The DVLA has just released a glossy but simple guide for parking companies and what they must do if they want your details from the DVLA system (INF273). You can download a copy from the link at the bottom of this page.
To get the details there are a list of requirements but the key ones are:
1. There must be "reasonable cause". This is not defined in law, but the DVLA's own definition is (page 3):
DVLA data is disclosed to allow car parking operators to:
• follow up unpaid charges when a ticket is left on a vehicle
• issue the charge to the motorist when captured on ANPR
• contact the vehicle keeper where a vehicle is known to be abandoned.
2. All car parking operators making electronic enquiries must have a contract in place with DVLA (this is called the KADOE contract). See page 4
3. Information given from DVLA records can only be used for the reason it was given. And since the reason is specified as "reasonable cause" it has to be for that purpose only.
4. In all cases, they must be able to provide evidence that an unauthorised parking incident occurred. A copy of the Notice to Driver or Notice to Keeper needs to be retained along with photographic evidence. (Page 9)
5. They must have in place an Agreement with the landowner to authorise them to operate the parking scheme on their land and to take legal action to recover a charge on their behalf. (Page 9)
6. Photographic evidence must be taken in all cases to assist with any appeals and/or challenges with the date and time clearly displayed on the images. (Page 10)
7. Personal data shall be obtained only for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes. (Page 12)
8. Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.(Page 12)
9. If the parking company intends to use the Protection of Freedoms Act, then the wording and timescales should reflect that (Page 14)
10. A quick guide to what the parking company should be able to send you is shown here. Print it out a send a copy when you appeal and ask for all this information so you can decide to pay or not. (Page 17)