Day in the life of: Information Governance Officer

21 February 2024

A Day in the life… Joanne Atterton, Information Governance Officer at Veritau

Joanne Atterton has been with Veritau since September 2019 and works as an Information Governance Officer within our Information Governance service.

We asked Jo to describe a typical day in her role.

What’s a typical day like in your role?

Our days can vary greatly throughout the school year and depending on the queries we receive from our schools.

I spend a number of days each month staffing our schools’ helpline and inbox, dealing with all the different queries we receive from our schools. These could include particular data protection matters they need advice on such as data sharing, a data breach or an information request, or the schools might need us to review documentation for them such as policies or data protection impact assessments.

Other days will consist of project work, producing or updating resources for the portal, or researching and writing articles for our monthly school’s bulletin.

Our schools are able to book compliance review meetings with us, so I will usually have several compliance review meetings every month where I then produce a report and action plan for the school or Trust.

We run webinars/workshops each year on different topics, and all officers on the team will help to develop and present these.

There is a strong emphasis in Veritau on continued learning so officers will often complete research about particular topics to further and share knowledge with the team internally.

What skills are required in your daily work?

I think the main skills required are a blend of knowledge and technical expertise, and interpersonal skills.

We work with over 600 schools and academies, and our team specialise in applying data protection legislation in a school setting. We need to be able to convey sometimes complex concepts to a range of school employees, therefore communication skills are really important.

One of our key roles is helping schools to analyse data protection risks and providing informed recommendations for risk mitigation, so analytical skills are a key skill too.

Our team work closely together sharing knowledge to solve trickier queries so collaboration and the ability to work as a team is another important skill for this role.

What type of clients do you work with?

I work in our schools’ team, so I primarily work with our school clients which include all different school types and range from nurseries through to further education colleges.

We also work with companies that provide educational products and services to schools advising them on all things data protection and producing documentation as necessary.

We offer a range of services to education bodies including the DPO service, consultancy services, training and our SAR redaction service.

What attracted you to a role in Information Governance?

After graduating from Aberystwyth University with a degree in Physical Geography, I started my career in the waste management/environmental sector, first as a Recycling Education Officer for a private waste management company where my role was to educate and increase the recycling rate in the local community, and then as an Environmental Enforcement Officer for a local authority where my role was to investigate environmental crimes enforcing environmental legislation.

I wanted to look for a new challenge and although data protection was quite a change in career direction, Veritau have a fantastic two-year traineeship and are committed to investing in people and their progression. There were a number of transferable skills I could bring (application of legislation, communication skills to various audiences etc), so I started with Veritau in September 2019 as a trainee. I completed my two years, including attaining the three data protection related qualifications required, and progressed to Information Governance Officer in September 2021.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I really enjoy my job and no two days are ever the same; we have queries come in regularly that nobody has asked us before, so it keeps things interesting and means you are constantly learning and improving your knowledge. Data protection can be quite a daunting area and to feel like we help ease the burden for schools in this area is really rewarding.

Find out more

To find out more about how our Information Governance Officers can support your organisation and our Information Governance service, click here.