Marketplace Profile On: IGS
Since the coronavirus lockdown we have had to think about how we can still provide our service to the same high standard, meet our contractual obligations and assure the safety of customers and colleagues. IGS, as part of Essex County Council, act as Data Protection Officer for around 300 schools across Essex, which involves visits to schools to carry out data protection audits. Our audits ensure schools can provide the evidence needed by the ICO to show they are fully compliant with GDPR. Since April 2020, we have been providing our audits virtually, via Microsoft Teams. We ask the schools to send 3 or 4 key documents to us beforehand; and also review the evidence on their website prior to the audit to ensure they are complying with transparency requirements such as having privacy notices, data protection policies and parental guidance on display. With this information, we can complete many of the audit questions beforehand noting any area for discussion.
Schools were at first quite nervous about having to do the audit virtually, but using Teams means we still have a face to face discussion (albeit via a PC), and if we need to look at documents in more detail, we can share our screens. There is still the opportunity to ask any questions and receive advice. Because we can complete many of the audit questions beforehand it means the audit takes less time – we still set aside 2 hours, but the majority are completed in about half that time. We describe it to schools as being the same as us attending the office, except they don’t have to find a spare chair or make us a cup of coffee! As we are not having to spend time travelling, we are able to start writing up their audit report as soon as we finish talking to them, so the report usually ends up being sent to the school that same day.
Schools have been delighted with the new style audits and have commented that it seems to be more efficient and are pleased that it is taking up less of their time. Essex is a large county, and we used to spend considerable time planning the audits so that we could visit two schools within the same vicinity on the same day, or we could easily end up having to make a 100 mile round trip. Now we don’t have to worry about who visits which school and when, which is making the booking of audits so much more efficient. The quality of our service has, if anything, improved.
We have been so impressed with the new way of working, that we have decided to make virtual audits our default position. This opens opportunities for us, as we do not have to restrict our service to Essex area only but could offer our award winning service across the country.
The East of England Local Government Marketplace helps local authorities in the region buy a range of services from both the East of England LGA and our member local authorities without the need for procurement. Marketplace Partners offer extensive public sector experience with proven track records in their fields.
The Marketplace enables East of England LGA members:
- To review and buy services more easily from the Association
- To advertise their traded services or trading companies to one another
Marketplace Partners need either to work directly for an EELGA Member or to be 100% owned by one. There is no fee for a Partner to be featured on the site – commission fees are only payable for any subsequent transactions made through the Marketplace.