What is an ICO registration and do I need to pay a fee?

17th Jan 20

Have you recently received a letter from the Information Commissioner’s Office, or the ICO as it is more commonly known? If so, you are not alone. The ICO is contacting all UK registered companies reminding them of their legal responsibility to pay a data protection fee. This recently announced move marks the start of an extensive programme to make sure the Data Protection Fee is paid by all those organisations who need to pay for it.

The ICO is the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

Organisations, including businesses, who process personal information are required to pay a data protection fee to the ICO, unless they are exempt. To check if your business needs to pay the fee, the ICO offers a basic self-assessment checker. However, if you are holding any personal information for a business purpose on any electronic device, including using CCTV for crime prevention purposes, you likely need to pay an annual fee.

The cost of the data protection fee depends on your company’s size and turnover. There are three tiers of fee ranging from £40 and £2,900, but for most organisations, it will be £40 or £60. The cost is reduced by £5 if you sign up by direct debit.

The ICO publishes the names of all fee-paying organisations. From your customers, clients and supplier’s viewpoint, it is essential they trust and understand you comply with your legal obligations when using their personal information. For those organisations who choose not to register, then the ICO will also name all those they need to fine!

Registration and payment are now just one part of the process. GDPR or the General Data Protection Regulation, expects businesses to do more. The GDPR insists upon more rigorous data management processes are put in place by existing and start-up businesses. Also, for those of you who use electronic marketing, such as email marketing, there are the PERC, or Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, to consider as well.

If you are not sure how best to set-up your systems, or manage your current business data, our business support team are happy to help and ensure you keep up-to-date with your payments and registration structure.