Data Protection Act 1998
The act protects information held about you by organisations and applies to information held on computers and in certain types of paper filing systems and gives rules for the way organisations treat personal information.
How do I find out what information is held about me?
If you wish to view information that the council holds about you, you must make what is known as a 'subject access request' which costs £10.
You are entitled to be told if any personal date is held about you AND if so:
- to be given a description of the information
- to be told for what purposes the information is processed
- to be told the organisations or types of organisations to which your information may have been disclosed.
You are also entitled:
- to be given a copy of the information with any difficult or technical terms explained
- to know, if the council is holding the information, where it came from
- to be given an explanation as to how any automated decisions taken about you have been made.
For full information about the Data Protection Act you can visit the Information Commissioner’s website at www.ico.org.uk
How do I make a request?
Visit our 'making a request' page for details on how to make your request and forms which may be of use.
Your request for information must be made in writing and you will need to provide proof of identity. The council may ask for information it reasonably needs to verify your identity and to find the information.
You may also need to provide the council with information such as whether, for example. you are a customer or employee of the council.
An open ended request for access such as “give me a copy of all the information you hold on me” will not be sufficient for the council to find the information. Information which may help might include details of information thought to be held, the relevant departments, dates of documents, relevant time periods etc.
When we have received your request, fee and accompanying documents, we must give you the information or a reason why the information cannot be given to you within 40 calendar days.
Sometimes, your personal information may contain information about other people. This is referred to as 'third party information'. You are only permitted to access information about you and we may have to withhold or edit information, so that it does not identify third parties.
Information that may be withheld
In principle, individuals have access to all personal data held about them, however, there are a few exceptions.
The council can withhold personal information, if providing you with the information could affect:
- the way crime is detected or prevented
- catching or prosecuting offenders
- assessing or collecting tax or duty
- the information identifies other people who have not consented to their information being passed on.
Will I have to pay?
There is a set fee of £10 for a subject access request.
Can I make a request for someone else?
Yes, but we need to be absolutely sure that you are authorised by them to make the request. Proof must be in writing and signed by that person.
Can I request information about a deceased person?
You may only access your own information under the Data Protection Act. Requests for other people’s information, including the deceased, will be dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act.
What if I am not happy with the way my request has been dealt with?
If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled or you wish to object to the council's decision in the first instance please visit our complaints page.