Crafty Counsel Video Series With Information Commissioner - January 2018

With four months to go before the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect, there’s still time for in-house counsel to take action – but they can’t do it all alone.

• ICO urges in-house counsel to prepare for GDPR by building relationships with business colleagues. • Overwhelmed legal teams are expected to be front line of GDPR compliance but many are not ready • Innovative new video series by Crafty Counsel launches to educate legal teams on how best to prepare

London, 31st January 2018- As companies race to make their final preparations before GDPR implementation day on 25th May, Crafty Counsel and the Information Commissioner’s Office are launching a video series to help in-house counsel cut through the noise and focus on practical steps they can take. Crafty Counsel is a new digital platform to support the training needs of in-house counsel, It’s Law, but for people who would rather use a service like TED Talks than read a 20 page client briefing or attend an hour long webinar.

Elizabeth Denham, the UK Information Commissioner, said “In-house lawyers are going to be the front-line of their organisation’s GDPR compliance. I have made this myth-busting video series with Crafty Counsel to help legal teams sort fact from fiction and get ready.”

Ben White, founder of Crafty Counsel, explains: “In house legal teams are starting to divide between those who are deep into GDPR preparation, working in cross-functional teams in a culture where the company has bought into data protection readiness… and those working in companies where the legal function has been landed with GDPR, there isn’t wider buy in from the business, and the lawyers are just feeling overwhelmed and fatigued by the scale of the task. Meanwhile, there’s almost information overload from advisers and consultancies seeking to sell GDPR solutions into legal teams. We felt it was important to help in house lawyers cut through the noise and hear direct from the regulator.”

The Information Commissioner believes that reputational damage, not fines, is what in-house counsel should be warning their boards about. Fines are a one-time punishment. Reputations take years to build and can be lost in an instant. Organisations can’t afford to lose their customers’ confidence if they want to keep their business.

Elizabeth Denham said: “predictions of lots of massive fines under GDPR are really far from the mark. Our priority is guiding, advising and educating organisations. Not fines. Let’s look at our record; last year we concluded 17,300 cases. Only 16 of them resulted in fines, and we have yet to revoke our maximum powers under the Data Protection Act. Focussing exclusively on our increased fining powers under the GDPR misses the point – this is about putting customers and consumers first. We take our powers seriously. Warnings, reprimands, corrective orders might not hit organisations in the pocket but their reputations will take a serious blow.”

GDPR preparation doesn’t end on May 25th – organisations are expected to identify and address emerging privacy and security risks in the weeks, months and years ahead. Denham stated “As in-house counsel you have a critical role in supporting colleagues in understanding their own responsibilities. Key to success is to ensure organisational commitment. That means engaging with colleagues and business partners from the board down. You need to help the company build a culture of transparency and accountability around personal data.”

White concluded: “The good news is that there are still four months to go. You have time to talk to colleagues in HR, Marketing, Sales, Finance and Customer Service. Get out there and build a cross-functional team to help you to not just prepare for the new legislation but to address ongoing issues. Successful legal teams of tomorrow will not just have the knowledge but also softer skills such as communication and collaboration to help them better partner with the businesses they serve.

Click here to watch the full video series Click here to read the ICO’s Guide to the GDPR: For more information please contact: Ben White: