InBrief – Data Protection Officer Qualifications

The office of the Data Protection Commissioner has recently released guidance on the appropriate qualifications for a Data Protection Officer, GDPR, emphasising that the scale, complexity and sensitivity of the data processing operations of an organisation, should be instrumental in deciding on the qualifications and level of training required for the office holder.

Article 37.5 of the GDPR provides that a Data Protection Officer “shall be designated on the basis of professional qualities and, in particular, expert knowledge of data protection law and practices and the ability to fulfil the tasks referred to in Article 39.”

The GDPR does not define the professional qualities required or prescribe the training a DPO should undergo to be qualified to undertake the role. This allows organisations to decide on their DPO’s qualifications and training tailored to the context of the organisation’s data processing.

The appropriate level of qualification and expert knowledge should be determined according to the personal data processing operations carried out, the complexity and scale of data processing, the sensitivity of the data processed and the protection required for the data being processed. Relevant skills and expertise include: expertise in national and European data protection laws and practices including an in-depth understanding of the GDPR; understanding of the processing operations carried out; understanding of information technologies and data security; knowledge of the business sector and the organisation; and ability to promote a data protection culture within the organisation.

Taking into account the scale, complexity and sensitivity of their data processing operations, organisations should proactively decide on the qualifications and level of training required for their Data Protection Officer.

Printable Version: InBrief – Data Protection Officer Qualifications

The material contained herein is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice. All rights reserved. If you require advice or further information, please contact Barry Crushell, Carmel Byrne, or your usual Aperture Partners contact. ©Aperture Partners 2017.