Data Protection & Subject Access Requests

From 01 December 2014 it will be a criminal offence for an employer to require people to use their subject access rights under (Section 56 of) the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) to provide certain records as a condition of employment.

Section 56 prevents:

  • Employers from requiring people to use their subject access rights under the DPA to provide certain records, such as police records, as a condition of employment; and
  • Companies requiring certain records as a condition for providing services like housing or insurance.

Requiring people to provide these records will become a criminal offence, punishable by a fine. For employees with convictions this does not prevent employers and others from getting access to criminal records, as some jobs need these checks to be done. However section 56 does prevent the use of sensitive personal data as part of a subject access request.

Some insurers, or employers could force people to provide copies of their police record, including convictions and cautions that are spent. Employers or individuals will commit a criminal offence if they require someone else to produce certain records as a condition of employment, unless the relevant record is required by law or where it is justified in the public interest.

The Information Commissioners Office will be publishing guidance before December to explain how this will work in practice.


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