Data Protection: A Short(ish) Look at the Basics


“Yes, yes”, you may be thinking, “we know about the Data Protection Act!” However, this legislation is about to be replaced by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a regulation by which the European Commission intends to strengthen and standardise data protection for organisations and individuals within the European Union. It also addresses the tricky topic of exporting personal data outside the EU.

“That’s all very good, but what about Brexit?!” we hear you cry… Well, we’ll not be making any political statements on that one, but as we all know, Article 50 hasn’t been triggered yet, and some theorise that even when it is, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU may be a much lengthier process than has been indicated up ‘til now. It is likely to still be ongoing after the required date for implementation of the GDPR. The EU Council and the Parliament both adopted the regulation in April 2016, and the regulation will take effect after a two-year transition period, on 25 May 2018. The new regulations will be stricter than our current Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), and museums and organisations already struggling with the current DPA may find the stringent requirements of this new legislation very difficult…


So, here’s what you need to know. The current legislation is the DPA, an Act of the UK Parliament which lays down the law on the processing of data relating to identifiable living people. The DPA regulates the use of ‘personal data’ and defines eight data protection principles. The definition of personal data is data relating to a living individual who can be identified a) from that data; or b) from that data and other information in the possession of, or is likely to come into the possession of, the data controller. In this regard, ‘data’ means information which a) is being processed by automated means; b) is recorded for processing by such equipment; c) is recorded with the intention of being part of a relevant filing system; d) does not fall within a), b) or c) but forms part of an accessible record; or e) is recorded information held by a public authority and does not fall within any of a) to d).

So information that is held on computer is data. It does not need to be properly filed. Data is also information recorded on paper if you intend to put it into a computer. This includes handwritten notes that will later be typed using a computer. Do you have CCTV in your museum? Recorded footage is data too.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 created a new category of data which extended the definition of data in the original DPA. Where information requested under FOI includes information about identifiable individuals, public authorities must consider whether its release would breach the DPA. The new category of data, often referred to as ‘category e) data’, is designed to ensure that before releasing any personal information under FOI, public authorities consider whether this would be fair. If it is deemed to be unfair, a public authority is within its rights to refuse to comply with the FOI request but should explain its reasons for this.

The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) sit alongside the DPA. They give people specific privacy rights in relation to electronic communications. This does not replace but is supplementary to the DPA. In the PECRs, there are specific rules on marketing calls, emails, texts and faxes; cookies (and similar technologies); keeping communications services secure; and customer privacy as regards traffic and location data, itemised billing, line identification, and directory listings. For more information on this make sure you visit the Information Commissioner’s website.

We’ve all heard about cases of public officials leaving confidential information on the train or in taxis. How you transport data is as much a part of data security as ensuring permissions are accurate for marketing purposes. Bear in mind that anyone with free software could even recover between 30% and 90% of ‘deleted’ files from a memory stick or similar device, so be sure to dispose of data contained in mobile storage using secure deletion software.

The GDPR creates the ability for regulators to impose huge fines on organisations for compliance failures. In 2015, the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK regulator for the DPA, handed out its largest fines under the UK’s current legislation for unsolicited marketing. They can fine organisations up to £500,000, and it is rare to see fines of less than six figures. The most serious offences involve children’s and vulnerable adults’ data, inclusive of photography. The GDPR strengthens this type of enforcement, and infringements of the basic principles of processing ‘including conditions for consent’ can be subject to the highest level of fines, which may be the higher of €20m or 4% of total worldwide turnover of the preceding financial year. For museums, it’s probably safe to assume that the higher of these two will be €20m but that is still not insignificant, so there are therefore twenty million very good reasons for getting yourself ready.

It’s probably best to use the remainder of 2016 to get yourself completely up-to-speed with the law as it stands at the moment – this will help you transition to the new regulations much more fluidly, which you could use 2017 to work towards. There’s a great little quiz over at which will test your knowledge of the law as it stands. We’re here to help if you have any general questions but we can’t give out legal advice – we would recommend contacting a data protection specialist if you need any professional advice on your specific operations. The main takeaway from this though… You have time: don’t panic.


With thanks to Daradjeet Jagpal of Harper McLeod LLP for his advice and proofreading.

