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Data protection and GDPR

Data protection law reform is coming with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect from 25 May 2018.

Data protection legislation covers everyone about whom you keep personal data. This includes employees, volunteers, service users, members, supporters and donors. The legislation:

  • requires organisations to register if they keep records
  • governs the processing of personal data including 'personal sensitive data'
  • requires organisations to comply with eight principles
  • allows employees, service users and other contacts to request to see the personal data held on them

Every organisation should have a written policy and procedure that is specific to their context about how they handle personal data and enact privacy principles.

You should start preparing now for changes that GDPR will require to your current policies and procedures. Read our guidance for charities on How To Prepare for GDPR.


The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is the regulator for data protection and privacy law. Their website is an excellent source of information and support and includes:

Sample policies and guidance 

It can be hard to write a policy from scratch. There are a number of suppliers of sample policies.  These are intended as guidance only and should be developed alongside the guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office to ensure it is specific to your circumstances..

  • NCVO members can access free guidance on writing a data protection policy in the Tools and resources section on this site. (Due to be GDPR compliant in September 2017)
  • Bates Wells Braithwaite law firm has a customised data protection policy you can purchase on their Get Legal document production site. (Due to be GDPR compliant in September 2017)


NCVO offer training on data protection and the GDPR for charities and voluntary organisations. This is delivered regularly at NCVO in London or bespoke at your premises. to discuss what might suit you.

Data Protection Health Check

NCVO's consultancy service can provide a health check for your organisation to assess you data protection fitness and develop an action plan for GDPR compliance. for more details.

Page last edited Jul 26, 2017

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