Information Commissioner Congratulates Act Now DP Practitioner Certificate Candidates





Act Now Training’s Data Protection Practitioner Certificate continues to go from strength to strength. In Autumn 2015, a total of 16 delegates from the local government, health, education and private sectors passed the course with flying colours. 9 delegates achieved a merit and 3 achieved a distinction.

The Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, said:

“Congratulations to all the successful candidates. It was worth all the slog, as I am sure you will find in your future careers. And it’s good to know that there is another cohort of qualified professionals looking after our data in the increasingly competitive digital world. All organisations need to take data protection and data security seriously or risk losing their reputation – not to mention customers. The new EU data protection framework brings these issues into even sharper focus – which makes your expertise even more essential.”

Over the years this course has produced many satisfied customers:

This was an excellent course specifically designed for the day to day practical use of DP. It demystified the subject in a way which I could understand. Tim Turner is an excellent tutor with a good sound knowledge and ability to put it across. HC, West Yorkshire Police

Tim broke the course down into manageable chunks and gave useful, practical examples that illustrated his points. This course has given me not only the knowledge but also the confidence to improve at my job and make my organisation better too! Thanks Tim! DH, Cheshire West and Chester Council

This course was designed to be more learner friendly in the way it is examined. It shows your practical knowledge in the assessment along with your ability to use the legislation in your project. A worthwhile course for the modern day data protection officer. DJ, Northumberland CC

Since commencing in my role I was expected to develop a knowledge of and interpret the DPA. This course has embedded my understanding of the act and given me the confidence to challenge existing and new practices to ensure compliance.  SD, NYFRS

I would thoroughly recommend the course, which has a sensible, practical focus and deals with the application of an otherwise abstract and complex piece of legislation to real life situations.
AG, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

The Data Protection Practitioner Certificate is our own qualification for those who work with Data Protection and privacy issues on a day-to-day basis. The course, designed in consultation with a panel of experts from the UK and Europe, takes place over four days (one day per week) and involves lectures, assessments and exercises. This is followed by a written assessment. Candidates are then required to complete a practical project (in their own time) to achieve the certificate.

The emphasis of the course is on practical skills which a Data protection Officer needs to do their job and raise DP standards in their organisation. The course syllabus has been recently revised to include more themes covered by the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) expected to come into force in 2018.

Candidates also now have the option to take our specially designed GDPR webinars after completion and up to 12 months in the future as part of their course. This has been included for our Certificate candidates free of charge (normally £49+Vat each) allowing them to customise their learning with the greatest flexibility and ensure their preparations for GDPR are assisted with the most up to date information.

To learn more please visit our website or get in touch.


How to pass the ISEB certificate.

As we leave the exam season behind for a few months with over 50 Act Now candidates waiting on their results 2 months from now we think we’ve seen enough to offer a few words of advice.

Here are Ten Top tips and comments from candidates, certificate holders & former examiners that might help people thinking of attempting this.

  1. Take the big, expensive course. You knew we’d say that but there is the possibility of direct entry to the exam if you can satisfy ISEB that you have undertaken enough training but not many take the direct route. Those that do miss out on 5 or more days of networking, 5 or more days of practice questions, and many valuable tips from tutors, fellow candidates and previous candidates who have been through the process before. Some direct entry candidates have never seen an edpac sheet before, never written a practice essay, never experienced exam conditions and this takes 10% off their performance.

2. Attend every minute of every day of the course and do the Mock Exam. Experience shows that those who don’t pass often miss part of a day, don’t attend the mock exam, leave early because they have a train to catch  and miss out on valuable input.

3. Do all the work. If you’re given a homework then do it. If the tutor recommends to read a report or look up a web link do it.  We know and you know in your heart that “the dog ate my homework” is a lazy lie. If the question you should have done in detail turns up in the exam and you haven’t got the answer in your memory banks that’s 10% more.

4. Read the rubric. The exam paper asks you to answer section B questions with bullet points so don’t write an essay. It also asks you to answer section C questions with an essay so don’t use bullet points. It tells you which questions are compulsory and which are optional. Read the rubric. Some candidates don’t and this takes another 10% off.

5. Follow the instructions. There’s not enough room in this article to list every mistake here. Candidates are told to use the pencil to make horizontal marks in the grid to enter their candidate number. They use pens; they write the number in figures, they use diagonal lines, they also write in the date, the name of the exam (which they often get wrong), their own name etc.  They’re told to put a straight line through notes and include them with their answers – the use wiggly lines, strike them out, screw them up and put them in the bin. They are told to answer 4 out of 6 questions so they answer 3. (or 5 or in extreme cases 6). In a mock exam we found a candidate who used the pencil supplied for section A to write 20 pages of longhand.

6. Don’t annoy the markers. Make your script easy to read with spaces between points or paragraphs. The last thing a marker wants is a solid block of text 10 or 15 pages long.

7. Write legibly. Always avoid alliteration. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do. Spell proper and don’t make grammar mistakes.

8. Use some common sense. We’ve heard of candidates arriving after the exam has started or leaving before the end. Candidates who’ve attended a DP revision session and chosen to sit a FOI exam.

9. Don’t think you can get through by just attending the course. You have to put the work in. Reading and revision pays dividends.

10. Finally tales of the unexpected. We know of candidates who have been doing the job for years and doing it very well who have failed to pass even after 2 attempts. We also know of candidates who confused the subject information provisions with the duty to confirm or deny yet manage to pass. It’s not a lottery but you can improve your chances of passing by learning from others who have been through it.

Enjoy your exams. Our ISEB courses are available throughout the UK every quarter. You know where we are. Our next courses are in Birmingham starting in late February.

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