Nottingham crime and regulatory solicitor Martin Hadley represented a professional client, a pharmacist, who was being investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Following investigation he was able to secured a positive outcome for this client.
Information Commissioner Received Complaint
The ICO had received a complaint that Martin’s client had been “flying tipping” waste in the locality of one of their pharmacy branches.
A member of the public discovered an abandoned suitcase in the street. Correspondence was found in the case and it was clear that the paperwork was attributable to the community pharmacy operated by Martin’s client. Also found in the bag were documents with the pharmacy stamp upon them which identified the names and addresses of pharmacy patients. On the face of it this appeared to be a clear breach of patient confidentiality.
The Information Commissioner was investigating a breach of the seventh principle of data protection, namely the requirement to take appropriate technical and organisational measures to avoid the unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data.
Clear and Robust System
Martin took the client’s full instructions upon the points this evidence supplied by the Information Commissioner. It was apparent that our client had clear and robust systems in place for the disposal of both confidential and non-confidential waste. These processes allowed them to quickly understand how the problem had arisen.
Individuals had been climbing over the wall of their premises and breaking into the waste bins. No doubt these people were hoping to find Controlled Drugs.
Sanctions Available to ICO
The Commission could have taken various steps including:
- Providing advice to the clients.
- Require the client to produce improvement plans.
- Give undertakings to improve compliance.
- Serve enforcement notices.
- issue monetary penalties of up to £500,000.
Positive Client Outcome
The instructions given and our advice meant that we were able to reply to the ICO denying the breach and providing a bundle of documents to persuade the Information Commissioner that no action should be taken.
Our client’s full responses led to the ICO swiftly reaching the conclusion that no further action was necessary.
Contact regulatory solicitor Martin Hadley
If you face investigation by the Information Commissioner’s office, local authority or similar then please contact Martin Hadley straight away on 0115 9599550 or use the form below.
You will no doubt benefit from his clear analysis of your problem, practical advice and robust approach to your problem.