The ICO's Subject Access Code

The Subject Access Code, issued under section 51 of the Data Protection Act 1998 as part of the Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO’s) statutory duty to promote good practice, does not have the force of law and enforcement action will not be taken against organisations that do not apply the code. However, compliance with the code should ensure that organisations satisfy their obligation to deal with subject access requests — the mechanism under the act by which individuals have the right to access any of their personal data held by third parties, upon payment of a fee.

There is much more to the code than just the ‘10 steps’ with plenty of examples and, in particular, a useful explanation of how the various exemptions may apply. The code deals with issues such as children’s rights of access and subject access requests submitted via social media and contains a reminder that the purpose behind the submission of the request is not a relevant consideration. However, the 10 steps will probably be the first page that data protection compliance officers will turn to…

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