Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter
Keyword Search
Monday 10 August 2020   [ Logout ]

Privacy Policy

1.               Policy statement and objectives

1.1            The objectives of this Data Protection Policy are to ensure that Metropolitan Grand Lodge [and Metropolitan Grand Chapter] (“MetGL”) and its officers and members are informed about, and comply with, their obligations under the General Data Protection Regulation (“the GDPR”) and other data protection legislation.

1.2            MetGL is the Data Controller for all the Personal Data processed for and on behalf of members of lodges and chapters under MetGL. The majority of all Personal Data is held on the United Grand Lodge’s (“UGLE”) central Adelphi database, access to which is formalised through a formalised data sharing agreement.

1.3            Everyone has rights with regard to how their personal information is handled. During the course of our activities we will Process personal information in the administration of lodges, chapters and individual London freemasons. This information will at all times be treated in an appropriate and lawful manner.  This personal information is collected by individual Lodges but also by the central team who work for MetGL.

1.4            The type of information that we may be required to handle include registration of new members, changes of personal information of existing members, nomination for and award of honours and active office, disciplinary matters, administration of lodge and chapter By-Laws. The information, which may be held on paper or on a computer or other media, is subject to certain legal safeguards specified in the GDPR and other legislation. The GDPR imposes restrictions on how we may use that information.

1.5            Any breach of this policy will be considered a serious matter and may result in disciplinary action. Breach of the GDPR may expose MetGL to enforcement action by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) or fines. Furthermore, certain breaches of the Act can give rise to personal criminal liability for those in breach. At the very least, a breach of the GDPR could damage our reputation and have serious consequences for MetGL.

2.               Status of the policy

2.1            This policy has been approved by the Metropolitan Grand Master. It sets out our rules on data protection and the legal conditions that must be satisfied in relation to the obtaining, handling, processing, storage, transportation and destruction of personal information.

3.               Data Protection Officer

3.1            The Data Protection Officer (the “DPO”) is responsible for ensuring MetGL is and remains compliant with the GDPR and with this policy. This post is held at MetGL by the metropolitan Deputy Grand Secretary. Any questions or concerns about the operation of this policy should be referred in the first instance to the DPO.

3.2            The DPO will play a major role in embedding essential aspects of the GDPR into MetGL’s culture, from ensuring the data protection principles are respected to preserving data subject rights, recording data processing activities and ensuring the security of processing.

3.3            The DPO is responsible for ensuring that MetGL’s internal operations adequately safeguard Personal Data, in line with legal requirements as well as advising relevant members of Lodges and chapters as to their obligations.

3.4            A DPO appointed is permitted to undertake other tasks and duties for the organisation, but these must not result in a conflict of interests with his role as DPO. It follows that any conflict of interests between the individual's role as DPO and other roles the individual may have within the organisation impinge on the DPO's ability to remain independent.

3.5            If you consider that the policy has not been followed in respect of Personal Data about yourself or others you should raise the matter with the DPO.

4.               Definition of terms

4.1            Biometric Data means Personal Data resulting from specific technical processing relating to the physical, physiological or behavioural characteristics of a natural person, which allow or confirm the unique identification of that natural person, such as facial images;

4.2            Consent of the Data Subject means any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the Data Subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of Personal Data relating to him or her;

4.3            Data is information which is stored electronically, on a computer, or in certain paper-based filing systems or other media such as CCTV;

4.4            Data Subjects for the purpose of this policy include all living individuals about whom we hold Personal Data. A Data Subject need not be a UK national or resident. All Data Subjects have legal rights in relation to their Personal Data.

4.5            Data Controller means the natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which, alone or jointly with others, determines the purposes and means of the processing of Personal Data.

4.6            Data Users include employees, volunteers, and anyone else whose work involves using Personal Data.  Data Users have a duty to protect the information they handle by following our data protection and security policies at all times;

4.7            Data Processor means a natural or legal person, public authority, agency or other body which processes Personal Data on behalf of the Data Controller;

4.8            Personal Data means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘Data Subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person;

4.9            Personal Data Breach means a breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, Personal Data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed;

4.10          Privacy by Design means implementing appropriate technical and organisational measures in an effective manner to ensure compliance with the GDPR;

4.11          Processing means any operation or set of operations which is performed on Personal Data or on sets of Personal Data, whether or not by automated means, such as collection, recording, organisation, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction;

4.12          Sensitive Personal Data means Personal Data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, and the processing of genetic data, biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person, data concerning health or data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation.

