Data Protection Policy

  1. Introduction
  2. Purpose
  3. Objectives
  4. Scope
  5. Lines of responsibility
  6. Implementation
  7. Related Policies, procedures and further reference
  8. Definitions
  9. Further help and advice
  10. Policy Version and History

1. Introduction

Skills Team needs to collect, use and share personal information about employees, workers, secondees, contractors, job applicants, candidates, customers and clients in order to deliver services, exercise its responsibilities and duties of care as an employer and provider of education and fulfil its legal and contractual obligations. In doing so Skills Team must comply with the UK Data Protection Act, 1998, GDPR, 2018, and equivalent legislation. This laws requires Skills Team to protect personal information and control how it is used in accordance with the legal rights of the data subjects – the individuals whose personal data is held. All employees, workers, secondees, contractors, job applicants, candidates, customers and clients and other data subjects are entitled to know:

  • What information Skills Team holds and processes about them and why.
  • How to gain access to it.
  • How to keep it up to date or request its deletion.
  • What Skills Team is doing to comply with its legal obligations under privacy law.

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2. Purpose

This policy and its supporting procedures and guidance aim to ensure that Skills Team complies with its obligations as a Data Controller under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998 and GDPR, 2018, and processes all personal data in compliance with the Data Protection Principles which are set out in the Act. In summary, these state that personal data shall:

  • Be obtained and processed fairly and lawfully and shall not be processed unless certain conditions are met.
  • Be obtained for a specified and lawful purpose and shall not be processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose.
  • Be adequate, relevant and not excessive for those purposes.
  • Be accurate and kept up to date.
  • Not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose.
  • Be processed in accordance with the data subjects’ rights.
  • Be kept safe from unauthorised access, accidental or deliberate loss or destruction.
  • Not be transferred to a country outside the European Economic Area, unless that country has equivalent levels of protection for personal data.

In order to manage these risks, this policy sets out responsibilities for all managers, staff and contractors and anyone else that can access or use personal data in their work for Skills Team. The policy also sets out a framework of governance and accountability for data protection compliance across Skills Team. This incorporates all policies and procedures that are required to protect Skills Team information by maintaining:

  • Confidentiality: protecting information from unauthorised access and disclosure
  • Integrity: safeguarding the accuracy and completeness of information and preventing its unauthorised amendment or deletion.
  • Availability: ensuring that information and associated services are available to authorised users whenever and wherever required.

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3. Objectives

Skills Team will apply the Data Protection Principles to the management of all personal data throughout the information life cycle by adopting the following policy objectives. We will:

3.1 Apply “privacy by design” principles when developing and managing information systems containing personal data.

This means that we will:

  • Use proportionate privacy impact assessment to identify and mitigate data protection risks at an early stage of project and process design for all new or updated systems and processes that present privacy concerns and in managing upgrades or enhancements to systems used to process personal data.
  • Adopt data minimisation: we will collect, disclose and retain the minimum personal data for the minimum time necessary for the purpose.
  • Anonymise personal data wherever necessary and appropriate, for instance when using it for statistical purposes.

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3.2 Process personal data fairly and lawfully

This means that we will:

  • Only collect and use personal data in accordance with the conditions set down under the Data Protection Act and GDPR legislation.
  • Ensure that if we collect someone’s personal data for one purpose, we will not reuse their data for a different purpose that the individual did not agree to or expect.
  • Treat people fairly by using their personal data for purposes and in a way that they would reasonably expect.

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3.3 Seek informed consent when it is appropriate to do so

This means that we will seek the consent of individuals to collect and use their personal data

  • Whenever the law requires us to do so, or
  • Where their consent will be specific, informed and freely given.

