May 192017

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

One of the biggest shake ups of European privacy legislation which is expected to have a significant impact on the way business is done comes into force in 12 months’ time.

It’s going to have a huge impact on how businesses store and process data and carries tough penalties and hefty fines for breaches.

The Government will implement the General Data Protection Regulation and it is expected that the UK will continue to comply with GDPR after Brexit – so all businesses should be assessing how they use personal data and how this legislation will affect the sector in which they operate.

Advanced planning is key to ensuring compliance with the new legislation which comes into force from 25 May 2018, according to Austen Clark, managing director of Clark Integrated Technologies.

 “The changes that will come with the 2018 deadline will have implications for businesses of all sizes that handle the personal data of EU residents, regardless of location,” Mr Clark states.

“The GDPR is going to have a huge impact on how businesses store and process data and they need to act now to make sure they are properly prepared for this major overhaul of data protection legislation which will impact on us all. Dedicating time to this now will ensure businesses have procedures in place to be able to comply with the new regulation.

“This isn’t just for big businesses – a gym that offers a members’ loyalty scheme or a one-person chiropractor that asks patients to complete a wellbeing form will have to ensure that personal data is stored in line with the new regulations and not breach them.”

GDPR will directly apply in EU countries and replaces ageing European and national data protection legislation, with companies given until until May next year to adopt the measures and become compliant.

Influenced by technological advances, it introduces new accountability obligations, stronger rights and ongoing restrictions on international data flows. GDPR seeks to protect individuals whose personal data is handled by companies. Data processing refers to the handling, storage, evaluation, reference or general use of information relating to individuals. Businesses should only be collecting necessary data and discarding it when it is no longer required to protect data subject rights.

So an online retailer running a small e-commerce site that holds customers’ personal details is subject to GDPR regulations. And any company or individual providing marketing, IT, accountancy or business support that may have access to a wealth of client and customer data needs to ensure this is collected, stored and protected in specific ways.

One of the biggest considerations of the new regulations is ensuring sensitive data is handled correctly.

Government help to prepare for the regulation is available, with webinars, training courses and data flow audits and Mr Clark suggests a good starting point is to carry out a gap analysis of current processing in line with GDPR.

“Understand what data you hold, how you are using it, and make sure that you are practising good data hygiene by limiting access to data to only those who need it, and ensuring that authentication protocols are up-to-scratch for those users,” Mr Clark advises.

“Businesses should also consider deleting data that is no longer required so that it does not become an unnecessary risk.”

Clark IT is already working with clients to assess how GDPR will impact on them and the sector in which they operate, to guide them through the complexities of the legislation and to ensure they become fully compliant. The IT specialists can take clients through the process from start to finish using its unique portal and working with partners to cover legal, datacentre, insurance and finance matters.

While it may seem like a daunting process, GDPR should not be viewed as unnecessary red tape says Mr Clark, who predicts that the legislation has the ability to bring benefits to both businesses and individuals.

Mr Clark states:

“This creates a new single data protection act, and has scope to bring increased consistency to data protection practices, eliminating problems arising from the existence of different national variations.

“There are enhanced powers given to data protection authorities in tackling non-compliance and it will also be easier for individuals to claim against data controllers where their data privacy has been infringed.

 “GDPR will also give individuals greater control and rights over their personal data. As a result, individuals will be able to request that businesses delete their no longer necessary or accurate personal data.

“The regulation could also prove to be an advance in the war against cybercrime, given mandatory breach notifications. Taking GDPR seriously will see businesses invest in, and demonstrate, high levels of security which could in turn raise customer trust.”

Clark IT based near Turriff in Aberdeenshire is one Scotland’s leading independent providers of managed ICT solutions with a broad range of corporate and commercial clients not only in the North-east but across Scotland and beyond.

Its clients benefit from the specialist knowledge of its 26-strong workforce to support their systems and through managed IT services. Clients also benefit from Pro-active IT Support, 24/7 Monitoring, A virtual IT Manager, predictive IT costs and a strategic IT plan tailor-made for their business.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Nov 102016

grant-keenan2With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

A leading Aberdeenshire organic recycling company is warning local food businesses to comply with Scottish waste legislation or face receiving new on-the-spot fines.
Keenan Recycling, which is headquartered in New Deer, is urging business owners to comply with their duty of care for waste to avoid the £300 fines that have been imposed on non-compliant firms since June this year.

Since 1st January 2016, it has been a legal requirement for all businesses that produce more than 5kg of food waste per week to have food preparation waste, spoiled items and plate waste collected separately for recycling by a registered waste carrier.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has started its fixed monetary penalty (FMP) campaign to identify businesses that are persistently non-compliant with the duty to separate food waste and other key materials for recycling.

