On the eve of a debate by MPs on the Data Protection Bill, the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has called for the government to provide funding to help parish councils comply with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
NALC’s chairman Cllr Sue Baxter has written to the digital minister Matt Hancock MP setting out her deep concerns, in particular the new requirement for all 10,000 local councils – as well as hundreds of parish meetings – to appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO), irrespective of their size or data use, creating a new cost burden totalling at least £3.5m per year.
The second reading of the bill takes place in the House of Commons on 5 March 2018, where MPs will debate the principles of the bill before it is scrutinised in detail. NALC has sent MPs a briefing paper to outline their concerns and has asked councils and county associations to throw their weight behind the campaign by making representations to MPs.
Cllr Sue Baxter said: “While NALC broadly welcomes the principles of the Data Protection Bill, it is vital these new measures are proportionate and the impact of GDPR on our sector is fully understood by the Government. On a number of occasions recently the Government has acknowledged the very important services delivered by parish councils and their role in improving quality of life and well being of communities. It is therefore vital the Government mitigates the financial impact of the Bill and GDPR on our councils, and ultimately residents in our communities, by providing new burdens funding. I have stressed to the Government my keenness to work with them on this important issue.”