In some circumstances, it is not appropriate to seek an individual’s consent to process their data. For instance:

  • Where we are required to process personal data by law, for instance to comply with Home Office immigration rules, or
  • Where we disclose personal data to the police to assist a criminal investigation and seeking the individual’s consent would frustrate the purpose of the investigation by tipping off a suspect.
  • Where we need to process someone’s personal data to fulfil a contract or our legitimate purposes, such as conducting examinations and assessments, and the individual cannot reasonably refuse or withdraw consent.

We will explain:

  • What personal data collection is voluntary and why and the consequences of not providing it.
  • What personal data collection is mandatory and why we are entitled or obliged to process their data, for instance as a condition of employment or enrolment on a programme of study.

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3.4 Inform data subjects what we are doing with their personal data

This means that, at the point that we directly collect personal data (i.e. not through a 3rd party data provider), we will explain in a clear and accessible way;

  • What personal data we collect.
  • For what purposes.
  • Why we need it.
  • How we use it.
  • How we will protect their personal data.
  • To whom we may disclose it and why.
  • Where relevant, what personal data we publish and why.
  • How data subjects can update their personal data that we hold.
  • How long we intend to retain it.

We will publish this information, tailored for employees, workers, secondees, contractors, job applicants, candidates, customers, clients and other groups of people on our website and where appropriate in printed formats. We will review the content of these Privacy Notices regularly to ensure they comply with the latest legislation and expectations. We will provide simple and secure ways for our students, staff and other data subjects to update the information that we hold about them such as home addresses. Where we process personal data to keep people informed about Skills Team activities and events we will provide in each communication a simple way of opting out of further marketing communications. In this way we will provide accountability for our use of personal data and demonstrate that we will manage people’s data in accordance with their rights and expectations.

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3.5 Uphold individual’s rights as data subjects

This means that we will uphold their rights to:

  • Access a copy of the information comprising their personal data, responding to requests for their own personal data (subject access requests) in a fair, friendly and timely manner.
  • Request that their data is deleted, responding to this request in a fair, friendly and timely manner.
  • Object to processing that is likely to cause or is causing unwarranted and substantial damage or distress.
  • Prevent processing for direct marketing.
  • Object to decisions being taken by automated means.
  • Have inaccurate personal data rectified, blocked, erased or destroyed in certain circumstances.
  • Claim compensation for damages caused by a breach of the UK Data Protection Act.

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3.6 Protect personal data

This means that we will:

  • Control access to personal data so that staff, contractors and other people working on Skills Team business can only see such personal data as is necessary for them to fulfil their duties.
  • Require all Skills Team employees, workers, secondees, contractors and others who have access to personal data in the course of their work to complete basic data protection training, supplemented as appropriate by procedures and guidance relevant to their specific roles.
  • Set and monitor compliance with security standards for the management of personal data as part of our wider framework of information security policies and procedures
  • Provide appropriate tools for employees, workers, secondees, contractors and others to use and communicate personal data securely and when working away from Skills Team when their duties require this, for instance through provision of secure virtual private network, encryption and cloud solutions.
  • Take all reasonable steps to ensure that all suppliers, contractors, agents and other external bodies and individuals who process personal data for Skills Team enter into our Data Processor Agreements and comply with auditable security controls to protect the data, in compliance with our Procedures for approving, monitoring and reviewing personal data processing agreements.
  • Maintain Data Sharing Agreements with partners and other external bodies with whom we may need to share employees, workers, secondees, contractors, candidates and others personal data to deliver shared services or joint projects to ensure proper governance, accountability and control over the use of such data.
  • Ensure that our candidates are aware of how privacy law applies to their use of personal data and how they can take appropriate steps to protect their own personal data and respect the privacy of others.
  • Manage all subject access and third party requests for personal information about employees, workers, secondees, contractors, and other data subjects in accordance with our Procedures for responding to requests for personal data.
  • Make appropriate and timeous arrangements to ensure the confidential destruction of personal data in all media and formats when it is no longer required for Skills Team business.

