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Data protection and your rights

Under data protection legislation, you have the right to request access to the information that we hold about you. In certain circumstances you also have the right to:

  • object to processing of personal data that is likely to cause, or is causing, damage or distress
  • prevent processing for the purpose of direct marketing
  • object to decisions being taken by automated means

Why we collect information

When the Council collects information about you, you have the right to know what the Authority is collecting under the 'Right to be informed'. The Council will always be transparent with you about this and will make it clear why we are collecting your information and will explain what we intend to do with it. This will either be explained to you in person, through the privacy section of our website, or by providing you with a leaflet which will outline why we are collecting your information.

Accessing your personal information

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gives you the right to access your personal information under the 'Right of Access'. Under this right you have the right to request:

  • confirmation that we hold your personal information and the reasons for doing so
  • request a copy of your personal information.

How do I ask for my personal information?

To request confirmation that we hold your information or to obtain a copy of it, you will need to supply us with as much detail as possible such as:

  • your full name and current address
  • contact email and phone numbers
  • any previous names
  • date of birth
  • details of any siblings or other family members
  • previous addresses, dates or periods that you were in, or receiving care
  • proof of identity.*

* If we have any cause to doubt your identity we will ask you to provide any evidence we reasonably need to confirm your identity.  This may be done by requesting a recognised form of identification.  Items requested may be:

  • Proof of Identity Passport, photo driving licence, national identity card, birth certificate.
  • Proof of Address Utility bill, bank statement, credit card statement (no more than 3 months old); current driving licence; current TV licence; local authority tax bill, HMRC tax document (no more than 1 year old).

Where requesting details of information held about a child or young person we will confirm your right to this information.  In order to do this we may request a copy of the child’s birth certificate or other official documentation confirming parental/guardianship rights.

If you wish, you can appoint someone you trust to act on your behalf. If you are applying to see someone else’s records you will need to enclose their signed permission or other legal documentation (e.g. Parental rights or Power of Attorney) to confirm their request.

Requesting access to your personal information

Use one of the following methods to request access to your information:

What personal information can I ask for?

You can ask for any information that we hold about you. Under Data Protection Legislation, personal information is any information that we collect about you or can be used to identify you. Examples of information that can be considered personal information include:

  • a case file or report about you
  • the IP address of the computer that you used to access any of our website services
  • other people’s opinions about you
  • photographs
  • your finger or voice prints
  • your blood type
  • video or audio footage where you appear or are heard.

There may also be some circumstances where it is not possible to provide you with all of your information, these include but are not limited to information:

  • supplied in a confidential reference
  • supplied in confidence
  • that could be used to obstruct attempts to prevent or detect crime
  • about you that is already publically available
  • that is used about you in management forecasting or planning
  • that could cause you serious harm 

Does it cost anything to access my personal information?

Requests for access to your personal data are free of charge, however we will charge an administration fee if your request is for further copies of the same information or your request is considered excessive or manifestly unfounded as defined by General Data Protection Regulation.

If we do have to apply an administration charge we will only do so after informing you of the approximate cost up front and you agree to proceed with the request at that cost. If you feel that we are trying to apply an unreasonable fee, you have the right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Examples of what could be classed as excessive or manifestly unfounded include, making repeated requests for information to the council with the aim of impacting on the delivery of services.

What format can I receive my information in?

We have a range of format options available to you and will normally respond to you by the method in which you made contact with us.

  • Electronic file
    If you contacted us by email or use any of our online forms, then we will normally supply you with an electronic copy of your information, this will be usually be in Portable Document Format (PDF).
  • Paper copy
    If you write to us, or request a paper copy when contacting us by email or online, you will receive a paper copy of your file.
  • In person
    If make a request to access your information from one of our offices, we will invite you in to come in to see us
  • Portable format
    Under the GDPR you can also request access to your information in a format that will allow you to use it within other computer software, this is called the 'Right to data portability'. When making this type of request please be aware that we can only supply you with the information that you have provided to us and we will not be able to provide you with any of our detailed assessments of your data. If you have a disability that requires a format other than paper or the format prevents you from accessing the material by electronic means then you should let us know when you make your request.

