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GDPR - always look on the bright side

I know you are probably sat there shouting at your computer/mobile/tablet screen - GDPR? Again? Enough already! For a while, I felt just as you do now. Then I reminded myself to look for the positives. Even typing the title of this blog made me smile as a certain Life of Brian ditty popped into my head (I know, I’m showing my age).

Throughout my twenty something years in pensions, one phrase has kept coming to mind time and time again - over complication. Over complication tends to lead to lack of clarity. I’m really not keen on either, and it is one of the main reasons why my career took a diversion from pensions actuarial work into communications.

A good example of over complication is General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy notices. Whilst the intention behind them is good, the execution in reality is not. Many pension trustees are deciding against including the full privacy notice in their scheme’s annual newsletter because they are too long and/or too full of legalese to be engaging (and therefore actually useful) for pension members.

On the bright side, the impending arrival of GDPR means I’m spending time really thinking about how we interact with people, where the touch points are, what they need to know, what we need to know and when. Figuring out how we can be clear and engaging at the same time as compliant is not new in the world of pension communications. The new GDPR requirements are adding to the challenge, but are focusing the mind in a good way.

There are other really positive things too. Working through the steps needed to ensure GDPR compliance means many pension trustees are having a long overdue look at contracts they have in place with advisers and suppliers. It is the sort of job that trustee boards could find they never quite got to in the past. Reviewing them now could highlight areas where service scope, standards or value for money can be improved.

There are some great tools out there to help pension trustees with GDPR compliance - especially those looking after small and medium sized pension schemes. These cut through the complications (hurray) to provide a clear (hurray again) and straightforward series of steps to follow that leave you with a new data protection policy at the end.

You see, GDPR really doesn’t have to be over complicated - and there definitely is a bright side.

 

 

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