This is a message for Rachel North. I work in the media industry as well but have a made a special study of the Data Protection Act and have brought a number of actions against public bodies for failing to comply, mostly recently (two weeks ago) DVLA.
I noted in your piece in The Sunday Times that the Family Assistance Centre deleted the personal data they were processing because of the DPA when they changed their name. I am at a loss to understand why they did this. Under Principle 2, data collected for one purpose may not be used for another and unless the 7th July Assistance Centre were proposing to use the data in another way, then they had no reason to delete the data. In any case, they could contact each data subject on whom they held data and ask them to approve their use in other ways.
It would be impractical if evey organisation that changed its name were to be compelled to delete all personal data. Imagine if Vodaphone became Vodacom and had to delete all its customer records. It simply couldn't function. Even after seven years, there is still much misunderstanding of the DPA and many people are using it to justify their actions (or inactions). My first question to these organisations is, "under which section of the DPA did you (act in that way)". I have yet to find anyone who can answer this question. Their actions are always based on inaccurate assumptions.
Please contact me on email@example.com if I can be of further assistance. The article facing yours in The Sunday Times concerned our loss of free speech and (as I have said for some time) we are sleep-walking into a police state. The DPA is one way we can fight back.