What happens if I am not satisfied with the response?

If you are not happy with the information that you have received from us then you will need to contact the officer that you received the information from, highlighting your concerns. If you are unable to resolve this with the officer then you can ask for the Data Protection Officer to conduct an in internal review of your request. If you are still not satisfied then you can you have the right to make a complaint about the response to the Information Commissioner’s Office. 

Responding to your requests

Under Data Protection Legislation we are required to respond to any of your 'individual rights' requests within one calendar month. Sometimes there may be specific circumstances where we may not be able to respond to your request within one month and we may be required to apply a two month extension. This may be due to the size of the files or complexity of the request at the time. If we need to apply an extension we will notify you within one calendar month and always outline the reasons why. If you have concerns over the way we are handling your personal information or need to appeal against any of our decisions with regards to your rights, in the first instance, you will need to write to the Council’s Data Protection Officer.

  • Email: dpo@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk
  • By post: Data Protection Officer, Cheshire West and Chester Council, HQ, 58 Nicholas Street, Chester, CH1 2NP 

If you still have concerns over the way we handled you request or you are not happy with the way we are handling your personal data you can write to the Information Commissioner’s Office

Your other individual rights

Details on your specific rights are published in each of our service privacy notices. You can also ask us to:

  • correct your data if you think it is wrong
  • stop using your data if you think we no longer should be using it
  • stop using your data if you think it is wrong, until it’s put right
  • ask that no automated processing (‘Computer says no!’) takes place with your data
  • ask for any automated portable electronic data file we hold on you to be sent to another organisation; or • consider any complaint you have about how we have used your data

The Right to Rectification

In some circumstances, you have the right to have any inaccurate or incomplete personal data corrected.

Once you have made a request to correct inaccurate information, your request will be responded to within one calendar month; this will be extended by two months where the request to correct inaccurate or incomplete personal data is complex.

Where no action is being taken in response to a request for rectification, the Council will explain the reason for this to you, and will notify you of your right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office

The Right to Erasure

In some circumstances, you may have the right to request the deletion or removal of your personal data.

The right to erasure is not absolute. You only have the right to erasure in the following circumstances:

  • Where the personal data is no longer necessary in relation to the purpose for which we originally collected it
  • If you withdraw your consent
  • If you object to the processing and there is no overriding legitimate interest for the Council to continue with the processing
  • If your personal data was unlawfully processed
  • If your personal data needs to be erased in order to comply with a legal obligation

Cheshire West and Chester Council has the right to refuse a request for erasure where the personal data is being processed for the following reasons:

  • To exercise the right of freedom of expression and information
  • To comply with a legal obligation for the performance of a public task
  • For public health purposes in the public interest
  • For archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific research, historical research or statistical purposes
  • The exercise or defence of legal claims

As a child may not fully understand the risks involved in the processing of data when consent is obtained, special attention will be given to existing situations where a child has given consent to processing and they later request erasure of the data, regardless of age at the time of the request. 

The right to restrict processing

In some circumstances, you may have the right to block or suppress the Council’s processing of your personal data.

In the event that processing is restricted, the Council will store the personal data, but not further process it, guaranteeing that just enough information about the you has been retained to ensure that the restriction is respected in future.

Cheshire West and Chester Council will restrict the processing of personal data in the following circumstances:

  • If you contest the accuracy of the personal data, processing will be restricted until the Council has verified the accuracy of the data
  • If you object to the processing and the Council is reviewing their legitimate grounds to override your request
  • Where processing is unlawful and the you oppose erasure and make a  restriction request instead
  • Where the  Council no longer needs the personal data but the you may require the data to establish, exercise or defend a legal claim 

The right to data portability

In some circumstances, you may have the right to obtain and reuse your personal data for your own purposes.

