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The protection of personal data has become one of the central human rights in the last 20 years. The recent pan-European Data Protection Reform comes to contribute to the EU strategy for developing and ensuring digital data driven economy. To this end, a package of considerable legislative measures was adopted. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) plays general role to this respect. The regulation entered into force on 24 May 2016 and shall apply from 25 May 2018 on. In this transition period business and public authorities must prepare for the implementation of GDPR’s provisions. As 2018 is approaching, the necessity of bringing these sectors in compliance with the new rules is increasing.

Common feature to all public authorities in the EU is their insufficient readiness to face the challenges posed by the digital era. One of the most vulnerable public authorities are local public authorities which are exposed to continues cyber-attacks which lead to data breaches and unlawful discloser of personal data. In 2016 there are many reported incidents in this regard - Dettlebach (Germany), Ooststellingwerf, Weststellingwerf and Opsterland (Nehterlands). This illustrates the general technical and administrative unpreparedness of local public authorities.

Additionally, the research performed within the ProLegis partnership shows that local public authorities are yet to considered the prescriptions set by the GDPR. The legal advisors employed by these institutions do not tend to be experts in the field of data protection. At the same time, many Member States (MS) currently do not envisages training activities on the Data Protection Reform aimed at the employees of local public authorities (i.e. the 2016 training programme of the Bulgarian Commission for Personal Data Protection addresses only employees of Ministries).

Furthermore, where information on the Data Protection Reform is available, it is under the form of leaflets or brochures and no training is provided (e.g. Greece). Meanwhile, there are more than 30 000 local public authorities in the EU. The daily activities of local public authorities as data controllers, presupposes wide interaction and processing of personal data. Therefore, they need to be aware and ready to provide adequate protection of personal data to ensure citizens that their fundamental right to privacy and to personal data protection is respected. All these issues demand for immediate actions aimed at enhancing the understanding of local public authorities regarding their new obligations and needed steps to address them. Moreover, it requires to increase the knowledge of the administrative staff that is directly engaged with the processing of personal data.

ProLegis recognises the necessity to address these problems therefore it pursues the following objectives:

1To introduce local public authorities’ (LPA) employees to the European Data Protection Reform, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in particular to enable them to fulfill their professional duties lawfully and with respect to fundamental human rights

2To elaborate tailored training materials and methodology addressing the training needs of LPA employees

3To train a least 2 trainers from each partner country on the to-be elaborated materials

4To train at least 200 Data Protection Officers (DPOs) working in LPA in partner countries on GDPR provisions and on the functions and responsibilities of a DPO on a LPA level

5To increase the readiness of at least 180 LPA on the Data Protection Reform

6To launch an e-Learning platform providing to stakeholders the elaborated training materials under the form of online modules

To achieve the objectives set in the current proposal, ProLegis targets:

1Local public authorities’ employees. ProLegis partnership chose this target group considering two major issues. Local public authorities provide basic services to citizens regarding social status, taxes, transport, police, healthcare, education etc. The provision of all these services involves constant processing of personal data, including sensitive personal data. As public bodies, local public authorities need to be an example to the private sector, thus ensure a high level of confidence, security and expertise. Citizens need to trust public authorities, that their personal data is handled in legally sound manner, in alignment with the Data Protection Reform. Therefore, ProLegis aims to educate local public authorities’ staff, involved in personal data processing and to prepare them for their new responsibilities and obligations under GDPR framework.

2Trainers. This target group is chosen to enable the conduct of the national workshops. By involving trainers on the ProLegis topics, the project will ensure the continuous delivery of high quality tailored trainings to the identified target groups.

With the envisaged activities ProLegis strives to contribute to general application of the GDPR and to fulfil the identified objectives. Therefore, ProLegis will provide face-to-face workshops as well as an online learning course. The e-learning method has been recognised as an innovative and effective approach reconciling trainings with the demands of professional and family life.

These activities will aim to prepare local public authorities’ employees and potential DPOs, which are the general target group of the ProLegis project.

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