Sensitive information held by schools includes but is not limited to health, religion, age, nationality, criminal offences and trade union ships. The nature of this information and the environment in which it is produced, means secure disposal of this information should be considered a priority by Schools.
As a School you have a duty of care to protect children, staff, parents and suppliers information, if you intend to comply with the Data Protection Act, which is a legal obligation and not actually a choice.
At most Schools, information protection and security is taken seriously. It is common practice to keep files locked in cupboards and access to physical documents restricted and as secure as possible. This helps safeguard personal information.
The weak link in the protection chain is often at the disposal stage in the lifecycle of these documents. School staff who take so much care to protect the data they process whilst it is onsite, often dispose of the material via a paper recycling service, rather than a secure shredding service, designed specifically for schools.
Just like ensuring the material is locked away on site, a secure shredding service with highly trained DBS checked staff helps keep the security of the sensitive information to the highest standard.
Your pupils, parents and employees all have the right to have their information protected. The responsibility schools have in relation to the ensuring personal data is treated appropriately, applies until the data is destroyed.
Disposing of documents in a recycling bin does not ensure destruction, therefore the responsibility for the data remains with the data controller from the School, who puts the information in the bin even when it has left site. If a breach occurs at this point, the school will be fined and the data controller held responsible, not the waste service provider.
When confidential information needs to be disposed of, the most secure method is the complete destruction of the information. Once documents have been shredded, they can be recycled with no risk to the School.
Use your head, Let us Shred!
If you’re interested in knowing a little more about data protection for schools, the Information Comissioners Office released a document giving guidance to schools back in 2012, which is really helpful. You can find it here.