Data protection

The Data Protection Act 1998 [external link] (The Act) works in two ways:

  1. It places responsibilities on us in relation to how we handle your information; and
  2. It gives you rights in relation to your information.

Our responsibilities

The Act contains eight principles, which make sure that your information is:

  • processed fairly and lawfully
  • processed for limited purposes
  • adequate, relevant and not excessive
  • accurate and up to date
  • not kept for longer than necessary
  • processed in line with your rights
  • kept secure
  • not transferred to other countries without adequate protection

Our data protection policy [pdf document] sets out our commitments in relation to the way we handle your information.

The Act also requires us to maintain a notification [external link] with the Information Commissioner's Office.  This notification explains who we share information with and for what purpose.  Our registration number is Z4765209.

If you would like more information about our approach to handling your information, please contact us.

Your rights

You have certain rights in relation to the information we hold about you.  You can:

  • access your personal information (known as a subject access request)
  • prevent the processing of information that causes you damage or distress
  • prevent the processing of information for direct marketing purposes
  • question automated decision-making processes
  • ask for compensation if we have processed your information in a way that causes you damage or distress
  • rectify, block, erase or destroy inaccurate information
  • ask the Information Commissioner to assess us if you feel we have breached the Act

You can find out more about your rights on the Information Commissioner's website [external link].

Accessing your information

The Data Protection Act 1998 (The Act) gives you a right of access to your information. The Act refers to this type of request as a subject access request (SAR).

How to make a request

SARs have to be made in writing.  You must:

  • Describe the information you want
  • Provide proof of identification
  • Pay a fee

We have a SAR form [pdf document] to help you make your request but if you prefer, you can send us a letter, email or fax to request access to your information.

If you are unable to make a request in writing, please contact us and we will make arrangements to help you make your request.

We have a SAR procedure [pdf document], which explains more about how we handle requests for information.

Proof of identification

We ask for proof of identification so that we can make sure that you are entitled to the information you have asked for.  We ask that you provide a copy of:

  • something official with your photograph on (for example, your passport, driving licence, work ID badge)
  • something with your address on (for example, a recent bank statement or bill (with the financial information blacked out if you prefer)

If you do not have proof of identification you can still make a request. We might, however, ask you to come into the Town Hall so that we can confirm your identity.

Fees

You may have to pay a fee of £10 (or up to £50 for education records). We will confirm whether a fee is payable when you make your request.

If you cannot pay the fee, please let us know and we will consider your circumstances.

Timescales

We have 40 calendar days to respond to a SAR. The timescale starts from the date we receive the request, proof of identification and fee (if applicable).

The response

We will usually provide a photocopy of the information you have asked for unless providing a copy would involve 'disproportionate effort' (this means that it would take us a considerable amount of time to provide a photocopy of the information).

We will not be able to provide you with information about other people unless they have given us their permission to give you their information.

We are also allowed to refuse your request if a data protection exemption applies. You can find out more about the exemptions on the Information Commissioner's website [external link].

If we refuse your request for any reason, you will receive a full explanation from us. If you are not happy with our decision or our handling of your request, you can discuss the matter with the complaints and information governance manager.

Accessibility

We are committed to making sure that everyone has equal access to our services. To help you make a request we:

  • use plain language
  • provide support to put a request in writing
  • provide information in alternative formats where needed, for example, Braille, large print, audio, easy read formats and other languages
  • provide translators where needed, including sign language translators

If you have any special requirements, please let us know.