MPs, Lords, councillors exempt from data protection fee

As I have previously discussed on the Mishcon de Reya website, the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) removed the requirement at European law for data controllers to “register” with their supervisory authority. However, in the UK, the need to provide a funding stream for the data protection work of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) led parliament to pass laws (The Data Protection (Charges and Information) Regulations 2018) (“the Fee Regulations”), made under sections 137 and 138 of the Data Protection Act 2018 (“DPA”)) requiring controllers to pay a fee to the ICO, unless an exemption applied.

New amendment regulations (The Data Protection (Charges and Information) (Amendment) Regulations 2019) have now been passed, following a consultation run by DCMS last year. These mean that new categories of exempt processing are introduced. In short, processing of personal data by members of the House of Lords, elected representatives and prospective representatives is also now “exempt processing” for the purposes of the Fee Regulations. “Elected representative” means (adopting the definition at paragraph 23(3)(a) to (d) and (f) to (m) of Schedule 1 to the DPA)

a member of the House of Commons;
a member of the National Assembly for Wales;
a member of the Scottish Parliament;
a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly;
an elected member of a local authority within the meaning of section 270(1) of the Local Government Act 1972
an elected mayor of a local authority within the meaning of Part 1A or 2 of the Local Government Act 2000;
a mayor for the area of a combined authority established under section 103 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009;
the Mayor of London or an elected member of the London Assembly;
an elected member of the Common Council of the City of London, or the Council of the Isles of Scilly;
an elected member of a council constituted under section 2 of the Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994;
an elected member of a district council within the meaning of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972;
a police and crime commissioner.

But, it should be noted, MEPs’ processing is not exempt, and, for the time being at least, they must still pay a fee.

6 Comments

Filed under Data Protection, DCMS, GDPR

6 responses to “MPs, Lords, councillors exempt from data protection fee

  1. So does this mean that our Council pay the fee for Cllrs, or nobody as they are exempt remembering there are appox 18,000 elected Cllrs, meaning the ICO miss out on £720,000 pounds. It’s madness.

  2. Bryan Rylands

    Could this not be seen to be discriminatory under the EQA 2010, as the ICO would need to take into account the economic situation of the person who applies to become a data controller/processor?

    • One’s economic situation is not a protected characteristic under section 4 of the Equality Act 2010 (which is probably a good thing, because otherwise I could go into a Ferrari garage and claim discrimination because I can’t afford their cars).

  3. Bryan Rylands

    Good Point, but a disabled person who is a Data Controller/ Processor and perhaps on disability benefits, might they not be covered under the EQA 2010 and beexempt from the fee? Would the ICO need to take into account their economic situation regarding the fee? Or would they say it is a ‘reasonable amount’?

    • I’m by no means expert on this, but I’m certain that discrimination is not in play here. Again, this would mean that anyone on disability benefits would be discriminated against when purchasing any goods or services, or paying any statutory fee.

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