On course for great training courses


copyright Ian Georgeson for Johnston Press

It may seem like a long time ago that we hosted our Money Matters symposium but the positive messages continue into our summer and autumn training programmes. We’ll continue to focus on financial sustainability, with an emphasis on generating income to support your mission as well as opening up alternative funding routes.

The Money Matters symposium was a fantastic success, with 86% of attendees leaving with both an understanding of how to think in a more enterprising way, and a greater awareness of the range of funding sources available. 100% of attendees said they felt more aware of the different ways to generate income. The symposium left people with a sense of empowerment…

“I had never previously considered corporate sponsorship as I knew little about it and now feel equipped to seek such sponsorship”

…with an increased enthusiasm for approaching fundraising afresh…

“I plan to attend the follow-on courses… Earlier this year we made an unsuccessful bid to the HLF Transition Fund which would have seen us on the path to better financial sustainability. We’re planning our next move towards this goal”

…and with a changed mind-set on the positive impact of different routes to sustainability…

“I am going to be proactive about trying to secure corporate sponsorship/support”.

So, how will MGS be helping museums achieve financial sustainability? Well, first up after our summer break (if you could call it that) will be our Capital & Recognition Fund Surgeries on Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 August. Capital grants of up to £40,000 and Recognition grants of up to £60,000 are available, so book a telephone appointment with our Investment Manager to discuss your ideas.

Next up, on Monday 8 September, is Arts & Business Scotland’s Introduction to Fundraising. This one-day course is aimed at those new to fundraising who wish to build their knowledge, skills and confidence. You will gain an overview of the current Scottish funding landscape for arts and culture and leave with the resources that will support effective fundraising.

Reporting the social impact of your organisation in compelling and imaginative ways will open doors to funding opportunities in the future. Find out why it’s important to capture impact, how you could do this to secure funding at this free Social Impact Workshop delivered by Social Investment Scotland and MGS on Wednesday 14 September.

We’re teaming up with Social Enterprise Academy for Developing Smart Sustainability, a three-day programme (Monday 19 – Tuesday 20 September, Wednesday 26 October) designed to support learners grow an idea into a successful project for their museum. The programme will support learners to bring together a business plan including: planning for sustainability, financial management and strengthening entrepreneurial confidence to meet the challenge of developing and supporting a sustainable museum.

On Thursday 22 September, Arts & Business Scotland will give hints and tips on Being a Board Member. This half-day seminar will help board members to understand their roles and responsibilities. The session will cover how to navigate legislation; understanding formal, informal, legal and financial responsibilities; the dividing line between their role and that of the professional staff; and the difference they can make as an advocate for the organisation.

While most of us work in a non-profit manner, we all know that a wee bit of profit is always a good thing. It lets us fulfil our basic objectives as well as more ambitious projects. So, how do we get hold of some? On Tuesday 27 September, the Association for Cultural Enterprise and MGS will share their Top Retail Tips, helping you to identify your customer, plan your product, monitor your retail numbers and give the visitor a reason to buy.

The Association for Cultural Enterprises will then be teaming up with Publishing Scotland to host a Publishing Study Day in at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh on Wednesday 28 September. Hear about hot topics in the world of museum publishing from practitioners in an event aimed at organisations with publishing arms including museums, galleries and libraries.

We’ve all heard of ‘managing up’, but how do you apply this when you report to your board? On Wednesday 5 October & Wednesday 23 November, the Social Enterprise Academy and MGS will deliver Board Development, a two-day programme for senior staff. Network and learn from peers, understand roles and responsibilities, explore how to work collaboratively with the board.

We’ve been talking a lot recently about our advocacy approach so here’s your chance to apply the theory to your real world situation. On Thursday 6 October, MGS will host a Museum Messages workshop, which will help you demonstrate the impact of your work to decision makers by creating the right messages to ensure success.

Next up on Wednesday 12 October, and doing exactly what it says on the tin, is Arts & Business Scotland’s Introduction to Sponsorship. Aimed primarily at those who have little sponsorship experience, they’ll look at the basic principles and questions like “why do businesses sponsor the arts? How do you identify potential business sponsors and how should you pitch your story?” This training is for you if you are considering seeking business sponsorship for your activities or projects.

