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Information management and organisational liability

11 March 2016

Cardiff Breakfast Briefing highlights the challenges and responsibilities in managing and processing data and information.

Helen Iles, Senior Associate and Head of Talent at Hugh James Solicitors, delivered a session entitled Information management: how to use it and use it wisely on Tuesday 8 March 2016.

The session highlighted how organisations need to better understand their obligations in law and consider in what way new tools and channels, such as social media, may challenge or expose their existing information and data management processes.

Following an introduction by Sarah Lethbridge, Direct of Executive Education at Cardiff Business School, Helen started with an overview of the current legislative landscape governing data and information. This included discussion of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the current Information Commissioner’s robust penalty protocols.

Helen stressed that everyone is a user of data both within their professional and personal lives and that recognition of the appropriate framework for handling that data was vital. The attendees were startled by case histories of the Vicarious Liability rule which in its simplest form means that anything any employee does in the course of their employment will be treated as having been done by the employer/organisation, even if it was without the organisation’s knowledge or approval.

Many examples of case law and precedent were shared where organisations had been held liable for breaches, from small to significant, even through internal communication channels such as company intranet.

Helen concluded the session by turning her attention to social media, a communication channel used by many, at individual and organisational level, without a second thought. The ease and the prevalence of these channels amplify the risks in inadvertently breaching data protection principles and require new management processes to be designed and implemented.

Sarah Lethbridge said: “I think the session with Helen was startling for many of those present, demonstrating as it did where liability lies in mishandling information and data and how easy it is for breaches to occur in the brave new social media world. It certainly highlighted the need for robust protocols to be in place but also the need for periodic review to keep pace with the changing communications and technology landscape.”

The next Cardiff Business School Executive Education Breakfast Briefing will be held on 21 April 2016 and delivered by Aldi’s Director of Logistics who will discuss the creation of their new Distribution Centre in Cardiff for European Supply Chain Day To register for the event, please email Linda Hellard.

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