5.               Data protection principles

5.1            Anyone processing Personal Data must comply with the enforceable principles of good practice. These provide that Personal Data must be:

5.1.1        processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner in relation to individuals;

5.1.2        collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not further processed in a manner that is incompatible with those purposes; further processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes shall not be considered to be incompatible with the initial purposes;

5.2.3    adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed;

5.2.4    accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date; every reasonable step must be taken to ensure that Personal Data that is found to be inaccurate, having regard to the purposes for which they are processed, are erased or rectified without delay;

5.2.5    kept in a form which permits identification of Data Subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the Personal Data are processed; Personal Data may be stored for longer periods insofar as the Personal Data will be processed solely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes subject to implementation of the appropriate technical and organisational measures required by the GDPR in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals; and

5.2.6    Processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the Personal Data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures.

6.               Processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner

6.1            The GDPR is not intended to prevent the processing of Personal Data, but to ensure that it is done fairly and without adversely affecting the rights of the Data Subject. The Data Subject must be told who the Data Controller is (in this case the Metropolitan Grand Secretary), who the Data Controller’s representative is (in this case the DPO), the purpose for which the data is to be Processed by us, and the identities of anyone to whom the Data may be disclosed or transferred.

6.2            For Personal Data to be processed lawfully, certain conditions have to be met. These may include:

6.2.1        where we have the Consent of the Data Subject;

6.2.2    where it is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation;

6.2.3    where processing is necessary to protect the vital interests of the Data Subject or another person;

6.2.4    where it is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller.

6.3            Personal data may only be processed for the specific purposes notified to the Data Subject when the data was first collected, or for any other purposes specifically permitted by the Act. This means that Personal Data must not be collected for one purpose and then used for another. If it becomes necessary to change the purpose for which the data is processed, the Data Subject must be informed of the new purpose and consent obtained before any processing occurs.

6.4            Sensitive Personal Data

6.4.1        MetGL does not normally process Sensitive Personal Data. our stakeholders. 

6.4.2        MetGL recognises that we may occasionally process information about members, which is confidential in nature; for example, information about family circumstances, criminal or professional proceedings etc.  Appropriate safeguards must be implemented for such information, even if it does not meet the legal definition of Sensitive Personal Data.

6.5            Biometric Data

MetGL does not currently process Biometric Data.

6.6            Criminal convictions and offences

6.6.1        There are separate safeguards in the GDPR for Personal Data relating to criminal convictions and offences.

6.6.2        It is likely that MetGL will occasionally Process Data about criminal convictions or offences.   This information is not routinely collected and is only likely to be processed by MetGL in specific circumstances, for example, in the event of masonic disciplinary proceedings.  This information is never shared with external agencies and will only be processed to the extent that it is lawful to do so and appropriate measures will be taken to keep the data secure.

6.7            Transparency

6.7.1        One of the key requirements of the GDPR relates to transparency.  This means that MetGL must keep Data Subjects informed about how their Personal Data will be processed when it is collected

6.7.2        One of the ways we provide this information to individuals is through a privacy notice which sets out important information what we do with their Personal Data. 

6.7.3        We will ensure that privacy notices are concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible; written in clear and plain language.

6.8            Consent

6.8.1        MetGL will only process Personal Data on the basis of one or more of the lawful bases set out in the GDPR, which include Consent.  Consent is not the only lawful basis and there are likely to be many circumstances when we process Personal Data and our justification for doing so is on a legitimate interest basis.

6.8.2        A Data Subject consents to Processing of their Personal Data if they indicate agreement clearly either by a statement or positive action to the Processing. Consent requires affirmative action so silence, pre-ticked boxes or inactivity are unlikely to be sufficient.

6.8.3        Consent usually follows from the signed agreement on Registration form M. In the absence of such a form then UGLE has undertaken a trawl of all non-signatories.  Consent is recorded on a members personal Adelphi record.

6.8.4        Data Subjects must be easily able to withdraw Consent to Processing at any time and withdrawal must be promptly honoured.

6.8.5        Evidence and records of Consent are maintained so that the MetGL can demonstrate compliance with Consent requirements.

7.               Specified, explicit and legitimate purposes

7.1            Personal data should only be collected to the extent that it is required for the specific purpose notified to the Data Subject, for example, in the Privacy Notice or at the point of collecting the Personal Data. Any data which is not necessary for that purpose should not be collected in the first place. 

