Data sharing protocol

The Ministry of Justice oversees the overarching legislative and non-legislative framework for data sharing across Government. As part of its programme of work, the Ministry of Justice has produced the ‘Data Sharing Protocol’ (DSP). 

The DSP is guidance which aims to provide all government departments and other public sector bodies information and practical help when they start new projects which may involve the sharing of personal data.

It is intended to be a high-level ‘starting point’ for organisations.  It is envisaged that departments will be able to use the guidance, and to change its format to suit their needs and the individual project.

Who is the DSP aimed at?

The DSP is aimed at all those in the public sector who enter into data sharing arrangements with other public sector bodies.  It will be particularly helpful to those who have no or limited knowledge of data sharing, although it will be useful for all data sharing projects.

What does the DSP consist of?

The DSP consists of the following:

The ‘DSP template’ - a guide to the factors that should be considered by those setting up new data sharing projects. The DSP is designed for guidance only and it is envisaged that organisations will be able to change the format of the ‘template’ document to suit their needs

Annex A, Flowchart - information about the process of sharing personal data

Annex B, Definitions - definitions of particular words and phrases used in this DSP

Annex C, Information Assurance and Security – the Cabinet Office Guidance on Information Assurance and Information Security.

Annex D Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) Guidance - information on when and how to complete a PIA

Annex E Mandatory Minimum Measures for Protection of Personal Data – from the Data Handling Review 2008

Annex F, Deciding who is a data controller/data processor – guidance on establishing who is the data controller and the data processor when sharing data

Annex G, Guidance for Data Controllers - sets out the main responsibilities for Government Departments in their role as data controllers under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA)

Annex H, Legal Guidance on Data Sharing - data sharing legal guidance for use by lawyers, and other interested professionals working in the public sector (including those working for local authorities)

Annex I, Where to get more information – links to useful websites/documents

Please note: your particular department or organisation may have its own internal procedures that need to be followed when setting up data sharing projects. You are strongly advised to contact your own departmental/organisational lawyers and/or data sharing leads before engaging in a new data sharing project.


Ministry of Justice


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