About us

Scotland’s experts on farmer co-ops and food industry collaboration, we work with food and farming businesses to make them more profitable, competitive, and sustainable - working together to shape the future, today. #workingtogether we grow

What we do

All of SAOS's work centres on facilitating farmers and food and drink businesses to work together effectively. Over the years we've also developed several subsidiary businesses - getting the right people together and making innovative advancements to help benefit the entire food and farming industry and rural Scotland.

Events & Training

Developing staff capability is one of the most effective ways to improve a co-op’s performance. Check out our events and training programme - most of which are open to non co-op members too.


As a development organisation, owned by our members, we provide a range of specialist services not available elsewhere, to assist them in developing their people and their businesses. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.

What's New

See below for all the latest news, views and updates from us here at SAOS. Find all our latest videos on YouTube at: SAOS - working together in food and farming

Data Protection Policy

1.  Policy Statement

SAOS receives, uses and stores personal information from our members (their managers and directors), our partner organisations including government and its agencies (staff, civil servants, directors), clients and in-project contacts, sub-contractors, those interested in SAOS’s work (academics and politicians), as well as from our own employees and directors.  It is important that this information is handled lawfully and appropriately in line with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (collectively referred to as the ‘Data Protection Requirements’).

We take our data protection duties seriously because we respect the trust that is being placed in us to use personal information appropriately and responsibly.

2.  About This Policy

This policy, and any other documents referred to in it, sets out the basis on which we will process any personal data that we collect or process.

This policy does not form part of any employee’s contract of employment and may be amended at any time.

Tim Bailey, Chief Executive is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Data Protection Requirements and with this policy. Any questions about the operation of this policy or any concerns that the policy has not been followed should be referred in the first instance to him or reported in line with the organisation’s Whistleblowing Policy or Grievance Policy.

3.  What is Personal Data?

Personal data means data (whether stored electronically or paper-based) relating to a living individual who can be identified directly or indirectly from that data (or from that data and other information in our possession).

Processing is any activity that involves the use of personal data. It includes obtaining, recording or holding the data, organising, amending, retrieving, using, disclosing, erasing or destroying it. Processing also includes transferring personal data to third parties.

Sensitive personal data includes personal data about a person’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, genetic, biometric, physical or mental health condition, sexual orientation or sexual life. It can also include data about criminal offences or convictions. Sensitive personal data can only be processed under strict conditions, including the consent of the individual.

4.  Data Protection Principles

Anyone processing personal data, must ensure that data is:

  • Processed fairly, lawfully and in a transparent manner.
  • Collected for the specified, explicit and legitimate purposes in Schedule 1, and any further processing is completed for a compatible purpose.
  • Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary for the intended purposes.
  • Accurate, and where necessary, kept up to date.
  • Kept in a form which permits identification for no longer than necessary for the intended purposes.
  • Processed in line with the individual’s rights and in a manner that ensures appropriate security of the personal data, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage, using appropriate technical or organisational measures.
  • Not transferred to people or organisations situated in countries without adequate protection and without firstly having advised the individual.

5.  Fair and Lawful Processing

The Data Protection Requirements are not intended to prevent the processing of personal data, but to ensure that it is done fairly and without adversely affecting the rights of the individual.

In accordance with the Data Protection Requirements, we will only process personal data where it is required for a lawful purpose. The lawful purposes include (amongst others): when the individual has given their consent, the processing is necessary for performing a contract with the individual, for compliance with a legal obligation, or for the legitimate interest of the business. We do not receive or process sensitive personal data, but should this occur, we will ensure that additional conditions specified under Data Protection Requirements are met.

6.  Processing for Limited Purposes

In the course of our business, we may collect and process the personal data set out in Schedule 1.  This may include data we receive directly from a data subject (for example, by completing forms or by corresponding with us by mail, phone, email or otherwise) and data we receive from other sources (including SAOS members, business partners, sub-contractors in technical, payment and delivery of services, and others).

We will only process personal data for the specific purposes set out in Schedule 1 or for any other purposes specifically permitted by the Data Protection Requirements. We will notify those purposes to the data subject at the time of collecting the data.

7.  Notifying Individuals

We usually collect data in the normal course of our business for business purposes, from our business contacts, but if we collect personal data directly from an individual (employees for example), we will inform them about:

  • The purpose or purposes for which we intend to process that personal data, as well as the legal basis for the processing.
  • Where we rely upon the legitimate interests of our business to process personal data, the legitimate interests pursued.
  • The types of third parties, if any, with which we will share or disclose that personal data.
  • Whether or not SAOS intends to transfer personal data to a non-EEA country or international organisation and the appropriate and suitable safeguards in place.
  • How individuals can limit our use and disclosure of their personal data.
  • Information about the period that their information will be stored or the criteria used to determine that period.
  • Their right to request from us as the controller access to and rectification or erasure of personal data or restriction of processing as provided in the Data Protection Requirements.
  • Their right to object to processing and their right to data portability.
  • Their right to withdraw their consent at any time (if consent was given) without affecting the lawfulness of the processing before the consent was withdrawn.
  • The right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioners Office.
  • Other sources where personal data regarding the individual originated from and whether it came from publicly accessible sources.
  • Whether the provision of the personal data is a statutory or contractual requirement, or a requirement necessary to enter into a contract, as well as whether the individual is obliged to provide the personal data and any consequences of failure to provide the data.
  • Whether or not we utilise automated decision-making, including profiling and meaningful information about the logic involved, as well as the significance and the envisaged consequences of such processing for the individual.