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3.7 Retain personal data only as long as required

This means that we will:

  • Apply the Skills Team records retention policies relevant to each professional service function.
  • Keep records locally only as long as required in accordance with these policies and then;
  • Destroy them securely in a manner appropriate to their format, or
  • Transfer them by arrangement for longer term storage or archival preservation.

Some Skills Team records containing personal data are designated for permanent retention as archives for historical and statistical purposes. When managing access to archives containing personal data we will:

  • Apply exemptions to public rights of access to information as appropriate in accordance with the data subjects’ rights to privacy.
  • Redact personal data, or
  • Withhold specific categories of record, such as employee records, for the lifetime of the employee and their identifiable next of kin.

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4.1 What information is included in the Policy

This policy applies to all personal data created or received in the course of Skills Team business in all formats, of any age. Personal data may be held or transmitted in paper and electronic formats or communicated verbally in conversation or over the telephone.

4.2 Who is affected by the Policy Data subjects

These include, but are not confined to: prospective applicants, applicants to programmes and posts, current and former employees, family members where emergency or next of kin contacts are held, workers employed through temping agencies, research subjects, external researchers, visitors, and volunteers, customers, conference delegates, people making requests for information or enquiries, complainants, professional contacts and representatives of funders, partners and contractors.

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Users of personal data The policy applies to anyone who obtains, records, can access, store or use personal data in the course of their work for Skills Team. Users of personal data include employees, workers, secondees, contractors, candidates of Skills Team, contractors, suppliers, agents, Skills Team partners and external researchers and visitors.

4.3 Where the Policy applies

This policy applies to all locations from which Skills Team personal data is accessed including home use.


All users of Skills Team information are responsible for:

  • undertaking relevant training and awareness activities provided by Skills Team to support compliance with this policy.
  • Taking all necessary steps to ensure that no breaches of information security result from their actions.
  • Reporting all suspected information security breaches or incidents promptly so that appropriate action can be taken to minimise harm.
  • Informing Skills Team of any changes to the information that they have provided to Skills Team in connection with their employment or studies, for instance, changes of address.

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5.1 The Managing Director of Skills Team, has ultimate accountability for the Skills Team’s compliance with data protection law.

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5.2 The Managing Director has senior management accountability for information governance including data protection management, reporting to the Board of Directors and the Non-Executive Committee on relevant risks and issues.

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5.3 The Managing Director has senior management responsibility for information governance including data protection management and for providing proactive leadership to instil a culture of information security within Skills Team through clear direction, demonstrated commitment, explicit assignment, and acknowledgment of information security responsibilities.

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5.4 The Head of Human Resources is the designated Data Protection Officer, who is responsible for recommending information governance and security strategy to the Managing Director and has executive oversight of policies, procedures and controls to manage information security and data protection.

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5.5 All Heads of Departments are responsible for implementing the policy within their business areas, and for adherence by their staff. This includes:

  • Assigning generic and specific responsibilities for data protection management
  • Managing access rights for information assets and systems to ensure that staff, contractors and agents have access only to such personal data is necessary for them to fulfil their duties.
  • Ensuring that all staff in their business areas undertake relevant training provided by Skills Team and are aware of their accountability for data protection
  • Ensuring that staff responsible for any locally managed IT services liaise with Skills Team Information Technology staff to put in place equivalent IT security controls.

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5.6 The Head of Information Technology is responsible for ensuring that centrally managed IT systems and services take account of relevant data protection risks and are integrated into the information security management system and for promoting good practice in IT security among relevant staff.

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5.7 The Head of Human Resources is responsible for reviewing relevant human resources policies and procedures, in order to support managers and staff in understanding and discharging their responsibilities for data protection through the recruitment, induction, training, promotion, discipline and leaver management processes.  

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5.8 The Managing Director is responsible for ensuring that data protection and wider Information Security controls are integrated within the risk, business continuity management and audit programmes and for liaising with insurers to ensure that the systems in place meet insurance requirements.

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5.9 The Managing Director is responsible for ensuring that controls to manage the physical security of Skills Team take account of relevant data protection risks and are integrated into the information security management system.

