How do I comply with GDPR as a self-employed carer?

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) came into force on 25th May 2018. ​Every organisation or sole trader that holds and processes personal information is affected. That includes self-employed carers.

What is classed as ‘personal data’?

Personal data is classed as any information that can identify an individual – such as email addresses, telephone numbers, HR records, DBS information, medical records, photos, ID numbers and home addresses – although it is not limited to just these.

What are the key principles of GDPR?

  1. Processing should be lawful, fair and transparent. Your clients must be clear on what personal data you are processing and why.
  2. Personal data should only be collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes. If you wish to use personal data for another purpose, you will need additional consent/grounds for processing.
  3. Personal data must be adequate, relevant, and limited to what is necessary. For example, as a self-employed carer, you should only have access to relevant health and medical records for your clients, and in turn, it is only these that should be passed on to another carer you share your client with, or whom you are handing over cover to.
  4. Personal data needs to be accurate and kept up to date. Out of date or inaccurate information should be deleted/removed.  This can easily be done via records stored on the PocketCarer cloud. You should keep this under regular review.
  5. Personal data should be kept for no longer than is necessary. Personal data no longer needed should be destroyed or anonymised. You must still comply with statutory requirements to keep documents for their relevant retention period.   There aren’t any set time limits in data protection law because it depends on your situation, but you can read more about how to judge that by reading our article on care records, here.

There must be appropriate security in place in respect of the personal data.

Security measures are needed to prevent unauthorised processing or destruction, and all carers must know the steps to protect the data.  Security measures include using strong passwords, reliable malware, anti-hacker and virus screening software on your devices.  PocketCarer has the huge advantage of enabling you to store client information on its secure cloud.

As a PocketCarer subscriber, do I need to register with the ICO?

PocketCarer is a registered business and pays an annual fee to the ICO as we process and control data securely through the app for you, where you can store information on our cloud, until it needs to be deleted.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights.  Every organisation or sole trader who processes personal information needs to pay a data protection fee to the ICO unless they are exempt.

However, as a self-employed carer, you will probably be using your own personal device (phone, tablet, computer) to process and upload your clients’ personal data, and not one provided for you by a business already registered with the ICO.  If your personal phone/device was lost, stolen or hacked, then you would be liable for the breach of data protection, not PocketCarer.  To protect yourself, you will need to register and pay an annual fee to The ICO.  As a self-employed carer, you will be registered as a sole trader with HMRC so will need to register under your own name.

How much is the data protection fee for a self-employed carer?

There are different tiers but, as a self-employed carer with a maximum turnover of less than £632,000, the fee is just £40 a year, or £35 if you set up a direct debit.  Your data protection fee is classed as a professional expense and can be offset as such when you complete your yearly HMRC self assessment.  Read our short article on tax deductible expenses here.

Check your status and register here with the ICO, otherwise you could be liable for a penalty of up to £4000.

PocketCarer keeps your clients’ personal data safe

PocketCarer is a multi-functional app which helps streamline your career as a self-employed carer, in turn, improving your work/life balance.  With templates, documents, record sheets, mileage trackers, and so much more, including, of course, the ability to upload all your important documents to the PocketCarer cloud for safe keeping.  You make a career out of making client’s lives easier, so download the app today and start making your own work life a little easier.


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