Tag: data protection officer

ICO announces new data protection fining guidance March’24

The Information Commissioner’s Office unveils new data protection fining guidelines, offering clarity on penalty issuance and fine calculation, enhancing transparency for organizations. The new guidance is issued to replace sections of the ICO Regulatory Action Policy, published in November 2018.

With data breaches and privacy infringements increasingly making headlines, regulatory authorities worldwide have bolstered their oversight to ensure strict adherence to data protection laws. Thus, understanding the ICO’s stance on fines is essential for organizations to ensure compliance and mitigate risks effectively. Read this article to explore the new data protection fining guidance  from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued in March 2024, shedding light on its approach to fines and enforcement strategies. 


Deciphering ICO’s latest data protection fines

In the United Kingdom, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) holds a pivotal role in enforcing regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA), wielding the authority to levy fines for any infringements.

Under the UK GDPR and DPA, the ICO possesses the ability to impose fines for infringements, ranging from failures to implement adequate security measures to unauthorised data processing. These fines serve the dual purpose of penalising non-compliance and deterring future violations. Consequently, simplifying the navigation of legislation.

At the core of the ICO’s enforcement strategy lies the concept of an ‘undertaking,’ which encompasses any entity engaged in economic activities. This expansive definition ensures the accurate calculation of fines. Thus, uniformly applying it across organizations of varying sizes and legal structures.


The five fundamental steps for effective enforcement and compliance

The ICO adheres to a structured approach outlined in its Data Protection Fining Guidance. The steps are as follows : 

  1. Assessment of the seriousness of the infringement: For instance, in the scenario where a healthcare provider inadvertently exposes sensitive patient data due to weak internal access control procedures, the ICO evaluates the severity of the breach. It considers factors such as the volume of data compromised, the sensitivity of the information, and the potential harm to individuals. 
  2. Consideration of turnover: In assessing fines, the ICO factors in the turnover of larger organizations, ensuring fines are commensurate with their financial capacity while serving as an effective deterrent. 
  3. Calculation of the starting point: For instance, if a major corporation engages in systemic data misuse for financial gain, the ICO may impose a substantial fine to deter similar misconduct by other entities operating within the same sector.
  4. Assessment of aggravating or mitigating factors: The ICO takes into account various factors, such as the organisation’s response to the breach and its cooperation during investigations, which may warrant an increase or decrease in the fine.
  5. Adjustment to ensure effectiveness: Finally, the ICO evaluates fines to strike the right balance between deterrence and proportionality, ensuring they are sufficient to achieve their intended objectives without exceeding the statutory maximum amount. 


Hints and Tips for Organisations: 

  • Prioritize Data Protection: Allocate adequate resources and establish clear policies to prioritise data protection within your organisation. 
  • Stay Informed: Keep track of updates on developments in data protection regulations. Especially, issued by authorities such as the ICO to ensure ongoing compliance with evolving requirements. 
  • Conduct Regular Risk Assessments: Regularly assess your organisation’s data processing activities and associated risks. The assessments will help identify potential compliance gaps and take corrective action proactively. 
  • Invest in Training: Provide comprehensive training and awareness programs for employees. This step will ensure their responsibilities and obligations under data protection laws. 
  • Implement Robust Security Measures: Prevent data breaches and unauthorised access to sensitive information by deploying advanced security measures.
  • Engage Legal Counsel: Seek guidance from legal experts specializing in data protection. It is essential to obtain advice tailored to your organisation’s specific circumstances and compliance needs. 
  • Maintain Documentation: Keep detailed records of your organisation’s data processing activities, risk assessments, and compliance efforts. This process will help demonstrate accountability and transparency to regulatory authorities. 


Examples of Fines: 

  1. In 2023, the ICO imposed a fine of £20 million on a telecommunications company. The company had unlawfully sent millions of marketing messages, reflecting both the severity of the breach and the company’s significant turnover.
  2. A healthcare provider faced a £10 million fine by ICO. The organisation was accused of exposing patient records due to inadequate security measures.

This highlights the ICO’s commitment to enforcing data protection laws across diverse sectors. 


The ICO’s latest guidance on Data Protection Fining offers a comprehensive roadmap for organisations abiding by GDPR and DPA compliance. Adhering to the structured approach outlined can ensure robust data protection measures, mitigation of risks, and maintenance of trust. 

Seeking guidance from a Data Protection Officer (DPO) provides invaluable insights and assistance in implementing effective compliance strategies. DPOs offer practical advice on risk assessments, policy formulation, and staff training. 

Have questions on compliance and ICO fines? Submit your query at  info@tenintel.com and let our seasoned DPO experts help you.

What is a ‘Data Protection Officer’?

In today’s digital age, where data breaches and privacy concerns are on the rise, organizations must prioritize data protection. The role of a Data Protection Officer (DPO) has become crucial in ensuring compliance with data protection regulations. However, managing data protection internally can be difficult. That’s where outsourced services for Virtual Data Protection Officer (Data Protection Manager) roles like those offered by TenIntelligence, can be great! 

The Role of a Data Protection Officer 

A Data Protection Officer is a designated individual responsible for overseeing an organization’s data protection strategy and ensuring compliance with data protection laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The DPO acts as a bridge between the organization, data subjects, and regulatory authorities. They play a crucial role in maintaining data privacy and security. 

The key responsibilities of a DPO include: 

  • Monitoring Compliance: The DPO ensures that the organization complies with relevant data protection laws and regulations. They assess data processing activities, conduct audits, and set appropriate policies and procedures to reduce risks. 
  • Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs): DPOs are responsible for providing advice regarding DPIAs to identify and address any potential privacy risks associated with data processing activities. This proactive approach helps organizations assess the impact on individuals’ privacy. Additionally it helps in implementing necessary measures to minimize risks. 
  • Advising and Educating: DPOs provide guidance and advice to the organization and its employees regarding data protection best practices. They raise awareness about privacy issues, conduct training sessions, and keep stakeholders informed about their rights and obligations. 
  • Incident Management: In the event of a data breach, the DPO plays a pivotal role in coordinating the organization’s response. They ensure that the breach is promptly reported to the relevant authorities and affected individuals, while also taking necessary steps to prevent future incidents. 

Outsourced Virtual Data Protection Officer Services by TenIntelligence

TenIntelligence is a leading provider of outsourced Virtual Data Protection Officer (vDPO) services. By outsourcing the role of a DPO to TenIntelligence, your organization can enjoy the following benefits: 

  • Expertise and Experience: With a team of highly skilled professionals who specialize in data protection, we can keep you up-to-date with the evolving regulatory landscape. This ensures that you consistently receive expert advice and guidance. 
  • Scalability and Flexibility: We offer flexible service packages tailored to the specific needs of each organization. Whether you require ongoing support or ad-hoc assistance, we are poised to accommodate your requirements as your business evolves. 
  • Enhanced Compliance: With our virtual DPO services, you can have peace of mind knowing that your data protection practices align with legal requirements. Our experts will conduct regular assessments, develop and implement robust policies. Our efforts will ensure ongoing GDPR compliance. 

Contact our DPO officers for a consultation on handling your company data.