Without it, you could be overcharged for services, such as Council Tax. You could be unfairly refused benefits or housing. You could even find yourself receiving a court summons because there is a mistake in the information held about you.
In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, Thurrock Council follows the eight principles of 'good information handling'. We make sure that your personal data is:
The Data Protection Act 1998 sets rules for processing personal information.
It offers you protection...
It gives you certain rights...
Storing this information can help us to:
The information you provide may be shared with other agencies or departments. This is a legal requirement. The personal information shared is only the minimum necessary to keep a smooth-running service. Information may also be shared with other organisations that provide services on our behalf such as providers of voluntary care and contractors for housing maintenance.
The information you have provided may also be used for statistical research. This will not include you name, address, or any other data from which you can be identified, unless you have given us permission to provide these details.
This depends on the service being provided. Basic information will appear on most records; for example, your name, address, age, date of birth, sex and next of kin. A note of the service provided, along with details of any meetings held between you any department, will be kept. Information relating to specific services may be held such as: how much council tax or rent you have paid and how much you owe; property details and housing improvement plans.
Other, more sensitive, data may also be held, such as details of a person's physical/mental health or racial/ethnic origin.
Our records will be kept only for as long as is required by law.
Where there is no legal requirement to retain the information it is not normally kept for more than five years, although often less. There are some records, such as those concerned with children, that must be kept for longer.
All your records are kept on secure computer systems and in secure manual filing systems. All Council employees are required to comply with the Councils information security policy and our staff will respect your right to confidentiality. We will take care to ensure that third parties cannot see your personal information without your consent. We have a duty of care when providing services. In the case of school pupil records the responsibility is the schools' and the individual teachers'.
Not unless they have given their consent. This includes information about family members. However, if you are a parent or have an elderly relative you may be given information about the child/elderly person if you have written permission, have been granted powers to be so by a court, or can prove that you are their legal guardian.
The Act defines inaccurate information as being, "data which is incorrect or misleading as to any matter of fact." If you feel that your information is incorrect, tell the department in writing, and ask them to correct it. You may also inform the Councils Information Manager or the Information Commissioner.
You can receive almost any personal information we have about you. We will also tell you what your information has been used for and who has seen it. Your copy of the information may be computer printout or photocopy. If you have difficulty in understanding any of the information, a member of staff will be happy to help.
We charge a small fee of £10 to cover the costs of searching for and providing the copy of information. If you require permanent copies of information contained in an educational record, you will be charged a fee that will vary between £1 and £50 depending on the size of the record. There may be exceptions to this fee if, for example, you are in the care of or have been in the care of a Local Authority.
We will respond to you within 40 days of receiving your application, fee and any additional information we need to find your data. Education records will be made available within 20 school days.
Check that you have received all the information you asked for and that it is correct. You can ask for any codes etc. to be explained.
Inform the Council's Information Manager, make an appeal through our complaints procedure or contact the Information Commissioner.
You can complain to the Councils Information Manager or the Information Commissioner. If you choose to report your concerns to the Information Commissioner, then they will assess whether we have breached the Act. If the Commissioner finds that we have breached the Act, then the Commissioner will take steps to make sure that we do not do so again in the future.
Telephone: 01375 652500
Your letter must contain your name and address and any other information you think would help us find your records, such as your date of birth and sex.
If you need any help in understanding the Act and your rights please tell us and we will arrange for someone to explain everything to you.