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You are currently in: Your right to know

Your right to see the information we hold about you

13 March 2019

Essex County Council (ECC) needs to collect and use certain types of information about people we deal with. The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) provides the right of access to personal information about you or someone you are legally responsible for. 

Essex County Council recognises the importance of providing access to social care files for care leavers, to enable their understanding of their personal history, the reasons for their care and increase their sense of identity.  

We do not charge for providing your information to you. 

How to access your information

To access your information, you will need to put your request in writing. You can either: 

You will need to provide information for us to identify you from our records such as name, address and date of birth. You will also need to tell us what kind of information you are requesting (such as social care, HR or Education records) to enable us to locate the information.

Em
ail security

Please bear in mind emailing is not always secure and there is a small risk your email could be intercepted before it reaches us, with the consequence that your personal details could become known to others. When we email you we will use a secure email solution to protect your information and you will be able to respond to our emails securely.

Proof of identity

When we receive a request for information, we must make sure you are who you say you are. These include: 

  • your full name

  • your residential address

  • date of birth 


We require two forms of ID and the following documents are acceptable to confirm your identity:

  • current UK/EEA passport
  • UK photocard driving licence (full or provisional)
  • firearms licence/shotgun certificate
  • EEA national identity card
  • full UK paper driving licence
  • HMRC tax notification document
  • disabled driver's pass
  • financial statement issued by bank, building society or credit card company
  • most recent mortgage statement
  • most recent council tax bill/demand or statement
  • current council rent card
  • current council tenancy agreement
  • building society passbook which shows a transaction in the last three months and your address


The following documents marked with a * must be dated in the past 12 months:

  • state benefits entitlement document*
  • HMRC tax credit document*
  • local authority benefit document*
  • state/local authority educational grant document*

The following documents marked with a + must be less than three months old:

  • judiciary document such as a notice of hearing, summons or court order+

  • utility bill for supply of gas, electric, water or telephone landline+

We will accept copies of these documents. However, we reserve the right to ask for originals if photocopies are not good quality. 

Acting on behalf of someone else

The right to request personal information under the DPA applies only to the data subject (the person about whom the information is held). There is no automatic right, for example, for a family member to request personal information about an elderly relative, for a solicitor to request personal information about a client, or for parents to request personal information about their children. 

Where data protection requests are made on behalf of adults, the Council needs to check that the person making the request has appropriate authority and that the request is made in the data subject’s interest.

Children have the right to request their own information themselves. People with parental responsibility can, however, apply on their child's behalf where the child is too young to understand. Where a child cannot understand, which usually means they are under the age of 12, the council must satisfy itself that the parents' request is made in the child's interest. There may be occasions when we decide not to give information to a parent or when we may ask a child to make a request on their own behalf. 

The personal information Essex County Council holds about children is mainly in areas such as social care but it does hold some educational information, particularly with regard to special educational needs. Most educational records are maintained by schools, which means that requests should normally be made to the appropriate school, not to the council. 

Parents interested in their children’s educational records have a separate right of access to these under the Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005 regardless of their children’s ages, and they should normally apply to the school for these records. 

Educational records held by the school should be fulfilled within 15 school days, whether they are made under the DPA or under the Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005.

What the council does to provide the information

The right to request personal information under the DPA applies only to the data subject (the person about whom the information is held). There is no automatic right, for example, for a family member to request personal information about an elderly relative, for a solicitor to request personal information about a client, or for parents to request personal information about their children. 

Where data protection requests are made on behalf of adults, the Council needs to check that the person making the request has appropriate authority and that the request is made in the data subject’s interest.

Children have the right to request their own information themselves. People with parental responsibility can, however, apply on their child's behalf where the child is too young to understand. Where a child cannot understand, which usually means they are under the age of 12, the council must satisfy itself that the parents' request is made in the child's interest. There may be occasions when we decide not to give information to a parent or when we may ask a child to make a request themselves.

The personal information Essex County Council holds about children is mainly in areas such as social care but it does hold some educational information, particularly with regard to special educational needs. Most educational records are maintained by schools, which mean requests should normally be made to the appropriate school, not to the council. 

Parents interested in their children’s educational records have a separate right of access to these under the Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005 regardless of their children’s ages, and they should normally apply to the school for these records. 

Educational records held by the school should be fulfilled within 15 school days, under the Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005, or one month under the DPA.

Feedback

If you are not satisfied with the way we have handled your request, you should write to:

DPO
Information Governance Team
PO Box 11
County Hall
Chelmsford
CM1 1QH
Email: dpo@essex.gov.uk
Tel: 03457 430 430

If you are still not satisfied, you can ask the Information Commissioner to carry out an assessment. The Information Commissioner is an independent supervisory authority responsible for data protection and freedom of information.

Other rights under the Data Protection Act 2018

Please see our online privacy notices which provide more information about your rights in relation to our use of your personal information.

Contacts

To make a complaint:

DPO
Information Governance Team
PO Box 11
County Hall
Chelmsford
CM1 1QH
Email: dpo@essex.gov.uk
Tel: 03457 430 430

To get in touch with the regulatory body:

Information Commissioner
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Telephone: 0303–123–1113
Email: casework@ico.org.uk

Further information