Data laws cause problems for Wakefield Council

Councils are struggling to meet new data protection laws, it’s been claimed.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was brought in last year to give citizens more rights around how and where their personal information is stored.

stock business meeting - gathered around a table - discussion.

stock business meeting - gathered around a table - discussion.

But Wakefield Council has said it is struggling to implement all the changes they need to adapt to the new rules, and that other authorities are facing similar problems.

There’s been a 35 per cent increase in subject access requests since GDPR came in, and staff now have to look through 1,000 more documents for every request.

And the council’s audit committee was told on Monday that the authority “is not as far along as we need to be”.

Legal adviser Gillian Marshall said: “Each request is taking longer and there is significantly more of them.

“That’s a picture that’s mirrored across local government generally.

“We’ve had to balance responding to subject access requests on time with the strategic implementation of GDPR and that balancing act has suffered.”

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which regulates data protection referred to a previous blog post about the issue when asked for comment.

In that piece, written a year after GDPR was introduced in May, the ICO said: “With the initial hard work of preparing for and implementing the GDPR behind us, there are ongoing challenges of operationalising and normalising the new regime.”

Plans are in place to address the issues in Wakefield, and more temporary staff have been recruited to deal with subject access requests.