Data Protection Policy

The new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is active from 25 May 2018. This supersedes the UK Data Protection Act (1988). By law we must ask you for your clear, unambiguous consent before we can email you anything outside of your annual membership renewal notices, or use or share your data in any other way.

Who we are

The British Phycological Society (BPS) is a Controller of Data for the purpose of the GDPR. Our charity registration number is 246707 and the registered address is the Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, UK. The BPS website address is

The types of personal data we collect and use
  • Personal details including:
    • Title (i.e. Dr, Prof, Prof Emeritus, Prof Dr, Mr, Mrs, Ms)
    • First name and last name
    • Position
    • Address including town and post or zip code and country
    • Email address
  • Membership details including:
    • Renewal date e.g. 01/01/2019
    • Type of membership (ordinary, student, honorary, retired, and we also note if resigned, membership lapsed etc.-)
  • If members make payment by Credit/Debit card then we received details including:
    • Credit card details
      • Amount
      • Card type
      • Name on card
      • Card no.
      • Security code
      • Expiry date
      • Date of last payment g. 01/01/2018

These card details are destroyed after processing, but we retain information on the date of last payment.


  • Bank account details
  • Account holder name and address
  • Bank branch name and address
  • BIC/SWIFT code
  • IBAN number
  • Sort code
  • Bank account number


  • If members make payments through Paypal or GoCardless, then we do not receive personal financial information.

Further personal choice information including:

  • Information on your choice of subscription and delivery method electronic or print copy of The Phycologist (our society newsletter) and to the European Journal of Phycology (EJP; the Society journal, published by Taylor and Francis)
  • Other data includes ‘notes’ these are notes made by the membership secretary on the year of a member first joining and the number of years of renewal along with the renewal method e.g. PP for PayPal or cheque
  • There are a number of check boxes to indicate Members research interests and can be filled in voluntarily. These are ‘applied phycology, cell biology, molecular biology, macroalgal ecology, macroalgal systematics, physiology and biochemistry, microalgal ecology, microalgal systematics’.
  • There are also ‘research interest notes’ which are data voluntarily supplied by the members themselves.
  • Paper free option, do members wish to receive a paper copy of The Phycologist?
  • Information on member applications for BPS funding awards, including original applications and summary information for funded and non-funded applications. Information on attendees at our meetings to enable meeting organisation and meeting follow-ups.

The Webmaster is the designated Data Protection Officer and the Membership Secretary is our designated Data Processing Officer, who holds the membership records. Your personal data is held in a MySQL database hosted on a webserver supplied by the hosting company Jolt. We use your personal data for the purpose of communicating with you about the activities of the society, and share your personal data with the publishers of our journal, currently Taylor and Francis, if you are a subscriber to the EJP or other journals published by the Society.

Sub-selections of the membership database made for the purposes of communicating with members about specific activities and publications. For example, postal mailing lists for ‘The Phycologist’ are downloaded in MS Excel format and stored locally by the Membership Secretary on a virus protected PC. Sub-selections of the membership database made by the membership secretary for the purposes of membership monitoring and reporting are also stored on this device.

A sub-selection of the membership database also generates a postal mailing list for members receiving a paper copy of the society journal, EJP. This list, including title, name and address is sent to the publishers Taylor and Francis who are a GDPR compliant company.

In addition, the treasurer holds membership information (including bank details) for the purposes of reimbursing financial claims and honoraria to student members, prize-winners, BPS Council and committee members. In addition, the treasurer holds supplier details for the purposes of paying invoices relating to the running of the society. All electronic data is received through a dedicated and protected email address and stored locally on a protected Mac in MS Word, Excel and pdf formats. Claim forms submitted to the treasurer in paper format are held securely in a locked location. Financial data is held for 6 years from the end of the last tax year to which they relate before being permanently deleted. To facilitate bank transfers to claimants, financial data is uploaded to the BPS Bank of Scotland current account. In addition, all financial paperwork is provided to FEB Chartered Accountants for preparation of the yearly financial statement in line with the requirements of the Charity Commission.

We will only disclose information about you to additional third parties other than those stated above if we are legally obliged to do so or where we need to comply with our contractual duties to you.

Legal Basis for Processing your Data

The legal basis for processing your data will be Consent:  in becoming a member of the society you have given your consent for us to process your personal data for a specific purpose of informing you of:

  1. All notices pertaining to the activities of the Society, including activities and events relating to Phycology from other learned societies, publishers and organisations that align with our charitable interests.
  2. Literature issued by the Society, free or at a reduced rate as the Council may from time to time determine.
  3. To vote in the election of officers and members of the Council, and to vote in the conduct of the affairs of the Society at any meetings of the Society (see The British Phycological Society Constitution, section 4).
  4. For notices of renewal of your subscription to the Society.

BPS may sometimes need to process your data to pursue our legitimate charity interests.  Our legitimate interests include fraud prevention, administrative purposes, reporting potential crimes.

Your Rights

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) you have a number of rights with regard to your personal data. You have the right to request from us access to and rectification or erasure of your personal data (the right to be forgotten), the right to restrict processing, object to processing as well as in certain circumstances the right to data portability.

If you have provided consent for the processing of your data you have the right (in certain circumstances) to withdraw that consent at any time which will not affect the lawfulness of the processing before your consent was withdrawn.

You have the right to lodge a complaint to the Information Commissioners’ Office if you believe that we have not complied with the requirements of the GDPR with regard to your personal data.