Do you have a project that you think will benefit from funding but don’t know how to articulate it? Join Arts & Business Scotland on Thursday 13 October for Telling It Like It Is: Effective Copywriting. Aimed at those who need to develop a case for support for their project or cause, it explores the copywriting process in the context of putting together an effective case for support.

Phew! That’s loads to keep your skills up to date as we head into winter. Hopefully you’ll learn some new skills to be able to apply to your work this year and into the future. Remember to keep an eye out for more upcoming training on our website, where you will also find further details on all of the MGS courses we’ve mentioned here. Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Funding via Stories, Stones and Bones from HLF

Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 logo
As part of the Scotland-wide celebrations for the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017, the Heritage Lottery Fund want to inspire people to get involved in learning about and enjoying their heritage for the first time.
Stories, Stones and Bones will encourage people in communities across Scotland to dig deeper into their past and to find out more about their local history, customs and traditions – resulting in often complex, sometimes quirky but always fascinating stories.

HLF are offering grants of £3,000 to £10,000 to projects which engage new people and a wider range of people with their history. From researching local historic landmarks, learning about natural heritage, unearthing the history beneath their feet to delving into archives, our grants will give everyone the chance to explore their heritage and celebrate and share what they learn with others.

How to apply

You can apply quickly and easily using the material on the Sharing Heritage programme page. Stories, Stones and Bones projects will need to achieve two HLF outcomes. As a result of the project:

  • more people and a wider range of people will have engaged with heritage
  • people will have learnt about heritage

If you’ve got a question about applying, or delivering your project, please contact the Scotland development team at HLF and get their advice.

There are two deadlines to apply to Stories, Stones and Bones. The first deadline is Friday 30 September 2016 (decisions in November 2016) and the second is Tuesday 31 January 2017 (decisions in March 2017).

Text adapted for brevity from original by HLF. 

Four Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Work with Partners

We’re Dig It! 2017 and we work in partnership all the time. In fact, partnership is essential to our success. However, it can be challenging and scary at times. In that spirit, we’re sharing four reasons why you should definitely NOT work with external partners:


1. They think it’s all fun and games

When we first heard about a “virtual Lego” game called Minecraft, it sounded like the perfect way to engage young people on their terms – until we realised that we had no idea how to use it. The game was already wildly popular, but it hadn’t quite hit the heritage sector yet. We wanted to get ahead of the craze, so we reached out to a few contacts and were introduced to Stephen Reid from ImmersiveMinds, who immediately sold us on the idea of live digs and 1:1 scale builds. Skip ahead to today and ImmersiveMinds has become a regular feature in the heritage sector, while our Crafting the Past project is attracting major press attention, featuring at massing gaming festivals and engaging with hundreds of young people across Scotland (and the world).

Crafting the Past

Topographically accurate Minecraft recreation of Penicuik House as part of Crafting the Past (Credit: ImmersiveMind)


2. They like to show off

We knew that we needed our project to stand out from the crowd before it launched, but we didn’t have the necessary branding skills to make that happen. After identifying this gap, we went along to a networking event where we met Jump Marketing. We chatted about our respective visions over a drink (or two) and the rest is history. Our bright pink brand, website and marketing materials are all thanks to their team (who now work on several heritage projects) and our mutual trust and different expertise means that we have continued to team up for projects and funding bids.

Dig It! 2015 Website

Jump Marketing‘s Dig It! 2015 website has promoted hundreds of events across Scotland


3. They run with a different crowd

Our Your Future in the Past programme brought careers events across Scotland, often with an emphasis on “unexpected” heritage careers. We knew that one of the biggest challenges would be getting young people through the doors if they already thought that “history isn’t for me”. Luckily, we were approached by North Ayrshire Council about a different event and the idea for the Irvine fair was developed from there. Working together with the Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce and North Ayrshire Council meant that we could tackle their biggest challenges, while they could tackle ours. Thanks to their school contacts, the Irvine fair was one of the most popular events in the entire Your Future in the Past programme.


4. They’ll tell you tall tales

Capacity is always tricky when you have a small team, especially when it comes to events. As the Scottish Storytelling Centre hosts the fantastic International Scottish Storytelling Festival each year, we knew that we could learn a thing or two. When they approached us about a partnership, we jumped at the opportunity to create a joint campaign. By combining staff resources for Dig Where You Stand, we were able to co-host events, create themed learning materials and promote both programmes. Keep your eyes peeled for even more archaeology-storytelling crossovers next year!


