Since 1 March 2000, the Data Protection Act 1998 has given individuals the right to see certain information relating to themselves which is held in hard copy format (eg paper files) as well as electronically (eg on computer).
Clearly, for Land Registry to operate effectively, both as a service provider and as an employer, it needs to collect and use certain types of information about the people it deals with. This includes current, past and prospective employees, suppliers of goods and/ or services, customers and others with whom it communicates. It may also occasionally be required by law to collect and use such information to comply with the requirements of the Inland Revenue and other government departments.
Land Registry recognises that personal information must be dealt with properly regardless of how it is collected, recorded and used and that the safeguards set out in the Data Protection Act 1998 to ensure that this happens must be applied.
Land Registry regards the lawful and correct treatment of personal information as very important to successful operations and to maintaining the confidence of those it deals with. It aims, therefore, to ensure that all personal information is treated lawfully and correctly.
To this end, Land Registry fully endorses (and aims to adhere to) the Principles of data protection as set out in the 1998 Act. Specifically, the Principles require that personal information:
- must be processed fairly and lawfully and, in particular, must not be processed unless specific conditions are met;
- must be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes and must not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes;
- must be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which it is processed;
- must be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date;
- must not be kept longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes;
- must be processed in accordance with the rights of the data subjects ( ie the people about whom information is kept);
- must be protected from unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage;
- must not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data.
In keeping with these eight Principles, Land Registry will, through appropriate management, enable the strict application of those criteria and controls and:
- observe fully the conditions regarding the fair collection and use of personal information;
- meet its legal obligations to specify the purposes for which information is used;
- collect and process appropriate information, and only to the extent that it is needed to fulfil operational needs or to comply with any legal requirements;
- ensure the quality of information used; · apply strict checks to determine the length of time information is held;
- ensure that the rights of people about whom information is held are able to be fully exercised under the Act. (These include: the right to be informed that processing is being undertaken; the right of access to one’s personal information; the right to prevent processing in certain circumstances and the right to protect, rectify, block or erase information which is regarded as wrong information);
- take appropriate technical and organisational security measures to safeguard personal information;
- ensure that personal information is not transferred abroad without suitable safeguards.
Land Registry Head Office
1 Bedford Park
Croydon CR0 2AQ