Keenan Recycling, which turns food and garden waste into compost for farming and horticultural use, was the first company in Scotland to provide businesses with the opportunity to recycle items such as leftover food and coffee grounds.

The firm is now working alongside organisations such as SEPA, whose FMP campaign targets offices, retailers, restaurants, hotels, bars, cafes and takeaways that are failing to acknowledge and adhere to the regulations.

SEPA is tackling the issue by working in partnership with local authorities to identify persistent non-compliance within organisations across Scotland. Those found to be making no effort to make improvements to their waste management system will face a £300 fixed monetary penalty.

Keenan Recycling provides comprehensive guidance and advice to its customers, ensuring that they are all fully up to date with waste regulation.

Eleanor Strain, senior policy officer for SEPA’s national waste unit, said:

“Since starting the campaign, most offenders are making a conscious effort to train their staff to recycle and secure an improved service from their waste management contractor. The penalty system we’ve introduced is a much more proportionate enforcement tool, and gets the attention of small business owners who may not be aware of the legislation.

“Whilst I appreciate that SMEs have lots of other pressures, it’s important that they are aware of laws which can have a direct impact on their business. It’s simple to remain within the law, make sure that  recycling systems are established and all bins are labelled to avoid mixing food waste, recyclables and non-recyclables.”

Grant Keenan (pictured), managing director of Keenan Recycling, said:

“Companies need to ensure that they have suitable plans in place to keep them in line with the duty to recycle. Disposing of food waste will keep them within the law and also helps the environment.

“Businesses that are struggling to abide by waste legislation need to remember that they may lose their consumer confidence, as customers want to know that businesses are acting responsibly and are helping to look after the environment.”

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Oct 182012

“On 11th June 2012, the government announced significant changes to the family migration rules in the UK. The key changes, which will largely come into force from 9 July 2012, include a new income requirement of £18,600 for people wishing to sponsor a partner to come to the UK, an extended period, of from two to five years, before spouses and partners can apply for settlement in the UK, and a review of the application of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights to immigration cases.”  – Migrants Rights Network 2012

Dear Citizen.

As you may be aware, the UK government has recently changed its policy on family immigration. The changes, in my opinion, are regressive, sexist, classist and racist and must be challenged.

The reforms will disproportionally affect those on lower incomes.

According to the Migration Observatory, this policy will prevent 47% of the UK’s working population from sponsoring a foreign partner to settle in Britain(Migration Observatory, 2012).

That figure increases if the sponsor happens to live in an area outside SE England where incomes are lower, for example, Scotland(48%) or Wales(51%). The changes will also disproportionally affect women, who are still paid less than men, ethnic minorities, who often earn lower wages and younger couples, who tend to be paid less.

The European Convention on Human Rights Article 8 grants the ‘Right to Family Life’ to all citizens but this legislation would appear to undermine that Right and remove access to it for a large number of citizens. Migrants’ groups, such as the Migrants Rights Network, have also expressed ‘real concern’ at governmental plans to provide strict guidelines to UK Border Agency caseworkers.

There are also concerns about advice given to courts on how rights to private and family life should be weighed up against the wider public interest in immigration cases. In a Family Migration briefing from earlier this year, the Migrants’ Rights Network stated,

“There are real concerns about the implications of Parliament setting specific guidelines on this matter, particularly where they are directly aimed at reducing the numbers of successful Article 8 cases in the courts. We are concerned that this change could result in rule-making which undermines the right to family life in favour of political, rather than public, interest.”

On a more emotive level, it concerns and saddens me that Conservative ideology and its intrinsic prejudice, when translated into immigration policy, can ruthlessly tear apart relationships and families. It is of extra-special concern to me that these policies which target the poorest in our society would go virtually unchallenged by other political parties in the UK Parliament.

I write to you today not only to bring this issue to your attention, but also to ask for help and advice on this matter as I am directly affected by this most regressive of policies. I earn well below the £18,600 threshold to be a sponsor and I feel that my only option to remain with my long term, non-EU, partner is to leave the UK and attempt to settle in a country with a more progressive approach to immigration.

Thank you,

Sad Lover, Aberdeen

 Photo by Jeff Latimer/Flickr (Creative Commons)

  •  Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Apr 262012

The Lush shop in Aberdeen’s Union Street is active this Saturday in campaigning against animal testing for cosmetics. With thanks to Lush Aberdeen.

