Legal Services

Data Protection



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Briefing Notes [PDF]

Audio Transcript [PDF]



The above Podbriefing provides a summary of the key elements of data protection law that staff need to be aware of.

It supplements the University's Data Protection Act Policy, a link to which can be found here and to the right of this page, along with other useful documents and information.

Content and Aims



This briefing is provided by Geraldine Swanton, a practising lawyer who specialises in data protection within the education sector. The focus of the video is on key legislation, outlining the basic principles and concepts underlying data protection.


Five Data Protection Scenarios

Alongside the briefing, five scenarios feature staff members seeking advice on various different data protection problems. These illustrate key issues experienced in practice, focusing on individual rights of access to data and the sharing, accuracy and security of data.



Failure to comply with the data protection regime can have very serious consequences for both the individual and the organisation involved. For example, fines as high as £500,000 can be issued to an organisation that has breached the data protection regime.

Finally, while the scenarios are fictional, the events they portray are based on real incidents.


Relevant Cases


Glasgow City Council - £150,000 fine

In June 2013 Glasgow City Council were fined £150,000 for losing two unencrypted laptops, containing the personal data of 20,143 people.


Greater Manchester Police - £150,000 fine

In October 2012 the Greater Manchester Police were fined £150,000 after the theft from an officer's home of a memory stick containing details of 1000+ people linked to serious crime investigations. 

It had no password protection.


London Borough of Barnet - £70,000 fine

In another example, the London Borough of Barnet were fined £70,000 in May 2012 for losing sensitive information relating to 15 vulnerable young people during a burglary at an employee's home.

For up to date examples of the penalties issued for breaches of the Data Protection Act, and information on how these are calculated, see the website for the Information Commissioner's Office.


Legal Services

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