We have recently launched a number of new services to help schools and academy trusts manage their everyday data protection issues during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Here, we look at some of the ways we can help you.

Subject Access Requests

Individuals have the right to request a copy of their personal data by making a subject access request (SAR). As anyone familiar with data protection will only be too aware, SARs can take up a colossal amount of time and resource, and having to spend hours and hours putting together a response to a SAR can be frustrating to say the least.

Here at VWV, we now use software that helps to reduce the time taken to deal with a SAR. The key features include the following:

  • The software rapidly de-duplicates documents, saving the need to manually search for and remove duplicates.
  • It allows for the quick and easy removal of large swathes of documents that are outside the scope of the request. For example, if the request is limited to a particular date range or the requester has excluded from his request emails that he has already seen, then the software can immediately remove irrelevant emails.
  • It simplifies long email chains by linking the chains together so that you can easily review across emails. Email chains can be difficult to review when you are presented with multiple copies of the original email and this is made even more difficult when the email chain has gone off into separate "forks" with different recipients.
  • Documents can be grouped in a way that significantly reduces the time needed for a legal review. For example, if you were satisfied that all emails from person A to person B were likely to be exempt (eg. because they are subject to legal professional privilege), then these can be put to one side for a quick review in order to double check that this is the case. 

How Can We Help You?

We offer a number of services to support your school or academy trust in managing your disclosure:

  • Full SAR Review Service
    Our team of data protection lawyers can carry out all of the work needed to prepare the documents that you send to us for disclosure, including reviewing documents, applying exemptions and redacting as appropriate. Our team has particular expertise in advising on complex SARs, for example, where the requester is involved in an ongoing dispute or there are safeguarding issues relevant to the disclosure.
  • Key Documents Review
    Many of our clients come to us because, whilst they are comfortable managing 90% of the disclosure, there may be some particularly challenging documents they would like us to review. 
  • SAR Administration Service
    We offer a competitively priced administration service whereby we would carry out the administration aspects of the review using our software as outlined above, eg. grouping emails by sender or recipient, de-duplicating the documents, excluding irrelevant emails and converting certain file types into PDF so that you can easily review and redact the documents. Whilst we would not advise on the disclosure itself under this option, the service does include a time limited telephone call with one of our specialist lawyers in order to discuss any specific questions you had.

Remote Data Protection Officer Support

We are now able to offer a remote data protection support service. We can act as your Data Protection Officer (DPO) or we can support your existing DPO (or data protection lead where you don't have a DPO). 

Our services include a helpline where, for a fixed price, you are able to call us about an unlimited number of data protection related matters. We can also provide data protection audit services, plus key compliance documentation (including all of the policies and documentation explicitly required under the GDPR and Data Protection Act).

Our services represent an efficient and cost effective way to manage data protection compliance and can be scaled to meet your needs and requirements.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.