General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) - Getting Ready

These regulations will apply from 25th May 2018. As a company we have been registered with the ICO for many years as part of our overall policy to handle individual’s data responsibly. The current regulatory legislation is the Data Protection Act (DPA). We do view the security of data as our fundamental responsibility to all stakeholders, whether they are suppliers, employees, clients or any other individual or entity that we or our systems integrate with.

Our rigorous approach to the DPA requirements means that we have in many respects already introduced many of the measures expected by the GDPR.

While the nature of the business does not require the appointment of a Data Protection Officer, the Board of Directors has tasked a cross-functional committee, headed by the Group Accountant, with ensuring that we comply with the GDPR and in areas where we are non-compliant that measures will be introduced to deliver compliance with the GDPR.

Our preparations for the introduction of the GDPR are as follows:

  • Training – Our GDPR committee has received specific training in this area as a starting point. This has allowed us to develop a plan whereby we can broaden the training through-out business.
  • Identification – We have identified the data that we need to hold to complete our processes. The majority of our processes require that we raise and issue invoices to individuals and companies. The data required to achieve this, so typically name and address are essential. We may hold information relating to bank account or payment cards. These will be maintained in a secure environment and we will review all these platforms on a regular basis to ensure that the integrity is maintained.
  • Erasure of data – We will remove personal data from our systems should it be considered redundant and of no use. We will need to comply with any requirements under the HMRC legislation.
  • Data Disclosure and Release – We will never release information to third parties for marketing activities without your consent. It may sometimes be necessary to transfer your data to third parties, including those overseas, in order to maintain legal and regulatory compliance, or to recover amounts due to the company via a specialist debt collection agency.

Should you require any further information on our approach to GDPR, please contact Shaun Salmon on 01279 810 122 or shaun.salmon@dmgdelta.co.uk

 

Landlords to fit smoke & carbon monoxide (CO) alarms

The Government has announced that it is intended that landlords will be required to install working smoke alarms and where gas appliances are fitted, carbon monoxide (CO) alarms as well, in their properties.  This is in a bid to raise safety and reduce the number of deaths from CO incidents in the rental sector.

The move is expected to prevent some 26 fatalities and 670 injuries per year, and is part of wider Government actions being undertaken to ensure there are sufficient measures in place to protect public safety.

These measures are expected to become effective from October 2015 subject to Parliamentary approval.  Consultation has shown that this will be strongly supported.  It has been suggested that England’s 46 fire and rescue authorities will provide support to private landlords within their areas by providing free alarms using grant funding from the government.

Fire AlarmThe proposed changes to the law would require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy agreement.

These should be fitted to the ceiling, especially close to areas of high risk (kitchens for example) and outside bedrooms.

 

CO AlarmLandlords would also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.  Although gas and oil may not be considered as solid fuel, CO alarms should also be fitted.  In the rooms where these appliances are installed at a horizontal distance of between 1m and 3m from the source.  If only one alarm is fitted it is best fitted relatively close to the breathing zone of the occupants.

Failure to comply could see landlords face up to a £5,000 penalty.

Brandon Lewis, Housing Minister, said “The vast majority of landlords offer a good service and have installed smoke alarms in their homes, but I’m changing the law to ensure every tenant can be given this important protection.”  “But with working smoke alarms providing the vital seconds needed to escape a fire, I urge all tenants to make sure they regularly test their alarms to ensure they work when it counts.  Testing regularly remains the tenant’s responsibility”

Stephen Williams, Communities Minister, said “We’re determined to create a bigger, better and safer private rented sector – a key part of that is to ensure the safety of tenants with fire prevention and carbon monoxide warning.”  “People are at least 4 times more likely to die in a fire in the home if there’s no working smoke alarm.”

Steve Martin, Head of the Fire and Security Association, said: “This announcement will help improve the safety of rented accommodation and punish those landlords who are putting the safety of their tenants at risk for the sake of saving a relatively small sum of money.  Now private rented properties will be brought into line with the existing building regulations that require newly-built homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed.”

Heat Network Regulations 2014

Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 – Fines are Imminent

These Regulations were introduced in December 2014 to provide regulation to a previously unregulated market place. Heat Suppliers (this could encompass Developers, Landlords and Managing Agents depending on the arrangements in place) have the responsibility to notify the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) about schemes

The scope of the regulations is extensive and we only provide a brief explanation on selected elements of the Regulations, focussing on metering and billing requirements. This we feel is particularly relevant as there are a considerable number of schemes where the metering technology is not delivering the expectations of the consumer and the need to receive regular and accurate charges for their energy usage.

The regulations require a meter to be installed to measure the heat, chill or hot water supplied from a district heat network to a building occupied by more than one final customer. Further, from 31 December 2016, separate metering is required for each final customer (unless it is not cost effective and technically feasible to do so – which need to be determined in accordance with schedule 1 of the regulations).

If a building is only occupied by one final customer then a heat supplier must install a meter to measure the heat, chill or hot water supplied, unless it is not cost effective and technically feasible to do so (again, this will need to be determined in accordance with schedule 1 of the regulations).

An exception to the above position is in the case of a newly constructed building supplied by a district heat network or where a building supplied by a district heat network undergoes “major renovation” which relate to the heating, cooling, ventilating, hot water or lighting services of that building. In those circumstances, the installation of meters to measure each final customer’s consumption of heat, chill and hot water is mandatory. A “major renovation” is regarded as where the total renovation cost of the “building envelope” (the integrated parts of the building which separate the interior and exterior) is more than 25{5ed8de397284fff0890b09705fecba98ee6912fd827c1533831814a9e337cd61} of the value of the building (excluding the value of the land).

If a heat supplier determines that the installation of meters is not cost effective and technically feasible then alternative measures need to be considered – such as the installation of heat cost allocators and thermostatic radiator valves. Where there is no meter, the cost effectiveness/feasibility must be re-assessed every 4 years.

Where meters are installed, the heat supplier must ensure that bills and billing information for the consumption of heating, cooling and hot water by the final customer are (1) accurate, (2) based on actual consumption and (3) compliant with the principles set out in Schedule 2 of the regulations. Schedule 2 requires information such as current energy prices, consumption information and contact information for organisations which provide information on energy efficiency measures to be provided with the bill.

Clearly, if bills are being produced without accurate metering information then they will not be accurate, based on accurate consumption nor compliant with the principles set out in schedule 2. If this happens after 30 April 2015, this will be a criminal offence, which may result in a fine upon conviction of up to £5,000.

The result being that, where a development is failing to provide accurate consumption data at a consumer level, then the Heat Supplier will be in breach, subject to criminal proceedings and a fine if convicted.

If you would like more information on this then please contact us on 01279 810100.