§ Mr. Cohen
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his Department's policy towards fees for subject access under the terms of the Data Protection Act; how many register entries his Department has; and what would be the total cost to a data subject seeking access to personal data held under all register entries.
§ Mr. Donald Thompson
The policy in my Department towards fees for subject access under the terms of the Data Protection Act, is as follows:
- (a) members of staff will not be charged for reasonable access;
- (b) other data subjects will be charged a standard fee of £10 for access to each registration.
My Department has made 40 registrations under the Act.
In organising the registrations, officials have sought, wherever possible, to restrict individual registrations to geographical areas or specific areas of work. Ten registrations have only members of staff as the data subjects. Of the other 30 registrations, five registrations cover administrative functions in the Department's five regions and a further six registrations cover the work of ADAS in the regions and Wales. Although possible, it is thought to be unlikely that an individual would wish to access all of these 11 regional registrations. The remaining 19 registrations cover the work of the various divisions concerning the agricultural, fishing and food industries.
The number of registrations to be accessed by data subjects to obtain all personal data held about them in my Department will, therefore, vary considerably from case to case according to the business interests of the individual, at a cost which could range from £10 to £300.
However, whilst data subjects may refer to the data protection register to determine which registrations are likely to hold their personal data, it is intended that an explanatory leaflet will be sent by my officials to each data subject who requests access, as a guide to the coverage and contents of each registration, with a view to minimising the costs to the data subjects.