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Why you need to consider the ICO fee

If it’s not enough getting put onto the Google Ads partner directory, I’ve now got a new publication – the ICO registration directory listing. Not really a feat, nor had to pass any examination but is critically important to UK businesses and here is why.

“Under the Data Protection Act 2018, if an organisation processes personal information then they are required to pay a data protection fee”. This is not very well known – just doing a few searches of competitors, brands and some clients, I can see some of them are missing paying the fee. Companies that fail to pay the fee or declare they are exempt can receive a penalty of up to £4,000 – and it seems that companies are starting to get caught out by this – I think there were over 10 penalties on average a month last year.

This is an annual license – you either need to pay up or inform the ICO that you are exempt.

Where should you start?

There is a handy online tool which sorts out some preliminary questions, providing users with an answer if they need to pay. The most common form of communication is a letter, but don’t rely on this. Once you are qualified to pay, setting up a direct debit (at the time of writing this) saves £5 off your subscription too.

Why is this important?

Stepping aside from the penalty, the benefit of correctly paying this fee is helping to fund the ICO. They do amazing work in protecting data and consumers, supporting everyone paid or not.

This fee isn’t new, I believe it has been going on for over 30 years – what has changed is how a typical business processes personal data, I use invoicing, and mailshots for clients and have access to tens of thousands of records. This fee is also not subjective to just marketing but things such as CCTV collection can also be a deciding factor if you need to pay.

Over 1m businesses have paid the fee, which is the highest it has ever been before, with compliance growing by the day – if you have any concerns about if you should pay – head on over to their preliminary questionnaire.