If you are an employer and you have never heard of a Subject Access Request (SAR) before the count yourself lucky! There are stringent rules and timescales around replying to them and they can be extremely time consuming.

On 24 May 2023 the ICO published NEW GUIDANCE ON SARs by way of a ‘SARs Q&A for EMPLOYERS.’, this followed over 15,000 SAR complaints to the ICO last year.

The ICO hinted that a harder line on employers would be adopted moving forwards or risk fine or reprimand.

The new Guidance reminds employers that SARs provides someone the right to request a copy of their personal information and MUST also include the following information when responding:

– WHERE they got their information from

– WHAT they’re USING it for and

– WHO they are sharing it with.

The ICO explains that employers are misunderstanding the nature of a SAR  and / or the importance of responding to them.  

The Guidance reminds employers that a SAR can be submitted informally (such as over social media) and do not have to contain the words ‘subject access request’ in order to be one.

The Guidance covers the following key topics:

– What is the right of access?

– Do people have to submit a request in a certain format?

– Can we clarify the request?

– When can we withhold information?

– Do we have to advise the requester if we are withholding information?

– Do we have to comply with a SAR if the worker has signed a non-disclosure or settlement agreement?

– Do you need to comply with a SAR if the worker is going through a tribunal or grievance process?

– Do we need to disclose any non work-related personal information?

– Do we have to disclose emails that the worker is copied into?

– Do we have to include searches across social media?

– We’ve had a request for CCTV footage, but it contains images of other people. Do we have to disclose it?

– Can the ICO advise me what to include in a SAR response?

– What happens if a worker isn’t happy with their SAR response?

Click here for link for the new guidance.

If you have any questions regarding Subject Access Requests then please contact us here. or call us 0333 2005153