Pubwatch schemes warned to prepare for new data rules

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Information rules: National Pubwatch chairman gives his view on new data regulation
Information rules: National Pubwatch chairman gives his view on new data regulation
National Pubwatch chairman Stephen Baker has warned schemes to prepare for the new general data protection regulations (GDPR) that are set to come into force in May.

The new regulations will affect anyone or any organisation that controls or processes data for any person. The purpose of GDPR is to give people greater control over their data so they can ask to be edited, restricted or erased.

Baker, who has made it clear his guidelines are issued not as a legal or data protection expert, has advised Pubwatch schemes to register with Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which costs around £35. While he said this is not a get-out-of-jail-free card, it will show that Pubwatch is trying to be open about its activities.

Personal data 

“We suggest Pubwatch schemes are ‘controlling’ personal data (and this can include ‘processing’ the data) for their own ‘legitimate interests’, ie, they are trying to prevent crime and disorder in their premises,” he said.

This would mean that using a name and a police image of someone that has been banned from a number of premises is a legitimate way of warning members that they have been excluded from the scheme's premises.

He also said that any Pubwatch scheme would need to document its ‘decisions’ such as keeping formal written minutes of their meetings and maintaining a banning list.

Evidence for audit 

Baker added: “As long as you regularly review and minute your decisions and update the banning list then you should be able to easily provide evidence should the ICO decide to audit your activity.”

Individuals have a right to know how their personal data is being processed and to be provided with the identity and contact address of the data controller.

However, Baker has advised Pubwatch schemes not to give a personal address, such as a pub and to manage their correspondence through a PO box number or a third party.

If an individual demands the information, the Pubwatch scheme is legally obliged to hand over a copy, which is likely to include committee minutes and a banning list, he said. 

“It’s not unusual for people to challenge their Pubwatch ban and they will often question the decision-making process or the licensee's right to exclude them under common law because it infringes their human rights,” he added.

For more on Steve Baker’s view, go to the National Pubwatch website.

Related topics: Legislation

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