Business leaders from across the Midlands came together to learn more about one of the key pieces of data protection legislation to affect companies of all kinds in the next year, as legal experts Harrison Clark Rickerbys shared their advice on the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) at Sixways Stadium, Worcester.
From healthcare businesses and leisure centre management to software providers and global brands including Morgan Motors and Amada, delegates spent the morning considering how the GDPR, due to come into force next May, will affect their business. Topical discussions also covered data protection and cyber security with delegates taking the opportunity to ask questions of the experts, including the firm’s technology specialist Rob Cobley, cyber security expert Professor Richard Benham and GDPR consultant Peter Loomes.
In 2018, the GDPR will replace the UK’s current Data Protection Act. Labelled “the biggest change to data protection law for a generation” by the UK’s Information Commissioner, the EU-wide regulation is further-reaching than current legislation and UK businesses are being encouraged to start working on compliance now, so that they are ready when it comes into force.
The afternoon session featured a more advanced guide to GDPR and a highly productive focussed interactive round table session on how to comply with the new regulations, giving those who had already started on their journey to compliance a chance to share their own experiences and take advice from the expert panel on implementing the GDPR within their own business.
Sue Hele, operations manager for XTA Electronics, based in Stourport, said: “I am concerned about what the implications of GDPR are, above and beyond the data protection act; I need to be aware of how it affects our business.”
For James Ashe from marketing agency Alias in Cheltenham, the most pressing need is to have the right knowledge to support clients – he said: “We need to be able to advise our clients on what they can do in direct marketing – so we want to learn about that from a legal perspective.”
Robert Capper, Head of Commercial Department for Harrison Clark Rickerbys, said: “Today has been an excellent example of how we share our expertise with business in the region – the GDPR is going to be very significant for all sectors and we want to support firms through the process of change.”
Harrison Clark Rickerbys has 450 staff and partners based at offices in Worcester, Hereford, Birmingham, Cheltenham, the Wye Valley, and the Thames Valley, who provide a complete spectrum of legal services to both business and private clients, regionally and nationwide. The firm also has a number of highly successful teams specialising in individual market sectors, including health and social care, education, agricultural and rural affairs, defence, security and the forces, advanced manufacturing and construction.