Re: I wonder what would happen ...
Actually other organisations HAVE been allowed to use "our systems are rubbish and it's all a bit complicated" as en excuse to avoid complying with the law. Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) was able to weasel out of supplying the raw data used in the discredited PACE trial by the following ruse which the ICO in a piece of rank stupidity allowed and in so doing created a ridiculous precedent whereby if you deliberately make the data not directly accessible and then end the contract of the only person who knows how to extract the data you're magically absolved of the need to provide it. Seems to me like a suitable "Get out of jail free" card to be used when GDPR comes along for all unscrupulous organisations.
"QMUL explained to the Commissioner that the relevant raw data is held in a very large database of 3000 variables with 640 rows. It went on to explain the steps required in order to provide the information to the complainant. The Commissioner considered the explanation of the steps required to locate, retrieve and extract the information. He determined that the application of section 12 was not appropriate in the circumstances of the case. QMUL was, in fact, stating that it would be
‘creating’ the information and the information was therefore ‘not held’." See https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-taken/decision-notices/2015/1043578/fs_50557646.pdf (section 12):
"QMUL has explained that the Chief Investigator of the PACE trial retired from QMUL on 31 December 2016. While QMUL remains the holder and owner of the raw data from this clinical trial, it has effectively lost the means to locate and extract it because this requires specialist knowledge. There is no longer anyone at QMUL with the ability to produce data from this trial. QMUL no longer employs anyone involved with the PACE trial."