By Sara Newman

 I do! 

One hat I wear at Securys is as an outsourced Data Protection Officer (DPO) for a variety of organisations. And it is a part of my role that I really love. (If my boss is reading this, I love every bit of my job).  

It is a privilege to be trusted to give advice on how these organisations handle personal data. Little ol’ me, what do I know? Well it turns out quite a lot about data protection and privacy. It is after all what I do day in and day out. 

Every day is a school day as a DPO. The joy of it comes from being presented with privacy situations that you may never have predicted and needing to give timely and practical advice that means that people’s data is protected. 

You get to meet people in every department of an organisation and that is an area of the role I really enjoy. Getting to understand the nitty gritty of departments that you are not familiar with is educational and allows me to give practical, tailored privacy advice. 

Working as a DPO for different organisations keeps me on my toes and allows me to use the knowledge I gain supporting one client to support others. Whilst there are some organisations that have a legal requirement to have a DPO, some choose to because they want to demonstrate that they take their employee and client data protection requirements seriously. And are prepared to go above and beyond to make sure they can actually protect individuals’ data in line with the legislation.  

I often have different clients ask the same question but will give them different answers as the advice I give is not only about protecting the data of individuals but is tailored to the organisation to support them in their aims. 

It is an unpredictable role that challenges me but it is also really rewarding. It is the part of my job that means I talk to individuals who are exercising their rights and reminds me why we have privacy laws and keeps me focussed on the goal: protecting individuals’ data, as it is a fundamental human right. 

I am going to avoid making comment about the proposals around the Data Protection Officer role in the revised Data Protection and Digital Information Bill from the Department of Media, Sports and Culture and will continue to enjoy being a DPO.