Data Use and Management Policy



Each of the services and products provided by the Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards (The Federation) collects, holds and manages data about individuals and organisations. We do this to provide a service to each person and organisation. We recognise our fundamental need to ensure that this information is accurate and secure. We go beyond the needs of any legislative requirements. The secure management of data is central to the way that we work and ingrained into the DNA of the Charity.

None of the information provided is used beyond the Federation, for marketing purposes.

This policy sets out how we collect, store and manage data and who is responsible for this. It also sets out how you can request your data and how, if it is incorrect, you can ensure we get it right. This includes ensuring how we protect your data.


Why we have this policy


This policy ensures the Federation and its partners:

  • Comply with all data protection legislation (the DPA 1998, the GDPR and when enacted the DPA 2018) and follow the good practice set out by the Information Commissioner
  • Protect the rights of customers, partners and staff
  • Are open about how it collects, stores, manages, processes and protects individuals’ and organisations’ data
  • Protect themselves from the risks of a data


What services does this policy cover?


This policy covers all the Federation’s products and services:

  • ACE (Apprenticeship Certificates England)
  • ACW (Apprenticeship Certificates Wales)
  • MAO (Modern Apprenticeship Online)
  • ACE360
  • HR Flow
  • The Assessors Guild (AG)
  • UKSF (UK Skills Federation)


Data protection law


The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) implemented the EU Data Protection Directive in the UK. It introduced an extensive data protection regime by imposing broad obligations on those who collect personal data, as well as conferring broad rights on individuals about whom data is collected. It covers both paper based and electronic information.

The DPA sets out eight data protection principles, which require that:

  1. Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully and, in particular, shall not be processed unless –
    • at least one of the conditions in Schedule 2 is met (e.g. consent, where necessary to carry out a contract with the individual, or for your “legitimate interests”) and
    • in the case of sensitive personal data, at least one of the conditions in Schedule 3 is also met (more stringent, e.g. explicit consent).
  2. Personal data shall be obtained only for one, or more, specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes.
  3. Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they are processed.
  4. Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date.
  5. Personal data processed for any purpose, or purposes, shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.
  6. Personal data shall be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects under this Act.
  7. Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.
  8. Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data.


The Data Protection Act 1998 has been added to by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union. The GDPR will become part of UK law and replace the DPA 1998 with the DPA 2018. Our policy takes account of these changes. It provides additional protections to individuals and organisations. These include:

  • A clearer definition of:
    • Data Controller (This is the Federation). Responsible for all the data you provide (regardless of whether the Federation collects it)
    • Data Processor (those who collect and/or process the data you provide) This applies to the:
      • Certification Bodies and Training Providers for ACE/ACW/MAO
      • End Point Assessment Organisations, External Quality Assurance Organisations, Training Providers and Employers for ACE360
      • Employers (licence holders) and their employees for HR Flow, and
      • Members of the Assessors Guild (Assessors and End Point Assessment Organisations), Assessors, End Point Assessment Organisations and service providers to the Assessors Guild
    • An extension of the data covered. This is extended to cover all paper and online data, including electronic identifiers such as IP addresses.
    • Enhanced requirements to notify individuals and organisations affected by a data breach.
    • Increased sanctions against those organisations shown to not meet the requirements of the GDPR and when enacted the DPA 2018.
    • The introduction of an “Accountability Principle”. It requires Data Controllers and Data Processors to be explicitly clear about how they comply with the data protection principles (e.g. by documenting decisions taken in respect of processing activities) and what their lawful basis is for collecting and processing personal data is. Organisations will be expected to put into place proportionate, but comprehensive, governance measures. This includes how long information will be held. There are 6 legal bases for collecting and processing data:
      • 6(1)(a) – Consent of the data subject (ACE/ACW)
      • 6(1)(b) – Processing is necessary for the performance of a contract with the data subject or to take steps to enter into a contract (MAO/ACE360/AG/HR Flow/UKSF)
      • 6(1)(c) – Processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation (ACE/ACW)
      • 6(1)(d) – Processing is necessary to protect the vital interests of a data subject or another person
      • 6(1)(e) – Processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller (ACE/ACW)
      • 6(1)(f ) – Necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the controller or a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests, rights or freedoms of the data subject
  • The need for the individual or organisation to give consent by some form of clear affirmative action. Silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity does not constitute consent. It must also be verifiable. This means that some form of record must be kept of how, and when, consent was given. Individuals and organisations have a right to withdraw consent at any time.
  • Any data held on individuals aged under 16 needs to demonstrate that consent was provided by not just the individual, but also their parent or guardian.
  • Some new rights and strengthened existing rights:
    • the right to be informed
    • the right of access
    • the right to rectification
    • the right to erasure
    • the right to restrict processing
    • the right to data portability
    • the right to object
    • rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling


Our policy meets, and goes beyond, these legal requirements.


