Public Affairs Ireland | Training and Development | Conferences

The Data Sharing Clearing House, set up to review data protection legislation and data sharing, held its first meeting yesterday.

The meeting took place amid claims that the accessing of information from utility bills, in order to ensure every household pays the €100 Household Charge, was a breach of personal data. It also follows a recent investigation by the Data Protection Commissioner into the transfer of information from Dublin City Council customers to the waste collection firm Greyhound.

The group is comprised of high level public servants from each of the following organisations: Central Bank; Central Statistics Office; Companies Registration Office; Health Service Executive; LGMA; Office of the Attorney General; Office of the Revenue Commissioners; Ordnance Survey and the Road Safety Authority. It also includes representatives from the various government departments including the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and the Department of Finance.

Although the group’s first meeting was held yesterday, the Data Sharing Clearing House was established last November as part of the Public Service Reform Plan which pledged to: “Review all relevant legislative provisions in relation to data sharing between public bodies and develop principles for the sharing of data”.

The role of the clearing house is to: to pprovide a mechanism for the discussion and resolution of data-sharing issues; to provide a forum where interested parties can be informed of on-going developments in the data-sharing area; to consult with interested parties to ensure that their concerns feed into the development of central policy and legislation on data-sharing;to ensure that existing guidelines in the area are effectively promoted; and to produce new guidance where required.