Advice enquiries and complaints privacy notice

This privacy notice is designed to help you understand how we use personal information when delivering our customer relations and information services and compliance projects. We have set out below the services types, the information we may use to deliver the services, who we may share it with, and how long we will keep it.

The services covered within this privacy notice

  • A complaint from you under the Council’s separate Children’s Social Care, Adults Social Care and Corporate Complaints policies
  • A comment or compliment from you
  • A complaint from you about data protection
  • A request for information under Freedom of Information or Environmental Information Regulations, we need a name and contact details from you in order to respond
  • A request for access to your own information under a Subject Access Request which you are entitled to make under the Data Protection Act 2018
  • Any other correspondence from you to the Council that needs review by the service to decide how it will be dealt with
  • Any contact from you received by other services that wish to consider applying the managed contact policy
  • Any contact from a representative acting on behalf of you to raise a complaint, request for information or other request for service, such as an advocate, elected representative or a third party who can provide your written consent

Information we hold about you

We only collect and use the minimum amount of personal information required when delivering a service to you.

Wherever possible we use non-identifiable personal information.

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, the Service may use some or all of the personal information below:

  • Information about you, this could include your name, address, date of birth.
  • Visual images, personal appearance and behaviour
  • National identifiers such as NHS number, National Insurance number etc.
  • Information about your family.
  • Details about your lifestyle and social circumstances.
  • Financial details
  • Employment and education details.
  • Details about your housing needs.
  • The IP address that you accessed any of our online services from
  • Case file information
  • Criminal proceedings, outcomes and sentences
  • Physical or mental health details
  • Racial or ethnic origin
  • Offences (including alleged offences)
  • Religious or other beliefs of a similar nature
  • Social Care support outcomes
  • Advocacy details.
  • Any other information you have provided in correspondence with other areas of the Council where those areas need advice, guidance or support from the Compliance and Assurance Service.

We get most of this information from you, but we may also get some of this data from:

  • Members [Councillors]*
  • The Chief Executive*
  • Deputy Chief Executives*
  • Directors*
  • Any other Council Officer*
  • The Council’s Contact Centre*
  • Any other elected representative, for example your local Councillor or MP, who you may have asked to contact the Council on your behalf.
  • Any other third party/advocate you have asked the Council to contact on your behalf, for example, if you have asked your son/daughter or other relative to raise your complaint. Where it has not already been provided, we will always request your written consent to register your details in our Customer Relationship Management System to enable us to process your correspondence, and before sharing your information with third parties.
  • Independent Officers [IOs] or Independent Persons [IPs] commissioned by the Council to undertake independent investigations at stages 2 or 3 of the statutory Children’s Social Care Complaint process IOs and IPs are required to enter into a confidentiality agreement prior to starting their investigation.
  • Any other third party the Council may commission to deal with your enquiry, for example, an independent reviewer to carry out an investigation or review of services. A confidentiality agreement must be signed by the third party prior to commencing any work for the Council.
  • Independent Ombudsmen, for example, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, the Housing Ombudsman, the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman etc
  • The Information Commissioner’s Office
  • Central Government Agencies
  • Other Local Authorities
  • Health and social care providers
  • Police and probation services
  • Members of the public (referrer)
  • Commissioned partners and providers
  • Council Companies
  • Family members

*Where they think that correspondence you have addressed to them requires logging, review and coordinating by the Customer Relations and Information Governance teams.

If you have signed up for an account on the Council’s online portal you will be able to submit comments, compliments and complaints online and track their progress.

It is possible to submit correspondence without creating an account but you will not have the benefit of being able to track your cases. All information received from you, whether through online submission, by email or hard copy, will be entered onto our Customer Relationship Management System and/or stored in Sharepoint or team folders in order to process your enquiry.

