Data Protection Policy

Updated January 2020


  1. This Policy

This policy is applicable to Microtia UK, a registered charity with its registered address at 20-22 Wenlock Road, London, N1 7GU (Microtia UK).

This policy gives important information about:

  • the data protection principles with which Microtia UK must comply;
  • what is meant by personal information (or data) and sensitive personal information (or data);
  • how Microtia UK gathers, uses and (ultimately) deletes personal information and sensitive personal information in accordance with the data protection principles;
  • where more detailed privacy information can be found, for example, about the personal information Microtia UK gathers and uses about you, how it is used, stored and transferred, for what purposes, the steps taken to keep that information secure and for how long it is kept;
  • your rights and obligations in relation to data protection; and
  • the consequences of failure to comply with this policy.
  1. Introduction

Microtia UK obtains, keeps and uses personal information (also referred to as data) about clients, contractors, suppliers, subcontractors, job applicants and current and former employees, temporary and agency workers, contractors, interns, volunteers and apprentices for a number specific lawful purposes, as set out in this data protection policy, Microtia UK’s privacy policy available on its website at and Microtia UK’s notice to staff.

This policy sets out how Microtia UK complies with its data protection obligations and seeks to protect personal information. Its purpose is also to ensure that staff understand and comply with the rules governing the collection, use and deletion of personal information to which they may have access in the course of their work. All staff must comply with this policy. If you fail to comply with this policy, the consequences are set out in the section headed ‘Consequences of Failing to Comply’.

Microtia UK is committed to complying with Microtia UK’s data protection obligations, and to being concise, clear and transparent about how it obtains and uses personal information, and how (and when) it deletes that information once it is no longer required.

Tina Rycroft – Non-executive director of fundraising and communications is responsible for data protection compliance within Microtia UK. If you have any questions or comments about the content of this policy or if you need further information, you should contact Tina Rycroft – Non-executive director of fundraising and communications.

This policy does not form part of any contract of employment or engagement and Microtia UK may amend this policy from time to time.

  1. Scope

This policy also applies to the personal information of job applicants and current and former staff, including employees, temporary and agency workers, interns, contractors, volunteers and apprentices.

Staff should refer to Microtia UK’s privacy notice to staff and, where appropriate, to its other relevant policies, such as the Data Retention Policy and IT Security Policy applicable to their status that contain further information regarding the protection of personal information in those contexts.

  1. Definitions

Data breach means a breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal information;

Data subject means the individual to whom the personal information relates;

Personal information (sometimes known as personal data) means information relating to an individual who can be identified (directly or indirectly) from that information;

Processing information means obtaining, recording, organising, storing, amending, retrieving, disclosing and/or destroying information, or using or doing anything with it;

Pseudonymised means the process by which personal information is processed in such a way that it cannot be used to identify an individual without the use of additional information, which is kept separately and subject to technical and organisational measures to ensure that the personal information cannot be attributed to an identifiable individual;

Sensitive personal information (sometimes known as ‘special categories of personal data’ or ‘sensitive personal data’) means personal information about an individual’s race, ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership (or non-membership), genetics information, biometric information (where used to identify an individual) and information concerning an individual’s health, sex life or sexual orientation.

  1. Data Protection Principles

Microtia UK will comply with the following data protection principles when processing personal information:

  • it will process personal information lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner;
  • it will collect personal information for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes only, and will not process it in a way that is incompatible with those legitimate purposes;
  • it will only process the personal information that is adequate, relevant and necessary for the relevant purposes;
  • it will keep accurate and up to date personal information, and take reasonable steps to ensure that inaccurate personal information is deleted or corrected without delay;
  • it will keep personal information for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the information is processed; and
  • it will take appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure that personal information is kept secure and protected against unauthorised or unlawful processing, and against accidental loss, destruction or damage.
  1. Basis for Processing Personal Information

In relation to any processing activity Microtia UK will, before the processing starts for the first time, and then regularly while it continues:

  • review the purposes of the particular processing activity and select the most appropriate lawful basis (or bases) for that processing. This could be that:

(a)       the data subject has consented to the processing;

(b)       the processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party or in order to take steps at the request of the data subject prior to entering into a contract;

(c)       the processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which Microtia UK is subject;

(d)       the processing is necessary for the protection of the vital interests of the data subject or another natural person; or

(e)       the processing is necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests of Microtia UK or a third party, except where those interests are overridden by the interests of fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject—see below.

