By Jo Anderson. Last Updated 10th August 2023. If your personal data has been compromised in a personal data breach, you may be wondering how to report a data breach to the ICO. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights and tasked with upholding data protection law and standards in the UK.
This guide will explain how and when you should report a personal data breach to the ICO, along with explaining who is eligible to make a personal data breach claim. We will also look at the time limits connected with making a personal data breach claim, and how one of our experienced personal data breach solicitors could help you.
When a data controller or data processor fails to safeguard your personal data, this can cause considerable financial and mental harm. If you have suffered financial harm or a psychological injury as a result of a personal data breach, you may be able to make a claim.
To start your claim, contact our advisors today by:
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- When To Report A Data Breach To The ICO
- How Long After A Data Breach Should The ICO Be Notified?
- Who Can Report A Data Breach To The ICO?
- How To Notify The ICO Of A Data Protection Breach
- What Could I Claim After A Data Breach?
- Make A No Win No Fee Data Breach Claim
The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) are the two leading pieces of legislation protecting personal data in the UK. If an organisation fails to adequately protect your personal data, and you suffer harm as a result, you may be eligible to make a claim.
A personal data breach is a security incident that alters the security, integrity, or availability of your personal data. For example, if your personal data is shared with an unauthorised party, or a device or folder containing documents that hold personal data are lost. There are six lawful bases for the processing of personal data, including consent.
Personal data refers to any data that could identify you, including your:
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Home address
- Phone number
If you suspect that your personal data has been compromised in a personal data breach, you can contact the data controller directly. This is the organisation that decides what data to collect, how to store or use it, and why. They may be able to provide more information.
You can report a personal data breach to the ICO within three months of your last meaningful contact with the organisation in question. The ICO may then choose to open an investigation into the breach, but they cannot provide any form of compensation.
That’s where we can help. Get in touch with our advisors today to find out more about how we can help you claim compensation after suffering harm as a result of a personal data breach.
If a personal data breach occurs that could affect the rights and freedoms of the data subject, the organisation must notify the ICO within 72 hours. They must also contact the data subject without undue delay to inform them of the breach.
Personal data breach claims also have a time limit. If you wish to make a claim against a private company or organisation, the limit is usually six years. However, if you wish to make a claim against a public body, such as your local council, then the time limit is 1 year.
For more information on time limits and how they could affect your claim, talk with one of our advisors today.
Anyone can make a complaint to the ICO if they believe an organisation has failed to handle their personal data in line with data protection law. As we mentioned earlier, you can make a complaint to the ICO within three months of your last meaningful contact with the organisation.
Data controllers and processors must asses whether the breach could affect the rights and freedoms of those involved. If it does, they must report it to the ICO within 72 hours, and must inform those involved without undue delay.
If you need any additional information on who can report a data breach to the ICO, then don’t hesitate to contact us.
If you believe that you have been a victim of a data breach, you should begin by contacting the company involved with the breach. This opens a direct line of communication between you and the organisation. It may also help to clarify any issues about the data breach.
If you do not receive a meaningful reply, or if the response you receive is unsatisfactory, you can report the breach to the ICO through their website.
If you have suffered harm as a result of a personal data breach, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. Contact our team of advisors to learn more.
There are two types of damages you could pursue in a personal data breach claim: material damages, and non-material damages.
Material damages refer to the compensation you could receive as a result of suffering financial harm. For example, if your credit card details had been compromised in a personal data breach, this could lead to damage to your credit score, unauthorised withdrawals, and access to further bank accounts.
Non-material damages refer to the compensation you could receive following a psychological injury. Following the ruling of Gulati & Others v MGN Limited , non-material damages can be awarded in line with the guidelines provided by the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG).
While the JCG has traditionally been used to help legal professionals value personal injury claims, such as accident at work and medical negligence claims, it can also be very helpful in providing guideline amounts for personal data breach claims. This is because it contains a list of psychological injuries.
|Brackets of Compensation
|Severe Anxiety – PTSD
|£59,860 to £100,670
|Permanent symptoms of PTSD with no prospect of employment.
|Moderately Severe Anxiety – PTSD
|£23,150 to £59,860
|Some chance of improvement with professional help.
|Moderate Anxiety – PTSD
|£8,180 to £23,150
|An almost full recovery, although there are some lingering effects.
|Less Severe Anxiety – PTSD
|£3,950 to £8,180
|A large recovery, no grossly disabling effects continuing.
|Severe Psychiatric Damage
|£54,830 to £115,730
|A large impact on the ability to work, attend education, and engage in social activities.
|Moderately Severe Psychiatric Damage
|£19,070 to £54,830
|Similar to the above with a prognosis that is more optimistic.
|Moderate Psychiatric Damage
|£5,860 to £19,070
|By the time of trial, the symptoms will have markedly improved.
|Less Severe Psychiatric Damage
|£1,540 to £5,860
|Consideration given to length of disability and remaining phobias or sleep disturbance.
The Court of Appeals ruling in Vidal-Hall & Others v Google Inc.  allows claimants to claim compensation for non-material damages, without having to claim for material damages alongside this.
For more information on compensation and how much you could receive, contact our team of advisors. They can provide a free estimate of what your claim could be worth.
If you’re eligible to claim compensation for a personal data breach reported to the ICO, or one that has not been reported, one of our solicitors may be able to help you with your case.
Furthermore, they could offer to work on your case under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This is a type of No Win No Fee arrangement which means you would not be expected to pay your solicitor any upfront or ongoing service fees. You will also not need to pay them for the work they have provided should your claim fail.
Alternatively, your solicitor will take a success fee from you should they succeed with your claim. This fee is a legally capped percentage that is deducted directly from the compensation awarded to you.
To learn whether one of our No Win No Fee solicitors could take on your case, you can contact our advisors today. They could check your eligibility free of charge and could connect you with a solicitor who could help you get the compensation you deserve.
Learn More About How The ICO Helps To Protect Data
To learn more about personal data breaches, we recommend you try our guides surrounding:
- Data breach compensation
- Distress following a data breach
- What to do following an employer data breach?
- How to deal with a medical data breach?
- How to claim after a school data breach?
Or, for more helpful information:
- ICO – Report a breach
- ICO – Make a complaint
- ICO – How to minimise the risk of personal data breaches happening
Contact our advisors for more information on how to report a data breach to the ICO.