ICO set to launch dedicated GDPR hotline for SMEs

abandond call 2The Information Commissioner’s Office is to launch a dedicated telephone hotline next month in an attempt to help small businesses prepare for GDPR, following complaints that its guidance for the new data protection laws has been far too slow to emerge.
The regulator insists the service will add to a package of tools and resources already available for organisations getting ready for GDPR, which comes into effect on May 25 2018.
The new service will go live on November 1, and will be based around the ICO’s existing public helpline, which handled around 190,000 calls last year.
Just two weeks ago, the Institute of Fundraising called for a dedicated charity helpline as part of a number of measures to give more support to the sector to ensure organisations achieve GDPR compliance.
The ICO has also revealed plans to simplify its “12 steps to take now” graphic – which has already been viewed 73,000 times since it was updated in May – in response to calls from small and micro businesses that they need access to targeted information about how to prepare for the regulation.
And the ICO is revising its SME toolkit – a resource used by around 9,000 businesses a month since January 2016 – into a GDPR checklist that will allow businesses to identify gaps in their own preparation for the new law.
Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: “There are 5.4 million businesses in the UK that employ fewer than 250 people. When it comes to data protection, surveys show they tend to be less well prepared. We know that most businesses want to get things right but often struggle to find the key steps to get started. They also have less time and money to invest in getting it right. They may not have compliance teams or data protection officers or access to legal advice.
“The businesses may be small but they still hold important personal information and the need to gain the trust of their customers is just as real.”
Organisations that have yet to begin preparing for the GDPR can access a range of resources on the ICO’s dedicated data protection reform web pages.
The regulator claims it will also publish a Guide to GDPR by the end of the year. It expands the content of the current overview to make what the ICO insists is a “comprehensive guide” along the same lines as the current Guide to Data Protection.

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