Data Protection Policy


1. Context

1.1. Introduction

ARTICLE 19 may have to collect and use information about people with whom we work, as well as people who have expressed an interest in the work we do.

Two of ARTICLE 19’s core values are Accountability and Integrity. We regard the lawful and correct treatment of personal information as crucial to upholding our values and to maintaining confidence between us and those with whom we carry out our work. We ensure that we treat personal information lawfully and correctly.

The ARTICLE 19 Data Security Policy outlines our undertakings with regard to compliance with data protection law and is designed to support:

  • Compliance with data protection law and good practice
  • Protection of privacy rights of supporters, beneficiaries, partners and staff • Openness about how we handle confidential and personal data
  • Management of risk • Standards of good practice in accordance with our publicly stated principles

1.2 Objectives

This policy seeks to:

  1. Protect the rights of individuals by ensuring that all personal data held by us is used appropriately and lawfully
  2. Ensure that all collection, processing, storage and sharing of personal data by ARTICLE 19 complies with the eight data protection principles and legal requirements
  3. Maintain the confidence of data subjects in ARTICLE 19 and its Affiliates
  4. Ensure the organisation meets the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR – in full force and effect from 25th May 2018)
  5. Inform and enable employees, job applicants, suppliers and contractors.

1.3 Application

This policy applies to the processing of personal data in manual and electronic records kept by us in connection with our human rights work. It also covers our response to any data breach and other rights under the GDPR.

Application of this policy applies to:

  • All employees, freelancers and contractors of ARTICLE 19
  • Any donors, partner organisations or representatives who are privy to information held by ARTICLE 19 and protected under the GDPR and DPA The policy applies to the personal data of people with whom we work, job applicants, existing and former employees, interns, trustees, and self-employed contractors, and supporters.

These are referred to in this policy as relevant individuals.

1.4 Definitions

ARTICLE 19 collects processes and stores certain types of personal data. “Personal data” is any information that enables another person to directly or indirectly identify a person from that information: for example, a person’s name, address, email, identification number, location. It can also include pseudonymous data. ARTICLE 19 will hold this category of personal data for the purposes of communication and management within the limits of appropriate and lawful use, and subject to our Acceptable Use Policy.

Other “special categories of personal information” include data which relates to an individual’s health, sex life, sexual orientation, race, ethnic origin, political opinion, religion, and trade union membership. It also includes genetic and biometric data (where used for ID purposes).

ARTICLE 19 may from time to time undertake due diligence process that may involve viewing “Criminal offence data”: this is data which relates to an individual’s criminal convictions and offences. However, this information will only be held, if at all, for the duration in which lawful processing takes place, such as recruitments, due diligence investigations for partnerships, appointment of Trustees and related matters of financial management.

1.5 Data Protection Law 

The new regulations which are in force through GDPR, strengthen and clarify the regulations of the UK Data Protection Act (1998), the purpose of which is to protect information held about people both in manual records, on computers, platforms and devices, and to enforce a particular set of standards for the processing of that information.

Under GDPR, all personal data obtained and held by us must be processed according to a set of core principles. In accordance with these principles, we will ensure that:

  1. processing will be fair, lawful and transparent
  2. data be collected for specific, explicit, and legitimate purposes
  3. data collected will be adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary for the purposes of processing
  4. data will be kept accurate and up to date. Data which is found to be inaccurate will be rectified or erased without delay
  5. data is not kept for longer than is necessary for its given purpose
  6. data will be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of personal data including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing, accidental loss, destruction or damage by using appropriate technical or organisation measures
  7. we will comply with the relevant GDPR procedures for international transferring of personal data In addition the new General data protection regulation (GDPR) seeks clarity on how permission to hold data was obtained, and how the data is maintained.

The following principles apply to the ARTICLE 19 Data Protection Policy as follows:

Principle 1 The organisation uses data for the express purpose it was collected from the data subject; that the purpose for the collection was consented to by the data subject; and that the data subject is informed as to their right to opt out rather than opt in for any additional use of data.

Principle 2 Where data has been obtained from third parties, the organisation processes data for the purpose that it has been collected by the third party; and that the data subjects have consented to the use to which data has been processed (whether by ARTICLE 19 or the third party); and that in consenting the data subject opts in to the use of data.

