We’ve had a flurry of requests for support for subject access requests in the last few weeks. This is because of the redundancies being made by organisations and changing job market.
Don’t think that only large organisations get Subject Access Requests, we have recently helped an organisation with only one employee to respond to a Subject Access Request.
The most recent ones have been slightly larger organisations and there has been a common theme to each of the requests, which is that a member of staff has been made redundant and then made a subject access request to obtain the information related to the decision. Unfortunately, most of the time the requestor is not restricting their access request to a specific period of time or section of communications and it’s a time consuming exercise to gather the information and then sort through it.
One of the biggest challenges with subject access requests is when a business has been less than cautious when writing things in emails or paper records about an individual. It becomes an issue when someone has made a request and that information may need to be disclosed.
If you are going to say something that you wouldn’t want to disclose to the individual, don’t write it down! If you have been saying things you wouldn’t want to disclose at any point in the future, then now is the time to go through your paperwork/emails to get rid of any references you don’t need. You are unable to delete information once a request has been received.
There are different rules when responding to a subject access request from a member of staff although the time limit of one calendar month still applies. I know a month sounds like a long time but you can run into time issues if you don’t start working on the request promptly. We have extended the response time for some of the requests we are helping with due to the levels of complexity of the request and the amount of data to go through and analyse.
We have helped a number of organisations in a variety of different ways. From something basic like providing the letter that needs to accompany the disclosure, providing advice on how to make the disclosure secure to all the way up to helping the organisation compile and redact the information. If you have a request and you need some advice, book one of our free advice calls to get you started.