Why would I need consent management?

TL;DR - By improving trust between you and your customers they will be happier to spend more with you.

blogpost hero image for Consent Management author David Patterson

I’m amazed how often I’m asked “why does anyone need consent management? Aren’t there other, more applicable legal bases for the processing of personal data?”

In many cases this is true. Consent should often be used as the basis of last resort. However, when no other legal basis is available; there is no legitimate interest or regulatory need for data processing, for example; consent is often the only way forward.

The experience of working with government agencies, large enterprises and smaller start-ups is that consent is still required in many circumstances.

A schoolchild sat at their desk, looking wistfully out of the window One example would be within the workplace. Commercial organisations are often able to rely on a contractual basis for the use and retention of personal information. For example, the activities required to ensure safety of their site or their employees are not applicable to GDPR. Employers do, however, carry out many activities that are considered non-essential, such as the use of their staff’s images in marketing their company.

Most of the employers that our partners have worked with have, through their Privacy Impact Assessment, identified dozens of cases where consent may be the best legal basis.

Consent management increases trust by providing choice and control.

A consent management tool enables an organisation to record the consent interactions that they have with their customers, employees and users. It allows those customers, employees and users to choose what they consent to, what purposes they accept and to control access to their personal data.

personal data

We all see consent slips on the bottom of contracts, at the t’s and c’s page of a website or even on the request slip for a child to attend trips with their school. There are some occasions where these consent requests are inappropriate. If you don’t have any real choice about whether you should consent, for example, then consent should not be used as the legal basis for data processing.

Once the purposes for the consent requests have been defined by the organisation, the customer can make an informed decision whether to grant consent. Ideally, that consent is then recorded and a consent receipt is issued that is standards-based and interoperable with other consent systems. One such set of standards has been proposed by the Kantara Initiative.

The record of consent is then able to be queried whenever that personal information is used. This means that the customer experience is improved and trust is created between the organisation and the customer.

It is this increase in trust that was designed to be the key benefit of GDPR. There is evidence that a lack of trust in use of personal data severely affects revenues and/or service levels. Maintaining or even improving this trust should have a positive effect on organisations.

Your organisation will likely conduct a privacy impact assessment (PIA). This can be completed in conjunction with your data protection officer, or by using a consultant data privacy expert. It enables you to identify the personal information requirements and the appropriate legal basis for recording or processing that information.

If consent is one of the bases you will use then the PIA should identify the consent requests you will need to make. You need to clearly define your data types & ensure that the purposes are clearly defined. This is your consent request.

Together, the consent requests and the purposes for making the requests are pre-requisites for a successful adoption of consent management software. You may also want to think about where in your customer’s interactions you will be asking for consent. Will you need to integrate with other 3rd party software?

For example, if you use a CRM system to manage your customer data, do you need that system to query whether you can record certain information about your customer? Do you need to consult the consent record before sending out marketing material?

Consent tickboxes and the Consentua logo If this article relates to your own situation, why not look at our own consent management software, Consentua. It is available now and ready to be deployed for your organisation today.

Send me an email at [email protected] if you want to see how Consentua can help you to improve trust with your customers.

David Patterson

Founder of Consentua and parent company KnowNow Information. Creator of twin boys.

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