7.2            MetGL will be clear with Data Subjects about why their Personal Data is being collected and how it will be processed. We cannot use Personal Data for new, different or incompatible purposes from that disclosed when it was first obtained unless we have informed the Data Subject of the new purposes and they have consented where necessary.

8.               Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary

8.1            MetGL will ensure that the Personal Data collected is adequate to enable us to perform our functions and that the information is relevant and limited to what is necessary.

8.2            In order to ensure compliance with this principle, MetGL will check records at appropriate intervals for missing, irrelevant or seemingly excessive information and may contact Data Subjects, directly or indirectly, to verify certain items of data.

8.3            MetGL will follow measures to ensure that Personal Data is processed on a ‘Need to Know’ basis.  This means that the only those who need to know Personal Data about a Data Subject will be given access to it and no more information than is necessary for the relevant purpose will be shared.  In practice, this means that MetGL may adopt a layered approach in some circumstances, for example, limited access to Adelphi and/or Porchway.

8.4            When Personal Data is no longer needed for specified purposes, it will be deleted or anonymised.

9.               Accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date

9.1            Personal data must be accurate and kept up to date. Information which is incorrect or misleading is not accurate and steps should therefore be taken to check the accuracy of any Personal Data at the point of collection and at regular intervals afterwards. Inaccurate or out-of-date data should be destroyed.

9.2            If a Data Subject directly or indirectly informs MetGL of a change of circumstances their records will be updated as soon as is practicable.

9.3            Where a Data Subject challenges the accuracy of their data, MetGL will immediately note the record as potentially inaccurate, or ‘challenged’. In the case of any dispute, we shall try to resolve the issue informally, but if this proves impossible, disputes will be referred to the DPO for their judgement. If the problem cannot be resolved at this stage, the Data Subject should refer their complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Until resolved the ‘challenged’ marker will remain and all disclosures of the affected information will contain both versions of the information.

9.4            Notwithstanding paragraph 9.3, a Data Subject continues to have rights under the GDPR and may refer a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office regardless of whether the procedure set out in paragraph 9.3 has been followed.

10.            Data to be kept for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the Personal Data are processed

10.1          Personal data should not be kept longer than is necessary for the purpose for which it is held. This means that data should be destroyed or erased from our systems when it is no longer required.

10.2          It is the duty of the DPO, after taking appropriate guidance for legal considerations, to ensure that obsolete data are properly erased. UGLE has a retention schedule for all data.

11.            Data to be processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the Personal Data

11.1          MetGL has taken steps to ensure that appropriate security measures are taken against unlawful or unauthorised processing of Personal Data, and against the accidental loss of, or damage to, Personal Data. Data Subjects may apply to the courts for compensation if they have suffered damage from such a loss.

11.2          The GDPR requires us to put in place procedures and technologies to maintain the security of all Personal Data from the point of collection to the point of destruction.

11.3          We will develop, implement and maintain safeguards appropriate to our size, scope, our available resources, the amount of Personal Data that we own or maintain on behalf of others and identified risks (including use of encryption and Pseudonymisation where applicable). We will regularly evaluate and test the effectiveness of those safeguards to ensure security of our Processing of Personal Data.

11.4          Data Users are responsible for protecting the Personal Data we hold. Data Users must implement reasonable and appropriate security measures against unlawful or unauthorised Processing of Personal Data and against the accidental loss of, or damage to, Personal Data.

11.5          Data Users must follow all procedures and technologies we put in place to maintain the security of all Personal Data from the point of collection to the point of destruction. Data Users must comply with all applicable aspects of our Acceptable Use Agreement and not attempt to circumvent the administrative, physical and technical safeguards we implement and maintain in accordance with the GDPR and relevant standards to protect Personal Data.

11.6          Maintaining data security means guaranteeing the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the Personal Data, defined as follows:

11.6.1      Confidentiality means that only people who are authorised to use the data can access it.

11.6.2      Integrity means that Personal Data should be accurate and suitable for the purpose for which it is processed.

11.6.3      Availability means that authorised users should be able to access the data if they need it for authorised purposes.

11.7          It is the responsibility of all members of staff and Data Users to work together to ensure that the Personal Data we hold is kept secure.  We rely on each other to identify and report any practices that do not meet these standards so that we can take steps to address any weaknesses in our systems.  Anyone who has any comments or concerns about security should notify the DPO.

