How to build a data protection governance framework

Housing Associations have access to valuable and potentially sensitive data about the people who live in your homes. Properly managed, that data can help build customer relationships based on trust, and bring your purpose and values to life.

Do you know how your organisation is handling that data? Do you have effective systems in place to ensure your customer data is accurate, secure and never misused? Do you have governance measures in place to help evidence that? Whether you manage your data compliance in-house or outsource it, it’s critical to understand your responsibilities and be able to demonstrate that your systems are working and you are a safe pair of hands.

Good data management and governance, when it becomes part of the culture rather than just a tick-box exercise, will help organisations unlock their full potential. But poor data management and governance risks your resources, efficiency, and financial viability, which in turn reduces your ability to serve your customers.

Building a Governance Framework around your handling of customer data will help you not only comply with data protection legislation, but also provide assurances and evidence of your compliance. Managing customer data within a robust governance framework builds trust, and helps you fulfil your purpose, while avoiding expensive and damaging data-related issues.

So, how to build a data protection governance framework? We’ve developed a six-part plan to build a framework:

  1. Recognise that customer data is a ‘RIOT’ – brainstorm the risks, opportunities, issues & threats of handling data.
  2. Appoint roles and responsibilities for data protection and data protection governance.
  3. Create engagement and communications plans and materials, for internal and external comms.
  4. Build appropriate risk management processes – establish your risk appetite for data-related risks, and build processes for assessing, controlling and monitoring those risks.
  5. Embed effective guidance for handling of customer data. This involves updating existing documents traditionally recognised as ‘data protection’ documents, but also reviewing and updating written policies and procedures that cover anything that includes handling customer data, to ensure they reflect compliant practices. Update training plans as appropriate.
  6. Implement monitoring and reporting of the effectiveness of the data protection governance framework, and use the outcomes for continuous improvement.

I won’t pretend it’s a simple or quick fix – the governance framework will continue to develop as you monitor the report outcomes and tailor the framework to your organisation. Each step in the six-part plan provides value, and the completed framework will help you unlock your full potential by increasing data quality, assurance, efficiency and trust.

To assess your current status, fill in your details to access our free DP Governance health check, which is especially designed for housing providers. Simply email your completed health check back to us and we’ll send a free Risks and Recommendations Risk Report:

If you have any questions about data protection, either about governance frameworks or anything else related to personal data, book a free call!

Clare draws on over 20 years of experience in risk management and quality assurance, including ten years in data protection, to provide clear and practical advice and training.

Don’t tell everyone (shh!) but Clare’s favourite sector is social housing. She worked in a large housing association for 12 years, although she loves to support all values-led organisations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *