Changes to the Information Commissioner’s Office Rules and Powers

What is the ICO?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is an independent UK authority whose role is to ‘uphold information rights in the public interest.

The Information Commissioner is appointed by Her Majesty The Queen under the Data Protection Act 1998, and reports directly to Parliament.

As identified on the ICO website, the role of the ICO is to cover the following legislation:

  • Data Protection Act
  • Freedom of Information Act
  • Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation
  • General Data Protection Regulation
  • Environmental Information Regulations
  • INSPIRE Regulations
  • eIDAS Regulation
  • Re-use of Public Selector Information Regulations

New Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) Powers

The Claims Management Regulator issued its first fine against a claims management company in 2015 using what was its new extended penal powers:

You may remember back in 2015 when The Hearing Clinic was fined £220,000 by the Claims Management Regulator following hundreds of complaints from members of the public who received speculative calls about claims for noise induced hearing loss.

Additional conditions were also imposed on The Hearing Clinic, including restriction around calling numbers registered on the TPS and using data from third-party companies. The Hearing Clinic could face further sanctions, including suspension and even closure should the rules be broken again.

This was the first fine imposed by the Claims Management Regulator. Kevin Rousell, head of claims management regulation at the Ministry of Justice, said: “The new fines mean that we have greater powers to crack down on claims management companies that make nuisance calls. Companies should be in no doubt that if they break the rules then we won’t hesitate to fine them in addition to the tough actions we already take.”

For more information on the relationship between the ICO and Claims Management Regulator, take a look at this document.

Defending Investigations Carried Out by the Claims Management Regulator

If you are faced with an investigation by the Claims Management Regulator, it is important that you seek legal advice in the first instance. St Pauls Chambers has successfully defended a number of claims management providers to limit the sanctions proposed by the Regulators. Early advice can often result in much reduced fines, limited restrictions, or prevention of closure.

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