Data protection

Data Protection and Retention Policy


Key details

  • Policy prepared by: Jane MacDiarmid
  • Approved by Board/committee on: 21/05/2018
  • Next review date: 01/05/2020


In order to operate the committee needs to gather, store and use certain forms of information about individuals.

These can include members, playing guests, conductor, sectional tutors, and other people the group has a relationship with or regularly needs to contact.

This policy explains how this data should be collected, stored and used in order to meet Merchant Sinfonia data protection standards and comply with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Why is this policy important?

This policy ensures that Merchant Sinfonia:

  • Protects the rights of our members and the above mentioned groups
  • Complies with data protection law and follows good practice
  • Protects the group from the risks of a data breach

Roles and responsibilities

Who and what does this policy apply to?

This applies to all those handling data on behalf of Merchant Sinfonia .

It applies to all data that Merchant Sinfonia holds relating to individuals, including:

  • Names
  • Email (and postal) addresses
  • Instrument
  • Phone numbers
  • Subscriptions payment
  • Photography consent
  • Emergency contact details (if applicable)

Merchant Sinfonia is the Data Controller and will determine what data is collected and how it is used. The Data Protection Officer for Merchant Sinfonia is Jennifer Kenny. They, together with the committee, are responsible for the secure, fair and transparent collection and use of data by Merchant Sinfonia. Any questions relating to the collection or use of data should be directed to the Data Protection Officer. If the DPO is not available any committee member will take details of your request and pass it on .

Everyone who has access to data as part of Merchant Sinfonia has a responsibility to ensure that they adhere to this policy.

Merchant Sinfonia may use third party Data Processors (e.g. spam detection, Sparkpost) to process data on its behalf. Merchant Sinfonia will ensure all Data Processors are compliant with GDPR.

Data protection principles

a)  We fairly and lawfully process personal data in a transparent way

Merchant Sinfonia will only collect data where lawful and where it is necessary for the legitimate purposes of the group.

  • A member’s details will be collected when they first join the group, and will be used to contact the member regarding rehearsals, playing application dates, holidays, concerts, AGMs, any social events, and any musical events that may be of interest. Other data may also subsequently be collected in relation to their membership, including their payment history for ‘subs’. Where possible data will be anonymised. We also have a photographer at concerts taking informal photos. The photographs are available for orchestra members to view on a site linked to our website. We won’t publish your photograph without your permission.

b) We only collect and use personal data for specific, explicit and legitimate purposes and will only use the data for those specified purposes.

When collecting data, Merchant Sinfonia will always provide a clear and specific privacy statement explaining to the subject why the data is required and what it will be used for.

c)  We ensure any data collected is relevant and not excessive

Merchant Sinfonia will not collect or store more data than the minimum information required for its intended purpose. We will only ask for information that is necessary for the smooth running of the orchestra. All data collected and stored will be reviewed every two years. Should a member/associate wish for his/her data to be removed earlier than this then that will be addressed.

d)  We ensure data is accurate and up-to-date

Merchant Sinfonia will ask members, volunteers and staff to check and update their data on an annual basis.  Any individual will be able to update their data, or check what data we hold, at any point by contacting the Data Protection Officer.

e)  We ensure data is not kept longer than necessary

Merchant Sinfonia will keep records for no longer than is necessary in order to meet the intended use for which it was gathered (unless there is a legal requirement to keep records e.g. financial records 6 years).

The storage and intended use of data will be reviewed in line with Merchant Sinfonia’s data retention policy. When the intended use is no longer applicable (e.g. contact details for a member who has left the group), the data will be deleted within a reasonable period.

f) We keep personal data secure

Merchant Sinfonia will ensure that data held by us is kept secure.

  • Electronically-held data will be held within a password-protected and secure environment
  • Passwords for electronic data files will be re-set each time an individual with data access leaves their role/position
  • Physically-held data (e.g. membership forms or email sign-up sheets) will be stored in a locked cupboard
  • Access to data will only be given to relevant trustees/committee members where it is clearly necessary for the running of the group. The Data Protection Officer will decide in what situations this is applicable and will keep a master list of who has access to data

Individual Rights

When Merchant Sinfonia collects, holds and uses an individual’s personal data that individual has the following the rights over that data. Merchant Sinfonia will ensure its data processes comply with those rights and will make all reasonable efforts to fulfil requests from an individual in relation to those rights.

Individual’s rights

    • Right to be informed: whenever Merchant Sinfonia collects data it will provide a clear and specific privacy statement explaining why it is being collected and how it will be used.
    • Right of access: individuals can request to see the data Merchant Sinfonia holds on them and confirmation of how it is being used. Requests should be made in writing to the Data Protection Officer and will be complied with free of charge and within one month. Where requests are complex or numerous this may be extended to two months
    • Right to rectification: individuals can request that their data be updated where it is inaccurate or incomplete. Merchant Sinfonia will request that members/associates check and update their data on an annual basis. Any requests for data to be updated will be processed within one month.
    • Right to object: individuals can object to their data being used for a particular purpose. Merchant Sinfonia will always provide a way for an individual to withdraw consent in all marketing communications. Where we receive a request to stop using data we will comply unless we have a lawful reason to use the data for legitimate interests or contractual obligation.
    • Right to erasure: individuals can request for all data held on them to be deleted. Merchant Sinfonia’s data retention policy will ensure data is not held for longer than is reasonably necessary in relation to the purpose it was originally collected. If a request for deletion is made we will comply with the request unless:
    • There is a lawful reason to keep and use the data for legitimate interests or contractual obligation.
    • There is a legal requirement to keep the data.

    Right to restrict processing: individuals can request that their personal data be ‘restricted’ – that is, retained and stored but not processed further (e.g. if they have contested the accuracy of any of their data, Merchant Sinfonia will restrict the data while it is verified).

