Client feedback

Always willing to get involved and move things forward.
Steve Sampson ,
Kathy, may l take this opportunity to thank you for your assistance. There were many times l thought l was losing my mind during my efforts with Aviva. You were a pillar of support for me and you saw my case through to the very end. I cannot thank you enough but thank you again. It is through people like you who strive for professional fairness as well as thoroughness, HCA has such a good reputation.
Ethel Chimutwe,
HCA International Ltd Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme
Claire offers a very approachable, professional and balanced service, recognising her obligations to the Scheme but providing an awareness of the Employer's perspective. We value Claire's wider industry knowledge and the experience she brings.
The work that has been done has been delivered beyond expectations.
Head of Trustee Services
Competent, friendly and very helpful.
Good, helpful guidance.
Christine Morris,
Twyford Bathrooms

Data sharing: a code of practice

The data sharing code of practice laid before parliament in May 2021 is now in force. The code is a practical guide on sharing data lawfully and in a fair, simple, transparent way. All pension trustees as data controllers, whether lay or professional, need to be aware of the new code and requirements when sharing data to or from third parties. Read on for everything trustees need to know…

What data can be shared under the code?

The code covers the sharing of personal data between organisations that are data controllers. The code does not cover sharing data with data processors, as they have their own duties to comply with.

For pension trustees, it is normal practice to share personal member data with joint data controllers such as the employer/sponsor and scheme actuary, subject to having data sharing agreements in place. The code sets out the requirements of sharing data with a third party by whatever means including transmission, dissemination or otherwise making it available. The scope of the code is wide and could easily catch trustees out.

A one-way or reciprocal exchange of data between organisations is caught by the code, whether this is a one-off exchange or a routine exchange carried out on a regular basis. However, the code only applies to sharing personal data. If the data being shared does not identify anyone (e.g. membership statistics only) then it is not covered by the code. However, care needs to be taken when personal data is anonymised or pseudonymised prior to being shared. This is still likely to be caught by the code if an individual can be identified when combined with other data.

Things pension trustees should consider before sharing data:

  • Does it comply with data protection law?

  • Have you assessed the risks of sharing the data by undertaking an impact assessment? (DPIA)

  • Have you put in place a data sharing agreement?

As a trustee, have you followed the key principles of data protection prior to sharing data?

  • Accountability - data controllers are responsible for compliance - can you demonstrate this?

  • Fairness and transparency - is the data being shared in this way?

  • Lawful basis - what is the legal justification for transferring the data?

  • Secure processing - personal data must be processed securely - do you have appropriate technical and organisational measures in place to achieve this?

  • Due diligence - have you checked how the receiving organisation secures the personal member data it receives and what organisational measures they have in place? This is particularly important when transferring data overseas.

    If in doubt, don’t risk it

    As professional trustees, we are increasingly vigilant about the data we share with other organisations and fully support the code. The key question to ask is “is it necessary to share personal member data?”. Often, the answer is no. But, if the answer is yes, you need to ask “how can I do so securely, proportionately and in compliance with the code and the Data Protection Act 2018?”.

    The risk of non-compliance to member security is huge, as is the potential for reputational damage and financial penalties in the event of a data breach. Summed up, pension trustees should remind themselves “if in doubt, don’t risk it”.



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