ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

New guidance: ICO publishes help on handling data subject access requests

Author: Atom Content Marketing

Published: 01 Nov 2022

Businesses and other organisations will welcome a blog post from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) containing key takeaways on how to handle data subject access requests (SARs).

An SAR is an official, written request from an individual asking an organisation to disclose what personal data it holds on them, given under data protection laws.

The blog notes that the four top issues with SARs are:

  • delays in responding;
  • breakdowns in relationships (either because no-one at the organisation takes responsibility for dealing with the SAR or the response is incomplete and/or unsatisfactory);
  • organisations failing to understand what individuals are asking for;
  • individuals who ask for information not trusting what they are being told.
  • It goes on to recommend organisations should talk to those submitting SARs – especially if the organisation is going to be unable to handle the SAR or handle it in time. For example:

    • tell them early if exemptions apply, with full details;
    • ask them for additional details of what they are looking for so the organisation can locate it more easily;
    • if the SAR is large and/or complicated, explain the information will be sent out in batches, and provide a timetable;
    • use plain English that individuals can understand;
    • act honestly, by keeping the organisation’s privacy policy up-to-date, accessible and easy to understand.
    • The blog post should be read in conjunction with the ICO’s guidances ‘Right of access’ and ‘Data sharing: a code of practice’.

      Operative date

      • Now



This article from Atom Content Marketing is for general guidance only, for businesses in the United Kingdom governed by the laws of England. Atom Content Marketing, expert contributors and ICAEW (as distributor) disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions.

Copyright © Atom Content Marketing

ICAEW Business Advice Service

Grow your business with trusted business advice. We connect entrepreneurs, start-ups, and SMEs with ICAEW regulated accountancy firms who will provide a free initial consultation without obligation.

Two people looking at a computer screen together smiling, one of them pointing at something on it
About Legal Alert

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.