    Though unlikely to apply to the data processed by Merchant Sinfonia], we will also ensure that rights related to portability and automated decision making (including profiling) are complied with where appropriate.

Member-to-member contact

We only share members’ data with other members with the subject’s prior consent.

As a membership organisation Merchant Sinfonia encourages communication between members.

To facilitate this:

  • Members can request the personal contact data of other members in writing via the Data Protection Officer or Membership Secretary. These details will be given, as long as they are for the purposes of contacting the subject (e.g. an email address, not financial or health data) and the subject has consented to their data being shared with other members in this way.

How we get consent

Merchant Sinfonia will regularly collect data from consenting supporters for marketing purposes. This includes contacting them to promote performances, updating them about group news, fundraising and other group activities.

Any time data is collected for this purpose, we will provide:

  • A method for users to show their positive and active consent to receive these communications (e.g. a ‘tick box’)
  • A clear and specific explanation of what the data will be used for (e.g. ‘Tick this box if you would like Merchant Sinfonia to send you email updates with details about our forthcoming events, fundraising activities and opportunities to get involved’)

Data collected will only ever be used in the way described and consented to (e.g. we will not use email data in order to market 3rd-party products unless this has been explicitly consented to).

Every marketing communication will contain a method through which a recipient can withdraw their consent (e.g. an ‘unsubscribe’ link in an email). Opt-out requests such as this will be processed within 14 days.

Cookies on the Merchant Sinfonia website

A cookie is a small text file that is downloaded onto ‘terminal equipment’ (e.g. a computer or smartphone) when the user accesses a website. It allows the website to recognise that user’s device and store some information about the user’s preferences or past actions.

The Merchant Sinfonia website ( does not use cookies directly. However, if you leave a comment on our site you may opt-in to saving your name, email address and website in cookies. These are for your convenience so that you do not have to fill in your details again when you leave another comment. These cookies will last for one year. See Privacy Policy for technical details.

Data Retention Policy


This policy sets out how Merchant Sinfonia will approach data retention and establishes processes to ensure we do not hold data for longer than is necessary.

It forms part of Merchant Sinfonia Data Protection Policy.

Roles and responsibilities

Merchant Sinfonia is the Data Controller and will determine what data are collected, retained and how it is used. The Data Protection Officer for Merchant Sinfonia is Jennifer Kenny. They, together with the committee are responsible for the secure and fair retention and use of data by Merchant Sinfonia. Any questions relating to data retention or use of data should be directed to the Data Protection Officer.

A regular review of all data will take place to establish if Merchant Sinfonia still has good reason to keep and use the data held at the time of the review.  It is worth noting that members’ names on concert programmes and any photographs from the concerts will be kept as archived material.

As a general rule a data review will be held every 2 years and no more than 27 calendar months after the last review. The first review will take place September 2018 after the start of the new session .

Data to be reviewed

  • Merchant Sinfonia stores data on digital documents (e.g. spreadsheets) stored on personal devices held by committee members.
  • Data stored on third party online services [(e.g. Google Drive, Mail Chimp)]
  • Physical data stored at the homes of committee members

Who the review will be conducted by

The review will be conducted by the Data Protection Officer with other committee members to be decided on at the time of the review.

How data will be deleted

  • Physical data will be destroyed safely and securely, including shredding.
  • All reasonable and practical efforts will be made to remove data stored digitally.
    • Priority will be given to any instances where data is stored in active lists (e.g. where it could be used) and to sensitive data.
    • Where deleting the data would mean deleting other data that we have a valid lawful reason to keep (e.g. on old emails) then the data may be retained safely and securely but not used.


The following criteria will be used to make a decision about what data to keep and what to delete.


Question Action
  Yes No
Is the data stored securely?


No action necessary Update storage protocol in line with Data Protection policy
Does the original reason for having the data still apply?


Continue to use Delete or remove data
Is the data being used for its original intention?


Continue to use Either delete/remove or record lawful basis for use and get consent if necessary
Is there a statutory requirement to keep the data? Keep the data at least until the statutory minimum no longer applies Delete or remove the data unless we have reason to keep the data under other criteria.
Is the data accurate? Continue to use Ask the subject to confirm/update details
Where appropriate do we have consent to use the data. This consent could be implied by previous use and engagement by the individual


Continue to use Get consent
Can the data be anonymised Anonymise data Continue to use

Statutory Requirements

Date stored by Merchant Sinfonia may be retained based in statutory requirements for storing data other than data protection regulations. This might include but is not limited to:

  • Gift Aid declarations records
  • Details of payments made and received (e.g. in bank statements and accounting records)
  • Trustee meeting minutes
  • Contracts and agreements with suppliers/customers
  • Insurance details
  • Tax and employment records

Other data retention procedures

Member data

  • When a member leaves Merchant Sinfonia  and all administrative tasks relating to their membership have been completed any potentially sensitive data held on them will be deleted – this might include bank details or medical data
  • Unless consent has been given data will be removed from all email mailing lists
  • All other data will be stored safely and securely and reviewed as part of the next two year review

Mailing list data

  • If an individual opts out of a mailing list their data will be removed as soon as is practically possible.
  • All other data will be stored safely and securely and reviewed as part of the next two year review

Volunteer and freelancer data

  • When a volunteer or freelancer stops working with Merchant Sinfonia and all administrative tasks relating to their work have been completed any potentially sensitive data held on them will be deleted – this might include bank details or medical data
  • Unless consent has been given data will be removed from all email mailing lists
  • All other data will be stored safely and securely and reviewed as part of the next two year review

Other data

  • All other data will be included in a regular two year review.


[Document based on a template supplied by Making Music]