On Friday (25 May), the EU's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect.
We recently caught up with Christine Cartwright, from Governance and Legal Services to understand more about her involvement in ensuring the College complies with the new regulation and the differences that GDPR will have on how the College functions.
1. Could you tell us a bit more about yourself and your role within Governance and Legal Services?
I’ve been at Royal Holloway for 11 years this September. I graduated from the BA History programme in 2010 and worked in the College’s catering team for a while including when we were an Olympic Village. After that I held roles in both the Secretariat and the Academic Quality and Policy Office before taking on my current role.
The main focus of my role is compliance with data protection legislation but I also oversee the College’s policies and procedures as well as some of the non-academic regulations. Owing to the nature of the work in Governance and Legal Services we’re involved in a lot of aspects of College business so I’ve also developed the ability to answer a lot of esoteric questions!
2. General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, becomes law on 25 May 2018. Could you tell us a bit more about your involvement?
As the operational lead on the GDPR work, I’m currently creating a lot of the documentation the College needs to have as part of our compliance with the new legislation including policies, procedures, data sharing agreements and privacy information.
I’m also helping our Data Stewards with their work to identify precisely what data the College holds and where we hold it as well as responding to questions being sent in by colleagues.
3. What difference will GDPR have on how the College functions?
GDPR should make us all more aware of how frequently we use personal data, be it in emails, spreadsheets, Infoview reports or research, and that when we do so the data should be used appropriately and with due care. This may result, in some cases, in changes to the way we work so that the data can be processed in a more secure and GDPR-compliant manner but we haven’t yet identified these opportunities for improvement.
I hope that GDPR will result in us all developing better ways of collecting, using and destroying data and that eventually we will have an enhanced understanding of how valuable the data we hold is, not only to us as a College but to the individuals themselves as well.
4. What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?
I think the best part of my role is being able to help people with a problem or query and GDPR is definitely giving me a lot of opportunities to do this!
5. Are you working on any other projects currently?
No (sorry that’s very boring but it’s stolen all of my time!)
6. What do you enjoy most about working at Royal Holloway?
It has to be the people, both immediately within my team and those across campus who I’ve come to know during my time here. Everyone is always willing to help out a colleague, even when the matter at hand isn’t strictly within their job description, and I think that collegiality is very special.
7. What do you enjoy doing outside of your work life?
I really like trying new cuisines and new restaurants so I’m always on the look-out for interesting places to eat. If I’m not doing that then you’ll find me outside either at an exercise class or running along the Thames in preparation for a half-marathon this September.
8. You may have seen our latest recruitment campaign, ‘Find your why’. We are interested to find out what Royal Holloway has helped you to discover about yourself…
I’ve learned that I can deal with any challenge or task which arrives on my desk, including now working out how to apply GDPR to the College. If you’d told me on my graduation day that in just a few years I’d be a key part of the team which is directing the College’s compliance with the law I’m not sure I’d have believed you!