We’ve worked strategically by teaming up with organisations who share our aims or target audiences, but we’ve also been flexible and open to opportunities as they pop up. The resulting partnerships have required investment, upkeep and communication, but in return, they’ve allowed us to try new things, access different skill sets, reach a wider audience and double our resources.

With Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology (HHA2017) just around the corner, now is the perfect time to ignore our advice, embrace these valuable partnerships and see what happens. We’ll be working with Museums Galleries Scotland on next year’s Festival of Museums by helping anyone who wants to run events with an archaeology flair and spreading the HHA2107 celebrations. If you have any questions or want to chat about teaming up for Festival of Museums, HHA2017 or anything else, please don’t hesitate to contact us at


FoM Save the Date

History in the Making!

HHA blog pictureScotland is gearing up for the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

Scotland is getting ready to shine a spotlight on some of our greatest assets and icons, as well as our hidden gems in celebration of the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology (YoHHA).

We already know that history and heritage are key motivators for visits to Scotland, and museums and galleries play a vital role in this important part of the visitor experience. From industrial to maritime heritage, social to natural history and local fossils to archaeological finds – the year presents a chance for all museums, large and small, to spotlight themselves during what’s set to be a special year.

From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, museums to historic battlefields, cultural traditions to our myths, stories, artefacts and legends, the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology will celebrate both our tangible and intangible heritage – our buildings, visitor attractions, archaeological sites as well as our diverse traditions and cultures.

Scotland’s Themed Years celebrate the very best of Scotland including its landscapes, people and personality. During each year, both locals and visitors to Scotland can enjoy a programme of events taking place throughout the year in celebration of the themes, as well as lots of opportunities to discover sides of Scotland they might never knew existed. They also deliver impact for Scotland too – encouraging the tourism industry and beyond to collaborate, attract new customers and generate benefits for the economy.

The overarching aim of the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is to spotlight, celebrate and promote Scotland’s rich and vibrant product and place, linked with the themes, but it’s also about engagement and participation.

On 13 May, we announced a £300,000 Signature Events Fund to support new, creative event proposals that will capture the imagination, resonate strongly with the Year’s themes and provide key moments across the year to drive high levels of media coverage and attendance. The fund can support new events or new programmes within existing events or festivals and will be open for applications until 29 July.

If your idea is not eligible for the Signature Events Fund, we have also compiled a list of other potential funding opportunities which you can see on

Are you 2017 ready?

2017 will be just around the corner before we know it, so to help organisations and communities think about how they can get involved, we’ve recently launched our VisitScotland YoHHA toolkit.

The toolkit has a range of relevant marketing information including free to use images and promotional wording. You can also download the official 2017 logo to use across your own promotional material. Translated logos are also available including a Gaelic version.

Why not help us spread the word across your digital channels? You can join the conversation using the dedicated hashtag #HHA2017

Later this year, we will also look to launch a partner programme for 2017 which isn’t funded but offers an opportunity to potentially be included in the wider marketing campaign for the year.

In the coming months, we will also be sharing updates on plans for 2017 so why not keep-up-to-date by subscribing to the range of VisitScotland channels?

2017 provides a great opportunity to invite people to come and explore our attractions, our people, our traditions and our distinct cultures but we can’t do it alone –  think how you could be involved and help make history with us!

Chelsea Charles

Communications Manager: Scotland’s Themed Years

VisitScotland Events Directorate

Family Fun Times at Festival of Museums!

PW_Festival of Museums_Lauriston Castle_Edinburgh_26 with FoM logo

Scotland’s museums are getting ready to open their doors, vaults and imaginations for the annual Festival of Museums, a weekend-long celebration of the magic of heritage, science and history, so be sure to pencil museum fun into your diaries for Fri 13 – Sun 15 May!

With over 100 events in a packed weekend of fun right across the country, there’s sure to be something for the young and young-at-heart alike. This week we’ll be telling you all about some of the family fun you can expect, but stay tuned as we delve into the world of arts next time. If you missed our updates on the cool science, history and night-time events this year, just read below to get all the gossip.


