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Scottish Councils GDPR Collaboration Saves Over £1 Million

Brian Baglow

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Scottish Digital Office GDPR Readiness Project

Led by Glasgow City and Fife Councils, the Digital Office project has saved  Scotland’s 30 local authorities over £1 million in preparing for GDPR regulation on May 25 2018.

Preparations for the introduction of GDPR within Scotland’s 30 local authorities have been enormously simplified – and saved over £1 million – thanks to a collaborative project through the Local Government Digital Partnership.

The new EU-wide General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes enforceable from 25 May 2018. These new, tighter regulations on data protection mean local authorities face stricter guidelines on how they collect, store, record and share personal data.

The Scottish Digital Office GDPR Readiness Project has allowed councils to work collaboratively to produce key resources which have been shared between the 30 local authorities.

Lead by Glasgow City and Fife Councils on behalf of the Scottish Digital Office, the project has produced a GDPR toolkit containing:

  • A fully-worked out project plan and project risk register
  • Detailed analysis of the new rules
  • Flowcharts for establishing the legal basis for processing
  • Data protection impact assessment templates
  • Data gathering templates
  • Technology compliance assessment materials
  • Guidance plus education materials for staff

Substantial Benefits to all Partners

These specialised resources have provided substantial benefits to all partners by allowing materials to be re-used widely and avoiding duplication of effort. Councils have been able to move much  more quickly from planning to implementation, which will achieve the expected outcomes set out at the beginning of the project and accelerating its execution.

The new regulations require local authorities to carry out a full information audit and for many, a culture change to ensure they do not face the major fines that can be imposed on councils and other bodies for data protection breaches.

The production of the plan has ensured good data governance practices are established to include GDPR, with the aim of reducing money spent on non-compliance fines for the new legislation. This in turn produces a huge bonus in the councils’ reputation for data governance.

Having a single consistent interpretation of the new legislation also ensures the requirement for resources across the partnership has been reduced significantly and creates a common understanding of the legislation’s impact. In addition, the project has ensured that an efficient model for future data legislation changes has now been tried and tested within the local authority partnership.

Confidence in Compliance

Anne-Marie O’Donnell, Chief Executive of Glasgow City Council and Chair of the Digital Partnership for Scottish Local Government Delivery Board, said: “We only have a matter of weeks to ensure we are fully prepared for these new regulations and the preparations will continue in each council. However, it is important to recognise the significant qualitative and quantitative benefits this project has delivered for all our partners at a crucial time where all local authorities need it most.

“Credit must go to all our project team, particularly Glasgow City Council and Fife Council who have worked solidly to deliver this project over the last year and we look forward to continuing this collaborative work across all of the other Digital Partnership programmes.”

Paul Elliott, Project Manager and Corporate Governance Advisor at Glasgow City Council, said: “Local authorities that have been using our shared materials will have saved a considerable amount of time and resource whilst preparing for GDPR and should be more confident in ensuring compliance with the new data protection legislation.”

Meic Pierce Owen, Records Manager at Fife Council, said: “All of the resources are shared on the Knowledge Hub, a collaboration platform for partners to exchange knowledge, experiences and ideas. This has proved a valuable tool for on-going collaborative development of GDPR within the Partnership, which should help reduce development costs across Scottish local authorities.”

GDPR Readiness Project

Martyn Wallace Scottish Digital Office

Martyn Wallace, the Chief Digital Officer for Scottish Local Government, told DIGIT: “The results of this project were a true reflection of what could be achieved fairly quickly through the collaboration of councils in the Partnership rather than each of them having to try an interpret and implement the new legislation single handily. With the current tough climate, all the councils involved help share the workload but also all the benefits too.

“Personally, I’d like to thank Glasgow and Fife teams leading on this on behalf of the Partnership as their outputs have been invaluable in helping us deploy GDPR as an enabler for safer data sharing as per the new legislation rather than a disabler to transforming our services.”

The Digital Office for Scottish Local Government is funded by 30 local authorities to drive digital transformation by establishing partnership working, to improve how services function and how councils serve their residents. For more information, visit www.digitaloffice.scot.

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Brian Baglow

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