Spotlight on Alex Daybank
16 April 2015
This week the spotlight is on Alex Daybank, Data Protection and FOI Officer, UCL Legal Services.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I am UCL's Data Protection and FOI Officer within Legal Services. My job involves managing all of UCL's requests for information whether for personal information under the Data Protection Act or those for any other information UCL holds under the Freedom of Information Act. We get almost 400 of these requests a year so that takes up a fair amount of time! FOI requests can be very varied from people requesting a breakdown of admissions data for A100 Medicine to journalists seeking information relating to the amounts spent on anything from travel to events or even the amounts of library fines.
The other big part of my job is helping to ensure that UCL complies with its responsibilities under the Data Protection Act for all of its processing of personal information. I spend a lot of time advising people across all areas of UCL when they need to share personal information with other institutions around the world or when collecting personal information for research or when purchasing new IT services.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I started at UCL in January so I am still quite new and attempting to find my way around. Previously I have had similar roles across a variety of areas from the NHS, the House of Lords, local government and originally, long ago, the Information Commissioner's Office which regulates the Freedom of Information and Data Protection Acts.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
During my time at Parliament I spent a lot of time helping to organise awareness raising events and writing new policies to help protect and manage sensitive information. One of these events was a seminar for all staff and Members of both Houses on the things they could do to make sure both their own information and Parliament's data was safe online and included speakers from a variety of organisations. The event took a lot of organising but the feedback was very positive and it was satisfying to think that we had managed to inform people about some important issues in a way that they found entertaining.
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of you to-do list?
Currently I am working on refreshing the data protection and FOI training for staff across UCL so that people can feel more confident when collecting and sharing information. Hopefully we will have some new training available in the coming months.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
Album - I've never been very good at answering these types of questions as I forget what I like but I always come back to Arcade Fire Funeral and Fleetwood Mac's Rumours.
Film - Again, I tend to forget once I've seen something but I did recently see Selma which I thought was great and should have won an Oscar.
Novels - I'm eagerly awaiting the next Game of Thrones book having read all the previous ones last year. I wish George would hurry up!
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
I've been told I can't tell jokes and I'm usually the last person in the room to understand so I'm staying away from this question!
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
There are loads of people I admire but my dining table is quite small so I'd have to be very picky. I think at present Hillary Clinton might get an invite as would Harper Lee oh and Tyrion Lannister.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Probably worry less about things that you can't change.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
I have met the Queen and had a (very brief) chat with her.
What is your favourite place?
San Francisco is great and I'm also quite partial to Manchester which is where I'm from. Alas I visit one a lot more than the other!