The importance of Information Governance

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What is Information Governance and why is it important?

Information Governance (IG) encompasses all the ways that organisations act to ensure that information remains secure. This is particularly important for all person-identifiable data (PID) and special category information (e.g. health data.) It also includes the systems and procedures which allow organisations and individuals to ensure that information is processed legally and securely.

Since the introduction of the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA18) organisations are facing a new level of scrutiny around the ways that they store, process and share their data. We all work with some form of personal data, whether it relates to patients or colleagues, and are responsible for handling that information in a secure and appropriate manner.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK’s independent regulatory office created to uphold information rights in the public interest. They can impose hefty fines of up to €20 million Euros or 4% annual turnover, whichever is greater, for non-compliance.

Recent fines     

Decision notices

In addition to these fines the ICO can also issue Decision Notices against organisations when complaints are received. These can be issued in respect of FOI requests, when an incorrect exemption has been applied or the deadline for responding has not been met. The ICO will then specify the steps to be taken by the organisation to ensure compliance.

Improving Information Governance compliance

  • Be familiar with Trust policies, procedures and the Data Protection Regulations
  • Stay up-to-date with the Trust’s mandatory training
  • Always follow the Caldicott Principles and the Data Protection Principles
  • Report any data breaches/confidentiality issues on Datix as soon as you become aware
  • If unsure seek clarification from the IG team.

Published 16th April 2019

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