Insights Information Commissioner’s Office updates its document setting out its regulatory approach during the pandemic


The ICO has published an updated version of its regulatory approach document. In an accompanying blog post, the ICO explains that the original document, published at the start of the pandemic, aimed to clearly explain what the ICO’s commitment to being a “pragmatic and empathetic regulator would look like in practice, while reiterating the important role that people’s information right would continue to have.”

The ICO acknowledges that some organisations have faced “significant difficulties” supporting people’s information rights and that “Those challenges have not gone away”. The updated document repeats the ICO’s commitment to continue taking into account the challenges organisations it regulates face, but also makes clear the value of information rights. The ICO expects organisations to be able to deal with complaints they receive from members of the public, for instance, and to have robust recovery plans in place to reduce any backlogs.

The ICO says that it will continue to update its regulatory approach, to provide clarity to organisations both during the pandemic and beyond. This will include updating its Regulatory Action Policy, which it will consult on later this year.

In the blog post, the ICO says that data protection “has played a central role in the UK’s response to the pandemic, but the effectiveness of data-driven innovation relies in part on public trust” and “people’s trust in decisions made by government and public authorities relies on transparency”. Respect for people’s information rights is “central to both”, and “the ICO will continue to work to protect and support those rights”. To read the blog post in full and for a link to the ICO’s regulatory approach document, click here.