Data Protection People – My View 7 Weeks In

By Brian Green

What a rollercoaster journey it has been in the last 7 weeks. I met David and the team while I was working in events and they were a client of mine exhibiting at one of my events. I was always impressed with the passion that David has for the Privacy and Security sectors and the belief that Data Protection People could not only grow as a business but also branch out into new industries while still being able to deliver the quality of work their clients had become accustomed to.

I was blown away in my first week meeting the team and understanding the complexities of running a consultancy business. From the delivery team, marketing team, sales, operations, and management all having a say in helping the company keep performing to the levels that we expect to give our clients. Listening to the amount of work that goes into handling work whether it’s a DSAR, DPIA, or an Audit was quite frankly, a surprise. I was impressed that all new opportunities are met by the delivery team with enthusiasm and commitment to deliver for our clients. 15 DSARS in one week was not a problem for our Kathy nor was the large volume of Support queries that Jasmin and Matthew handle daily. And Claire was cheerful (if not a little frustrated that she can’t take on some of the other exciting work in the pipeline) about  being booked up until August working on DPIA’s and audits for various clients. Not to forget Rob Wilkinson who is constantly speaking with new and existing clients and discussing how we are able to support them.

Hearing David Hendry, Dave Holmes and Phil Brining on our daily meetings discussing what needs to be tackled and what they are looking at organising in the future gives me the confidence that not only can we continue to take on new clients in new markets, but we are also able to deliver.

They have a clear plan in terms of how to grow the business and have recently recruited a partnerships manager, two new support desk execs, and another member of the sales team in addition to me.  They are also trying to improve the way that DPP generates business and added Myles to the team as our digital marketing executive to look at website, blogs, events, data, marketing and bringing everything together so potential clients have a journey and better understanding of what we do.

I honestly thought I would be swept away with the current, but the team has helped me settle in and find my feet. Week 3 and I am attending the Schools and Academies show networking with Multi Academy Trusts, independent schools and LEA Schools. Straight after that we organized our own webinar which was the highest attended webinar to date that has been organized in house with 170 delegates participating. This could not have happened without the support of Myles Dacres who is not only new to marketing functions but seems like he has been doing this for 10 years plus. A true example of the company putting faith in people and allowing them to put their own spin on things.

The central reoccurring theme is all about clients. We organize weekly webinars where delegates can listen in and participate on industry news and topics of interest. What a great incentive to help the Privacy world come together and not only attend but build relationships with other colleagues in the industry. Those who attend seem to like that they are totally free of charge, free of sales pitches, and free of powerpoint!  Just three experienced consultants chewing over privacy news and views for an hour each Friday.

Within the Education industry I have learned so far that LEA schools, MAT’s, Independent Schools, Colleges, and universities are all set up differently with regards to tackling DPO responsibilities. While there are some guidelines in place by government and external bodies there is no clear advice given or support to help the schools. Many of my clients have all discussed reoccurring challenges of data retention and managing and monitoring compliance and the lack of sufficient internal support to make changes. The 2018 rush for GDPR enabled them to update policies and implement processes but the COVID pandemic over the last year shifted priorities to keeping kids in education while teaching keyworkers children. This inevitably had an impact on their data protection compliance management with new work practices and methods being rapidly introduced and many policies and procedures left behind as outdated relics of 2018.

I know that if the last 7 weeks are anything to go by who knows what new initiatives we will be working on. What I do know is that during all this, the Data Protection People team keep morale high and customer service as a priority for our clients.  The support they have internally and externally is second to none and no obstacle or problem for our clients is ever a problem with the team who are all willing to help put their minds at ease.

For me personally this is a company I see growing and it is exciting to be part of the journey.

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