Why we need your information and how we use it

We use your information for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Deliver the service, or handle your query
  • To plan and improve the services we offer, for example, we may contact you after you have raised a comment, compliment or complaint for feedback on your customer experience. This may be in the form of an anonymous survey or email request. There is no obligation to take part and we will ask for your permission to do this as part of the complaints process
  • To detect and prevent crime or fraud
  • For research, however this would be in anonymised form unless we ask for your consent to use your personal information for this purpose
  • To evidence positive outcomes to central government funding agencies

Who your information may be shared with

Sometimes we may need to share your information, but we will only do so where it is necessary or required by law. We will only share the minimum information for each circumstance.

If required to do so under a statutory process or Council policy to do so your information will be shared with those listed above who we have said we may also receive your information from, including:

  • Health service providers including NHS Agencies (GPs, Hospitals, Ambulance, Health Visitor, Mental Health Services), for investigations of complaints that cover social care and health services actions
  • Education providers, for investigations of complaints that cover social care, education support and/or Special Educational Needs
  • Care providers, e.g. day care, domiciliary, residential, for investigations of complaints that cover the customer’s interactions with these services
  • Government Agencies (e.g. Department of Health, Department of Work and Pensions) for investigation of complaints that refer to actions or transactions with these Departments, to clarify the appropriate ‘path’ for a complaint and/or to provide statistical returns
  • Support groups for people with disabilities where the customer has had involvement with them and we need the information to help us understand their complaint or contact and/or we need to access the right advice/support for the customer
  • Local Government where the customer has had involvement them and we need the information to help us understand their complaint or contact
  • Police where the customer has had involvement with them and we need the information to help us understand their complaint or contact, or where we have an immediate concern for the customer’s wellbeing or to report the customer’s unreasonable behaviour
  • Substance misuse agencies where the customer has had involvement with them and we need the information to help us understand their complaint or contact and/or we need to access the right advice/support for the customer
  • Advocacy services where the customer has, or has requested, advocacy support and/or we wish to arrange advocacy support services for them
  • Fire and rescue services where the customer has had involvement with them and we need the information to help us understand their complaint or contact and/or we need to access the right advice/support for the customer
  • Prepaid card providers for investigation of complaints or reports that refer to actions or transactions with these providers, to clarify the appropriate ‘path’ for a complaint and/or to provide statistical returns
  • Direct Payment Support Services for investigation of complaints or reports that refer to actions or transactions with these providers, to clarify the appropriate ‘path’ for a complaint and/or to provide statistical returns
  • Housing associations where the customer has had involvement with them and we need the information to help us understand their complaint or contact and/or we need to access the right advice/support for the customer
  • Technology assistance providers where the customer has, or has requested, assistance and/or we wish to arrange assistance for them
  • Council companies, contractors and/or commissioned providers who may be the subject of a complaint because the Council remains accountable for all actions taken by, and services delivered by, its Companies, contractors, and commissioned providers and therefore will monitor their performance/service delivery through contract management. The Council will also take appropriate actions if it decides action is necessary to ensure that its service standards are met
  • Other data processors acting on our behalf (in our role as data controller) to support activities, for example by providing the systems we need or delivering services on our behalf.

These include:

  • Our case management system Firmstep and the company contracted to maintain this system for us
  • Other providers

The Data Controller

Cheshire West and Chester Council is the Data Controller for this processing.

The personal information we have collected from you will be shared with fraud prevention agencies who will use it to prevent fraud and money-laundering and to verify your identity. If fraud is detected, you could be refused certain services, finance, or employment.

The lawful basis for the processing

Most of the personal information we process is provided to us directly by you, under the Data Protection Act 2018, the lawful bases we rely on for using your personal information are:

  • You gave us your consent when submitting your comment, compliment or complaint online (UK GDPR Article 6 (a) - You are able to remove your consent at any time. You can do this by contacting enquiries@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk with the subject heading ‘Customer Relations’.
  • We have a legal obligation (UK GDPR Article 6 (c) for example, as a childor vulnerable adult under the care of the Local Authority, wishing to make a complaint. This is also covered under UK GDPR Article 6 (e)
  • We need to protect your vital interests (UK GDPR Article 6 (d) if your contact with us raises concerns about your immediate safety and wellbeing, for example, we may contact your GP or the Police or refer you to health services
  • We need it to perform a public task. As a local authority and social care provider we are required by law to have a complaints procedure (UK GDPR Article 6 (e)