Scope of the Federation’s Data Use & Data Management policy


This policy applies to:

  • All Federation staff.
  • All contractors to the Federation, using any data provided to them by the Federation.
  • Data processors, as defined in the section above.


Its scope applies to all:

  • Personal and contact data (including name, address (postal and email), telephone numbers, date of birth, gender, ethnicity, language/form of communication, marital status).
  • Employer details and contact data.
  • Training Provider details and contact.
  • Qualifications taken and achieved.
  • Leave and sickness information for employees on HR Flow.
  • Skills and competences and ratings based on past performance (including information about Special Educational Needs).
  • Documents relating to an individual.
  • Any other data required for the individual service provided.


Purposes for which data can be used


The data that the Federation holds, as Data Controller, can only be used for the following purposes:

  • Ensuring the correct issuing of Apprenticeship Framework certificates in England, Scotland and Wales.
  • Investigation into fraudulent claims of public funds for Apprenticeship Frameworks in England and Wales.
  • Managing the secure exchange of information, to improve the efficiency of the Apprenticeship Standards system in England.
  • Managing the storage of information relating to Technical and Apprenticeship assessment and the views of Employers and Apprentices, regarding that assessment.
  • Managing the storage and analysis of employee records for individual businesses and the provision of benchmarking data for the users of HR Flow.
  • Providing information to users of Federation services about ACE360, the Assessors Guild and HR Flow.
  • Research into the demand and supply of skills, competences, qualifications and Apprenticeship certificates issued.

The data that the Federation holds as Data Controller cannot be used for the following purposes:

  • Marketing to individuals and organisations by third parties.


Data protection risks


This policy helps to protect the Federation, as the Data Controller, and its partners, as Data Processors, from some very real security risks, including:

  • Breaches of confidentiality. For instance, information being given out inappropriately.
  • Failing to offer choice. For instance, all individuals and organisations should be free to choose how the Federation uses data relating to them.
  • Reputational damage. For instance, the Federation, and as a consequence, individuals and organisations could suffer if hackers successfully gained access to sensitive data.


Responsibilities at the Federation


Every member of the Federation team is aware of their data responsibilities, but some have additional responsibilities and accountabilities:

  • The Board of Directors and Trustees is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the Federation meets its legal obligations.
  • The Finance, Audit and Risk (FAR) Committee of the Federation manages the Data Use and management policy on behalf of the Board of Directors and Trustees.
    • Hearing any appeals against decisions made by the Managing Director regarding requests from individuals and organisations about data held by the Federation relating to them.
  • The Managing Director is also the Data Protection Officer (and reports to the FAR Committee) and is responsible for:
    • Developing with the Finance, Audit and Risk Committee this policy and reviewing the data protection risks with the Board at every meeting (as part of its Risk Register).
    • Managing the implementation of this policy (via the Director of Operations).
    • Hearing any appeals against decisions made by the Director of Operations regarding requests from individuals and organisations about data held by the Federation.
    • Reviewing and approving/signing any contracts or agreements with third parties that involve the sharing of the Federation’s data.
    • Dealing with any data use and data management queries from the media.
    • Reviewing the reason/s for, and rectifying, any issues that might lead to a data breach.
  • The Director of Operations is responsible for the day to day implementation of this policy. Specifically this includes:
    • Reviewing annually all data use and data management procedures to ensure they meet the objectives of this policy and, at least, meet the Federation’s legal respinsabilities.
    • Arranging data protection training and advice for Federation staff and providing guidance documents to the users of the Federation’s systems.
    • Handling data use and data management questions from staff and the users of the Federation’s systems.
    • Dealing with requests from individuals to see the data the Federation holds about them.
  • The ICT Manager is responsible for:
    • Ensuring all systems, services and equipment used for storing and processing data meet acceptable security standards.
    • Performing regular checks and scans to ensure security hardware and software is up to date and functioning properly.
    • Evaluating any third party services the Federation is considering using to store or process data.
  • The Sales Manager and the Customer Services Manager are responsible for:
    • Drafting any data use and data management statements attached to communications from the Federation (this includes emails and letters).
    • Working with all relevant staff to ensure that any public materials and marketing adhere to the Federation’s Data Use and Data Management policy guidelines.
    • Data is used for Federation marketing purposes must first be checked against industry suppression files and the facility for system users to “unsubscribe” must be provided.
  • Staff using, or advising on the use of, data are responsible for ensuring that:
    • The only people able to access data, covered by this policy, should be those who need it for their work.
    • No data should be shared outside the Federation without the permission of the individual or the organisation, unless they have consented that others can provide and/or use it on their behalf.
    • The Federation provides training to all employees so that they understand their responsibilities when handling data.
    • All employees keep all data secure and password guidelines (to contain at least 12 alphanumeric characters, contain both upper and lower case letters, contain at least one number (0-9) and at least one special character (!,!$%^&*()_+|~-=\`{}[]:”;'<>?,/).
    • Data is never to be disclosed to unauthorised people, inside or outside the Federation.
    • When working with data, all employees should ensure the screens of their computers and laptops are always locked when not attended.
    • Data should not be shared outside of the Federation and should never be sent by email without the permission of the Data Protection Officer.
    • Data must be encrypted before being transferred electronically. The Federation’s ICT Manager can advise on how to do this internally or externally.
    • No data should be saved to the local disk drive on the computer or laptop of an employee or saved onto a hard drive. All data should be stored and accessed via the Federation’s secure servers.


