HomeInsightsInformation Commissioner’s Office now able to retain funds paid pursuant to monetary penalty notices

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The ICO has announced that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and the Treasury (HMT) have agreed that it is now able to retain some of the funds paid as a result of its civil monetary penalties.  Previously, all the income from these fines was passed to the Government’s central Consolidated Fund. From this year, the ICO will be able to keep some funds to cover pre-agreed, specific and externally audited litigation costs.

There is a cap on the amount of costs that can be recovered in any one financial year (£7.5 million) and the ICO will be audited by the National Audit Office to make sure it has only recovered the costs it is allowed to. The ICO will also report on the level of fines and its associated costs in its Annual Report and to HMT on an annual basis. A similar arrangement already exists for other UK regulators.

The ICO says that the change means it can make sure it has the right resources to hold those who do not comply to account. The additional funds will also allow it to make sure that more of the charges paid by small businesses can be used directly to fund its business advice and support services. To read the ICO statement in full, click here.