Get your magnifying glasses ready and dust off those detective hats because some sneaky fossils and ferns have found their way into the displays in the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum in Dundee and they need your help to find them all! So round up your friends and family and head on over to the museum to take part in their quiz and fossil hunt festivities.

Join the Auld Kirk Museum for a family fun day full of oriental opulence and influence as part of their Big in Japan weekend. Karate kids will love the Shotokan demonstration and there will be opportunities to get stuck in with silk crafts, origami, face painting and glitter tattoos. You can event try on some beautiful kimonos!

Have your little soldiers at the ready to help Cruachan the Shetland pony with a very important job, and his friend, Sylvia the puppeteer, share tales of adventure based on the former inhabitants of Stirling Castle.

There’s lots of fun in Dunbar, where you can join John Muir for a fun romp through some of his greatest adventures, liberally salted with his wilderness philosophy. The show includes a few outrageous anecdotes, a great deal of humour, and one very long beard, but is suitable for both adults and children over five. Come to Dunbar Town House Museum after your walk for a big Lego build session inspired by John Muir.

The toys of the Museum of Childhood invite you to dress up like them for a magical party! Join them for games, storytelling, magic, art, cakes and jelly. The games will bring the toys in the museum alive for children, and there’ll also be party treats for you!

Visit Rozelle and see the Animals All Around Us! Find the animals in the park, and visit the Museum’s collection of specimens and taxidermy. Look out for a nuthatch, squirrel, Gruffalo, penguin and crocodile!

Get hands-on with Scottish architecture and discover how Sir John Fowler designed the iconic Forth Bridge. Budding engineers are invited to construct their own bridge in Ullapool Museum using a variety of materials like construction straws and giant building bricks.

There’ll be drama on the high seas at Arbroath Signal Tower Museum’s painting demonstration of Captain Fall’s attack on Arbroath in 1781. The demonstration will be by local artist Neil Paterson and followed by pirate craft activities for children of all ages. Aaaaarrrrrr!

If you’re more nautical-but-nice than you are Long John Silver, check out the Lighthouse Keepers’ Bootcamp! Gain the vital skills to keep seafarers safe – learn to tie knots, make your own weather vane or send messages using signal flags.

Have fun wherever you go, and do remember to pick up a visitor survey when you’re there – there’s a chance to win £100 of High Street vouchers when you send us feedback.

Best wishes,
The Festival of Museums Team


Money Matters step into the spotlight at new symposium


“Money makes the world go round” sang Liza Minnelli in Cabaret… and whilst money may not actually make the world go around, it certainly does help us to deliver our services and protect our collections. Financial sustainability is essential for a growing museum sector, and to help get museums up to speed with the issues, MGS will present the Money Matters Symposium at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on Wednesday 25 May from 10am – 4pm.

Sponsored and supported by Social Investment Scotland and the Social Enterprise Academy, the symposium is for individuals and organisations who would like to consider alternative ways of generating income for their organisations. We’ll be asking ourselves, ‘do museums need to be more enterprising?’, and, in an environment where budgets are tight, we think the answer to this question should be a resounding ‘yes!’

MGS has developed this brand new type of event to help museums explore the resources available to support their move towards financial sustainability. We’ll focus on the themes of organisational readiness, enterprising boards, maximising income, sponsorship and many more, with the symposium acting as a dynamic signpost to more in-depth future workshops and resources, moving your organisation from asking to earning in no time. You will hear from Social Investment Scotland, the Social Enterprise Academy, Arts & Business Scotland, Resourcing Scotland’s Heritage and the Association for Cultural Enterprises, all of whom can support you in your ambitions to become more enterprising.

In addition, we’ll have Grampian Transport Museum, Biggar Museum Trust, Almond Valley and the Glasgow Women’s Library, who will inspire you with their stories of how they did it themselves. The day will be a fantastic opportunity to network with peers, listen to success stories and share experiences. There will also be an opportunity to access training sessions from partner organisations, and MGS will help delegates to access these by offering an exclusive bursary pot to symposium attendees. Board members and trustees are positively encouraged to accompany museum staff to the symposium, but this is not a requirement.

We hope to see you there!

£25 for the Scottish museum sector; £50 for other delegates

To book visit