Next year we will see significant changes in Data Protection law with the introduction of the European General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’). Managing Trustees need to be aware of the changes brought about by GDPR and how it will affect local church life.

The working party

TMCP and the Connexional Team are working together and have formed a Working Party which will oversee the transition from the current legislation to the new laws brought about by the GDPR which come into force in May 2018. For ongoing projects such as the Circuit Directories, steps will need to be taken to ensure compliance with the then current Data Protection law when data is next collected e.g. at the start of the next Connexional Year. Managing Trustees have time to ensure that appropriate processes are put in place.

Guidance and support will be rolled out to all Methodist Districts in the coming months to help Managing Trustees understand the steps that will need to be taken to comply with the new requirements.  This will enable Districts to provide practical help and guidance to their local churches and Circuits.  This will run alongside target specific training provided by the Working Party which will come in the form of webinars, news bulletins, online articles and live training sessions at a number of different forums.

A whole host of policies and procedures have also been identified which will be made available to all Managing Trustees over the coming months by the working party to help ensure compliance with GDPR.

As well as identifying the policies and procedures that all local churches, Circuits and Districts will need for compliance with GDPR, the Working Party are also producing step by step practical guidance along with model documents and forms for use by the Managing Trustees.

New guidance in the run up to Christmas

TMCP has made the following new and updated guidance available to Managing Trustees in the run up to Christmas:

  • Data Protection Page (Updated) – New content has been added to clarify the existing guidance that is available and the work of the joint working party.
  • Do’s and Don’ts – A new guidance note summarising the basic steps that Managing Trustees can take (and avoid) to help them to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the GDPR (when it comes into force in May 2018);
  • Data Protection Guidance (Updated) – The existing guidance note focusing on the changes brought in by the new GDPR has been updated.

At the start of January, we will be finalising user friendly guidance on the practical application of the changes in the Methodist Church and the steps that Managing Trustees can take including “GDPR at a Glance”, “Practical steps to take now to get you under way” and specific guidance on Church websites, newsletters and what to do if there is no consent. Practical guidance in the form of questions and answers is available via the Parishes Resources website in the Archbishop Council’s Parish Guide to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) . Although aimed at the Church of England and containing much of the same information as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Guidance Note Managing Trustees may find the guidance of assistance.

A draft timeline has also been produced by the Working Party which identifies key dates which the Working Party are working towards in preparation of GDPR which includes a GDPR presentation at the District Chairs meeting in March.

How to find out about new guidance and updates

The working party will also be regularly updating the Church on developments so please see the TMCP and Methodist Church website:

  • - the data protection guidance is available from the Data Protection page which can be found in the “About” section of TMCP’s website. A link to this page is accessible from the foot of every webpage. You can also search “TMCP data” or similar terms using a search engine such as “google”.

You can also receive email alerts from TMCP if you “sign up” the news hub on the TMCP website: Please sign-up to receive notifications from TMCP’s website to ensure that you receive notice of new and updated guidance on data protection. To do this please look out for the “Stay updated” banner appearing at the foot of each webpage, insert your contact email address and confirm you would like to receive notifications when you receive a welcome email from TMCP.

If you have any general queries on Data Protection please contact TMCP.