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Fleets warned of changes to data protection law

30 April 2015 #CV Sector #Logistics #News #Policy #Top Stories

Fleet managers asking employees for access to their driving licence records could find themselves on the wrong side of the law in the confusion surrounding the upcoming abolition of the licence paper counterpart, according to LicenceCheck.

Under the recently enabled Section 56 of the Data Protection Act 1998, employers are prohibited from forcing workers to supply ‘Subject Access Reports’ containing information on criminal history and investigations conducted by the police and authorities. Such information, if required, must now be obtained through agencies set up for criminal record checks. The change in law is intended to prevent discrimination surrounding elements such as spent convictions that could be seen on a Subject Access Report.

However, concerns have been raised over whether requiring employee drivers to sign a mandate allowing access to their driving licence record could amount to an offence under Section 56. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has clarified that this will not be an offence provided the DVLA’s recommended procedures are followed.

“There are just too many unanswered questions at the moment,” said Richard Brown, Managing Director of licence checking and monitoring company LicenceCheck. “The elimination of the paper counterpart was intended to remove red tape but, at the moment, the tight deadlines and practical difficulties of managing such change is adding to fleet managers’ woes.”

He continued: “It seems that for the driver’s consent to be effective, they need to understand why the information is being requested by the employer, what it will be used for and the possible consequences. Will a busy fleet manager understand the need to carefully explain all this to the driver in these terms and at this level of detail?”

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