We will also inform data subjects whose personal data we process that SAOS is the data controller with regard to that data, and our contact details are SAOS Ltd, The Rural Centre, West Mains, Ingliston EH28 8NZ and the person responsible for Data Protection Compliance is Tim Bailey, Chief Executive.

8.  Adequate, Relevant and Non-excessive Processing

We will only collect personal data to the extent that it is required for the specific purpose notified to the data subject.

9.  Accurate Data

We will ensure that personal data we hold is accurate and kept up to date. We will check the accuracy of any personal data at the point of collection and at regular intervals afterwards. We will take all reasonable steps to destroy or amend inaccurate or out-of-date data.

10.  Timely Processing

We will not keep personal data longer than is necessary for the purpose or purposes for which it was collected. We will take all reasonable steps to destroy, or erase from our systems, all data which is no longer required.

11.  Processing in line with Data Subject’s Rights

We will process all personal data in line with data subjects’ rights, in particular, their right to:

  • Confirmation as to whether or not personal data concerning the individual is being processed.
  • Request access to any data held about them by a data controller (see also Clause 15 Subject Access Requests).
  • Request rectification, erasure or restriction on processing of their personal data.
  • Lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority.
  • Data portability.
  • Object to processing including for direct marketing.
  • Not be subject to automated decision making including profiling in certain circumstances.

12.  Data Security

 We will take appropriate security measures against unlawful or unauthorised processing of personal data, and against the accidental or unlawful destruction, damage, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of or access to personal data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed.

We will put in place procedures and technologies to maintain the security of all personal data from the point of the determination of the means for processing and point of data collection to the point of destruction. Personal data will only be transferred to a data processor if that processor agrees to comply with those procedures and policies by way of a data-sharing agreement, or puts in place adequate security measures.

We will maintain data security by protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the personal data, defined as follows:

  • Confidentiality means that only people who are authorised to use the data can access it.
  • Integrity means that personal data should be accurate and suitable for the purpose for which it is processed.
  • Availability means that authorised users should be able to access the data if they need it for authorised purposes.

Security procedures include:

  • Entry controls. Any stranger seen in entry-controlled areas should be reported.
  • Secure lockable offices, desks and cupboards. Desks and cupboards should be kept locked if they hold confidential information of any kind, whether at the Rural Centre Head Office, the ScotEID Huntly office, or at a designated home-based office. (Personal information is always considered confidential.)
  • Data minimisation.
  • Pseudonymisation and encryption of data when appropriate.
  • Methods of disposal. Paper documents should be shredded or equivalent. Digital storage devices should be physically destroyed or professionally cleared of data when they are no longer required.
  • Equipment. Staff must ensure that individual monitors do not show confidential information to passers-by and that they log off from their PC when it is left unattended.
  • Transferring Personal Data Outside of the EEA where necessary for a legitimate reason.

We may transfer any personal data we hold to a country outside the European Economic Area (‘EEA’) or to an international organisation, provided that one of the following conditions applies:

  • The country to which the personal data are transferred ensures an adequate level of protection for the data subjects’ rights and freedoms.
  • The data subject has given consent.
  • The transfer is necessary for one of the reasons set out in the Act, including the performance of a contract between us and the data subject, or to protect the vital interests of the data subject.
  • The transfer is legally required on important public interest grounds or for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.
  • The transfer is authorised by the relevant data protection authority where we have adduced adequate safeguards with respect to the protection of the data subjects’ privacy, their fundamental rights and freedoms, and the exercise of their rights.

Subject to the requirements above, personal data we hold may also be processed by staff operating outside the EEA who work for us or for one of our suppliers. Those staff may be engaged in, among other things, the fulfilment of contracts with the data subject in the course of SAOS business, the processing of payment details and the provision of support services.

14.  Disclosure and Sharing of Personal Data

We may share personal data we hold with any subsidiaries of SAOS. There are no such subsidiaries at this time.

15.  Subject Access Requests

Individuals must make a formal request for information we hold about them. Employees who receive a request should forward it immediately to Tim Bailey, Chief Executive.

When receiving telephone enquiries, we will only disclose personal data we hold on our systems if the following conditions are met:

  • We will check the caller’s identity to make sure that information is only given to a person who is entitled to it.
  • We will suggest that the caller put their request in writing if we are not sure about the caller’s identity and where their identity cannot be checked.

Where a request is made electronically, data will be provided electronically where possible.  Our employees will refer a request to their line manager or the Chief Executive.

16.  Changes to this Policy

We reserve the right to change this policy at any time. Where appropriate, we will notify changes by mail or email.

SAOS Limited

April 2018

SAOS Data Protection Policy Schedule 1

Data That We Collect and Process

  • We hold contact information including postal addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers of directors of SAOS corporate members and managers.  We hold contact information of senior personnel and directors of stakeholder organisations and clients, and those with a legitimate interest in SAOS, including suppliers.  With respect to suppliers and contractors, we also hold bank account details to enable us to make payments, and we hold cv’s of some contractors.  We hold additional personal information about SAOS employees and directors, which we detail in a separate policy statement that is provided to them. We do not hold sensitive personal data.

Purposes for Which Data is Held and Processed

  • For Legitimate Business Reasons – Directors and managers of SAOS members have constitutional rights of control of SAOS, and we are obligated to provide them with information about meetings, events, and services that we provide for members, and reports, accounts and publications.   SAOS works in collaboration with stakeholder organisations, public sector bodies and other business clients and individuals in pursuing shared goals and projects. We exchange with them, information and reports on the purpose, method, progress, finances and outcomes of our work.  Our data processing is usually on the basis of business to business.
  • To Fulfill Contractual and Statutory Obligations – We have contractual obligations to clients, suppliers and employees. We have statutory obligations to HMRC and Government agencies.