Government survey reveals low awareness of new data protection rules

A new survey published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has revealed a worryingly low level of awareness of new data protection rules which come into force this May.

According to the Ipsos MORI survey of 1,519 businesses, only 38 per cent said they had heard of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the foundation of the UK’s new Data Protection Act.

Of those, just over a quarter had made changes to their operations in response to the GDPR introduction.

The data suggests that smaller business are less likely to have heard of GDPR than medium and large organisations. Similarly, large and medium businesses were significantly more likely to have made changes to their operations in response to GDPR than smaller businesses. 

The construction and manufacturing sectors were among the sectors with the lowest awareness (25 per cent and 27 per cent respectively), significantly less than the average.

However, despite the higher levels of awareness among larger businesses, less than half (48 per cent) of medium sized businesses had made changes to the way they operate while just over half (55 per cent) of large businesses had done so.

Steve Snaith, Technology Risk Assurance Partner at RSM said:

'The new General Data Protection Regulation is one of the most pressing issues for UK business, and these figures should be a wake-up call. It is of key importance that organisations understand the extent of ‘in scope’ data they hold and ensure that their corresponding data governance framework aligns with the new requirements of GDPR.’