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Understanding GDPR in the UK: Key Players and Their Roles

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was oriented in the UK in May 2018, and since then, it has been a topic of discussion among businesses of all sizes. 

GDPR is developed to protect the personal data of individuals and to give them more control over their data. It applies to all businesses that process personal data, regardless of their size or location. 

This article takes a closer look at GDPR in the UK, the key players involved, and their roles.

New GDPR after Brexit

A new domestic data privacy regulation called the United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulation (UK-GDPR) went into effect on January 31, 2020. It is nearly identical to the GDPR in the EU. However, the EU made an adequacy determination for the UK, guaranteeing the ongoing free flow of personal data from EU citizens to the UK.

The European Commission’s judgement about the UK’s adequacy is only valid for four years; it is not automatically renewed. In June 2025, a new adequacy process will be necessary to establish whether the UK currently provides an equivalent level of data protection. 

This indicates that website owners must comply with two separate versions of the GDPR. One of them is applicable if you have users from the EU, while the other is applicable if you have users from the UK.

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

The ICO is the UK’s independent regulator for data protection and privacy. It is responsible for enforcing GDPR in the UK and has the power to investigate and take action against businesses that breach GDPR. 

The ICO also provides guidance to businesses on how to comply with GDPR and helps individuals understand their rights under GDPR.

The Data Protection Officer (DPO)

Certain companies must designate a data protection officer in accordance with GDPR (DPO). The DPO is in charge of overseeing the company’s GDPR compliance and serving as a liaison between the company and the ICO. 

The DPO must have expertise in data protection and privacy and must be independent in their role. They can be an internal employee or an external consultant.

The Data Controller

The person who chooses the objectives and tools for processing personal data is known as the data controller. 

They are responsible for ensuring that personal data is processed in accordance with GDPR and for responding to requests from individuals regarding their personal data. They may also be liable for any breaches of GDPR.

The Data Processor

The individual or entity that manages personal data on behalf of the data controller is the data processor. They are required to adhere to GDPR and only process personal data in compliance with the data controller’s instructions. They might also be held accountable for any GDPR violations.


Under GDPR, individuals have a number of rights regarding their personal data. These include the right to access their data, the right to have it corrected, the right to have it erased, and the right to object to any data processing. 

Individuals also have the right to data portability, which means they can request that their personal data be transferred to another organisation.


The GDPR has brought about significant changes in data protection regulations in the UK. The regulation has established a strict set of rules and guidelines that organisations must comply with to ensure the protection of personal data.

It is a crucial step in protecting individuals’ privacy rights and ensuring that their personal data is kept safe. Organisations must adhere to these regulations to avoid hefty fines and maintain their reputation.

Briefed can help with your data protection requirements! We have a team of barristers who help businesses manage legal compliance successfully. 

We offer a wide range of highly effective compliance solutions in data & privacy, equality & diversity and climate & sustainability. We also specialise in providing training, compliance, and business support services to suit your organisation’s needs. Call today to get started!

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