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17% of FMs cancel data protection plans due to Brexit

20 April 2017

A recent survey has shown that nearly one fifth of FM companies have cancelled their preparations to comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

This is due to a misunderstanding that the regulations, set to be introduced in May 2018, will not apply after Brexit.

Although the UK has recently triggered Article 50 to begin its withdrawal from the EU community, this is expected to take at least two years to complete.

The survey, which included an audience of FM IT decision makers, showed that 17% of respondents had cancelled all preparations to comply with the regulation due to Brexit.

A further 17% thought the regulation would not apply to UK businesses after the country leaves the EU.

It has taken a number of years for the regulation to be agreed and is designed to harmonise data protection throughout Europe, providing individuals more control over personal data.

The survey was conducted by Crown Records Management and managing director John Culkin said the result was both surprising and concerning, as the regulation "is going to affect the industry in a big way".

While likely to be in place before Brexit, the regulation will continue to apply to all businesses handling personal information of EU citizens, he said.

"When you consider how many EU citizens live in the UK it's hard to imagine many businesses here being unaffected," said Mr Culkin.

He further stated that the survey showed "at least half" of companies included saw Brexit as an opportunity for the UK to "position itself as the safest place to do business through even more robust legislation".

This was further supported by 50% calling for more robust data protection within the UK.

There were more positive results for FM companies preparing training programmes for data protection.

While half of those survey had begun a training initiative, the remaining half had plans "in the pipeline".

Fines for those breaching the new data regulation will receive fines of up to 4% of global turnover.

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