In a recent interview with the UK’s Financial Times newspaper, the UK’s information commissioner Elizabeth Denham has said that she needs more staff on better pay if the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is to prepare for the tough new European Union General Data Protection Regulations. Denham welcomed GDPR that will be incorporated into UK law in 2018 saying that it was critical in ensuring transparency, security and fairness in the modern age.
However, she said that the ICO could not prepare for GDPR, implement it, oversee it and advise and help businesses to comply with the new regulations and simultaneously “continue to do our day jobs” if the organisation keeps losing its experts to both public and private companies
Ms Denham said “data heavy companies, government organisations that need new leadership in data protection [and] large consulting firms” had been poaching her staff in anticipation of the new rules coming into effect. “We have to grow,” she said. “We’d like our numbers to be protected and we’d like to be able to ensure that we have fair pay and compensation for our staff given the kind of expertise [we have].” She likened the regulators works as being like “changing tyres on a moving car”.
As the new European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations get ever closer to their May 25 2018 start date, more and more businesses are realising that they need to take action to ensure that they are compliant. Companies face a two-tiered sanction regime under GDPR – with lesser incidents subject to a maximum fine of either €10 million (£7.9 million) or 2 per cent of an organisation’s global turnover (whichever is greater). The most serious violations could result in fines of up to €20 million or 4 per cent of turnover (whichever is greater). Qualified and experienced data security and data protection staff such as those employed by the Information Commissioner’s Office are highly sought after in the face of such potential sanctions for noncompliance.
“We have to grow,” she said. “We’d like our numbers to be protected and we’d like to be able to ensure that we have fair pay and compensation for our staff given the kind of expertise [we have].”
“Data protection is not a back-burner issue any more,” said Ms Denham. “It underlies everything we do, in our personal lives, as consumers, as well as policing and law enforcement, criminal justice, everything relies on data. That’s why this is such a critical issue at a critical time.”
It’s not just the Information Commissioner’s Office that is struggling to recruit and retain data security and data protection staff. As the new European Union General Data Protection Regulations get ever closer, more and more companies are desperately seeking staff to help them comply with the new regulations, pushing wages up in the sector to previously unseen levels.