I would like to see the Data Protection Act emphasise getting data right in the first place, at all levels in public bodies and organisations. Officers should be well trained in accurate data collection and there should be a culture of evidence-based data, especially in complaints procedures if services go wrong.

Organisations should have to provide evidence for everything they say, and not just a customer, client or patient having to evidence statements.

Organisations should have to address the matter of evidence before a client has to resort to contacting the Information Commissioner's Office.

Data should not be hidden, whether deliberately or otherwise, to protect an organisation.

Amendments to inaccuracies need to go further than merely attaching a note or report to an organisation's inaccurate data to ensure its accuracy. The organisation's erroneous information should be able to be deleted if there is no supporting evidence or in the face of evidence that counters their position. This should not automatically have to be a legalised court procedure.

I would like to see data accurately checked and agreed by customers and patients at the time of its collection whenever possible. Evidence should permit data to be altered as required. Clients and patients should be appreciated for ensuring the accuracy of information and treated as fairly and equally as the organisation's officers and legal representatives.

Accuracy in Data Protection IS the Protection.

Why is this idea important?

Without accurate data collection, erros can lead to life-threatening situations. This can include in medical settings, but extends to relatively lesser known dangers, such as the recording of school bullying and the threat of child suicide related to this.

Often, in complaints processes, there is no law or statutory duty that forces organisations to be fair and decent in representing data. Clients and patients are frequently inexperienced at representing themselves in complaints processes.

Many complaints sytems are "process driven" after an initial poor stage of biased data collection. This then means that evidence can sometimes never be seen or heard at all. There follows a procedure in which the process of the complaint is reviewed rather than its content. This means that a complaint is checked in terms of the fact that a complaints process happened and not in terms of whether the complaint was even understood or interpretted properly in the first place.

"Contents driven" complaints continue to assess the complainants' issues and evidence from all sides all the way through the procedure. This allows for complaints to be resolved earlier and poor practice to be addressed.

Changing the DPA in this way would protect people most when they are at their most vulnerable: when they may be unable or too unwell to counter legalistic arguments made against their raised concerns, owing to how a serious injustice, for example by maladministration, has affected them.

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