Number of data privacy professionals growing rapidly
The growing importance of data protection has led to the launch of a new professional qualification for practitioners.
Ten years ago, there was no such thing as a data protection officer in the UK, but today numbers are swelling rapidly, jumping from just 2,500 five years ago to roughly 25,000 today. This band of data experts looks set to expand further as the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) gains sharper teeth next month with the ability to fine companies £500,000 for breaching data protection legislation. Some EU countries already make it compulsory for larger organisations to employ data protection officers.
The Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection, developed in consultation with the ICO, is a highly practical rather than academic qualification, which aims to act as a benchmark for those working in the data privacy world. It comprises five days face-to-face training, additional study and a written examination and is aimed at those already working in the data protection field, plus compliance people, risk managers, admin, HR or IT staff.
“It’s the larger companies who have data protection officers and many of them will have more than one, but data protection law applies across the board. Even your local newsagent with CCTV has to register, although those small companies will not need to spend very much in this area,” said Peter Carey, director of PDP Training.
“Data protection started out as an IT subject. Back in 1984 with the original Act is was assumed to be a computer subject, but with the Data Protection Act of 1998 it became much broader and mainstream, but it is still a huge IT issue,” added Carey.