GDPR – Is the Advice Sector Prepared?

As the launch of GDPR edges ever closer, AdviceUK has been guiding its members through the complexities of the new laws and its implications for the advice and wider charity sectors by holding a conference dedicated to GDPR.

Members and non-members gathered at Clifford Chance in Canary Wharf, London, to hear from guest speakers and experts taking attendees through the upcoming changes in the data protection laws.

In our twitter poll in the run up to the conference AdviceUK asked: ‘How prepared for GDPR are you?’.  We found 29% were ‘Totally relaxed about it’, 35% were finding it a ‘Bit of an uphill struggle’ – with a worrying 36% asking ‘What is GDPR?’.

The conference was intended to help all of those attendees regardless of their level of understanding of GDPR, to make sure that they understood what GDPR is  and what needed to be done and to prepare themselves for the upcoming legislation.

The GDPR Timebomb…Are you prepared? Conference was attended by numerous organisations including advice agencies, student unions, Citizens Advice organisations, AdvicePRO customers, Money Advice Service members and AdviceUK Insurance Services customers.

Conference Chair Louise Hulland, Broadcaster and Presenter  (BBC’s The One Show, Inside Out, Watchdog) guided the speakers and attendees through a day of learning and lively debate on the numerous issues organisations are facing, in the wake of the new legislation – but also reminding the audience of the potentially positive impact of the legislation for individuals.

Guest Speakers

Stephen Dunmore, Chief Executive Fundraising Regulator opened proceedings, reassuring the sector that GDPR is not the time-bomb many fear it to be, setting the tone for a day of positive discussion and learning. Paul Ticher, Independent Information Technology and Data Protection Professional pointed out that it is easy to forget the very basic principle that data protection legislation is ”not about protecting data but about protecting people”.

There were a number of prominent speakers through the day, all of whom opened the floor to many questions from an engaged audience. These included:-

  • Paul Ticher Independent Consultant & Data Protection Expert
  • Patrick Tang – Head of CRM, Insight, and Supporter Care – Wood Green, The Animals Charity
  • Brian Shorten – Chairman at Charities Security Forum
  • Joel Voysey – Director of Fundraising, The Hospice of St Francis

All provided some wonderful presentations and some very practical examples of how to implement GDPR.

A lively panel session rounded up the event, with delegates asking questions both live in the auditorium, and on social media. The panel was made up of:-

  • Ali McLaren Managing Director, ACM Solutions – also currently celebrating the 10th year of AdvicePRO, of which Ali is principal architect
  • Mark Burnett Head of Privacy and Data Protection, ClearComm
  • Christopher Tansey Data Manager, AdviceUK

The GDPR Conference was aimed at providing a wide range of information on the regulatory changes and through the expert speakers giving delegates the tools to prepare themselves for the new era, the attendees left with copious notes, ideas, the  AdviceUK GDPR Toolkit  and support network.

Chris Tansey, Data Manager AdviceUK, said “AdviceUK understands the importance of helping members and other organisations with GDPR. Amongst the attendees and membership there are so many types of organisations ranging from large to small and across so many sectors (advice, student unions, housing associations, CA’s and other charities) as well as from the private sector, we wanted to provide everything from: What is GDPR? to more detailed practical examples of how to implement GDPR. We hope we covered every possible area – with the opportunity for organisations to reach out to us if they need any extra help”.

Whilst it seems inconclusive about how prepared the sector is, the same could be said for any sector. The AdviceUK conference certainly had the intended effect to help to prepare any of those who attended. They also left with the ongoing support offered by AdviceUK through the GDPR Toolkit. Through this toolkit, AdviceUK intends to support organisations to get them GDPR ready, providing support both in the run up to the May 25th deadline and on an ongoing basis thereafter.

For more information on AdviceUK please:

To enquire about membership or any of the GDPR Toolkit services , please contact us at  events@adviceuk.org.uk  or call us on 0300 777 0107.

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