Friday, July 11, 2008

ICO Data Sharing Review Report

The Data Sharing Review report by the Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas and Mark Walport, the Director of the Wellcome Trust is now available from the Justice Department.


Final report

The review's final report concludes that:

  • there is a lack of transparency and accountability in the way organisations deal with personal information
  • there is confusion surrounding the Data Protection Act, particularly the way it interacts with other strands of law
  • greater use could be made of the ability to share personal data safely, particularly in the field of research and statistical analysis
  • the Information Commissioner needs more effective powers, and the resources to allow him to use them properly.


The report makes a series of recommendations, aimed at transforming the personal and organisational culture of those who collect, manage and share information:

  • to improve leadership, accountability and training within organisations
  • to ensure all organisations are as transparent and open as possible about how and with whom data are shared, with what authority, for what purposes and with what protections and safeguards
  • to clarify and simplify the legal framework governing data sharing, including provisions to guarantee better and more authoritative guidance for practitioners
  • to introduce a new statutory procedure to remove unnecessary legal barriers, whilst maintaining robust privacy protections
  • to enhance the role of the Information Commissioner's Officer, providing more robust and properly-resourced powers
  • to develop mechanisms that will enable population-based research and statistical analysis for public benefit, whilst safeguarding the privacy of individuals
  • to help safeguard and protect personal information held in publicly available sources.

You can obtain a hard copy of the report by contacting the review team.

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