Why you need a DPO

While information is an asset to any business, personal data is now also a risk that needs proper management.

But understanding whether your organisation even needs a DPO can be a challenge.
Under the GDPR, organisations must appoint a data protection officer (DPO) if they are a public authority or body, or if they carry out certain types of processing activities, including the processing of special categories of data.And, while the role of the DPO is not new, under the latest legislation there is now much greater responsibility on the DPO, and those that appoint them. What’s more, a failure to comply could result in businesses being fined up to 20 million euros or 4% of annual global turnover.

But, it’s important to understand that the DPO isn’t personally liable for data protection compliance. It remains the responsibility of an organisation to comply with the GDPR.

Nevertheless, the DPO plays a vital role in helping you to fulfil your data protection obligations. So, if you want to ensure compliance, it’s crucial that you appoint a DPO with experience and expert knowledge of data protection law.

Helping to keep things simple, our handy decision tool will help you to find out whether appointing a DPO is something you need to do.

Do you need to appoint a Data Protection Officer?

Try our quick DPO decision tool and find out now!


Please call DPOPlus on {TEL NO} if you still require help assessing whether your organisation must appoint a DPO.

If you do need to appoint a DPO, our Data Protection Officer as a Service (DPOaaS) is an affordable way to meet your statutory requirement, while providing your business with extraordinary resilience.

The role of a DPO

DPOs should help your organisation by:

  • Monitoring internal compliance with the GDPR and other data protection laws
  • Considering the nature, scope, context and purposes of processing – and identifying, recording and advising on the level of risk involved
  • Assigning responsibilities to improve data protection
  • Advising people who process personal data on their legal obligations
  • Informing and advising on data protection policies
  • Carrying out awareness training
  • Raising awareness of data protection policies
  • Providing advice regarding Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) and monitoring this process
  • Acting as a contact point for data subjects and the supervisory authority (the ICO)
  • Helping demonstrate data compliance

Any other tasks and duties, as long as they don’t result in a conflict of interests with the DPO’s primary tasks.

Who can be appointed as a DPO?

  • DPOs must be independent, with no conflicts of interest
  • The DPO must be an expert in data protection
  • A DPO can be an existing employee or externally appointed
  • A DPO should have a high level of understanding of risk and how to record, manage and mitigate this
  • In some cases, several organisations can appoint a shared DPO
  • The DPO must also be accessible to employees, data subjects, and the ICO.

What if you don’t need to appoint a DPO?

Regardless of whether the GDPR obliges you to appoint a DPO, you must still ensure that your organisation meets its obligations under the GDPR.
So, even if you are not required to do so, if you are serious about your data protection responsibilities, you may still decide to appoint someone to fulfil this role.
This action is encouraged by the ICO and provides competitive advantages when it comes to tendering for work, brand reputation and data protection.

Your responsibilities.

Your organisation must ensure that your DPO:

  • Reports to the highest management level
  • Operates independently of your organisation with no conflict of interest
  • Is involved in all issues which relate to the protection of personal data
  • Is provided with the necessary resources and access to personal data and processing operations
  • Is supported in their duties
  • Is contactable
  • Has their name and contact details present in all Records of Processing and Privacy Notices
  • Has their name and contact details provided to the ICO
  • Has their name and contact details provided to a data subject in the event of a breach.

The benefits of appointing DPOPlus rather than an existing member of staff.

  • We have expert knowledge of data protection law
  • We understand where data processing happens within an organisation, and where you are likely to be exposed to risk
  • We remain independent without a conflict of interest
  • We provide you with accurate and relevant guidance to help improve your governance framework and controls
  • We provide support and backup to in-house data protection specialists.

Get our FREE GDPR Reference Guide

An interactive and informative version of the GDPR, our free guide takes the text of the regulation and adds layers of information and real-world interpretations to help your organisation navigate and understand its data protection responsibilities.