What does the Information Commissioner do?
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is the UK's independent public authority set up to uphold information rights. It does this by promoting good practice, ruling on complaints, providing information to individuals and organisations and taking appropriate action when the law is broken.
The Information Commissioner's Office enforces and oversees the following legislation:
The ICO is responsible for data protection in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; it also has some international duties.
The ICO is responsible for the Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations, and have limited responsibilities under the INSPIRE Regulations, in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and UK-wide public authorities based in Scotland. Scotland has complementary INSPIRE Regulations and its own Scottish Environmental Information Regulations and the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. These are regulated by the Scottish Information Commissioner.
There are a number of tools available to the ICO for taking action to change the behaviour of organisations and individuals that collect, use and keep personal information. They include criminal prosecution, non-criminal enforcement and audit. The Information Commissioner also has the power to serve a monetary penalty notice on a data controller.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, Environmental Information Regulations, INSPIRE Regulations and associated codes of practice, the ICO's tools include non-criminal enforcement and assessments of good practice.
The Information Commissioner is appointed by the Queen and reports directly to Parliament. The Commissioner is supported by the management board. The current Information Commissioner is Christopher Graham
The ICO's main office is in Wilmslow, Cheshire. Its three regional offices in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales provide relevant services where legislation or administrative structure is different.