Insights Information Commissioner’s Office and Ofcom strengthen partnership on online safety and data protection


The ICO and Ofcom have set out how they will work together to ensure coherence between the data protection and the new online safety regimes. The joint statement builds on the regulators’ existing cooperative approach to regulation and on the close working relationship established as co-founders of the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum.

In anticipation of Ofcom taking on new duties in 2023 under the Online Safety Bill, the statement sets out the regulators’ shared regulatory aims. Both regulators want:

  • people who use online services to have confidence that their safety and privacy will be upheld and that the regulators will take prompt and effective action when providers fail in their obligations; and
  • providers of online services of all sizes to comply with their obligations and to continue to innovate and grow, supported by regulatory clarity and free from undue burden.

To achieve this, the ICO and Ofcom will work closely together to achieve maximum alignment and consistency between the data protection and online safety regimes. They will:

  • maximise coherence by ensuring policies are consistent with each other’s regulatory requirements and consult closely when preparing codes and guidance; seek solutions that enhance users’ safety and preserve their privacy; where there are tensions between privacy and safety objectives, provide clarity on how compliance can be achieved with both regimes; and
  • promote compliance by setting clear expectations for industry on what they must do to meet both their online safety and data protection requirements, including support through the transition for small and emerging firms; act against services that do not meet their obligations, sharing information and intelligence as appropriate and coordinating approaches to enforcement.

To read the joint statement in full, click here.