Standard forms can make it easier both for you to recognise a subject access request and for the individual to include all the details you might need to locate the information they want. Recital 59 of the GDPR recommends that organisations ‘provide means for requests to be made electronically, especially where personal data are processed by electronic means’. You should therefore consider designing a subject access form that individuals can complete and submit to you electronically.
However, even if you have a form, you should note that a subject access request is valid if it is submitted by any means, so you will still need to comply with any requests you receive in a letter, a standard email or verbally. Therefore, although you may invite individuals to use a form, you must make it clear that it is not compulsory and do not try to use this as a way of extending the one month time limit for responding.
If an individual makes a request electronically, you should provide the information in a commonly used electronic format, unless the individual requests otherwise. The GDPR includes a best practice recommendation that, where possible, organisations should be able to provide remote access to a secure self-service system which would provide the individual with direct access to his or her information (Recital 63). This will not be appropriate for all organisations, but there are some sectors where this may work well.
Example of specially designed form: