Data Protection and GDPR Policy

Joanna North Associates Ltd – Adoption Support Agency

Updated June 2020

Joanna North Associates aims to ensure that all personal data collected about staff, clients, external parties, visitors and other individuals is collected, stored and processed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation(EU) 2016/679(GDPR)and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018). This policy applies to all personal data, regardless of whether it is in paper or electronic format.

This policy meets the requirements of the GDPR and the DPA 2018. It is based on guidance published by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on the GDPR.


Personal data

Any information relating to an identified, or identifiable, living individual. This may include the individual’s:

  • Name (including initials) Identification number,
  • Location data
  • Online identifier, such as a user name, it may also include factors specific to the individual’s physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity.

Special categories of personal data

Personal data which is more sensitive and so needs more protection, including information about an individual’s:

  • Racial or ethnic origin
  • Political opinions
  • Religious or philosophical beliefs
  • Trade union membership
  • Genetics
  • Biometrics (such as fingerprints, retina and iris patterns), where used for identification purposes
  • Health – physical or mental
  • or sexual orientation.


Anything done to personal data, such as collecting, recording, organising, structuring, storing, adapting, altering, retrieving, using, disseminating, erasing or destroying.

Processing can be automated or manual.

Data subject

The identified or identifiable individual whose personal data is held or processed.

Data controller

A person or organisation that determines the purposes and the means of processing of personal data.

Data processor

A person or other body, other than an employee of the data controller, who processes personal data on behalf of the data controller.

Personal data breach

A breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal data.

The data controller

We process personal data relating to clients, staff, external parties, visitors and others, and therefore we are a data controller.

We have paid a data protection fee to the ICO, as legally required.

Roles and responsibilities

This policy applies to all staff employed by our company, and to external organisations or individuals working on our behalf. Staff who do not comply with this policy may face disciplinary action.

The directors have overall responsibility for ensuring that our company complies with all relevant data protection obligations.

Data protection officer

The data protection officer (DPO) is responsible for overseeing the implementation of this policy, monitoring our compliance with data protection law, and developing related policies and guidelines where applicable. The DPO is the first point of contact for individuals whose data the company processes, and for the ICO.

All staff

Staff are responsible for:

  • Collecting, storing and processing any personal data in accordance with this policy.
  • Informing the company of any changes to their personal data, such as a change of address.
  • Contacting the DPO in the following circumstances:
    • With any questions about the operation of this policy, data protection law, retaining personal data or keeping personal data secure
    • If they have any concerns that this policy is not being followed
    • If they are unsure whether or not they have a lawful basis to use personal data in a particular way
    • If they need to rely on or capture consent, draft a privacy notice, deal with data protection rights invoked by an individual, or transfer personal data outside the European Economic Area
    • If there has been a data breach·Whenever they are engaging in a new activity that may affect the privacy rights of individuals
    • If they need help with any contracts or sharing personal data with third parties

Data protection principles

The GDPR is based on data protection principles that our company must comply with. The principles say that personal data must be:

  • Processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner

Collecting personal data

We will only process personal data where we have one of 6 ‘lawful bases’ (legal reasons) to do so under data protection law:

  1. The data needs to be processed so that the company can fulfil a contract with the individual, or the individual has asked the company to take specific steps before entering into a contract
  2. The data needs to be processed so that the company can comply with a legal obligation
  3. The data needs to be processed to ensure the vital interests of the individual or another person i.e. to protect someone’s life
  4. The data needs to be processed so that the company, can perform a task in the public interest or exercise its official authority
  5. The data needs to be processed for the legitimate interests of the company (where the processing is not for any tasks the company performs) or a third party, provided the individual’s rights and freedoms are not overridden
  6. The individual (or their carer/supporter when appropriate in some cases) has freely given clear consent.

For special categories of personal data, we will also meet one of the special category conditions for processing under data protection law:

  • The individual (or their carer/supporter when appropriate in some cases) has given explicit consent.
  • The data needs to be processed to perform or exercise obligations or rights in relation to employment, social security or social protection law. The data needs to be processed to ensure the vital interests of the individual or another person, where the individual is physically or legally incapable of giving consent.
  • The data has already been made manifestly public by the individual.
  • The data needs to be processed for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims
  • The data needs to be processed for reasons of substantial public interests defined in legislation.
  • The data needs to be processed for health or social care purposes, and the processing is done by, or under the direction of, a health or social work professional or by any other person obliged to confidentiality under law.
  • The data needs to be processed for public health reasons, and the processing is done by, or under the direction of, a health professional or by any other person obliged to confidentiality under law.
  • The data needs to be processed for archiving purposes, scientific or historical research purposes, or statistical purposes, and the processing is in the public interest.

For criminal offence data, we will meet both a lawful basis and a condition set out under data protection law. Conditions include:

  • The individual (or their carer/supporter when appropriate in some cases) has given consent.
  • The data needs to be processed to ensure the vital interests of the individual or another person, where the individual is physically or legally incapable of giving consent.
  • The data has already been made manifestly public by the individual.
  • The data needs to be processed for or in connection with legal proceedings, to obtain legal advice, or for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal rights.
  • The data needs to be processed for reasons of substantial public interests defined in legislation.

Whenever we first collect personal data directly from individuals, we will provide them with the relevant information required by data protection law. We will always consider the fairness of our data processing. We will ensure we do not handle personal data in ways that individuals would not reasonably expect, or use personal data in ways which have unjustified adverse effects on them.

Limitation, minimisation and accuracy

We will only collect personal data for specified, explicit and legitimate reasons. We will explain these reasons to the individuals when we first collect their data. If we want to use personal data for reasons other than those given when we first obtained it, we will inform the individuals concerned before we do so, and seek consent where necessary. Staff must only process personal data where it is necessary in order to do their jobs. We will keep data accurate and, where necessary, up-to-date. Inaccurate data will be rectified or erased when appropriate. In addition, when staff no longer need the personal data they hold, they must ensure it is deleted or anonymised. This will be done in accordance with the company’s record retention schedule.

Sharing personal data

We will not normally share personal data with anyone else without consent, but there are certain circumstances where we may be required to do so. These include, but are not limited to, situations where:

  • There is an issue that puts the safety of our staff at risk.
  • We need to liaise with other agencies

–we will seek consent as necessary before doing this.

Our suppliers or contractors need data to enable us to provide services to our clients –for example, IT companies. When doing this, we will:

  • Only appoint suppliers or contractors which can provide sufficient guarantees that they comply with data protection law
  • Establish a contract with the supplier or contractor to ensure the fair and lawful processing of any personal data we share
  • Only share data that the supplier or contractor needs to carry out their service

We will also share personal data with law enforcement and government bodies where we are legally required to do so. We may also share personal data with emergency services and local authorities to help them to respond to an emergency situation that affects any of our clients or staff. Where we transfer personal data internationally, we will do so in accordance with data protection law.

Subject access requests

Individuals have a right to make a ‘subject access request’ to gain access to personal information that the company holds about them.

This includes:

  • Confirmation that their personal data is being processed.
  • Access to a copy of the data.
  • The purposes of the data processing.
  • The categories of personal data concerned.
  • Who the data has been, or will be, shared with.
  • How long the data will be stored for, or if this isn’t possible, the criteria used to determine this period where relevant, the existence of the right to request rectification, erasure or restriction, or to object to such processing.
  • The right to lodge a complaint with the ICO or another supervisory authority.
  • The source of the data, if not the individual.
  • Whether any automated decision-making is being applied to their data, and what the significance and consequences of this might be for the individual.
  • The safeguards provided if the data is being transferred internationally.

Subject access requests can be submitted in any form, but we may be able to respond to requests more quickly if they are made in writing and include:

  • Name of individual
  • Correspondence address
  • Contact number and email address.
  • Details of the information requested

If staff receive a subject access request in any form they must immediately forward it to the DPO.

Responding to subject access requests

When responding to requests, we: May ask the individual to provide 2 forms of identification. We may contact the individual via phone to confirm the request was made. We will respond without delay and within 1 month of receipt of the request (or receipt of the additional information needed to confirm identity, where relevant). Will provide the information free of charge.

We may tell the individual we will comply within 3 months of receipt of the request, where a request is complex or numerous. We will inform the individual of this within 1 month, and explain why the extension is necessary We may not disclose information for a variety of reasons, such as if it: Might cause serious harm to the physical or mental health to them or another individual. If it would reveal that the there is a or is at risk of abuse, where the disclosure of that information would not be in the best interests Would include another person’s personal data that we can’t reasonably anonymise, and we don’t have the other person’s consent and it would be unreasonable to proceed without its part of certain sensitive documents, such as those related to crime, immigration, legal proceedings or legal professional privilege, management forecasts, negotiations, confidential references. If the request is unfounded or excessive, we may refuse to act on it, or charge a reasonable fee to cover administrative costs. We will take into account whether the request is repetitive in nature when making this decision. When we refuse a request, we will tell the individual why, and tell them they have the right to complain to the ICO or they can seek to enforce their subject access right through the courts.

Other data protection rights of the individual

In addition to the right to make a subject access request and to receive information when we are collecting their data about how we use and process it individuals also have the right to: Withdraw their consent to processing at any time. Ask us to rectify, erase or restrict processing of their personal data (in certain circumstances). Prevent use of their personal data for direct marketing. Object to processing which has been justified on the basis of public interest, official authority or legitimate interests. Challenge decisions based solely on automated decision making or profiling (i.e. making decisions or evaluating certain things about an individual based on their personal data with no human involvement). Be notified of a data breach (in certain circumstances)Make a complaint to the ICO Ask for their personal data to be transferred to a third party in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format (in certain circumstances)Individuals should submit any request to exercise these rights to the DPO. If staff receive such a request, they must immediately forward it to the DPO.

Data protection by design and default

We will put measures in place to show that we have integrated data protection into all of our data processing activities, including: Appointing a suitably qualified DPO, and ensuring they have the necessary resources to fulfil their duties and maintain their expert knowledge. Only processing personal data that is necessary for each specific purpose of processing, and always in line with the data protection principles set out in relevant data protection law. Completing data protection impact assessments where the company’s processing of personal data presents a high risk to rights and freedoms of individuals, and when introducing new technologies (the DPO will advise on this process). Integrating data protection into internal documents including this policy, any related policies and privacy notices. Regularly training members of staff on data protection law, this policy, any related policies and any other data protection matters; we will also keep a record of attendance. Regularly conducting reviews and audits to test our privacy measures and make sure we are compliant.

Appropriate safeguards being put in place if we transfer any personal data outside of the European Economic Area (EEA), where different data protection laws will apply Maintaining records of our processing activities, including:

  • For the benefit of data subjects, making available the name and contact details of our company and DPO and all information we are required to share about how we use and process their personal data (via our privacy notices)
  • For all personal data that we hold, maintaining an internal record of the type of data, type of data subject, how and why we are using the data, any third-party recipients, any transfers outside of the EEA and the safeguards for those, retention periods and how we are keeping the data secure

Data security and storage of records

We will protect personal data and keep it safe from unauthorised or unlawful access, alteration, processing or disclosure, and against accidental or unlawful loss, destruction or damage. In particular: Paper-based records and portable electronic devices, such as laptops and hard drives that contain personal data, are kept under lock and key when not in use. Papers containing confidential personal data must not be left on desks, on staffroom tables, or anywhere else where there is general access. Where personal information needs to be taken off site, staff must sign it in and out from the company office. Passwords that are at least 6characters long containing letters, numbers and non-alpha-numeric characters are used to access company computers, laptops and other electronic devices. Staff are reminded that they should not reuse passwords from other sites. Multi-layer authentications used to protect all portable devices and removable media, such as laptops and USB devices. Staff do not store personal information on their personal devices. Where we need to share personal data with a third party, we carry out due diligence and take reasonable steps to ensure it is stored securely and adequately protected.

Disposal of records

Personal data that is no longer needed will be disposed of securely. Personal data that has become inaccurate or out of date will also be disposed of securely, where we cannot or do not need to rectify or update it. For example, we will shred or incinerate paper-based records, and overwrite or delete electronic files. We may also use a third party to safely dispose of records on the company’s behalf. If we do so, we will require the third party to provide sufficient guarantees that it complies with data protection law.

Personal data breaches

The Company will make all reasonable endeavours to ensure that there are no personal data breaches. In the unlikely event of a suspected data breach, we will report the data breach to the ICO within 72 hours after becoming aware of it.


All staff are provided with data protection training as part of their induction process. Data protection will also form part of continuing professional development, where changes to legislation, guidance or the company’s processes make it necessary.

Monitoring arrangements

The DPO is responsible for monitoring and reviewing this policy. This policy will be reviewed annually and shared with the board.