Principle 3 The organisation creates and maintains adequate records identifying the data held, where it came from and who we share it with. Note – “Data processing” is any operation or set of operations which is performed on personal data or on sets of personal data, whether or not by automated means, such as collection, recording, organisation, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction.

2. Data and Security 


2.1 Types of data held by us

ARTICLE 19 retains three broad categories of data which enable us to operate. The three categories are:

  • Marketing and fundraising data
  • Grant implementation, project and organisational financial data
  • Prospective, current and past employee data

Aligned with principles of lawful use, ARTICLE 19 collects and processes data gathered from individuals who have opted into our marketing and communications channels. We hold information as follows:

Marketing and fundraising data: a) Name, postal addresses, phone number; b) email addresses; c) job title and organisation; d) details of donations made by the data subject or, more usually, the organisation which they work for

Grant implementation and organisational financial data: In addition to personal information as above, during the creation and implementation of grants, and operations the following financial data is processed by ARTICLE 19:  a) tax codes and bank account details; b) insurance details and details of next of kin.

Recruitment process and employee data:  We keep several categories of personal data on our employees in order to carry out effective and efficient processes. We hold this data within our enterprise information systems and we also keep this data in a personnel file relating to each employee within our computer systems. Specifically, we hold the following types of data for employees:

  1. personal details such as name, address, phone numbers, passport details;
  2. information gathered via the recruitment process such as that entered into a CV or included in a CV cover letter, references from former employers, details on your education and employment history etc;
  3. details relating to pay administration such as National Insurance numbers, bank account details and tax codes;
  4. pension and insurance details (eg: next of kin);
  5. medical or health information;
  6. information relating to your employment with us, including:  job title and job descriptions,  salary,  terms and conditions of employment, formal and informal proceedings  such as letters of concern, disciplinary and grievance proceedings, annual leave records, appraisal and performance information, internal and external training modules undertaken; expenses paid during travel or other circumstances; benefits claimed including gym membership and dental insurance.

All of the above information is required for our processing activities. More information on processing activities are included in our privacy notice for employees.

2.2 Your rights under this policy 

You have the following rights in relation to the personal data we hold on you:

i. the right to be informed about the data we hold on you and what we do with it;

ii. the right of access to the data we hold on you. More information on this can be found in the section headed “Access to Data” below and in our separate policy on Subject Access Requests”;

iii. the right for any inaccuracies in the data we hold on you, however they come to light, to be corrected.

iv. the right to have data deleted in certain circumstances.

v. the right to restrict the processing of the data;

vi. the right to transfer the data we hold on you to another party.

vii. the right to object to the inclusion of any information;

viii. the right to regulate any automated decision-making and profiling of personal data.

(Note for employees:  more information can be found on each of these rights in our separate policy on employee rights under GDPR.)

2.3. Our Responsibilities

In order to protect the personal data of individuals, we have ensured that those responsible for processing data inside ARTICLE 19, are aware of our policies on data protection.

i. Where it is necessary for ARTICLE 19 to pass personal data to third parties for processing, we always seek assurance from the third party that it will abide by the requirements of the GDPR. For long-term suppliers we will always sign third party data protection agreements before sharing our data. Short-term suppliers will always sign a service agreement by which they are required to abide by our Data Protection Policy.

ii. We will always ensure that we have consent to share this information and that we use the data appropriately and lawfully

iii. We have also appointed employees with responsibility for reviewing and auditing our data protection systems. Each individual that handles sensitive, personal or confidential data will be nominated and named within the organisation and have clear responsibility for the processes and management of that data.

iv. Responsibilities for ARTICLE 19 data processes will include ensuring that the data is either retained, updated or destroyed in line with these policies.

v. ARTICLE 19 maintains clear retention periods and rules for updating or deleting all personal information once it is no longer required

2.4: Lawful basis for processing

We ensure that processing is only carried out where a lawful basis for processing exists, and in addition, where we have assigned a lawful basis against each processing activity. Where no other lawful basis applies, we may seek to rely on the individual’s consent in order to process data. However, we understand that consent must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous.  Where consent is to be sought, we will do so on a specific and individual basis where appropriate.

Employees will be given clear instructions on the desired processing activity, informed of the consequences of their consent and of their clear right to withdraw consent at any time.