11.7.1      All Data Users will be asked to read and sign an Acceptable Use Agreement.

12.            Processing in line with Data Subjects’ rights

12.1          Data Subjects have rights when it comes to how we handle their Personal Data. These include rights to:

12.1.1      withdraw Consent to Processing at any time;

12.1.2      receive certain information about the Data Controller’s Processing activities;

12.1.3      request access to their Personal Data that we hold;

12.1.4      prevent our use of their Personal Data for direct marketing purposes;

12.1.5      ask us to erase Personal Data if it is no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which it was collected or Processed or to rectify inaccurate data or to complete incomplete data;

12.1.6      restrict Processing in specific circumstances;

12.1.7      challenge Processing which has been justified on the basis of our legitimate interests or in the public interest;

12.1.8      object to decisions based solely on Automated Processing, including profiling (Automated Decision Making);

12.1.9      prevent Processing that is likely to cause damage or distress to the Data Subject or anyone else;

12.1.10   be notified of a Personal Data Breach which is likely to result in high risk to their rights and freedoms;

12.1.11   make a complaint to the supervisory authority (the ICO); and

12.1.12   in limited circumstances, receive or ask for their Personal Data to be transferred to a third party in a structured, commonly used and machine readable format.

12.2          We are required to verify the identity of an individual requesting data under any of the rights listed above.  Members of staff should not allow third parties to persuade them into disclosing Personal Data without proper authorisation.

13.            Dealing with subject access requests

13.1          The GDPR extends to all Data Subjects a right of access to their own Personal Data.  A formal request from a Data Subject for information that we hold about them must be made in writing. MetGL can invite a Data Subject to complete a form but we may not insist that they do so.

13.2          It is important that all members of staff are able to recognise that a written request made by a person for their own information is likely to be a valid Subject Access Request, even if the Data Subject does not specifically use this phrase in their request or refer to the GDPR.  In some cases, a Data Subject may mistakenly refer to the “Freedom of Information Act” but this should not prevent MetGL from responding to the request as being made under the GDPR, if appropriate. Some requests may contain a combination of a Subject Access Request for Personal Data under the GDPR and a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA”).  Requests for information under the FOIA must be dealt with promptly and in any event within 20 working days.

13.3          Any member of staff who receives a written request of this nature must immediately forward it to the DPO as the statutory time limit for responding is one calendar month.  Under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA 1998), Data Controllers previously had 40 calendar days to respond to a request.

13.4          As the time for responding to a request does not stop during the periods when the building is closed for the holidays, we will attempt to mitigate any impact this may have on the rights of data subjects to request access to their data by implementing the following measures: The DPO should be informed.

13.5          A fee may no longer be charged to the individual for provision of this information (previously a fee of £10 could be charged under the DPA 1998).

13.6          MetGL may ask the Data Subject for reasonable identification so that they can satisfy themselves about the person’s identity before disclosing the information.

13.7          Following receipt of a subject access request, and provided that there is sufficient information to process the request, a record of the request should be made, showing the date of receipt, the Data Subject’s name, the name and address of requester (if different), the type of data required (e.g. Member Career Summary), and the planned date for supplying the information (not more than one calendar month from the request date).  Should more information be required to establish either the identity of the Data Subject (or agent) or the type of data requested, the date of entry recorded will be date on which sufficient information has been provided.

13.8          Where requests are “manifestly unfounded or excessive”, in particular because they are repetitive, MetGL can:

13.8.1      charge a reasonable fee taking into account the administrative costs of providing the information; or

13.8.2      refuse to respond.

13.9          Where we refuse to respond to a request, the response must explain why to the individual, informing them of their right to complain to the supervisory authority and to a judicial remedy without undue delay and at the latest within one month. Members of staff should consult the DPO before refusing a request.

13.10       Once the Data Protection Bill becomes law we expect to receive further information about exemptions.

14.            Providing information over the telephone

14.1          Any member of staff dealing with telephone enquiries should be extremely careful about disclosing any Personal Data held by MetGL whilst also applying common sense to the particular circumstances. In particular they should:

14.1.1      Check the caller’s identity to make sure that information is only given to a person who is entitled to it.

14.1.2      If they are not sure about the caller’s identity and where their identity cannot be checked, suggest that the caller put their request in writing.

14.1.3      Refer to their line manager or the DPO for assistance in difficult situations. No-one should feel pressurised into disclosing personal information.

