We've been asked on a number of occasions whether you must register with the Data Protection Registrar if you use an online system such as ToucanLearn in your childminding setting. The simple answer is almost certainly 'Yes'. The Data Protection Act requires that any personal data (defined as data that can be traced to an identifiable human being) stored in an automated system must be registered with the Information Commissioner's Office.
Unfortunately the ICO doesn't make the law and even their advice is ambiguous in certain instances. If you complete their 'self assessment' as to whether you need to register under the Data Protection Act, if you state that the personal information you hold is not on an electronic system then they state that you do not need to register. However, in other explanations, the state that if personal information is stored in a filing system aimed at easing information retrieval, then you do have to register. The one exception could be that the information is held in strict chronological order with no other ordering aimed at easy access.
The ICO is clear that keeping personal data on digital cameras, CCTV or mobile phones does fall into the area where registration is required.
Registration currently costs £35 per year and registration can be done online. Renewal payments are usually taken automatically each year.
Here at ToucanLearn we register our own business and declare what we may use the data for. Our registration does not cover our individual users.
It's unlikely that many childminders would fall outside of the requirement to register. Registration is not required because you use a system such as ToucanLearn specifically, it's required because it's almost inevitable that you will hold some information, somewhere, that does fall under the requirements.