[holding answer 10 February 2009]: Under the Consumer Credit Act 1974, credit reference agencies must be licensed by the Office of Fair Trading. Certain essential information about the firm must be provided to OFT as part of the application process for a licence. Credit reference agencies may also be required or permitted to supply information to relevant investigating authorities for the purposes of criminal investigations under the Social Security Fraud Act and the Data Protection Act. There are no specific statutory requirements for the provision of information to BERR or its agencies by credit reference agencies.
The Government are in discussion with the credit industry with regard to agreeing the voluntary provision by lenders of data on the performance of credit markets. This may involve the release of data held by credit reference agencies on behalf of credit providers. Any such data sharing will be compliant with data protection principles.