Data storage


If in doubt about data storage any questions should be addressed to the ICT Manager or in his/her absence to the Data Protection Officer.

When data is stored on paper, and being processed, it should not be left unattended on a printer or desk where it could be viewed by unauthorised people. When it is not being used, data should be held in a locked cabinet or secure facility and not be accessible to unauthorised people. All printed data that is no longer required must be shredded in the office or via a secure third party contractor.


When data is stored electronically, it must be protected from unauthorised access, accidental deletion and malicious hacking attempts. To meet these requirements:

  • All our data is held in secure UK based servers.
  • Data should be protected by strong passwords that are changed regularly and are not shared.
  • No data should be stored on removable media, without the written permission of the Data Protection Officer, the Director of Operations or the ICT Manager.
  • Data should only be stored on live or development systems and on designated drives and servers.
  • Servers containing the data of the Federation are held at a secure location behind multiple firewalls and away from the office location (excepting the need to retain back up data at the office location).
  • All servers and secure storage devices containing data should be protected by approved and tested software and firewalls.
  • We will retain your data for a maximum of 7 years after the closure of your account or the provision of our final service. During this time the data might be archived from the live system.
  • Data should be backed up daily. The ability to rebuild the system and reload data should be tested twice a year.
  • No data should be saved onto laptops, tablets, mobile phones, CDs or memory sticks.


Data accuracy


For both our operations, and in order to meet the requirements of the GDPR and when enacted the DPA 2018, the Federation, its staff, the Certification Bodies and system users must take reasonable steps to ensure that data is accurate and up to date:

  • Data will only be held in the systems the Federation operates in order to maintain data security.
  • Data can only be accessed by those with relevant permissions and access will require a password.
  • Both the staff of the Federation and all system users should take every opportunity to ensure that data is kept up to date.
  • Data entered onto ACE via the ADTF (Automated Data Transfer Facility) needs to be verified.
  • System users of HR Flow and the Assessors Guild will be reminded to review and update core data each time they access the system.
  • All data that is no longer valid will be removed. For example, if a telephone number can no longer be accessed then it should be removed from a record.


Data requests by individuals or organisations


All individuals or organisations are entitled to ask about data held about them by the Federation. They can:

  • Ask what information the Federation holds about them and why.
  • Ask how to gain access to it.
  • Be informed how to keep it up to date.
  • Be informed on how the Federation is meeting its data protection obligations.


Such a request for information is called a “subject access request”. All such requests must be forwarded to the Director of Operations and their receipt logged.


Applications for subject access data can be made by email to or by post. The title of the email should state that it is a “subject access request”. The Federation will aim to provide the relevant data within 10 working days.


The Federation will always verify the identity of a person making a subject access request before providing any information.


In certain circumstances the DPA 1998 and the GDPR and when enacted the DPA 2018 allows data to be disclosed to law enforcement agencies (and in the cases of ACE/ACW/MAO to the relevant funding bodies) without the consent of the data subject. The Federation will only disclose data if the request is found to be legitimate and will seek advice from the Board and/or from the charity’s legal advisers, where necessary.