Small businesses are paying a high price for leaving their GDPR preparations to the last minute amid claims that the dedicated hotline set up by the Information Commissioner’s Office has gone into meltdown.
According to press reports some callers are being put on hold for up to half an hour as they attempt to get through to the service, even though the hotline went live on November 1 last year.
One of the issues appears to be the fact that the hotline is based around the ICO’s existing public helpline, which already handles around 190,000 calls last year.
A notice on the ICO website states: “We are currently experiencing an extremely high number of calls to our helpline. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause.”
The notice goes on to point callers to guidance and resources available on the regulator’s website.
Recent research by the Federation of Small Businesses showed that 90% of small businesses are unprepared for the new regulation; a third (33%) have not even started preparing, while 35% are in the early stages and only 8% have completed their preparations.
GDPR comes into force in less than 80 days, although there has been a two-year grace period.
FSB chairman Mike Cherry said: “As the deadline approaches, all eyes will be on the ICO and whether or not they can successfully deal with the increase in small businesses trying to get help and support.
“FSB research shows that over half of small businesses will be looking to the ICO for advice and guidance. It will be a sorry situation if these businesses are left hanging on the phone because the help isn’t there.”
ICO set to launch dedicated GDPR hotline for SMEs
ICO plots consumer campaign in run-up to GDPR D-Day
Call for Government action to explain GDPR to public
100 days until GDPR D-Day: data sharing on the rise
European Commission fails to hit its own GDPR deadline
Brussels chiefs plot GDPR consumer marketing blitz
DMA tells firms: don’t expect all the answers on GDPR