DCMS takes on responsibility for UK data protection policy and sponsorship of the ICO

Out-Law News | 18 Sep 2015 | 2:51 pm |

The UK government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has taken over responsibility for setting UK data protection policy from the Ministry of Justice.

Under the move DCMS will succeed the MoJ in acting as the sponsor department for the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the UK's independent data protection authority.

The changes were confirmed in a statement issued by prime minister David Cameron on Thursday.

"As the independent arbiter for information rights, we have business with different Whitehall departments on different topics, "information commissioner Christopher Graham said. "It is important that the ICO remains free to advise and to warn as necessary - and to bring both the privacy and transparency perspectives to policymaking in key areas. And we need always to be able to speak up for citizens and consumers."

"It makes sense for the ICO to be well connected to debates around the impact and potential of the digital economy - but at the same time we need independence to do our job. DCMS has responsibility for digital issues, but also deals with very many arm's-length bodies whose independence is key to their contribution. The current sponsorship and DP policy teams working at the MoJ will be transferred to the DCMS. This gives me added confidence that the DCMS will be well prepared to cope with the demanding agenda ahead," he said.