Privacy: Children's services

Privacy notice for children's services

This Privacy Notice is designed to help you understand how we use personal information when delivering our children's services, 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.

What services are covered by this privacy notice?

Essex Adoption Agency

Recruits and assesses prospective adoptive parents for our children across Essex and provides support to the adopted children, their adoptive parents and their birth families.

Assessment and Intervention service (A and I)

Responsible for undertaking assessments of children where serious safeguarding issues have been raised.

Children in Care, Leaving Care and After Care

Offers advice and support to young people in care for 72 hours or more and care leavers up to the age of 25; ensuring those entering adulthood care are not isolated and can participate socially and economically.

Child Protection

Works with families where there are concerns that their children are at risk of significant harm.

Children and Families Hub

Single contact point for anyone to request early help or children's social care support.

Children and Young Peoples Placement service

Responsible for identifying well matched placements for children and young people within Essex and monitoring the standard of provision.

Children and Young People with Disabilities (0 to 25)

Provides support to children and young people with disabilities.

Collaborative Enquiry

Researches into health, wellbeing, lifestyle and social circumstances of children, young people and families in Essex.

Divisional Based Intervention service (D-BIT)

Works with children and young people identified on the edge of care, arising from breakdown of family relationships and those at risk of custody.

Emergency Duty team

Our Out of Hours service for those situations that cannot safely wait until the next working day.

Health and safety

Provides advice on health and safety management to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act and all subordinate regulations.

Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) service (Preparing for adulthood)

Works with children and young people aged 14 to 25 years who have an education, health and care plan.

Family Group Conference

Supports families to use all the ideas and strengths of the family network to come up with solutions to the difficulties and challenges being experienced.

Family Solutions

Supports families on a voluntary basis who are not likely to suffer significant harm, by finding solutions collaboratively as a family.

Family Support and Protection

Provides support to children and families who are at risk, or who may be experiencing a range of problems at home.

Fostering Service and Special Guardianship Orders (SGO)

Recruits and assesses foster carers and Special Guardians and provides support to foster carers and the children in their care, and to children subject to a SGO, their Special Guardians and their birth families.

Independent Review Officer service

Ensures all children in the care of Essex County Council have their care plans independently reviewed and their progress monitored by independent reviewing officers.

Independent Visitor service

Provides support to ‘looked after’ young people. The service is delivered by volunteers and a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is required.

Involvement team

Supports children and young people in their personal, social, emotional and relational development.

Occupational Therapy service

Works with children and young people who have a substantial and long-term disability which makes day to day activities difficult.

Residential service

Short break respite care provision for children in Essex.

Safeguarding Children service

Manages and oversee cases where there are safeguarding concerns/allegations made against people who work or volunteer with children in any setting across Essex; and support our Disclosure and Barring checks (DBS).

Short Breaks for Disabled Children and Young People

Provides a short breaks programme for children/young people who have a diagnosis of special educational needs and/or a disability.

Transformation, Delivery and Support (Business Support Services)

Holds the day-to-day responsibility for the administration, external liaison, relevant reporting and data capture relating to Junior Individual Savings Accounts and Child Trust Funds (for Looked After Children meeting certain qualifying criteria) on behalf of Essex County Council.

Travel and accommodation

Books travel and accommodation to meet service user needs.

Young Carers service

Offers free personalised support to young carers and their families that will be developed with them around their need for help and the caring they do.

Youth Offending service

Reduces the risk of young people (10 to 18 years) offending and re-offending, and providing support and rehabilitation to those who do offend.

What personal information do we hold?

We only collect and use the minimum personal information required to deliver your service. Wherever possible we use non-identifiable personal information. The services may use some or all of the personal information below:

  • name and contact details
  • date of birth
  • family details
  • case file information
  • lifestyle and social circumstances
  • visual images, personal appearance and behaviour
  • housing needs
  • employment and education details
  • financial details
  • NHS number
  • physical or mental health details
  • race or ethnic origin
  • religious or other beliefs of a similar nature
  • criminal proceedings, outcomes and sentences
  • offences (including alleged offences)
  • your views on your experience of our services

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

  • health agencies or providers
  • police
  • probation Service
  • members of the public (referrers)
  • commissioned service delivery partners,
  • housing agencies
  • family members
  • children and family hubs
  • other local authorities
  • education providers
  • adoption agencies and advisors
  • employers
  • Children and Family Court Advisory Service
  • referees
  • vetting agencies
  • HM Court Service
  • secure estate (prisons, Young Offender Institutions, Secure Training Centres)
  • Other Essex County Council social care teams

How do we use your personal information?

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

  • safeguard children
  • deliver your service
  • planning and improving your service
  • prevent or detect fraud or crime
  • manage and support you as a volunteer
  • enable us to contact someone for you in case of an emergency
  • evidence positive outcomes to central government funding departments
  • conduct research using anonymised information. If we would like to use your personal identifiable information we will ask for your consent

Who else might we share your personal information 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 personal information for each circumstance.

