10 Questions with Graham Jennings, Data Compliance Manager
1. How long have you worked at the School?
In December I completed ten years’ service at LBS. The first three years were in the IT department and the last seven in the Dean’s Office.
2. What’s a data compliance manager?
The simplest explanation is that a data compliance manager ensures data is managed in accordance with UK law, international standards and School policies. How you get that to happen and provide evidence is the hard part.
3. Why does the School need one?
The School creates and consumes a lot of data in its day to day activities. This data needs to be held securely, be readily available and have its integrity maintained whilst being legally compliant. That doesn’t happen on its own.
4. We’ve heard there’s some new training on data protection. Who’s this for? Haven’t we heard it all before?
The short answer is that the new training is for everybody in the School. Everyone needs to have a basic level of knowledge. The advantages are that once acquired this knowledge is highly transferrable and can even be applied to our personal lives to make sure we can protect and assert our own information rights. It’s an evolving field of law and governance so we all need to stay on top of new developments. Very soon you will be hearing in the news about a new General Data Protection Regulation which will replace the current law that has been in place since 1998.
5. If you could only achieve one thing in 2016, what would it be?
I would love to say that I have managed to stay on top of managing my garden having produced a fine crop of flowers and veg but as that is unlikely, workwise, I would love to see the stats that say all School employees have completed their data protection training and the evidence that they are acting upon it.
6. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Removing the constraints of mortality and accepting that not all of them would get along given the hell-raising reputation of a couple and political opposites of others - which would most likely turn the evening into a complete nightmare - I would love the chance to dine with the following: Russell Crowe, John Wayne, Winston Churchill, Bruce Springsteen, Katherine Jenkins, Edith Stein (look her up – an amazing person) and Emmeline Pankhurst. Musical accompaniment would be by Fryderyk Chopin and the meal cooked by Jamie Olivier!
7. What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
When I was completing my first degree I learnt that success comes from preparation, showing up and working hard. It’s a simple formula but sadly I’ve seen many who did not make the most of the opportunities they were given.
8. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I have been struggling between two choices. Academically, I am most pleased to have won the student prize and graduated with distinction for my MSc Records Management. However I have also coached 12 runners from beginner level. Eight of them completed half marathons and four of them completed the London marathon - all within 12 months of first putting on running shoes, so I will nominate this one.
9. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
It may not have been the best piece of advice but certainly it is the most memorable. By its very nature data compliance requires a certain amount of intervention. In my IT days I met one day with the then IT director and apologised if I was interfering in a particular project. His response was to paraphrase the football manager Brian Clough that "if I was not interfering then I was not doing my job!" (Brian Clough is actually quoted as saying "that if he [a player] was not interfering with play he shouldn’t be on the pitch" after one of his players was booked). When you need to get something done you can’t sit on the sidelines, you need to take the lead.
10. Tell us something surprising about you.
In my twenties I used to work for an athletics club called London Road Runners Club. We were based in one of the gate lodges at the top of Exhibition Road, Hyde Park. I used to do everything from selling running kit to organising road races and producing a glossy club magazine. I met everyone from royalty to olympic athletes and the slowest joggers. Huge fun, lasted two years but the pay was terrible so I finally had to get a proper job!