  • except where the processing is based on consent, satisfy itself that the processing is necessary for the purpose of the relevant lawful basis and that there is no other reasonable way to achieve that purpose;
  • document Microtia UK’s decision as to which lawful basis applies, to help demonstrate compliance with the data protection principles;
  • include information about both the purposes of the processing and the lawful basis for it in Microtia UK’s relevant privacy notice(s);
  • where sensitive personal information is processed, also identify a lawful special condition for processing that information and document it; and
  • where criminal offence information is processed, also identify a lawful condition for processing that information, and document it.

When determining whether Microtia UK’s legitimate interests are the most appropriate basis for lawful processing, it will:

  • conduct a legitimate interests assessment (LIA) and keep a record of it, to ensure that Microtia UK can justify its decision;
  • if the LIA identifies a significant privacy impact, consider whether Microtia UK also needs to conduct a data protection impact assessment (DPIA);
  • keep the LIA under review, and repeat it if circumstances change; and
  • include information about Microtia UK’s legitimate interests in its relevant privacy notice(s).
  1. Sensitive Personal Information

Sensitive personal information is sometimes referred to as ‘special categories of personal data’ or ‘sensitive personal data’.

Microtia UK may from time to time need to process sensitive personal information. It will only process sensitive personal information if:

  • it has a lawful basis for doing so, for example, it is necessary for the performance of the employment contract or consultancy agreement, to comply with Microtia UK’s legal obligations or for the purposes of Microtia UK’s legitimate interests; and
  • one of the special conditions for processing sensitive personal information applies, which include:

(a)       the data subject has given explicit consent;

(b)       the processing is necessary for the purposes of exercising the employment law rights or obligations of Microtia UK or the data subject;

(c)       the processing is necessary to protect the data subject’s vital interests, and the data subject is physically incapable of giving consent;

(d)       processing relates to personal data that is manifestly made public by the data subject;

(e)       the processing is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims; or

(f)        the processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest.

Before processing any sensitive personal information, staff must notify Tina Rycroft – Non-executive director of fundraising and communications, of the proposed processing, in order that Tina Rycroft – Non-executive director of fundraising and communications, may assess whether the processing complies with the criteria noted above.

Sensitive personal information will not be processed until:

  • the assessment referred to above has taken place; and
  • the individual has been properly informed (by way of a privacy notice or otherwise) of the nature of the processing, the purposes for which it is being carried out and the legal basis for it.

Microtia UK’s privacy policy and privacy notice to staff set out the types of sensitive personal information that Microtia UK processes, what it is used for and the lawful basis for the processing.

In relation to sensitive personal information, Microtia UK will comply with the procedures set out below to make sure that it complies with the data protection principles.

During the recruitment process, Microtia UK will ensure that (except where the law permits otherwise):

  • during the short-listing, interview and decision-making stages, no questions are asked relating to sensitive personal information, for example race or ethnic origin, trade union membership or health;
  • if sensitive personal information is received, for example the applicant provides it without being asked for it within his or her CV or during the interview, no record is kept of it and any reference to it is immediately deleted or redacted;
  • any completed equal opportunities monitoring form is kept separate from the individual’s application form, and not be seen by the person shortlisting, interviewing or making the recruitment decision;
  • ‘right to work’ checks are carried out before an offer of employment is made unconditional, and not during the earlier short-listing, interview or decision-making stages;
  • it will only ask health questions once an offer of employment has been made.

During the employment or engagement (as appropriate) of an individual, Microtia UK will process:

  • health information for the purposes of administering sick pay, keeping sickness absence records, monitoring staff attendance and facilitating employment-related health and sickness benefits;
  • sensitive personal information for the purposes of equal opportunities monitoring and pay equality reporting; and
  • trade union membership information for the purposes of staff administration and administering ‘check off’.
  1. Documentation and Records

Microtia UK will keep written records of processing activities that are high risk, which may result in a risk to individuals’ rights and freedoms or involve sensitive personal information or criminal records information, including:

  • the name and details of the data controller’s organisation (and where applicable, of other controllers, the controller’s representative);
  • the purposes of the processing;
  • a description of the categories of individuals and categories of personal data;
  • categories of recipients of personal data;
  • where relevant, details of transfers to third countries, including documentation of the transfer mechanism safeguards in place;
  • where possible, retention schedules; and
  • where possible, a description of technical and organisational security measures.

