Privacy Advisor

UK— ICO calls for more private-sector audits

September 1, 2011

By Sian Rudgard

The information commissioner published his Annual Report on 6 July 2011, which identified that only 19 percent of private-sector companies approached by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) agreed to a voluntary audit in 2010, compared to 71 percent of public-sector organisations. In commenting on the low take-up figures, the information commissioner said that a company’s consent to an audit should be regarded as “a badge of honour, showing that the business takes data security seriously,” linking “sound data protection practices” with “good customer service." Encouraging businesses to engage with the audit process is expected to be a continued focus of the commissioner over the next year.

Sian Rudgard is a Legal Director in the Privacy and Information Law group at Field Fisher Waterhouse.  She can be reached at