Data protection watchdog the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has launched a new code of practice designed to give public and private sector bodies guidance on sharing personal information in an appropriate and legally compliant manner.
The ICO Data Sharing Code of Practice (PDF) covers routine and one-off instances of data sharing, and has been updated since it was published in draft last October to include more practical case studies from the public and private sectors, said the watchdog.
For ease of use, a summary checklist has also been published to be used as a quick reference guide.
According to the ICO, organisations which follow the code will benefit from a reduced risk of accidentally exposing personal data which could lead to enforcement action by the ICO or other regulators.
Information commissioner Christopher Graham argued that the public wants to feel confident that their data is being handled in a safe and secure way.
"The code of practice we've issued today offers a best practice approach that can be applied in all sectors," he added.
"It reflects the constructive comments we received during the consultation period, meaning that we can be confident that it not only makes sense on paper but will work in the real world.
"I would encourage all businesses and public bodies that share personal data to get to grips with the code without delay so they can be sure they are getting it right."
The ICO will be hoping that its moves to educate the data handling community are better received than its attempts at punishing those found guilty of breaching the Data Protection Act.
The watchdog came in for criticism again on Tuesday after fining Andrew Crossley, owner of controversial law firm ACS Law, only £1,000 despite a serious breach, because the law firm had since closed down.
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