The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has updated its guidance note on its approach to regulation during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an accompanying blog post, the ICO's Deputy Commissioner has made it clear that while they are not immune to the continuing challenges which organisations face in complying with their data obligations, they expect those organisations to have "robust recovery plans" in place to clear any backlogs of complaints or other issues which may have arisen due to pandemic related operational challenges.
The Deputy Commissioner stresses that they recognise the challenges faced by organisations, and reflects on the fact that the ICO itself has faced those challenges due to staff availability, issues with recruitment, and a lack of access to physical offices. However, the guidance note makes it clear that moving forwards they expect organisations to swiftly return to ensuring that data rights are fully and comprehensively complied, and that pandemic-related problems must be tackled in a reasonable timeframe.
We have today published an updated version of our regulatory approach document. It states our commitment to continue taking into account the challenges organisations we regulate face, but also makes clear the value of information rights. We expect organisations should be able to deal with complaints they receive from members of the public, for instance, and we expect organisations to have robust recovery plans in place to reduce any backlogs.