When we collect data about your race, health (including biometric or genetic data), sex life, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, politics or trade union membership, we also rely on the following lawful basis:

  • You have already made the data public (UK GDPR Article 9 (2) (e) and that data is needed to inform/respond to your contact with the Council
  • We need to defend a legal claim (UK GDPR Article 9 (2) (f) if, in our opinion, the information is relevant to the claim
  • We need to collect it for Substantial Public Interest in order to comply with UK legislation (UK GDPR Article 9 (2) (g) where we have a statutory duty to process this information, for example, for statistical returns to Government
  • We are providing you with health and social care support (UK GDPR Article 9 (2) (h)) and your contact is about those services
  • We need to collect it for public health (UK GDPR Article 9 (2) (i) where we have a statutory duty to process this information, for example, for statistical returns to Government, local monitoring of outbreaks
  • We need to analyse your information (UK GDPR Article 9 (2) (j)) where we have a statutory duty to process this information, for example, for statistical returns to Government or to ensure compliance with Equality legislation

The legislation we rely on when using your personal information to meet our legal obligations or public tasks includes but is not limited to:

  • The Local Government Act 1974 for delivering Council services and publishing and maintaining a complaints procedure
  • The Care Act for delivering Adults Social Care and Health Services and having an Adult Social Care Complaints Procedure
  • The Freedom of Information Act for processing requests for information that the Council holds
  • The Environmental Information Regulations for processing requests for environmental information that the Council holds
  • The Children Act 1989 Representation Procedure (England) Regulations 2006 for delivering Children’s Social Care services and having a Children’s Social Care Complaints procedure
  • The Local Authority Social Services and National Health Service Complaints (England) Regulations 2009.for delivering social services and having complaints procedures

Protecting your information

Your information will be securely stored on our network including relevant complaint management systems.

How long will we keep your personal information?

We will only use your personal information whilst delivering the service to you and to deal with any questions or complaints that we may receive about this, unless the law requires us to keep it for a longer period.

If we need to use your information for research or reports, your information will be anonymised and any information taken from notes (hand written or typed) during any consultation sessions will be securely destroyed. The information will continue to be used in a summarised and anonymised form in any research reports or papers that are published. The anonymised information in the papers may be of historic interest and may be held in public archives indefinitely

Your rights

Under data protection law, you have rights including:

  • Your right of access - You have the right to ask us for copies of your personal information we hold about you in relation to your contact about customer relations, compliance projects and requests for information
  • Your right to rectification - You have the right to ask us to rectify information you think is inaccurate. You also have the right to ask us to complete information you think is incomplete. For example, if you think the evidence we relied on to decide on the outcome of a complaint is inaccurate or incomplete.
  • Your right to erasure - You have the right to ask us to erase your personal information in certain circumstances. This does not apply if we are processing your data under UK GDPR Article 6 (c,d,e) and need to retain it because we have a legal obligation, to protect your vital interests, or perform a public task
  • Your right to restriction of processing - You have the right to ask us to restrict the processing of your information in certain circumstances. We may not do this if we consider it is manifestly unfounded or excessive to do so.
  • Your right to object to processing - You have the right to object to the processing of your personal data in certain circumstances. We will let you know whether we agree to this and give our reasons.
  • Your right to data portability - You have the right to ask that we transfer the information you gave us to another organisation, or to you, in certain circumstances. Unless we consider an exemption for manifestly unfounded or excessive applies, we will do this if it is technically feasible to do so. If we refuse we will provide you with our reasons why.

You are not required to pay any charge for exercising your rights. If you make a request, we have one month to respond to you.

To make a request follow the instructions on the Data Protection for you page below.

How to complain if you are unhappy about how your data is used

You can complain directly to the Council You can complain directly to the Council's Data Protection team by email or post.

You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office using the following details:

Will my personal information be accessible outside the UK?

Should the transfer of personal information outside of the UK become necessary, it will only take place if permitted by law, and then only where there are appropriate safeguards in place to protect the personal information.

Your information is stored within the UK