2.5 Access to data

As stated above, individuals have a right to access the personal data that we hold on them. To exercise this right, individuals may make a Subject Access Request. We will comply with the request without delay, and within one month unless, in accordance with legislation, we decide that an extension is required. Those who make a request will be kept fully informed of any decision to extend the time limit.

No charge will be made for complying with a request unless the request is manifestly unfounded, excessive or repetitive, or unless a request is made for duplicate copies to be provided to parties other than the employee making the request. In these circumstances, further information will be required and a reasonable charge will be applied. Further information on making a subject access request is contained in our Subject Access Request policy.

2.6 Data Disclosures

ARTICLE 19 will never share data outside of the organisation without prior consent, except in the following circumstances primarily related to human resources management. Circumstances leading to such disclosures include, but are not exclusive to:

a) employee benefits operated by third parties, such as pension information, health and insurance; b) disabled individuals – where reasonable adjustments involving a third party, are required to assist them at work; c) individuals’ health data – to comply with health and safety or occupational health obligations towards the employee; d) for Statutory Sick Pay purposes; e) HR management and administration – to consider how an individual’s health affects his or her ability to do their job; f) the smooth operation of any employee insurance policies or pension plans; g) to assist law enforcement or a relevant authority to prevent or detect crime or prosecute offenders or to assess or collect any tax or duty h) provision of information to our statutory auditors and project auditors where required by donors..

These kinds of disclosures will only be made lawfully, and when strictly necessary for the purpose.

2.6 How we maintain data security

ARTICLE 19 operates with a high degree of awareness of risks associated with data privacy and security. As such we maintain a number of secure enterprise systems that support the work of finance, human resources, project management and communications and fundraising teams.

Personal information and relevant data are retained within these systems, and all processing activities are subject to our Acceptable Use Policy.  In summary data processors in ARTICLE 19 are required to implement the following practices:

A. Collecting Data

  1. Individuals are asked for their consent before ARTICLE 19 collects or stores their data.
  2. Individuals are made clearly aware of the purpose for which their data has been collected, will be used, disclosed, retained and disposed of.
  3. Individuals are given an option to ‘opt in’ to receive follow up and marketing information and the “opt-in” must follow best practice guidelines. Consent will not be inferred if an individual does not respond to a consent request.
  4. Individuals will be informed of their right to complain to the Information Commissioners Office if ARTICLE 19 is found in breach of data protection rules.
  5. ARTICLE 19 employees, will only use data for the purposes for which permission have been given.
  6. We ensure that consent is appropriate for the age and capacity of the individual and to the particular circumstance. (Specific rules apply for individuals who may be children or vulnerable adults.)
  7. If there is a need to collect children’s data ARTICLE 19 will verify peoples ages and gather parental or guardian consent for anyone under 16 years of age.

B. Storing Data

  1. Data collected by ARTICLE 19 is stored securely in our  enterprise information systems.
  2. No data is stored on platforms such as Google Docs. (Google stores and backs up its data in the US, which is contrary to EU data protection law.)
  3. Data is downloaded from our systems and processed on excel sheets, prior to either: a. reloading into the systems. b. Producing a mailing list for which consent has been provided.
  4. Under no circumstances is personal data retained on spreadsheets once the purpose of doing so has been completed.
  5. Personal data stored on hard drives on various document formats (MS Office suite; Apple formats; Adobe PDFs etc) should be deleted and shredded, once the purpose has been fulfilled.
  6. ARTICLE 19 will ensure that its own website CMS has functionality which allows data to be safely encrypted, transferred and stored within its own secure enterprise systems.
  7. Under no circumstances should personal data be downloaded onto USB devices, or distributed by mobile devices for use outside ARTICLE 19 and its affiliates.

