Part 6 Destruction of computer equipment and imaged copy media
66.49 Data protection issues in relation to computerised accounting records
As the computer equipment held by the official receiver may contain personal data the official receiver as trustee has a responsibility to protect the data held on the computer equipment under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA98), and has certain obligations when it come to the handling of the data and disposal of the computer equipment or media containing the personal data. See Chapter 81A Part 4 generally for further information concerning the handling and disposal of personal data, and paragraph 81A.48 particularly with regard to the length of time information can be retained.
66.50 The retention/destruction policy of the Service and its interaction with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA)
The retention/destruction policy in relation to accounting records generally is detailed at Chapter 10, in particular Part 5 which deals with the destruction of accounting records in investigation cases, and Part 6 which deals with the destruction of accounting records in all cases. See also theIES Enforcement Investigation Guide Chapter 116 “Destruction Policy” by clicking HERE .
The retention/destruction policy is required to conform to Schedule 1 of the DPA98, specifically sub-section 5: “Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes” [note 1].
The retention/destruction policy of the Service is based on demonstrating a business need to retain personal data in order to comply with the DPA. Retention of any records beyond the time required to meet the business need of administering or investigating the case breaches the DPA provisions, irrespective of the records being kept in a manual or computerised form.
66.51 Data Protection Act 1998 destruction policy applies to imaged data
Any copies stored on storage media (CDs, DVDs, Disks etc.) are subject to the same destruction policy as the records from which they derive, and these provisions apply equally to imaged copies of original data.
See Chapter 10 Part 5 for instructions concerning the preservation and destruction of records in investigation cases and Chapter 10 Part 6 for instructions concerning the preservation and destruction of records in all cases.
66.52 Breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 destruction policy
There is a low risk that non-compliance with the terms of the DPA may cause a complaint to be raised with the Information Commissioner (ICO),
If the ICO investigates this, the Service would have no defence if, as a result of administrative difficulty or costs, it was found to be in breach of its own retention/destruction policies and also the data protection principles of the DPA if data is retained beyond the time it can be demonstrated as meeting a business need, see paragraph 66.50.
66.53 Destruction of original computers, computerised media and imaged copies must comply with WEEE
In addition to the requirement to follow the destruction policy of the Service in order to meet the data protection implications and to ensure records are not destroyed where an insolvent is subject to an investigation or asset recovery is not concluded (see paragraphs 66.49 to 66.52), the official receiver is required to dispose or recycle electronic equipment in compliance with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (the WEEE directive).This was originally a European directive dealing with disposing or recycling of electrical or electronic equipment, and was introduced into UK law in January 2007 by the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment Regulations 2006 [note 2]. The directive aims to reduce the amount of electrical and electronic equipment produced and also to encourage people and governments to reuse, recycle and recover electrical and electronic waste. See Chapter 82 for further information on the waste disposal obligations placed on the official receiver.
It is anticipated that in the near future the Service will have a destruction policy and contract in place to deal with the destruction of computers and computerised media in order to comply with the WEEE Directive.
[Back to Part 5 Use of computerised records in evidence]