length bodies whose independence is key to their contribution.

“The current sponsorship and DP policy teams working at the MoJ will be transferred to the DCMS. This gives me added confidence that the DCMS will be well prepared to cope with the demanding agenda ahead.”

Sponsorship of the National Archives will also transfer from the MoJ to DCMS, while responsibility for government records management policy will move to the Cabinet Office. All changes will take effect immediately.

“The National Archives, the official archive of the UK Government, will remain a non-ministerial department and will join other bodies already sponsored by DCMS which are committed to the preservation and accessibility of the UK’s cultural and artistic heritage.” added DCMS.

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