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Does your business need to register with the ICO as a Data Controller?

Is your business processing Personal Data in a way that obligates you to register with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) as a Data Controller?

The Data Protection Act provides a number of exemptions from registering with the ICO as a Data Controller. Outside these exemptions, all businesses - including Sole Traders and Partnerships - are legally required to register with the ICO as a Data Controller if they are processing Personal Data.

Who is exempt from registration?

In broad terms, if your business only processes Personal Data for the following purposes:

  • Employee/Staff Administration (including Payroll).
  • Advertising, Marketing and Public relations - concerning your principal business activity.
  • Accounting and associated records.

then your business does not need to register with the ICO as a Data Controller.

Is my business exempt then?

Only if the scope of your data handling and processing is within the purposes outlined above. The exemption only applies to registering with the ICO as a Data Controller, there is no exemption from complying with the Data Protection Act and the PECR.

Generally, if your business processes Personal Data for any other purposes you will need to register as a Data Controller. If you are processing Personal Data:

  • To support a contract your business is about to enter in to with a client or customer (this will include the credit checking of private individuals).
  • That concerns the physical, mental or sexual health of your clients, customers or third parties.
  • To despatch packages to your clients or customers.
  • In order to receive payments from your clients or customers.
  • To support a product or service you offer to your clients and customers.
  • For Advertising, Marketing and PR purposes that fall outside your principal business activity.

then it is highly likely that your business should register with the ICO as a Data Controller. Your general presumption in this electronic age should be that your business needs to register as a Data Controller.

Unsure whether your business should register as a Data Controller?

Idvallo Solutions can guide and advise you concerning Data Controller registration.

What Are Your Next Steps?