C. Sharing Data

  1. In all cases, individuals will be asked for consent to share information across ARTICLE 19 entities, and where necessary, third parties.
  2. Individuals will always be given an option to ‘opt in’ for use of their data for other means
  3. And in all cases, consent will be appropriate for the age and capacity of the individual and to the particular circumstance
  4. Before sharing any data externally, approval is obtained from a member of the Senior Management Team. Data that is shared after approval is encrypted.
  5. Before approving the sharing of data, a third party data sharing agreement has to be in place within the organisation.
  6. Data that is confidential, sensitive, or poses an explicit security risk is never shared by anyone other than a senior manager and only with the approval of the Executive Director.
  7. A record of all instances where data has been shared with third parties is maintained. The list identifies the purposes for which it is shared, the security measures undertaken and the nature of the consent by the individual.
  8. Sensitive data might include:
  • Passport information shared with transport agencies an hotels
  • Budgetary information (including employees’ salaries)
  • Personal contact details (email addresses, phone numbers)
  • Personal information about an individual who we are working with
  • Confidential details about a project

D. Removing Data

  1. When removing data stored on electronic files, the information will be permanently removed from the device.
  2. Paper documentation with sensitive information, such as recruitment documentation will be destroyed using a cross-cut shredder or a service that guarantees safe removal and disposal for any paper files that no longer is need.
  3. Staff do not under any circumstances leave personal data attributable to individuals, on their desk.


3. Third Party Processing and International Data Transfers


3.1 Third Parties

Where we engage third parties to process data on our behalf, we use a data processing agreement with the third party to ensure that your data meets the requirements of GDPR and that your data is protected to at least the same standards, once it is transferred.

As noted above, the range of third parties includes those relevant to employees, such as payroll and pension providers. However, for all individuals we will never share your data with any third party without your consent.

3.2 International Data Transfers

ARTICLE 19 may be required to transfer personal data to its Affiliates in country or countries outside of the EEA. Transfers may take place because it relates to an ARTICLE 19 activity, such as a campaign, or to the announcement of new resources or events. Where this occurs, safeguards are adopted as detailed in clause 2.6 above .

3.3 Data Processing Risks

Throughout ARTICLE 19  many individuals collect, store and use different types of data, including contact details, personal information and sensitive budgetary information. When we lawfully share this information internally and externally with other organisations it is vital that all (internal or external) parties involved recognise the risks of handling potentially sensitive data, and comply with the policies that seek to protect the organisation and individuals.

That is why we have agreements in place that require us to protect information when share certain types of information between ourselves and third parties.  In doing so we seek to avoid risks associated with :

  • Breaches of confidentiality eg: information shared inappropriately and without permission
  • Endangerment to individuals: where an individual’s safety and security has been placed at risk
  • Reputational damage: eg: companies and individuals could be subject to complaints if data is obtained, stored, managed and shared inappropriately
  • Enforcement Action; for serious breaches and non-compliance with GDPR rules, severe fines and penalties such as information audits may result in serious risk to the functioning of the organisation.

3.4 Notification of data breach

All data breaches will be recorded on our Data Breach Register. Where legally required, we will report a breach to the Information Commissioner within 72 hours of discovery.  In addition, where legally required, we will inform the individual whose data was subject to breach.  \

(Note: A data breach relates to the loss of personal data and should be notified following the procedure described. A security breach relates to the loss of equipment containing personal data.)

Where a security breach has been notified that also involves personal data, we follow the data breach policy. Examples of a breach include:

  • personal data accidentally being sent to someone (either internally or externally) who does not have a legitimate need to see it;
  • databases containing personal data being compromised, for example being illegally accessed by individuals outside the CMA;
  • loss or theft of laptops, mobile devices, or paper records containing personal data;
  • paper records containing personal data being left unprotected for anyone to see, for example:- — files left out when the owner is away from their desk and at the end of the day; — papers not properly disposed of in secure disposal bins that can then be extracted or seen by others; — papers left at photocopying machines;
  • employees accessing or disclosing personal data outside the requirements or authorisation of their job;
  • being deceived by a third party into improperly releasing the personal data of another person; and
  • the loss of personal data due to unforeseen circumstances such as a fire or flood.

More information on breach notification is available in our Breach Notification policy.

4. Data Protection Roles 

4.1 ARTICLE 19 data protection roles

In the context of GDPR the entities described as ARTICLE 19, (comprising the international office and regional ARTICLE 19 affiliate offices) constitute the role of Data Controller.  Even though several ARTICLE 19 offices operate outside of the EU, all offices must comply with standards of data protection in our polices, and the GDPR.

