Number of ICO-registered organisations rises 160% since GDPR

According to stats released by outgoing data and digital infrastructure minister Julia Lopez, the number of entities registered as personal data processors is now approaching a total of 1.2 million

The number of organisations registered with the UK’s data-protection regulator has increased almost threefold in a period of six years.

Outside of certain exemptions, all organisations that process sensitive personal info are required to register this status with regulator the Information Commissioner’s Office and pay an annual fee. For organisations with either 250 employees of fewer, or a yearly turnover of no more than £36m, a payment of up to £60 is required. For larger companies and public bodies that exceed both of those criteria, the annual charge is £2,900.

As of the end of 2016, there were a collective total of 457,846 organisations and individuals that had registered with the ICO. At this point, the new GDPR regime had been in effect for a little over six months, but was still 18 months away from being applied in practice.

This, coupled with a campaign launched by the ICO in late 2019 “to contact all registered companies in the UK reminding them of their legal responsibility to pay a data protection fee” may have contributed to a major spike in registered data processors since 2017.

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As of May 2024, there are now 1,183,158 discrete organisations that have completed the watchdog’s registration process.

These figures were revealed in the answer given to a recent written parliamentary question by Julia Lopex – who was, until the pre-election dissolution of parliament – the minister for data and digital infrastructure.

“Under the Data Protection (Charges and Information) Regulations 2018, individuals and organisations that process personal data need to register and pay a data protection fee to the Information Commissioner’s Office, unless they are exempt,” she added.

Lopez was answering a question from a predecessor as digital minister – former health secretary Matt Hancock, who has left parliament after 14 years as an MP.

Sam Trendall

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