The Increase in Subject Access Request in Schools

22nd May 2024

The ICO has reported that across the board, public authorities are seeing an increase in Subject Access Requests being submitted, as more people become aware of their data rights. We are certainly feeling this increase at the schools we work with. As you will know, each Subject Access Request presents it’s own complexities and is governed by a strict deadline. Collating the information from numerous sources and the redaction process can be hugely time-consuming for school leadership teams.

It is a legal requirement for all schools and academies to appoint a named Data Protection Officer.  The role of the Data Protection Officer is essential in ensuring the establishment is compliant with data protection law. At Schools’ Choice we provide a Named Data Protection Officer solution for schools and other educational establishments across the UK. An outsourced service can be particularly beneficial to avoid any conflict of interest within the organisation and also offer a dedicated and focussed approach to records management. By encouraging a culture of data protection, regular training and audits we aim to be proactive so that in the event of a SAR, the workload can be managed effectively.

Our team of Data Protection Officers are spending a significant, and increasing, amount of our time on the Right to Access. We work closely with our customers to ensure they have a robust SAR process documented and understood by all employees and are on hand, either remotely or onsite, to assist with responding to a SAR efficiently and effectively. We focus on professional development to ensure we are always up to date with the latest legislation and exemptions that may apply when responding to a SAR.

We understand the importance of protecting third party data and the safeguarding considerations needed when releasing information to a requester. We ensure that every piece of personal data is handled with the utmost care and in line with current data protection law.