REUTERS | Mark Blinch
REUTERS | Mark Blinch

Key items on the agenda for businesses in April include the start of the first reporting periods for large companies on payment practices and performance, the countdown to go-live for the Small Business Commissioner’s complaints function and data gathering in anticipation of the first gender pay gap reports.

April is typically a busy month for employment and tax developments, and this year is no different with, among other things, the introduction of the apprenticeship levy.

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REUTERS | Pillar Lee

The ICO Data Protection Practitioners’ Conference took place on 6 March. It highlighted several initiatives that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will be taking in the coming months, including:

  • Working on privacy seal accreditation at EU level and will use this work to inform its own work in the area of privacy seals, although this is not a priority for the ICO.
  • Reviewing feedback on its draft guidance on GDPR consent. The consultation closes 31 March 2017.
  • Providing advice and guidance on contracts, liability and data processors as part of its Overview of the General Data Protection Regulation.
  • Publishing its international strategy during April 2017, which will set out the ICO’s key international priorities and will be of interest to companies with cross-border data flows.
  • Supporting new mechanisms, such as codes and certificates, to support international data transfers, although not all of this will be in place before 25 May 2018.
  • Looking at its code of practice on data subjects access requests in the light of recent Court of Appeal decisions.
  • Reviewing how social media is being used to profile individuals and whether individuals are being disadvantaged by this.

In addition, the ICO plans to publish guidance on data protection officers within the next six months. This guidance will be particularly useful to organisations that need to appoint a DPO as part of their accountability programme for GDPR compliance.

Sara Catley
REUTERS | Ajay Verma

Alternative suppliers comprise a new and fast-growing sector of the legal market.

According to a study by Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute, The Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at Georgetown University Law Center and Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) now account for $8.4 billion dollars in legal services spend globally.

The report, based on research from over 800 law firms and corporate legal departments worldwide, highlights several themes that in-house lawyers who use or are contemplating using an ALSP should consider.

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REUTERS | Tiksa Negeri

On 14 February Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA, and his team held the first of ten town hall events designed to gather evidence for the Taylor Review on Modern Employment Practices, which was launched on 30 November last year.

Fittingly, for a review inspired in part by concerns about the status of those working in the “on demand” economy, the town hall was held at Google Campus London‘s “plug and play” events space and ticketing was managed through Eventbrite. But the discussions did not always propose “modern” solutions to the issues that have been identified in the “gig economy”.

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REUTERS | Reuters

On 17 January 2017, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) confirmed that a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) had been reached with Rolls-Royce, the British aero-engineering company. Approval was given at a hearing before Sir Brian Leveson QC, President of the Queen’s Bench Division. The agreement will result in the payment of approximately £500 million plus interest under a schedule lasting up to five years, and a payment in respect of the SFO’s costs. Continue reading

REUTERS | Enrique Castro-Mendivil

Key themes and developments on the agenda for businesses in February include a consultation on the reform of corporate criminal liability, guidance on the duty to report on payment practices and performance, and assistance with complying with the General Data Protection Regulation.

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I recently attended an event where the host reminded the audience in his opening that the day was being run under the Chatham House Rule. It reminded me of the first event that I attended when I started out in practice. I hadn’t understood what this rule meant, and in a time before a smartphone would have facilitated a response through a quick internet search, I was too embarrassed to raise the question for fear of being seen as ignorant.

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