We may sometimes need to share some of your information with one or more of the following:

  • health service providers, including NHS agencies (e.g. GPs, hospitals, ambulance, health visitor, mental health services)
  • education providers
  • commissioned service providers
  • other charitable and voluntary sector partners (e.g. Brentwood Childrens Catholic Society, NSPCC)
  • other Essex County Council social care or education teams
  • government agencies (e.g. Department for Education, Ofsted, Department for Works and Pensions, Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (Troubled Families programme), Border Control and Immigration Services, courts and secure estate, The Probation Service and community rehabilitation companies, Disclosure and Barring Service
  • other local authorities, including for electoral roll purposes
  • employers
  • Essex Legal Services, Courts and Children and Family Court Advisory Service (CAFCASS)
  • Essex Safeguarding Boards
  • police, fire and rescue services
  • advocacy services
  • Direct Payment support services
  • supported lodging or semi-independent accommodation providers
  • adoption agencies and advisors (including voluntary adoption agencies)
  • community hubs
  • youth services
  • The Fostering Network and Essex Foster Carers Association
  • Essex Social Care Academy (Essex County Council training provider)
  • Stopford for booking services
  • Telljo for helping to prevent service users going into crisis
  • Post Office the process and delivery of fuel vouchers
  • BookingLab for booking events, rooms and courses for Short Breaks, fostering, and Essex Safeguarding Childrens Board

In addition, if you are receiving support from Childrens Social Care then the NHS may share your NHS number with us. This is so that the NHS and Childrens Social Care are using the same number to identify you whilst providing your care.

By using the same number the NHS and Childrens Social Care can work together more closely to support you.

We will use the NHS Number in an integrated care record system across a number of support services including GP’s, hospitals, community matrons, district nurses and social care practitioners.

Find our more about My Care Record.

We may also use Data Processors to support these activities, for example by providing the systems we need to or delivering services on our behalf.

These include:

  • Our case management system Mosaic is used to support our service delivery
  • Crossdata (Dizions) to provide system support to our Youth Offending Service
  • We use Redfern for travel and accommodation bookings
  • Stopford for booking services
  • Telljo for helping to prevent service users going into crisis
  • Millbrook for care technology services

Other data processors supporting your care might include:

  • commissioned care providers
  • residential/nursing care providers
  • day care providers
  • education providers
  • prepaid card providers

Who is the data controller for processing?

Essex County Council is the Data Controller for this processing.

We may use your information for the prevention and detection of fraud and crime, this may include sharing your personal information with external agencies that could lead to some services being declined. Read more about how your information is processed.

What is the legal basis for our use of your personal information?

The information below show the legal basis' we are relying on to use your personal or special category (sensitive) personal information. You can see a list of the full legal conditions we may rely on by looking at our full privacy notice.

Here is a list of the legislation we rely on when using your personal information to meet our legal obligations or public tasks.

Personal information

Our legal basis' for using your personal information are to meet our legal obligations, exercise our tasks in the public interest and to protect your vital interests.

Special category (sensitive) personal information

Our legal basis' for using your special category information are substantial public interest and the delivery of health and social care services.

Will my personal information be accessible outside the UK?

We use Redfern for travel and accommodation bookings. Where the booking is for accommodation or flights the information will be accessible to their parent company in the United States. In order to safeguard your personal information and ensure you have the same rights as you would if your personal information was processed in the UK we have ensured that the parent company is registered with the US Privacy Shield, meaning the EU has agreed that they have an adequate level of data protection in place.

No other personal information is routinely sent or held 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 information.

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. In practice, this means that your personal information may be retained for the relevant period listed below dependant on our involvement with you:

  • 35 years from last contact (general social care services)
  • 75 years from last contact for looked after children records (children in care)
  • 100 years for adoption records
  • unapproved foster carers or withdrawn applications will be deleted following a review after three years
  • for volunteers, we will stop using your information after you cease to be a volunteer and your information will be deleted 75 years from the date of birth of the young person you support
  • for safeguarding allegations, your data will be deleted when you have reached normal retirement age or for a period of 10 years from the date of the allegation if that is longer. Please read our data retention leaflet for further information
  • Young Carers personal information will be held for 15 years
  • research information will stop being used after the research project you have been involved in has been completed. Any notes taken (handwritten or typed) during consultation sessions will be 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

Short Term Records detailed below are held for 1 year from the last action:

  • one-off contact – no further action
  • OFSTED checks
  • Office for Standards in Education checks
  • Disclosing and Barring Service (DBS) checks, reference number, date of check and result
  • Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) checks
  • Day Care Centres checks

Your rights

The law gives you a number of rights to control what personal information is used by us and how it is used by us.

You can obtain further information about these rights from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

You also have the right to lodge a complaint in relation to this summary notice, the full privacy notice or our processing activities with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Information Commissioner's Office

Telephone: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545745 (national rate)



Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Contact us

If you wish to exercise any of these rights, you can contact our Data Protection Officer.


Data Protection Officer

Telephone: 0345 743 0430 (ask to speak to the Information Governance Team)