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5.10 The Chief Executive Officer, Administration Contracts Manager and Head of HR are responsible for reviewing the effectiveness of data protection policies and procedures as part of its wider oversight of information security management.

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This policy is implemented through the development, implementation, monitoring and review of the component parts of Skills Team’s information security management systems. These include:

  • The Information and Security Group undertake information risk assessments to identify and protect confidential and business critical information assets and IT systems.
  • Coordination of effort between relevant Heads of Departments to integrate, IT, physical security, people, information management, and risk management and business continuity to deliver effective and proportional information security controls.
  • Review and refresh of all relevant policies and procedures
  • Designation of information governance coordinators for each area.
  • Generic and role specific training and awareness.
  • Embedding information governance requirements into procurement and project planning.
  • Information security incident management policies and procedures.
  • Business continuity management.
  • Monitoring compliance and reviewing controls to meet business needs.

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7.1. Skills Team Policies and procedures

This policy should be read in conjunction with all other Skills Team information governance and IT policies, which are reviewed and updated as necessary to meet Skills Team’s business needs and legal obligations. Managers of staff whose roles do not require Skills Team, IT access are responsible for briefing their staff on their responsibilities in relation to all policies that affect their work.

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7.2 Legal Requirements and external standards

Effective data protection and information security controls are essential for compliance with U.K. and Scottish law and other relevant law in all jurisdictions in which Skills Team operates. Legislation that places specific data protection, information security and record keeping obligations on organisations includes, but is not limited to:

  • GDPR 2018
  • Computer Misuse Act 1990
  • Data Protection Act 1998
  • The Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2000
  • Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004
  • Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
  • Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003
  • Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
  • Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act 2000
  • Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000

All current UK Legislation is published at UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) Statutory Codes of Practice, including:

  • Anonymisation
  • CCTV
  • Data Sharing
  • Employment Practices
  • Personal Information Online
  • Privacy Notices
  • Subject Access

Guidance, including:

  • Bring Your Own Device
  • Cloud Computing
  • Data controllers and data processors: what the difference is and what the governance implications are
  • Data security breach management
  • International Data Transfers
  • IT Asset Disposal
  • Privacy and Electronic Communications
  • Privacy Impact Assessment

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The definition of information includes, but is not confined to, paper and electronic documents and records, email, voicemail, still and moving images and sound recordings, the spoken word, data stored on computers or tapes, transmitted across networks, printed out or written on paper, carried on portable devices, sent by post, courier or fax, posted onto intranet or internet sites or communicated using social media.

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Personal Data

Information in any format that relates to a living person who can be identified from that information or other information held by Skills Team, its contractors, agents and partners or other third parties. Although the Data Protection Act applies only to living people, the scope of this policy also includes information about deceased individuals. This is because disclosure of information about the deceased may still be in breach of confidence or otherwise cause damage and distress to living relatives and loved ones.

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Sensitive Personal Data

Sensitive personal data (as defined in Section 2 of the Data Protection Act Data 1998) is personal data relating to an identifiable individual’s a) racial or ethnic origin; b) political opinions; c) religious or other beliefs; d) membership of a trade union; e) physical or mental health or condition; f) sexual life; g) proven or alleged offences, including any legal proceedings and their outcome In addition, Skills Team’s definition of High Risk Confidential Information includes the following personal data: Any other information that would cause significant damage or distress to an individual it was disclosed without their consent, such as bank account and financial information, marks or grades.

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Data Controller

An organisation which determines the purposes for which personal data is processed and is legally accountable for the personal data that it collects and uses or contracts with others to process on its behalf.

Data Processor

In relation to personal data, any person (other than an employee of the data controller) who processes the data on behalf of the data controller.

Data Subject

A person whose personal data is held by Skills Team or any other organisation. Processing Creating, storing, accessing, using, sharing, disclosing, altering, updating, destroying or deleting personal data.

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The definition of confidential information can be summarised as: Information

  • Any personal information that would cause damage or distress to individuals if disclosed without their consent.
  • Any other Information that would prejudice Skills Team’s or another party’s interests if it were disclosed without authorisation.

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For further information and advice about this policy and any aspect of information security contact:


Policy Version: 0.1 Review date: 5 years from date of approval or as required by legislation Issue date: 1 march 2018

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Why was it introduced?

The Levy was introduced in April 2017, to provide a solution to the skills deficit currently impacting the UK. It aims to encourage investment in on-the-job-training and is expected to improve the quality and quantity of all apprenticeships delivered, improving business productivity levels.

The government has set a target of three million apprenticeships to be undertaken by 2020.

Who is affected?

The Levy impacts all businesses in the UK.

Employers with a pay bill over £3 million must contribute 0.5% of their pay bill towards the Levy.

Your payroll is any total employee earnings which are liable to Class 1 secondary NICS. These include wages, bonuses, commissions and pension contributions.

Further information can be found here: Class 1A National Insurance contributions.

An example of employers required to pay the Levy:

about the levy

How does the Levy work?

Employers paying the Levy are provided with an £15,000 allowance, divided monthly throughout the year. However, you only need to pay if your liability is less than £1,250 per month and any unused money will be allocated towards the next month.

For instance: If in Month A your company only used £1,000 of your Levy allocation money, you will not pay the Levy for that month and in Month B your allowance would increase to £1,500.

If you are an employer paying the Levy, your business should be paying to the HMRC. This is done monthly, through the PAYE process alongside tax and NICs.

How are groups of connected companies affected?

If your company is a part of a group of connected companies, your £15,000 Levy allowance is shared between all businesses. Allocation of the Levy money needs to be notified to the HMRC before the start of the tax year and remains permanent for the rest of that tax year.

SMEs with a wage bill under £3 million don’t need to pay the Levy. However, if you are an SME taking on an apprentice or putting an existing member of staff onto an apprenticeship programme, you will need to contribute 10% of their training costs and the remaining 90% will be paid by the government.

If you have under 50 employees and are considering hiring a 16-18 year old apprentice, the government will contribute the entire cost of training to your business.

How is the Levy paid?

The government has set up a Digital Accounts System for Levy payments. Any company paying the Levy can use the Digital Account System, after they have registered. Provided as an E-voucher system, this service allows your company to access and pay for training and assessment for apprentices. The service also allows you to search for training providers, like Skills Team, who can help you to upskill your current staff or hire apprentices.

All companies in the UK will need to use their E-vouchers within 24 months or they will otherwise expire.

Any apprentices that were taken on before April 2017 will be funded by the old apprenticeship model. They will also not have access to the E-voucher system to pay for their training/assessment.

What can the Levy funds be used for?

Levy funds can only be used for the training and assessment costs of apprentices. The government funding will not pay for the following:

  • Apprentice travel and subsistence costs
  • The costs of setting up an apprenticeship programme
  • Work placement programmes
  • Managerial costs
  • Traineeships
  • Apprentice wages

Who is eligible for an apprenticeship?

The introduction of the Levy has opened up apprenticeships to more eligible candidates, by loosening restrictions on the age and prior qualifications of apprentices.
Existing employees or new hires are eligible for an apprenticeship, providing:

  • They have the right to work in the UK and have access to public funds; and,
  • They are qualified at a lower level than the apprenticeship, or
  • They enroll on an apprenticeship which is in a different field than any previously attained qualifications.

At Skills Team, we can help your business fully utilise the Levy, through our bespoke Levy consultancy service.

If you have any concerns about the Levy or are interested in developing your workforce, please get in touch with our consultants.

Skills Team's Levy Consultancy Service

At Skills Team, our consultancy service will help you to navigate the Levy with ease and optimise your funding spend, giving you full confidence in your future training and apprenticeship strategy.

Learn more