Do not get caught in web of data protection
WHEN on the acquisition trail and acquiring new premises, there are a whole range of legal considerations to take into account.
These range from more obvious matters such as the contract for the purchase/sale of the business, including the sale or lease of the property, to the less obvious, but nonetheless still very important, matters such as ensuring compliance with Data Protection Act (DPA).
Businesses who have failed to comply with the DPA have found themselves falling foul of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and facing heavy fines.
The Information Commissioner's Office is an independent authority which reports to Parliament and whose mission is "to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals".
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Earlier this year, the ICO issued its second highest fine to a health care body in Northern Ireland.
The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT) was fined £225,000 for severe breaches of the DPA after trespassers had got into a hospital site and posted confidential patient records on the internet.
BHSCT, which was created following the merger of numerous hospital trusts, acquired, and was responsible for more than 50 different sites.
The ICO found, among other breaches, that BHSCT failed to carry out an inspection when it took over the sites.
So, what must Gloucestershire-based businesses consider when acquiring a new business or new premises?
Ensure you have data protection policies in place, keep them maintained and up to date and, more importantly, enforced and regularly viewed or risk breaching the DPA at your peril,
â To obtain legal advice when purchasing a new business, contact Rickerbys' corporate team by emailing email@example.com or calling 01242 224422.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement.
In the case of specific problems we recommend professional advice be sought.