Employment Practices Data Protection Code Launched UK

27 July 2005

Ruth Boardman

On 14 June, the Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, launched the Employment Practices Data Protection Code. The Code is an edited consolidation of previous versions of the Code and is consistent with the Commissioner’s strategy plan which aims to simplify data protection legislation and make compliance easier for those organisations who wish to do the right thing. However, the Information Commissioner also warns that there will be an increased focus on enforcement with harsher action against organisations that do not make attempts to comply.

The Code is available from the Information Commissioner’s website (www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk) and will shortly be available on CD Rom.

The Code is divided into four parts dealing with:

  • recruitment and selection
  • employment records
  • monitoring at work
  • information about workers’ health

Advice from David Smith, the Assistant Information Commissioner largely responsible for developing the Code, is to turn first of all to the Quick Guide which summarises the key provisions of the Code. The full Code – and supplemental guidance material – is more intended as a reference document for the “data protection cogniscenti”.

The official launch of the Code marks the end of the lengthy and on some occasions controversial consultations which started in October 2000 with the publication of the first draft of the Code and which involved heavy lobbying from the TUC and the CBI, amongst others.