The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is a UK independent public body responsible for upholding information rights and data privacy.
ICO and data protection
Under the requirements of the Data Protection Act, businesses and organisations that handle personal data must register with the ICO as data controllers, unless they're exempt.
Failure to register and notify the ICO about the data your business holds is a criminal offence. Find out more about notifying the ICO about personal information.
There are currently more than 400,000 registered data controllers. The ICO maintains a data protection public register where they publish the name and address of these data controllers, as well as a description of the kind of processing they do. You can search the ICO's register online.
Important: Data controllers will be subject to more stringent rules under the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), due to come into force on 25 May 2018. The GDPR will also place new obligations on the 'data processors'. Find out what's changing and how to prepare your business for the GDPR.
ICO and other legislation
In addition to the data protection legislation, the ICO also enforces and oversees:
- the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act
- the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations
- the Environmental Information Regulations
- the Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations
- INSPIRE Regulations
Find out more about the role of the ICO.
Know your legal responsibilities
- Do you need a licence?
- Get the right business insurance
- Comply with the law when providing goods and services
- Know your customers' rights
- Distance and online selling rules
- Understand pricing legislation
- Buying goods from outside NI
- Selling goods outside NI
- Storing or using personal information
- Pay your business rates
- Understand staff contracts and your responsibilities
- Taking on contractors and subcontractors
- What you need to do about health and safety
- Know your legal obligations on pensions
Understand tax and VAT
Sell and market your products or services