The council is obliged to collect and handle information about individuals in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. The act also provides individuals with the right to request copies of their personal information.
The council keeps personal information about you so that we can provide you with the services you require. We collect council tax, assess the correct level of benefit for your needs and provide you with up to date information about council services.
Information you provide may also be shared with other agencies involved in the provision of services to you and between departments of the authority, where you have agreed to this and where we are legally required to do so. The information will only be the minimum necessary to enable us to provide services to you.
Your personal information may also be disclosed to Government departments, where we are legally obliged to do so, or to other local authorities when you have moved from one area to another and the new authority requires confirmation of the services you are receiving.
Information may also be provided to Government departments or others for statistical research, but this will not include your name and address, unless you have given us permission to provide that information.
The information is held confidentially on computer or in secure manual filing systems.
Maintaining your records and keeping them secure is the responsibility of the department of the authority providing services to you. In the case of school records the school governors and the headteacher are responsible.
The authority’s employees have a duty of care when providing services to you, which includes respecting your right to confidentiality and ensuring that information is only used and given to others for the purpose of the service being provided.
You have the right to ask if we hold personal information about you, what it is used for and to be provided with a copy. You also have the right to know whether we disclose your personal information to other persons or organisations and to ask for incorrect data to be corrected.
You are entitled to see your personal information, with some specific exceptions. For example, you will not be allowed to see personal information that contains details about someone else - even a member of your own family - unless that person has given permission.
In cases where any personal information relates to your health, we may need to ask relevant health professionals for permission to disclose this information to you.
There may be occasions when access to personal information will not be possible because, for very good and valid reasons, the council considers it will not be in your best interests to see it. If that is the case you are given a full explanation at the time so that you understand why this decision has been made.
You will need to complete the application form and make payment, and provide us with enough information to confirm your identity and any other detail which may help us to find your information (such as date of birth, name and address, the name of the department(s) you dealt with). If you have difficulty with the form the council’s Information Compliance Officer will help you to complete the form. You may prefer assistance or support from outside the council; the Citizen’s Advice Bureau may be able to help you.
The information given will be a printout of the information from a computer system or a photocopy of your manual file. If personal information is to be provided in connection with Social Care special arrangements will be made for you to gain access to your records, as depending on the nature of your enquiry different rules may apply.
The council will respond within 40 days of receiving your correctly completed application along with payment..
You should check to ensure that you have received all the information which you are entitled to and to make sure it is correct.
If you think there is information which is wrong you may ask for it to be changed and we will consider it. You should tell the department concerned in writing. If we do not consider that your request is justified our response will list our reasons.