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Coroners and Justice Bill 2008-09

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 20 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what proposals he has to ensure security of personal data under legislative proposals for increased data sharing in the Coroners and Justice Bill. (247966)

All Government Departments must comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) when sharing personal data and must also meet the mandatory requirements on holding personal information, as set out in the Cabinet Office's Data Handling Review.

Under the power contained in Part 8 of the Coroners and Justice Bill, the Government proposes that all information-sharing orders must be necessary to achieve a specified purpose, proportionate and strike a fair balance between the public interest and the rights of the individual to privacy. Ministers who wish to make an information-sharing order will need to prepare a privacy impact assessment; invite representations from any person affected by it and take these representations into account; and give the Information Commissioner the opportunity to report independently on the proposal. Any information-sharing order will be subject to affirmative resolution by both Houses of Parliament.

In addition to the Information Commissioner’s current powers to assess a data controller's compliance under the DPA, the Coroners and Justice Bill also proposes to create a new compulsory assessment for public bodies.