A public service guarantee for data handling is now available for implementation
by public bodies. This sets out people's rights about how their personal
data is handled by public authorities and the standards they can expect
public organisations to adhere to. The Guarantee has been accredited by
the Plain English Campaign and copies are available to download.
Further Information: Please contact Carl Pencil in the information Rights Division on 020 7210 8034 or email if you require further guidance.
In 2002, a report (PIU report) was published by the Cabinet Office on privacy and data sharing. One of the chief recommendations of the PIU report was to produce a charter to let people know what safeguards are in place when they supply their personal information to the public sector. MORI research, commissioned by Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) supported this recommendation. The research revealed some anxiety about the handling of personal data and widespread ignorance of data protection legislation and the rights that it confers on data subjects.
DCA consulted on a new and simplified version of the PIU charter between April and July 2003. The response to this consultation was published in November 2003. The resulting Guarantee is a straightforward document that lets people know about the standards they can expect from organisations that request or hold their personal information, and what they can do if they do not think these standards are being met. The Data Protection Act is overseen and enforced by the Information Commissioner. We want to promote the Commissioner's role so that people know where to get further information and how to challenge any behaviour they think is wrong. The Guarantee seeks to educate and empower citizens by providing a clear statement of their rights.
Following consultation, two slightly different versions of the Guarantee have been produced. These differ only at bullet point four.
It is up to your organisation to decide if and how the Guarantee is adopted and distributed. The Guarantee should complement the guidance and advice already produced by your organisation for your customers about compliance with the Data Protection Act. We therefore recommend that your organisation:
The two versions of the Public Service Guarantee for Data Handling are available to download as PDFs in English and other languages. To find out which version you need look at the two options below.
Does your organisation deliver customer services?
Version one below, is for public organisations responsible for delivering services to customers and who let people know when their data is shared to improve the delivery of public services.
Is your organisation responsible for law, order and public safety?
Version two below, is for public organisations responsible for law and order and public safety who share data as a necessary part of their investigations.
The English versions of the Public Service Guarantee for Data Handling are also available in the following formats:
Please call 020 7210 8034 or email to request copies of these alternative formats.