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Info boss publishes information sharing draft

To ensure compliance with DPA

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The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has launched a consultation on its new framework code of practice for sharing personal information.

It published a draft version of the code on 13 August 2007, with a deadline for submissions of 1 October.

A spokesperson for the ICO told GC News the framework will not be the basis of statutory powers, but is intended to help organisations ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act and lay the ground for good practice.

"It's a framework for all organisations," the spokesperson said. "It's to aid any organisation making its own data protection code of practice. They could either adapt the framework wholesale or use it as a way of evaluating what they already have."

The ICO said the framework code is designed to be flexible, as organisations have different needs depending on the kind of information sharing they practice. It has sections on the decisions behind sharing information, fairness and transparency, information standards, retention and security of shared information, access to personal information, and freedom of information. It adds that procedures should be kept under review and documentation updated when necessary.

Iain Bourne, head of data protection projects at the ICO, said: "Good practice in this area is of paramount importance. Organisations that share information must do so responsibly. If they do not, they risk losing individuals' trust.

"The framework code of practice aims to help establish good practice when sharing personal information, whether it is being shared with another organisation or between different departments within the same organisation. It should also help to reduce the uncertainty that can surround information sharing."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

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