15.            Authorised disclosures

15.1          MetGL will only disclose data about individuals if one of the lawful bases apply. 

15.2          Only authorised and trained staff are allowed to make external disclosures of Personal Data.  MetGL will rarely if ever regularly share Personal Data with third parties, other than UGLE.

15.3          UGLE is a Data Controller in their own right in which case we will be jointly controllers of Personal Data and may be jointly liable in the event of any data breaches.  A Data Sharing Agreement is in place

16.            Reporting a Personal Data Breach

16.1          The GDPR requires Data Controllers to notify any Personal Data Breach to the ICO and, in certain instances, the Data Subject.

16.2          A notifiable Personal Data Breach must be reported to the ICO without undue delay and where feasible within 72 hours, unless the data breach is unlikely to result in a risk to the individuals.

16.3          If the breach is likely to result in high risk to affected Data Subjects, the GDPR, requires organisations to inform them without undue delay.

16.4          It is the responsibility of the DPO to decide whether to report a Personal Data Breach to the ICO.

16.5          We have put in place procedures to deal with any suspected Personal Data Breach and will notify Data Subjects or any applicable regulator where we are legally required to do so. 

17.            Accountability

17.1          MetGL will implement appropriate technical and organisational measures in an effective manner, to ensure compliance with data protection principles. MetGL is responsible for, and must be able to demonstrate, compliance with the data protection principles.

17.2          MetGL is required to have adequate resources and controls in place to ensure and to document GDPR compliance including:

17.2.1   appointing a DPO accountable for data privacy

17.2.3   integrating data protection into internal documents including this Data Protection Policy, related policies and Privacy Notices;

18.            Record keeping

18.1          The GDPR requires us to keep full and accurate records of all our Data Processing activities.

18.2          We must keep and maintain accurate records reflecting our Processing including records of Data Subjects’ Consents and procedures for obtaining Consents.

18.3          These records should include, at a minimum, the name and contact details of the Data Controller and the DPO, clear descriptions of the Personal Data types, Data Subject types, Processing activities, Processing purposes, third-party recipients of the Personal Data, Personal Data storage locations, Personal Data transfers, the Personal Data’s retention period and a description of the security measures in place.

19.            Training and audit

19.1          We will ensure all MetGL Data Users have undergone adequate training to enable us to comply with data privacy laws. We will also regularly test our systems and processes to assess compliance.

19.2          Members of staff will attend all mandatory data privacy related training.

20.            CCTV

20.1          MetGL does not operate CCTV.

21.            Enquiries

Further information about MetGL’s Data Protection Policy is available from the DPO.

General information about the Act can be obtained from the Information Commissioner’s Office:


Appendix 1 – GDPR Clauses

The GDPR requires the following matters to be addressed in contracts with Data Processors.  The wording below is a summary of the requirements in the GDPR and is not intended to be used as the drafting to include in contracts with Data Processors.

1.    The Processor may only process Personal Data on the documented instructions of the controller, including as regards international transfers. (Art. 28(3)(a))

2.    Personnel used by the Processor must be subject to a duty of confidence. (Art. 28(3)(b))

3.    The Processor must keep Personal Data secure. (Art. 28(3)(c) Art. 32)

4.    The Processor may only use a sub-processor with the consent of the Data Controller. That consent may be specific to a particular sub-processor or general. Where the consent is general, the processor must inform the controller of changes and give them a chance to object. (Art. 28(2) Art. 28(3)(d))

5.    The Processor must ensure it flows down the GDPR obligations to any sub-processor. The Processor remains responsible for any processing by the sub-processor. (Art. 28(4))

6.    The Processor must assist the controller to comply with requests from individuals exercising their rights to access, rectify, erase or object to the processing of their Personal Data. (Art. 28(3)(e))

7.    The Processor must assist the Data Controller with their security and data breach obligations, including notifying the Data Controller of any Personal Data breach. (Art. 28(3)(f)) (Art. 33(2))

8.    The Processor must assist the Data Controller should the Data Controller need to carry out a privacy impact assessment. (Art. 28(3)(f))

9.    The Processor must return or delete Personal Data at the end of the agreement, save to the extent the Processor must keep a copy of the Personal Data under Union or Member State law. (Art. 28(3)(g))

10.The Processor must demonstrate its compliance with these obligations and submit to audits by the Data Controller (or by a third party mandated by the controller). (Art. 28(3)(h))

11.The Processor must inform the Data Controller if, in its opinion, the Data Controller’s instructions would breach Union or Member State law. (Art. 28(3))