More than two-thirds of ICO fines issued since January 2019 havent been paid

The Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham

A year on from the revelation that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) was owed 42 per cent of the fines it handed out since 2015, it’s been revealed that the non-departmental public body’s collection struggles have continued in the past year.

Since last year’s report, the ICO has only managed to collect one of the 47 unpaid fines levied between 2015 and the end of July 2019, according to data once again obtained by The SMS Works via a freedom information request.

Of the 21 fines handed out more recently, namely between January 2019 and the end of August 2020, the ICO has only managed to collect £1.03m of the £3.2m it is owed – just 32 per cent of all fines issued. It has collected just nine of the 21 fines issued – and that’s despite new regulations making company directors individually responsible for paying the fines.

The SMS Works has found that directors have found loopholes to avoid paying fines such as claiming voluntary insolvency or shutting down their business and opening up under a new name.

Of course, the data obtained doesn’t include the recent fines handed out to Marriott International and British Airways of £18.4m and £20m respectively. Those two major international companies will struggle to find loopholes to get out their fines, both for data breaches under GDPR.