What are the data protection implications of holding Covid-19 health data?
The ICO is providing new guidance to organisations regarding data protection and coronavirus, which can be accessed here: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-and-coronavirus/
Information about the Covid-19 health status of individuals is special category data under the GDPR. This means it is high risk which has implications for how you use it, store it and keep it secure.
You will already hold health data about your employees as this is necessary to provide a safe, accessible place to work and to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace. You now need to make sure that the information you gather about your employees, visitors to your sites, customers and suppliers about Covid-19 is processed in accordance with data protection laws.
Parties still need to comply with the various Protocols that apply and will be expected to exchange information in the usual way. Court proceedings can be issued electronically.
An extension to the traditional business interruption insurance, “contingent business interruption insurance” often covers areas such as business interruption due to damage to property of a customer or suppliers. Nonetheless, proving loss can be problematic.
Claims for loss of use of the property may be possible as a result of forced business closure due to lockdown. Accordingly policies should be carefully reviewed to see if cover is available.
We are working with many of our clients to progress with stopping up applications in order to divert/stop up highways and public rights of way affecting development sites. Due to lockdown restrictions the Department for Transport stalled the progress of applications because they were unable to comply with the statutory publicity requirements. We have very recently been contacted by the Department for Transport casework team who have confirmed that the stopping up/diversion applications can now be progressed. We are aware that Councils across the country are also now progressing with applications. Please contact us if you require any advice/assistance in respect of your application.
Where a development is considered to be “EIA development” (being development where an Environmental Impact Assessment or Environmental Statement is required to be submitted) there are additional statutory publicity and notice requirements over and above the requirements for a standard planning application. Regulations usually require that the environmental statement is to be made available for inspection by the public at all reasonable hours at an address in the locality for a period of at least 30 days. Copies of the environmental statement are also to be made available for people to take away from that address. This clearly requires physical copies to be available at a specified location for a prolonged period of time, which may prove problematic during the current health crisis.
New regulations came into effect on 14 May 2020 which will temporarily suspend the above requirements and will instead require the Environmental Statement to be available for inspection online. The applicant must however provide a certificate to the Local Planning Authority stating what steps have been undertaken to bring the application (and the Environmental Statement) to the attention of people who are likely to have an interest and why it considers that such steps were reasonable.
Yes – there should be a framework in place to ensure that MHFAs are fully supported themselves and so that individuals are supported beyond the support the MHFAs provide.