Nalytics SARs & Bradford Council
Bradford Council’s Subject Access Request Response Process Transformed with Nalytics SARs
City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council is the local authority of Bradford in West Yorkshire.
In accordance with the Council’s Policy around data Subject Access Requests (SARs), ‘data subjects’ have the right to request access to their personal data processed by the Council under the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In response to a SAR, the Council will, unless an exemption applies, provide data subjects with a copy of the personal data the Council processes.
As part of Bradford Council’s legal and compliance requirements under the GDPR, the Council are required to respond to any Subject Access Request (SAR) within the mandated one-month GDPR deadline.
Within the Council, the Corporate Information Governance team typically respond to approximately 400 SARs each year. SAR response activities such as, collating data, and searching for and redacting personally identifiable information (PII), were mostly manual and therefore labour intensive.
In order to manage SAR requests more efficiently and with increasing volumes of SARs, the Council decided to look for possible software solutions. Ideally, they wanted technology to streamline and automate as many aspects of the SAR process as possible.
Following a tender process by the Council, Nalytics SARs was chosen as the preferred solution.
Developed by Nalanda Technology, Nalytics SARs enables fast and compliant responses to Subject Access Requests. It provides a framework through which organisations can perform all required SARs activities from curation of data, through sifting, review, redaction and finally, packaging of data for dissemination to the data subject.
Within Bradford Council, HR, Social Services and other departments use Nalytics SARs.
Richard Bentley, EDM Manager within the IT Department at Bradford Council said-
We were initially looking for a redaction tool – something we could use across departments to quickly and easily redact any personally identifiable information (PII) from a SAR response.
As it was a tender process, we did look at other solutions. However, once we saw the functionality of Nalytics SARs, we realised the solution provided not only a redaction tool, but also numerous other unique features, which could help us significantly improve our SAR response process.
The redaction functionality of Nalytics SARs enables users to search and redact various types of documents. This not only includes Microsoft files, such as Word or Excel, but also emails and their attachments, text files, PDFs, and so on. Images and scanned documents can also be redacted. Nalytics has ‘OCRing’ functionality available, and with this, you can convert images and scanned document to text so it can search these as well.
The onboarding process was painless, and the training and support provided by Nalanda Technology has been second to none. Nalytics SARs is so easy to use.
With each new release, Nalanda is happy to demonstrate any of the new features to us. They encourage our feedback on existing functionality and suggestions for other features we might want to see added to the solution in the future.
Margaret Warrington, Product Manager at Nalanda Technology adds-
It has been a pleasure bringing on board the team at Bradford Council. We are delighted they are finding tangible benefits from using the solution and happy to say that their feedback has helped us validate and add new features to the product roadmap.
Nij Basi, Information Governance Manager at Bradford City Council summarised the benefits of using Nalytics SARs within their Department-
Since using Nalytics SARs, we have experienced reduced time and effort spent on manually redacting third-party names and initials. This was very time consuming, and the software redacts each name across all documents included in a SAR. This allows more time to focus on phrases or sentences within documents that would need to be redacted if information was regarding someone else.
All HR SARs have been sent on time if not before the deadline, and we have not requested an extension on any HR SARs since using the software. This is obviously all relative to the size of the SAR, however the software has made the redaction process a lot quicker and time saving on the smaller requests, which means we have stuck to deadlines on the large and complex SARs which we would find difficult before
The most useful part is when I am working on 4 or 5 SARs at the same time, I am not wasting time remembering where I got up to when redacting a document. Using Nalytics SARs has cut the time in half figuring out which point I had got up to with the easy checklist function, i.e., ‘document still in progress’ or ‘ready for review’
The layout of the system has made it easier to know how many files are still yet to redact, and how many days there are have left until the deadline, which has saved time having all the SARs organised.
The speed at which we can redact and check a document has definitely improved and allows for more attention to detail. The process of zipping the files and saving them in folders has been made a lot easier and more efficient.
Across Departments, Bradford Council has experienced reduced time spent on their SAR response process.
Collating and redacting sensitive information required for a SAR response using Nalytics SARs, helps us to efficiently search for personally identifiable information and automatically redact sensitive information.
For Bradford Council using Nalytics SARs enables them to easily meet their legal and compliance requirements, including the one-month GDPR response deadline.
Using Nalytics SARs we have experienced reduced time and effort spent responding to Subject Access Requests.
“Being able to sift through the data collated from our IT systems to find only those documents relevant to the SAR has reduced the number of documents we have to review. With the Nalytics SARs automatic redaction, we can redact individual terms or entire categories of data across the complete set of documents saving us time and reducing the possibility of missing something. Image redaction tools are available to apply redaction to image files and scanned documents, even if they have not been ‘OCR-d’.
A fast, intuitive user-friendly platform, it’s everything we need to support our compliance requirements.
- Using Nalytics SARs cuts the time significantly when working on 4-5 SARs at once.
- Speeded up the time taken to respond to a SAR.
- SAR response process from start to finish is streamlined; productivity across departments has improved.
- More SARs have been sent on time, if not before the GDPR deadline.
- Risk of manual error around including sensitive information/images is significantly reduced, as the entire SAR response process is automated.