If Microtia UK processes sensitive personal information or criminal records information, it will keep written records of:

  • the relevant purpose(s) for which the processing takes place, including (where required) why it is necessary for that purpose;
  • the lawful basis for the processing; and
  • whether Microtia UK retains or erases the personal information in accordance with any relevant policy and, if not, the reasons for not following such policy.

Microtia UK will conduct regular reviews of the personal information it processes and update its documentation accordingly.

  1. Privacy Notice to Staff

Microtia UK will issue privacy notice to staff from time to time, informing you about the personal information that it collects and holds relating to you, how you can expect your personal information to be used and for what purposes.

Microtia UK will take appropriate measures to provide information in privacy notices in a concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language.

  1. Individual Rights

You (in common with other data subjects) have the following rights in relation to your personal information:

  • to be informed about how, why and on what basis that information is processed—see Microtia UK’s privacy policy or privacy notice to staff;
  • to obtain confirmation that your information is being processed and to obtain access to it and certain other information, by making a subject access request;
  • to have data corrected if it is inaccurate or incomplete;
  • to have data erased if it is no longer necessary for the purpose for which it was originally collected/processed, or if there are no overriding legitimate grounds for the processing (this is sometimes known as ‘the right to be forgotten’);
  • to restrict the processing of personal information where the accuracy of the information is contested, or the processing is unlawful (but you do not want the data to be erased), or where Microtia UK no longer needs the personal information, but you require the data to establish, exercise or defend a legal claim; and
  • to restrict the processing of personal information temporarily where you do not think it is accurate (and Microtia UK is checking whether it is accurate), or where you have objected to the processing (and Microtia UK is considering whether its legitimate grounds override your interests).

If you wish to exercise any of the rights, please contact Tina Rycroft – Non-executive director of fundraising and communications.

  1. Individual Obligations

Individuals are responsible for helping Microtia UK keep their personal information up to date. You should let Microtia UK know if the information you have provided to Microtia UK changes, for example if you move house or change details of the bank or building society account to which you are paid.

Microtia UK’s staff may have access to the personal information of other members of staff, suppliers, customers and clients of Microtia UK in the course of their employment or engagement. If so, Microtia UK expects them to help meet its data protection obligations to those individuals. For example, you should be aware that they may also enjoy the rights set out in this policy.

If you have access to personal information processed by Microtia UK, you must:

  • only access the personal information that you have authority to access, and only for authorised purposes;
  • only allow other Microtia UK staff to access personal information if they have appropriate authorisation;
  • only allow individuals who are not Microtia UK staff to access personal information if you have specific authority to do so from Tina Rycroft – Non-executive director of fundraising and communications;
  • keep personal information secure (for example by complying with rules on access to premises, computer access, password protection and secure file storage and destruction and other precautions advised to you by Microtia UK or that are sensible in the circumstances);
  • not remove personal information, or devices containing personal information (or which can be used to access it), from Microtia UK’s premises unless appropriate security measures are in place (such as pseudonymisation, encryption or password protection) to secure the information and the device; and
  • not store personal information on local drives or on personal devices that are used for work purposes.

Microtia UK’s staff should contact Tina Rycroft – Non-executive director of fundraising and communications if they are concerned or suspect that one of the following has taken place (or is taking place or likely to take place):

  • processing of personal data without a lawful basis for its processing or, in the case of sensitive personal information, without one of the conditions in this policy being met;
  • any data breach below;
  • access to personal information without the proper authorisation;
  • personal information not kept or deleted securely;
  • removal of personal information, or devices containing personal information (or which can be used to access it), from Microtia UK’s premises without appropriate security measures being in place;
  • any other breach of this policy or of any of the data protection principles set out above.
  1. Information Security

Microtia UK will use appropriate technical and organisational measures to keep personal information secure, and in particular to protect against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage. These may include:

  • making sure that, where possible, personal information is pseudonymised or encrypted;
  • ensuring the ongoing confidentiality, integrity, availability and resilience of processing systems and services;
  • ensuring that, in the event of a physical or technical incident, availability and access to personal information can be restored in a timely manner; and
  • a process for regularly testing, assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of technical and organisational measures for ensuring the security of the processing.