Humane Society International and Lush Cosmetics have joined forces to launch the largest-ever global campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics.
The campaign, launched to coincide with World Week for Animals in Laboratories, is being rolled out simultaneously in over 700 Lush Ltd shops across forty-seven countries including the United States, Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Russia.

Troy Seidle, director of research & toxicology for Humane Society International, said:

“Animal testing is the ugly secret of the beauty industry, and it’s time for it to stop. Thousands of animals such as rabbits and mice continue to endure chemical poisoning tests just to produce new lipsticks and shampoos, and that’s simply unacceptable in a modern society. So we are thrilled to be joining forces with Lush to campaign for an end to the suffering, and we look forward to turning the whole world cruelty-free.” 

Across the UK and European Union – where animal testing of cosmetics is already banned ­– Lush and Humane Society International are campaigning to ban the sale of cosmetics tested on animals abroad.

A sales ban is due to be implemented in March 2013, but EU policy makers are considering delaying or weakening it, so consumers are being urged to sign the Humane Society International’s Cruelty Free 2013 petition in Lush stores and online at

Outside the EU, animal testing for cosmetics continues, and is even a legal requirement in some countries. Humane Society International offices in Australia, Canada, India, and their headquarters in the United States are joining with Lush to end cosmetics cruelty, with nationwide consumer campaigns in each region. Humane Society International will also be working with politicians, regulators and scientists to press for change.

On Saturday April 28th Lush Aberdeen will be recognising Animals in Laboratories Week by welcoming Aberdeen Animal Rights representatives, who will be in-store to talk about animal testing.

They will also have information about Veganism for anyone interested in pursuing this animal friendly lifestyle.

Suzanne Kelly will also be in-store to talk about the Tullos Hill deer cull which is a local campaign that many in the community are against. She will be on hand to answer questions about the cull and the current situation on Tullos Hill, and there is a petition to sign for those willing to add their voice to the on-going campaign to stop the cull.

The ‘Compounders on Tour’ will also be in-store this Saturday, so people can make a free collector’s item bath ballistic when they come in to sign the petition against animal testing in the cosmetics industry and the Tullos Hill deer cull. They can also sign their name on the shop window!’

Deborah Cowan, Store Manager for Lush Aberdeen said:

‘This is a campaign that myself and my Team feel very passionately about. We want to collect as many signatures as possible from caring Aberdonians so that our local voice can be added to the hundreds of thousands of people who are signing this incredibly important petition across the globe. This is our chance to really make a difference to the ethics behind cruelty-free legislation in the cosmetics industry.’

Hilary Jones, Ethics Director at Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, said:

“The animals have waited over 20 years for this legislation to be fully enacted. Whilst the laws were not strong enough, companies like Lush have adopted voluntary codes of practice to cut animal testing from their business. 

“But animals should not have to rely on voluntary codes of conduct, they should be protected by robust laws which force ALL companies to adopt humane methods to bring their products to market.  The public demanded this legislation in the 80s and 90s – it is time to honour the promise given to them to take animals out of cosmetics testing.”

Lush and Humane Society International believe that testing on animals to produce new cosmetic products or ingredients is morally and scientifically unjustified.

  Since establishing 17 years ago, Lush Cosmetics has been driven by innovation and its ethics

Animals are subjected to considerable pain and distress during toxicity tests; even pregnant animals are used and their unborn babies chemically poisoned. Animal toxicity tests are also scientifically unreliable for assuring human safety, because animals and humans can respond very differently to the same chemicals.

Cosmetics can easily be produced without animal testing by using the thousands of existing ingredients for which safety data is already available, and advanced non-animal testing methods such as 3D human skin models, test-tube cell tests and computer models.

Humane Society International and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organisations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, Humane Society International has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands-on programmes. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — on the Web at

Lush does not conduct or commission tests on animals and operates a fixed cut off date for individual ingredients, requiring that they have not been tested by or on behalf of a manufacturer since 1st June 2007 at the latest.

Since establishing 17 years ago, Lush Cosmetics has been driven by innovation and its ethics. Lush places emphasis on fresh ingredients like organic fruits and vegetables.  Lush supports Fair Trade and Community Trade initiatives and leads the cosmetics industry in combating over-packaging by running public awareness campaigns and developing products that can be sold ‘naked’ to the consumer without any packaging.

Lush has been awarded the RSPCA Good Business Award for 2006 and 2007, the 2006 PETA Trailblazer Award for Animal Welfare and the International Fund for Animal Welfare ‘Business of the Year’ award for 2010. Co-founders Mark and Mo Constantine were awarded OBEs for services to the beauty industry in the New Year’s Honours list 2010.