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Queen's Speech 2022 - Data Reform Bill

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By Eleanor Ludlam, Charlotte Halford and Pavan Trivedi


Published 12 May 2022


In the Queen’s Speech delivered on 10 May 2022 at the House of Commons by HRH The Prince of Wales, the Government announced a new Data Reform Bill. The Government subsequently released a high-level overview of 38 proposed laws, including the Data Reform Bill, which can be accessed here.

The proposed Data Reform Bill seeks to introduce significant changes to the data protection regime in the UK and is likely to result in the reform or repeal of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK GDPR. This follows the Government’s public consultation on reforms to the UK’s data protection regime entitled “Data: a new direction” which was published in September 2021.

“The United Kingdom’s data protection regime will be reformed.”


  • The Government is seeking to “take advantage of Brexit” in order to create a world-class data rights regime which will enable the government to create both a new pro-growth and trusted UK data protection framework.
  • The main goal of the new Data Reform Bill is to “reduce burdens placed on business”, boosting the economy and assisting scientists to innovate while improving the lives of people in the UK.
  • The Information Commissioners Office (the “ICO”), led by John Edwards, will be given capabilities and powers to bring stronger actions against organisations who are found to have breached data protection rules. The Data Reform Bill will also require the ICO to be held more accountable to Parliament and the public going forward.
  • Smart Data Schemes: the Government seeks to increase the industry’s participation in Smart Data Schemes in order to provide small businesses and citizens with better control of their data.

  • The Data Reform Bill’s aim is to increase the competitiveness and efficiencies of UK organisations by reducing the burdens they face with regard to data, including by “creating a data protection framework that is focused on privacy outcomes rather than a box-ticking exercise.”
  • The main areas of focus for the Government is to ensure that data can be used to “empower citizens” by effectively delivering public healthcare, security and government services.
  • Regulatory environment: the Government is aiming to create a “clearer” regulatory environment for personal data which they say will “drive scientific progress” and generate “responsible innovation.” Additionally, the Bill aims to ensure that regulators “take appropriate action” against organisations who breach data rights.
  • Research rules and the data used within research is also set to be “simplified” with the Government’s goal to “cement the UK as a science and technology superpower.”

  • The Bill will extend and apply across the UK but there will be some measures which will apply only to England and Wales. These measures were not announced in the overview provided within the Queen’s Speech.
  • The Government aims to reform regulations in order to increase the efficiency of data sharing between public bodies in order to improve the delivery of services for citizens.

The Government attached figures within the overview of the Data Reform Bill:

  • Analysis from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) indicated that the Government will create over £1bn in business savings over the next ten years with the Bill.
  • The UK’s data market represented 4% of GDP in 2020 with data-enabled trade making up the largest part of international services trade at £234bn in 2019.
  • Estimates from the DCMS predict an “uplift” of £27.8 in UK GDP as a result of the competition benefits stemming from the Bill.

  • The Queen’s Speech, and the accompanying overview published by the Government, provided a very brief look at the upcoming Data Reform Bill and we are looking forward to reviewing the Data Reform Bill in full when it is published later this summer, as well as the Government’s response to its public consultation on reforms to the UK’s data protection regime, which is set to be released within the next few weeks.
  • Whilst the Government promises a lighter touch, more outcomes focussed regime going forward, a potential further upheaval of the data protection regime in the coming months and years and a regulator with more teeth is likely to be a concern for many organisations. However, it is possible under the approach promised by the Government in the Data Reform Bill that current compliance models will not need to be overhauled, but could mean that UK organisations could adapt to have a more flexible approach to data protection compliance.

In the meantime, DAC Beachcroft’s Information law and Cyber teams remain available to assist you with your data protection compliance matters.