Employee blacklist gets Data Protection go-ahead

A register of staff sacked for gross misconduct used by hundreds of
organisations is expected to be accessed more widely after being cleared under
the Data Protection Act.

The Employers’ Mutual Protection Service database – which contains some
60,000 names – has been in limbo for the past 12 months pending the
introduction of the legislation.

But now Lodge Service, which runs the register on a subscription basis, says
it has been given the all clear.

A spokeswoman said few new organisations have subscribed to the service,
available since 1980, in the past year.

"Quite a lot of organisations have been holding off because they did
not know how the legislation would affect it. Now the situation is clear we
expect a bit of a rush."

The Data Protection Act came into force at the beginning of March.
Organisations have until 24 October 2001 to comply, although some parts of the
law come into effect immediately (Personnel Today, 29 February).

The spokeswoman added, "We have spoken to the Data Protection registrar
and have been told that as long as certain steps are taken then the service
will not be affected by the legislation."

She said conditions include obtaining consent for a check from job
applicants.

"The database contains basic details such as the name of the individual
and the date they were sacked. It is then up to employers to contact each
other."

Guidance aimed at helping organisations prepare for full implementation of
the law has still not been published, and is not expected for a number of months.

By Helen Rowe

www.dataprotection.gov.uk

www.lodgeservice.co.uk

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