Data Protection Policy
What personal data we collect and why we collect it
BPG Architects + Surveyors needs to collect and use certain types of information about the Individuals or Service Users who come into contact with BPG Architects + Surveyors in order to provide the services for which we have been commissioned. This personal information, which is limited in its extent, must be collected and dealt with appropriately whether it is collected on paper, stored in a computer database, or recorded on other material and there are safeguards to ensure this formerly under the Data Protection Act 1998 and now under the General Data Protection Regulation.
BPG Architects + Surveyors is the Data Controller under the Act, which means that it determines for what purposes personal information held will be used. It is also responsible for notifying the Information Commissioner, as necessary, of the data it holds or is likely to hold, and the general purposes that this data will be used for.
BPG Architects + Surveyors may share data with organisations such as clients, local authorities, funding bodies, government departments (for staff information) and other voluntary agencies.
The Individual/Service User will be made aware in most circumstances how and with whom their information will be shared. There are circumstances where the law allows BPG Architects + Surveyors to disclose data (including sensitive data) without the data subject’s consent.
- Carrying out a legal duty or as authorised by the Secretary of State.
- Protecting vital interests of an Individual/Service User or other person.
- Where the Individual/Service User has already made the information public and it is available within the public domain.
- Conducting any legal proceedings, obtaining legal advice or defending any legal rights.
- Monitoring for equal opportunities purposes – i.e. race, disability or religion.
- Providing a confidential service where the Individual/Service User’s consent cannot be obtained or where it is reasonable to proceed without consent: e.g. where we would wish to avoid forcing stressed or ill Individuals/Service Users to provide consent signatures.
BPG Architects + Surveyors regards the lawful and correct treatment of personal information as very important to successful working, and to maintaining the confidence of those with whom we deal. Therefore we will ensure that personal information is treated lawfully and correctly.
To this end, BPG Architects + Surveyors will adhere to the Principles of Data Protection, as detailed in the Data Protection Act 1998.
Specifically, the Principles require that personal information:
- Shall be processed fairly and lawfully and, in particular, shall not be processed unless specific conditions are met.
- Shall be obtained only for one or more of the purposes specified in the Act, and shall not be processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes.
- Shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to those purpose(s).
- Shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.
- Shall not be kept for longer than is necessary.
- Shall be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects under the Act.
- Shall be kept secure by the Data Controller who takes appropriate technical and other measures to prevent unauthorised or unlawful processing or accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal information.
- Shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of Individuals/Service Users in relation to the processing of personal information. It is however highly unlikely that any information will be disclosed to any parties outside the United Kingdom.
BPG Architects + Surveyors will, through appropriate management and strict application of criteria and controls:
- Observe fully the conditions regarding the fair collection and use of information
- Meet its legal obligations to specify the purposes for which information is used
- Collect and process appropriate information, and only to the extent that it is needed to fulfill its operational needs or to comply with any legal requirements
- Ensure the information used is correct and used for the minimum purposes necessary.
- Ensure that the rights of people about whom information is held, can be fully exercised under the Act. These include:
- The right to be informed that processing is being undertaken,
- The right of access to one’s personal information
- The right to prevent processing in certain circumstances and
- The right to correct, rectify, block or erase information which is regarded as wrong information)
- Take appropriate technical and organisational security measures to safeguard personal information
- Ensure that personal information is not transferred abroad without suitable safeguards
- Treat people justly and fairly whatever their age, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity when dealing with requests for information
- Set out clear procedures for responding to requests for information
Informed consent is when: An Individual/Service User clearly understands why their information is needed, who it will be shared with and the possible consequences of the Individual/Service User agreeing or refusing the proposed use of the data and then gives their consent.
There are four principal methods by which BPG Architects + Surveyors collect data. These are:
- Where information is directly supplied by a client from their own records which may then be used for the purposes of writing to residents.
- Where information is available from public records principally the Land Registry for the purposes of undertaking formal processes under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 and similar legislation.
- Where information is obtained during the course of surveys and inspections and where that information is provided with the individual’s consent.
- Where personnel records are held internally as required for the management of our business.
Scope of Data Collected
The data collected from individuals during the execution of our services is generally limited to:
- Name, address, telephone number and email address (if available) and, in the case of members of staff within our practice:
- Date of birth, sex, ethnicity, tax and National Insurance reference numbers, details of next of kin, GP and details of any health issues.
BPG Architects + Surveyors will ensure that data is collected within the boundaries defined in this policy. This applies to data that is collected in person, or by completing a form. When collecting data, BPG Architects + Surveyors will ensure that the Individual/Service User:
- Clearly understands why the information is needed.
- Understands what it will be used for and what the consequences are should the Individual/Service User decide not to give consent to processing.
- As far as reasonably possible, grants explicit consent, either written or verbal for data to be collected and processed.
- Is, as far as reasonably practicable, competent enough to give consent and has given so freely without any duress.
- Has received sufficient information on why their data is needed and how it will be used.
Information and records which are gathered will be stored securely and will only be accessible to authorised staff.
Information will be stored for only as long as it is needed or required by statute and will be disposed of appropriately at the end of that period.
Specifically, data will be held on our file server access to which is password protected internally with a further level of permissions and password protection for external access. Written information may also be held in our hard copy project files which are secured within our offices.
It is BPG Architects + Surveyors’s responsibility to ensure all personal and company data is non-recoverable from any computer system previously used within the organisation, which has been passed on/sold to a third party.
Data access & accuracy
All Individuals/Service Users have the right to access the information BPG Architects + Surveyors holds about them. BPG Architects + Surveyors will also take reasonable steps to ensure that this information is kept up to date by asking data subjects whether there have been any changes.
In addition, BPG Architects + Surveyors will ensure that:
- It has a Data Protection Officer with specific responsibility for ensuring compliance with Data Protection. This will be the Company Secretary.
- Everyone processing personal information understands that they are contractually responsible for following good data protection practice.
- Everyone processing personal information is appropriately trained to do so.
- Everyone processing personal information is appropriately supervised.
- Anybody wanting to make enquiries about handling personal information knows what to do.
- It deals promptly and courteously with any enquiries about handling personal information.
- It describes clearly how it handles personal information.
- It will regularly review and audit the ways it holds, manages and uses personal information.
- It regularly assesses and evaluates its methods and performance in relation to handling personal information.
- All staff are aware that a breach of the rules and procedures identified in this policy may lead to disciplinary action being taken against them.
This policy will be updated as necessary to reflect best practice in data management, security and control and to ensure compliance with any changes or amendments made to the Data Protection Act 1998 or through the General Data Protection Regulation.
In case of any queries or questions in relation to this policy please contact the BPG Architects + Surveyors’s Data Protection Officer: Robin L Goddard, Director
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