Data Protection Officer:  The GDPR require organisations of a certain type and size to have a dedicated Data Protection Officer (DPO). It is broadly accepted that ARTICLE 19 falls into the category of organisation where the responsibilities of the DPO  are handled through the Senior Management Team.   These responsibilities include: i) Ensuring that there is a data policy in place, that it is up to date, monitored and actioned;  ii) Assessing if any incidents involving data breaches are required to be communicated to the information commissioner and data subjects; iii) Advising the wider organisation on data use, what we can do with it and how we are allowed to use it; iv) Ensuring ARTICLE 19 terms and conditions are correct and up to date and that information is maintained in accordance with the terms and conditions;  v). Assessing the risk of reputational damage of any data breach; vi) Communicating to the wider organization any data changes and updates that should be known to them; vii) Conducting a regular data audit to ensure that existing data is being used and maintained appropriately;  viii) Advising on the appropriate timeframe data can be used for, conducting a regular review of the use of existing data and advising on what should be destroyed.

Data Processor:  This role is assumed by a minority of salaried ARTICLE 19 employees who are responsible for processing data through our enterprise systems. All employees in these roles have been identified and undergo training on data protection and security.

All new employees must read and understand the policies on data protection as part of their induction, and receive training, covering information about confidentiality, data protection and the actions to take upon identifying a potential data breach. All employees who need to use our enterprise systems are trained to protect individuals’ private data, to ensure data security, and to understand the consequences to them as individuals and the organisational of any potential lapses and breaches of the ARTICLE 19’s policies and procedures. In practice all employees are expected to abide by the Acceptable Use Policy.

5. Retention and Record Keeping

5.1 Statutory retention periods

ARTICLE 19 retains personal information for the formal statutory periods to facilitate several organisation wide functions, such as human resources management, financial management and governance.

ARTICLE 19 Retention Periods


  • Retirement Benefits Schemes:  – 6 years from the end of the scheme year
  • Statutory Maternity Pay (calculations, certificates, medical evidence) – 3 years after the end on the tax year in which the period ends
  • Wage/salary (overtime, bonuses, expenses) – 6 years
  • National Minimum Wage – 3 years after the end of the consequent pay reference period
  • Working hours – 2 years after they are made


  • Application forms and interview notes – 6 months to a year
  • Assessments under health and safety regulations and records of consultations with safety representatives and committees  – permanently
  • HMRC approvals  – permanently
  • Money purchase details – 6 years after transfer or value taken
  • Pension scheme investment policies – 12 years from the ending of any benefit payable under the policy
  • Pensioners’ records  – 12 years after end of benefit
  • Personnel files, training records (disciplinary records, working time records)  – 6 years after end of employment
  • Redundancy details, calculations of payments, refunds, notification to the Secretary of State – 6 years after date of redundancy
  • Statutory Sick Pay records, calculations, certificates, self-certificates – at least 3 months after the end of the period of sick leave, but 6 years after the employment ceases advisable
  • Trade Union agreements – 10 years after end

5.2 Record keeping

ARTICLE 19 keeps records of its processing activities including the purpose for the processing and retention, in the form of a data asset record. Each record includes: i). the name and contact details of the controller and the data protection officer; ii). the purposes of the processing; iii). a description of the categories of data subjects and of the categories of personal data; iv). the categories of recipients to whom the personal data have been or will be disclosed including recipients in third countries or international organisations; v). where applicable, transfers of personal data to a third country or an international organisation, including the identification of that third country or international organisation the documentation of suitable safeguards; vi). where possible, the envisaged time limits for erasure of the different categories of data; vii). where possible, a general description of the technical and organisational security measures in place.

Each data processor maintains a record of all categories of processing activities carried out on behalf of ARTICLE 19, containing: i). the name and contact details of the processor or processors and of each controller on behalf of which the processor is acting, and, where applicable, of the controller’s or the processor’s representative, and the data protection officer; ii).the categories of processing carried out on behalf of each controller; iii). where applicable, transfers of personal data to a third country or an international organisation, including the identification of that third country or international organisation and documentation of suitable safeguards; iv). where possible, a general description of the technical and organisational security measures.

The records are maintained in writing, including in electronic form. ARTICLE 19 shall make the record available to the supervisory authority on request.

Although these obligations do not apply to an enterprise of the size of ARTICLE 19 (employing fewer than 250 people) because any data breach has the potential to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of data subjects, we consider the record keeping an essential part of our data protection policy.


Last updated May 2018