Natalie is the Data Protection Officer of a Housing Association.

As they have been established for a while, they have a mountain of paper files.  They have a well thought-out data retention policy but unfortunately, staff just don’t seem to find the time to follow it.  Natalie highlights to managers the need to review files and purge information which is no longer required; they all agree that when a tenant’s status with the HA changes, this would be an ideal time for this to occur and discuss how to incorporate it into working practices. They discuss this and other possible solutions to holding and using so much paper. The managers agree that the time has come to embrace modern technology and shift the emphasis away from paper files, perhaps introducing tablets or other portable devices for colleagues who regularly work away from the office.

Natalie checks the effectiveness of the company’s clean desk policy and documents her findings using the audit forms from the DPO Support Package she purchased from Data Protection Consulting. The DPO Support Package prompts what checks should be done and ensures they are carried out in different departments both inside and outside of office hours. This way there is documentary evidence of her checks on how closely the policy is being followed.  Natalie emails the forms to line managers and suggests that they check each other’s departments.

The different teams become quite competitive at following clean desk guidelines…nice work, Natalie!

Natalie discusses her training and development with her manager.  Using ideas from the DPO Support Package they search for a course on the use of personal data in social media – a very relevant topic for housing associations in the modern world.  They also look up a couple of housing association groups that meet regularly to discuss compliance issues that Natalie can join.  One of them focuses on data protection compliance.  Natalie’s manager agrees to let her arrange an evening data protection event for a group of housing association DPOs in their network with an expert speaker coming in to address them.  The result is that Natalie makes some good contacts and they agree to meet up regularly to share issues and learn from each other, just the way that networks are supposed to work.  It is also worth keeping in mind that the Information Commissioner’s Office run reasonably priced and free events throughout the year too!