5 min read

Writen by Ana Mishova

Posted on: June 1, 2023

Understanding GDPR Article 27 for UK Companies

If your business is based outside the EU but operates within it, the chances are you’ll need an EU representative for GDPR Article 27. Our team explains what that means, and why it matters.

Data protection has become one of the great concerns of our age. It’s the very reason for the existence of the General Data Protection Regulation. But by 2018, the year the regulation took effect, the UK had already voted to leave the EU. That’s why, by 2020, the UK had a data protection law (the Data Protection Act 2018) which, while looking very similar to the EU’s, was an entirely separate entity.

Like two trains running on (for now) parallel tracks, the EU and UK GDPRs were very much heading in the same direction. Now, however, if UK businesses want to operate in the EU, they will need to appoint an Article 27 GDPR EU representative. To continue with our analogy – that effectively means they’ll need someone onboard the EU train to be their GDPR rep.

What does Article 27 EU GDPR say?

Article 27 establishes the requirement for organisations outside the EU to appoint a representative within the EU if they process personal data of individuals who are in the EU.

What does an EU GDPR representative do?

The representative acts as a point of contact for individuals and supervisory authorities regarding data protection matters. They operate within the EU. It doesn’t matter that they, for example, are only based in Germany when your trade spans France, Spain and Poland too – all that matters is that they are a “representative within the Union”.

The EU GDPR consultant effectively becomes a part of the UK business’ team, an outsourced resource whose knowledge of all things EU GDPR can help ensure the UK business meets its data processing obligations. They will understand how the data of EU citizens flows through your organisation, translate and log data requests from EU citizens, and log and report any breaches. They will also guide a partner organisation in understanding its data protection responsibilities, for example with regard to data protection impact assessments and consents.

Benefits of having a European representative for GDPR

An EU rep isn’t optional. If you process the data of EU citizens, you’re required to appoint one. It is, therefore, tempting to feel that the Article 27 GDPR EU representative is little more than a box ticked. The reality is very different.

Avoid fines: It’s true that perhaps the most obvious benefit of working with an EU GDPR consultant is avoiding the consequences of non-compliance. Non-compliance can lead to big penalties, including fines of up to €20,000,000, not to mention the reputational damage that can stem from breaking the trust of customers and clients.

Protect your European market: Complying with Article 27 may be a requirement of trading with the EU, but that doesn’t mean every organisation will do it. For UK companies trading with the EU, assigning an EU GDPR consultant demonstrates the organisation is committed to handling personal data responsibly, respecting individuals’ privacy choices and safeguarding their sensitive information. That can help cultivate trust with clients and stakeholders.

Fill the compliance gaps: Is your compliance watertight? Working with a GDPR consultancy can identify areas where your EU GDPR procedures need augmenting or tightening.

Support with the difficult questions: What do you do when an EU data subject makes a request about the way you’re processing or storing their data? When an EU authority gets in touch, how do you know how to respond? With an Article 27 GDPR rep, they become your named point of contact for EU data subjects and regulators, making the process simple and removing a lot of time, effort and worry.

Ongoing support: Appointing an EU GDPR consultant is a long-term relationship, which means that as laws change – and particularly as UK and EU GDPR provisions gradually diverge – they will be able to ensure you stay compliant.

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Article 27 recognises the global nature of data processing. It’s an acknowledgement that any attempt to protect citizens’ data rights needs to have effect beyond geographical borders.

If you are trading – or planning to trade – with the EU and need to ensure you are meeting your data protection obligations, explore our GDPR services.

Find the right Article 27 rep for you now, get data protection advice or, for questions about your next steps, call +441772 217800.

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Hope you find this useful. If you need an EU Rep, have any GDPR questions, or have received a SAR or Regulator request and need help then please contact us anytime. We are always happy to help...
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