On 1st January 2021, a section of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will apply. This may well affect some UK businesses – those that have customers based within the EU and no staff, or company representatives there. This section of the GDPR is known as European or EU Representation, and it is related to Brexit, the process of the UK leaving the EU. It is crucial to get a better understanding of this and what it could mean for you.
Although at the time that the new GDPR rules were put in place for the UK on 25th May 2018, these EU extensions weren’t considered ‘important’ (we were, after all, still part of the EU at that point). As Brexit has indeed occurred and negotiations are currently underway as to exactly how the UK will leave, we need to look at them more closely, and if your business needs an EU Representative, you are going to need to engage one sooner rather than later.
Even if there is an agreement and a ‘no deal’ Brexit is what we go through at the end of the year, you will still need an EU Representative, and therefore engaging earlier in the process will make things smoother and more comfortable for you later on.
What Does an EU Representative Do?
An EU Representative has to be established in the EU and will work for non-EU based businesses who want to conduct business there. For the UK, the main task of an EU Representative will be to act as a liaison between the company itself, the Regulatory Authority within the particular EU country, and the data subjects.
In order to do this correctly, an EU representative’s duties will include:
- Ensuring data processing records are accessible to the Regulatory Authority
- Keeping accurate records of data processing activities for any business they are engaged by
- Answering Regulatory Authority and data subject requests, regarding any concerns about data processing
Do You Need EU Representation for Your Business?
If you run a business in the UK, you might be wondering whether or not you need EU representation, and whether to engage an EU Representative. This is going to be necessary if you provide goods or services to countries within the EU. If you do so, contacting us to find out more should be a priority, so as not to fall foul of the legal requirements.
There is an exemption to this rule: if your business has an office – and employees – that are already based in the EU, even if your head office is in the UK, you won’t need an EU representative.
If you do require an EU Representative and you fail to comply with this legislation, your business could be fined up to four percent of its annual worldwide turnover, or €20 million (whichever is higher). Potential criminal convictions can also be imposed, as well as the need to pay for any damages in resulting court cases.
Choosing Your EU Representative
In essence, your EU Representative can be anyone who is based within the EU member state from which, through your business, you collect data. If you collect data from all over the EU, you only have to have one representative working on your behalf, as long as they are based in one of the countries you collect data from. Ideally, you should choose someone in the country you do the most work in, but this is not mandatory, and the choice is a free one.
How JVR Consultancy Can Help
Remember, there are many things that a business owner needs to put in place before the UK entirely leaves the EU at the end of 2020. This is especially true if there is a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Since it is looking more and more likely that this is what will happen, and the UK will leave the EU without any formal agreements in place, ensuring you are able to protect your business as far as possible is vital.
At JVR Consultancy, we are able to offer plenty of advice and information regarding EU representation and the laws and guidance that change after Brexit, and if you require an EU representative, we are able to take on this role for you. Simply contact us to find out more.