The right to data portability only applies in the following cases:

  • To personal data that you have provided to the Council
  • Where the processing is sorely based on your consent or for the performance of a contract
  • When processing is carried out by automated means

When making a request your personal data will be provided in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.

Cheshire West and Chester Council will provide the information free of charge.

Where feasible, your data will be transmitted directly to another organisation if you request us to do so.

The Council is not obligated to adopt or maintain processing systems that are technically compatible with other organisations.

In the event that the personal data concerns more than one individual, the Council will consider whether providing the information would prejudice their right.

The Council will respond to any requests for portability within one calendar month.

Where the request is complex, or a number of requests have been received, the timeframe can be extended by two months. If the Council needs to apply an extension, we will write to you within one calendar month and explain the reasoning behind it.

The right to object

When the Council collects or stores your information as part of a public task under the Data Protection Act, the Council will inform you of your right to object at the first point of contact.  This information will be outlined in our service specific privacy notices. 

In some circumstances, you have the right to object to the following:

  • Processing based on legitimate interests or the performance of a task in the public interest
  • Direct marketing undertaken by or on behalf of the Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • Processing for purposes of scientific or historical research and statistics.

Where personal data is processed for the performance of a legal task or legitimate interests:

  • Your grounds for objecting must relate your particular situation.
  • The Council will stop processing your personal data unless the processing is for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims, or, where the Council can demonstrate compelling legitimate grounds for the processing, which override your interests, rights and freedoms.

Where personal data is processed for direct marketing purposes:

  • The Council will stop processing personal data for direct marketing purposes as soon as an objection is received.
  • The Council cannot refuse an individual’s objection regarding data that is being processed for direct marketing purposes.

Where personal data is processed for research purposes:

  • You must have grounds relating to your particular situation in order to exercise your right to object.
  • Where the processing of personal data is necessary for the performance of a public task as defined by legislation, the Council is not required to comply with an objection to the processing of the data. 

Making an individual rights request

Use one of the following methods to make an Individual Rights Request:

Responding to your requests

Under Data Protection Legislation we are required to respond to any of your 'individual rights' requests within one calendar month. Sometimes there may be specific circumstances where we may not be able to respond to your request within one month and we may be required to apply a two month extension. This may be due to the complexity of the request at the time. If we need to apply an extension we will notify you within one calendar month and always outline the reasons why. If you have concerns over the way we are handling your personal information or need to appeal against any of our decisions with regards to your rights, in the first instance, you will need to write to the Council’s Data Protection Officer.

  • Email: dpo@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk
  • By post: Data Protection Officer, Cheshire West and Chester Council, 4 Civic Way, Ellesmere Port, CH65 0BE

If you still have concerns over the way we handled you request or you are not happy with the way we are handling your personal data you can write to the Information Commissioner’s Office

Retention periods

When we collect information about you, we store it for a set period of time depending on legislation, guidelines or codes of practice that specifies the length of the time that records must be kept. Information on this is stored in our Retention Schedules. When no guidance exists, we work with the services within the Council, to determine how long records must be kept. When we develop our retention schedules we take into consideration the requirements of the following overarching pieces of legislation:

  • Principle (e) of the General Data Protection Regulation
  • Section 46 of the Freedom of Information Act
  • Section 22 of the Local Government Act  

How secure is your information

You can be confident your information is safe with the Council. The Authority takes all reasonable steps to ensure that your personal information is kept secure by following recognised security and information handling codes of practice. Each year our employees receive training on how to handle your personal information and are also provided with information handling and data protection policies, processes and guides which they are required to read, understand and agree to adhere to. The Council takes the protection of your personal information seriously and has appointed staff into the following key posts:

  • Data Protection Officer
    Responsible for assessing all privacy risks and providing advice and guidance to clients and services.
  • Senior Information Risk Owner
    Accountable for the management and security of your information.
  • Caldicott Guardian
    Responsible for the management of your information and confidentiality. 

The Officer’s Code of Conduct, requires the Authority’s employees to protect the information that has been collected from you and inform you of how your information will be used. 

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