Where Microtia UK uses external organisations to process personal information on its behalf, additional security arrangements need to be implemented in contracts with those organisations to safeguard the security of personal information. In particular, contracts with external organisations must provide that:

  • the organisation may act only on the written instructions of Microtia UK;
  • those processing the data are subject to a duty of confidence;
  • appropriate measures are taken to ensure the security of processing;
  • sub-contractors are only engaged with the prior consent of Microtia UK and under a written contract;
  • the organisation will assist Microtia UK in providing subject access and allowing individuals to exercise their rights in relation to data protection;
  • the organisation will assist Microtia UK in meeting its obligations in relation to the security of processing, the notification of data breaches and data protection impact assessments;
  • the organisation will delete or return all personal information to Microtia UK as requested at the end of the contract; and
  • the organisation will submit to audits and inspections, provide Microtia UK with whatever information it needs to ensure that they are both meeting their data protection obligations, and tell Microtia UK immediately if it is asked to do something infringing data protection law.

Before any new agreement involving the processing of personal information by an external organisation is entered into, or an existing agreement is altered, the relevant staff must seek approval of its terms by the Tina Rycroft – Non-executive director of fundraising and communications.

  1. Storage and Retention of Personal Information

Personal information (and sensitive personal information) will be kept securely in accordance with Microtia UK’s Data Retention Policy.

Personal information (and sensitive personal information) should not be retained for any longer than necessary. The length of time over which data should be retained will depend upon the circumstances, including the reasons why the personal information was obtained. Where there is any uncertainty, staff should consult Tina Rycroft – Non-executive director of fundraising and communications.

Personal information (and sensitive personal information) that is no longer required will be deleted permanently from Microtia UK’s information systems and any hard copies will be destroyed securely.

  1. Data Breaches

A data breach may take many different forms, for example:

  • loss or theft of data or equipment on which personal information is stored;
  • unauthorised access to or use of personal information either by a member of staff or third party;
  • loss of data resulting from an equipment or systems (including hardware and software) failure;
  • human error, such as accidental deletion or alteration of data;
  • unforeseen circumstances, such as a fire or flood;
  • deliberate attacks on IT systems, such as hacking, viruses or phishing scams; and
  • ‘blagging’ offences, where information is obtained by deceiving the organisation which holds it.

Microtia UK will:

  • notify its insurers as soon as possible;
  • make the required report of a data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office without undue delay and, where possible within 72 hours of becoming aware of it, if it is likely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals; and
  • notify the affected individuals if a data breach is likely to result in a high risk to their rights and freedoms and notification is required by law.
  1. International Transfers

Microtia UK may transfer personal information outside the European Economic Area (EEA) (which comprises the countries in the European Union and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) to other countries on the basis that the organisation receiving the information has provided adequate safeguards by way of Data Protection Agreements including EU Model Clauses or is otherwise compliant with the obligations of Chapter V of the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (GDPR).

  1. Training (Employees only)

Microtia UK will ensure that employees are adequately trained regarding their data protection responsibilities. Employees whose roles require regular access to personal information, or who are responsible for implementing this policy or responding to subject access requests under this policy, will receive additional training to help them understand their duties and how to comply with them.

  1. Consequences of Failing to Comply

Microtia UK takes compliance with this policy very seriously. Failure to comply with the policy:

  • puts at risk the individuals whose personal information is being processed; and
  • carries the risk of significant civil and criminal sanctions for the individual and Microtia UK; and
  • may, in some circumstances, amount to a criminal offence by the individual.

Because of the importance of this policy, an employee’s failure to comply with any requirement of it may lead to disciplinary action, and this action may result in dismissal for gross misconduct. If a non-employee breaches this policy, they may have their contract terminated with immediate effect.

If you have any questions or concerns about anything in this policy, do not hesitate to contact Tina Rycroft – Non-executive director of fundraising and communications at