Data Protection

Data Protection Act 1998

Overview

Any personal information which Northumberland County Council keeps about you, or you submit to the Council, is governed and protected by the Data Protection Act 1998. This means that we won't keep more personal information than is necessary, it will be kept accurately, safely and securely, and won't be shared with other organisations unless we are required by law to do so.

Northumberland County Council is registered on the Public Register of Data Controllers with the registration number Z1727733 - this entry identifies what kind of data is kept and why we keep it. Click here to access the Register.

The Data Protection Principles

The Act has eight principles, which all organisations must adhere to. We will ensure that these are complied with when processing your personal information:

  • Fair and lawfully processed
  • Processed for limited purposes (the purpose it was collected for)
  • Adequate, relevant and not excessive
  • Accurate and kept up to date
  • Kept only for as long as necessary
  • In accordance with your rights
  • Kept secure
  • Not transferred to other countries who don't have an adequate level of protection

What is Personal Information?

Personal information includes any data which can be used, on its own or when referenced with other data held by an organisation, to identify a living person.

This includes all of the obvious data such as your name, address, council tax reference number. Data relating to more than one individual such as Council Tax records can also be personal.

Some information is identified as sensitive data such as ethnic origin, religious belief and sexuality - this kind of information is subject to additional rules and safeguards.

It may also include photographs taken at public events and venues or for the promotion of Council services. If you can be identified from any of these photographs we will ask your permission before publication. Information is also used for statistical and research purposes but will not include personal data.

What does processing data mean?

Processing data includes collecting, storing, accessing, changing and destroying the information held. The volume of data we hold depends on what services you use.

There may be times when we need to share the information held between departments in order to provide the required service to you.

Information may be used for research and statistical purposes but we will not include and personal information in the reports produced.

You have a right to ask us to stop processing your personal information by writing to us explaining what you want us to stop processing and why. We have to respond to you within 21 days advising you of the outcome of your request.

It is important that any personal information is accurate and up-to-date. If you think the information we keep about you may not be accurate you can let us know by using the Contact Details or the Online Form from the link on this page. We will respond within 21 days.

Who will process my information?

You information can be processed and accessed by employees and elected members to perform their duties but they will only access what is appropriate for the required purpose.

Your personal information will not be passed to third parties without your knowledge unless there is a legal obligation to do so.

Why might information not be provided to me?

Some data may be withheld, for instance if it also refers to other people, or may compromise crime prevention. If this is the case we will still tell you the kind of data we keep and why.

As a general rule you are not able to see data about anyone else. In some circumstances you may be able to do so, if you have written permission from the subject of the data, or you are a parent seeking information from your child's school records. In such cases we may need to ask for additional information from you before data can be released.

The Council is also required by law to protect the public funds it administers, and may therefore share information provided to it with other relevant bodies in order to prevent and detect fraud - Click here for further information

How can I see what information you hold about me?

You can ask to see the information which the Council keeps about you at any time, by completing the Subject Access Request Form in our Subject Access Information Pack which can be downloaded and printed out from the link on this page. You can also write, phone or email to request a form to be sent out to you from the Contact Details above.

There is a fee of £10 for this service and you will be required to provide two original forms of identification. Suitable proof of identification may include a driving licence, passport or a recent utility bill. At least one of the documents must bear the individual's signature and at least one must contain the individual's home address.

We will respond to you within 40 days with:

  • a description of the personal information
  • why we hold it
  • who else the data might have been shared with
  • a copy of the data
  • an explanation of any abbreviations and technical terms

Can I see information about other people?

You do not have the right to access personal information about other people, such as family, friends unless:

  • you have written consent to request the records
  • you are a parent requesting to see your child's social services or education records
  • you have written authority to act on behalf of someone

We have the right to request further information before we provide the information or may refuse to provide information if there is a duty of confidentiality to the data subject.

Access to Adoption Records

People wishing to access adoption record information, should contact our adoption support service for advice and guidance.

Click here for further details: Adoption Records

Schools

Schools are their own Data Controllers and are therefore responsible for the information they hold. Schools keep information on pupils in order to support their teaching and learning, to monitor and report on their progress and to provide appropriate pastoral care. This information includes contact details, national curriculum assessment results, attendance information, and other data such as ethnic group, special educational needs and relevant medical information. From time to time schools are required to pass this data on to various government agencies.

If you want to access personal data held by schools, you should contact the appropriate school/s direct. Click here for schools' contact details

Further Information

Please direct Data Protection queries to Data.Protection@northumberland.gov.uk

If you are emailing from a secure email address (ie. pnn, gsi,gcsx) please direct your queries to Data.Protection@northumberland.gcsx.gov.uk

Useful links: