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Governance and Structure

​​​​​The University Executive Committee is responsible for all matters associated with the development and management of the university.

Data breach policy

Last updated: 16 February 2023

1. Introduction

1.1 The University of Gloucestershire (the ‘University’) collects, holds, processes, and shares personal data, a valuable asset that needs to be suitably protected.

1.2 Every care is taken to protect personal data from incidents (either accidentally or deliberately) to avoid a data protection breach that could compromise security.

1.3 Compromise of information, confidentiality, integrity, or availability may result in harm to individual(s), reputational damage, detrimental effect on service provision, legislative noncompliance, and/or financial costs.

2. Purpose and Scope

2.1 The University is obliged under Data Protection legislation* to have in place an institutional framework designed to ensure the security of all personal data during its lifecycle, including clear lines of responsibility.

2.2 This policy sets out the procedure to be followed to ensure a consistent and effective approach is in place for managing data breach and information security incidents across the University.

2.3 This policy relates to all personal and special categories (sensitive) data held by the University regardless of format.

2.4 This policy applies to all staff and students at the University. This includes temporary, casual or agency staff and contractors, consultants, suppliers and data processors working for, or on behalf of the University.

2.5 The objective of this policy is to contain any breaches, to minimise the risk associated with the breach and consider what action is necessary to secure personal data and prevent further breaches.

3. Definitions / Types of breach

3.1 For the purpose of this policy, data security breaches include both confirmed and suspected incidents.

3.2 An incident in the context of this policy is an event or action which may compromise the confidentiality, integrity or availability of systems or data, either accidentally or deliberately, and has caused or has the potential to cause damage to the University’s information assets and / or reputation.

3.3 An incident includes but is not restricted to, the following:

4. Reporting an incident

4.1 Any individual who accesses, uses or manages the University’s information is responsible for reporting data breach and information security incidents immediately to the Data Protection Officer (at and IT Services (at

4.2 If the breach occurs or is discovered outside normal working hours, it must be reported as soon as is practicable.

4.3 The report must include full and accurate details of the incident, when the breach occurred (dates and times), who is reporting it, if the data relates to people, the nature of the information, and how many individuals are involved. An Incident Report Form should be completed as part of the reporting process (refer to Appendix 1).

4.4 All staff should be aware that any breach of Data Protection legislation may result in the University’s Disciplinary Procedures being instigated.

5. Containment and recovery

5.1 The Data Protection Officer (DPO) will firstly determine if the breach is still occurring. If so, the appropriate steps will be taken immediately to minimise the effect of the breach.

5.2 An initial assessment will be made by the DPO in liaison with relevant officer(s) to establish the severity of the breach and who will take the lead investigating the breach, as the Lead Investigation Officer (this will depend on the nature of the breach; in some cases it could be the DPO).

5.3 The Lead Investigation Officer (LIO) will establish whether there is anything that can be done to recover any losses and limit the damage the breach could cause.

5.4 The LIO will establish who may need to be notified as part of the initial containment and will inform the police, where appropriate.

5.5 Advice from experts across the University may be sought in resolving the incident promptly.

5.6 The LIO, in liaison with the relevant officer(s) will determine the suitable course of action to be taken to ensure a resolution to the incident.

6. Investigation and risk assessment

6.1 An investigation will be undertaken by the LIO immediately and wherever possible, within 24 hours of the breach being discovered / reported.

6.2 The LIO will investigate the breach and assess the risks associated with it, for example, the potential adverse consequences for individuals, how serious or substantial those are and how likely they are to occur.

6.3 The investigation will need to take into account the following:

7. Notification

7.1 The LIO and / or the DPO, in consultation with relevant colleagues will establish whether the Information Commissioner’s Office will need to be notified of the breach, and if so, notify them within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach, where feasible.

7.2 Every incident will be assessed on a case by case basis; however, the following will need to be considered:

7.3 Individuals whose personal data has been affected by the incident, and where it has been considered likely to result in a high risk of adversely affecting that individual’s rights and freedoms, will be informed without undue delay. Notification will include a description of how and when the breach occurred and the data involved. Specific and clear advice will be given on what they can do to protect themselves, and include what action has already been taken to mitigate the risks. Individuals will also be provided with a way in which they can contact the University for further information or to ask questions on what has occurred.

7.4 The LIO and / or the DPO must consider notifying third parties such as the police, insurers, banks or credit card companies, and trade unions. This would be appropriate where illegal activity is known or is believed to have occurred, or where there is a risk that illegal activity might occur in the

7.5 The LIO and or the DPO will consider whether the Communications Team should be informed regarding a press release and to be ready to handle any incoming press enquiries.

7.6 A record will be kept of any personal data breach, regardless of whether notification was required.

8. Evaluation and response

8.1 Once the initial incident is contained, the DPO will carry out a full review of the causes of the breach; the effectiveness of the response(s) and whether any changes to systems, policies and procedures should be undertaken.

8.2 Existing controls will be reviewed to determine their adequacy, and whether any corrective action should be taken to minimise the risk of similar incidents occurring.

8.3 The review will consider:

8.4 If deemed necessary, a report recommending any changes to systems, policies and procedures will be considered by University Executive Committee.

9. Policy Review

9.1 This policy will be updated as necessary to reflect best practice and to ensure compliance with any changes or amendments to relevant legislation.

9.2 This policy was last reviewed in May 2018. The policy was approved by the University Executive Committee in May 2018.

Appendix 1

Data Breach report form pdf

*The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and related EU and national legislation

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