The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued the first fines for non-payment of the data protection fee to organisations across a range of sectors including business services, construction, finance, healthcare, retail and leisure. All organisations, companies and sole traders that process personal data must pay an annual fee to the ICO unless they’re exempt from having to do so. Fines for not paying can be up to a maximum of £4,350. This follows regulations which came into force alongside the new Data Protection Act on Friday 25 May this year.
These first organisations have been fined for not renewing their fees following their expiry and more fines are set to follow. More than 900 notices of intent to fine have been issued by the ICO since September and upwards of 100 penalty notices are being issued in this first round.
The money collected from the data protection fee funds the ICO’s work to uphold information rights such as investigations into data breaches and complaints, its popular advice line and guidance and resources for organisations to help them fully understand and comply with their data protection obligations.
The ICO has grown over the last two years to meet its wider data protection remit and responsibilities following the General Data Protection Regulation’s (GDPR) inception. It now employs 670 members of staff.
Paul Arnold, deputy CEO at the ICO, said in conversation with The Paper: “Following numerous attempts to collect the fees via our robust collection process, we’re now left with no option but to issue fines to these organisations. They must now pay these fines within 28 days or risk further legal action. You are breaking the law if you process personal data or are responsible for processing it and don’t pay the data protection fee to the ICO. We produce lots of guidance for organisations on our website to help them decide whether they need to pay and how they can do this.”