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FM sector ‘best prepared’ for looming data protection regulation

Facilities management professionals across the UK are some of the best prepared for the forthcoming European General Data Protection Regulation, according to a new survey by Crown Records Management.

The Regulation, which aims to unify data protection across Europe with one single law, is due to be discussed again by the EU Commission, European Parliament and the Council of the EU this month, and is predicted to be ratified by the end of the year and in place during 2017.

But a Census wide survey, commissioned by information management company Crown Records management, has revealed vast differences between sectors in terms of who is ready and who is being proactive in preparation for the changes.

They survey, of IT decision makers at UK companies with more than 200 employees was undertaken in April 2015 and showed:

  • The FM sector was one of the most aware, with 85 per cent of IT decision makers in the sector saying they knew about the forthcoming Regulation – only the legal profession (91 per cent) came out better. In insurance almost a third were totally unaware.
  • Six in 10 in the FM sector are already instigating a staff training programme to prepare for the new Regulation – the best figure for any sector. In the pharmaceutical sector it was just 33 per cent.
  • Not a single respondent in the FM sector said they would make no changes at all ahead of the new Regulation – 12 per cent in retail made this claim.
  • Four in 10 in the FM sector have already appointed a data protection officer, which could become compulsory for many companies once the new Regulation is in place. Only 24 per cent in retail could say the same.
John Culkin, director of information management, Crown Records Management

John Culkin, director of information management, Crown Records Management

John Culkin, director of information management at Crown Records Management said:

These results shows UK businesses are worryingly uniformed when it comes to preparing for the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

“Thankfully those in facilities management seem to be ahead of the game in some areas because the important question is not just whether businesses are worried or not, but whether they are being proactive and taking early action to prepare. So to see a high percentage in the industry already looking at staff training and appointing data protection officers is encouraging. But in reality every industry has work to do.”

The facilities management sector however, didn’t come out on top in every category, with the survey revealing that only four in 10 of respondents in the FM sector are reviewing policies in preparation for the EU General Data Protection Regulation. This compares to six in 10 of those in the insurance sector. And, nearly one in six in facilities management admitted they were ‘totally unaware’ of the new Regulation.

Culkin added:

“Overall the facilities management sector comes out better than most in our survey. But companies need to realise there will be significant changes when the new EU General Data Protection Regulation is eventually ratified and that preparing for them will take time. At the very least they should be thinking now about an information audit to see what changes will need to be made to information policies and what staff training may be required.”

Once passed, companies that breach the regulation can be fined up to €100 million or two per cent of global turnover.

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