Data Protection Act. Public Guide

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1 Data Protection Act Public Guide

2 Data Protection Act Public Guide Contents Page No What is the Data Protection Act 1998? 3 How does it protect personal data about you? 3 What are your right? 3 Why do we keep personal information? 3 What services does the authority Provide? 4 Does the Authority need your consent to use information about you for any of these purposes? 4 How do you ask to see information about you? 4 Do you have to pay to see your information? 4 What information will you receive? 5 How will you be given the information? 5 What do you do if the data are incorrect? 5 What do you do if you think you have not been given all of the information you asked for or if you disagree with the Council s response 5 How can you prevent the authority from using information about you for Direct Marketing or stop it from using information for a purpose that could cause you damage or distress? 6 How will you now if the authority ha done as you asked? 6 How will you know if decisions about you have been made by automatic means? What can you claim compensation for? 6 How do you make a claim for compensation? 6 Does the Authority provide help in understanding the information? 7 Address to which requests for access should be sent? 7 2

3 What is the Data Protection Act 1998? It is the law which protects personal data, that is data about individuals (you and me) no matter how it is used (the Act calls any use or storage of data processing, what it is used for or who uses it. How does it protect personal data about you? By setting rules and conditions which all users of personal information such as this authority (the Act calls us Controllers ) must obey when obtaining and using information about you. The Act also provides you with certain rights that controllers must respect. What are your rights? The law says these rights may not all apply in all situations, but in general you have the right to: Ask the authority if it holds personal information about you Ask what it uses the information for Be given a copy of the information within 40 working days of asking for it Be given details about the source of the information, the purposes for which the authority uses the information and of other organisations or persons to whom it is disclosed Ask for incorrect data to be corrected or destroyed Ask the authority not to use certain personal information about you for direct marketing; which is likely to cause you substantial and unwarranted damage or distress, or to make decisions about you based solely on the automatic processing of the data Compensation for damage or distress should these be caused by our failure to comply with certain requirements of the Act Why do we keep personal information? So that we can provide you with all the Council services you require, (for example; collecting the council tax, collecting rent, calculating housing benefit) and maintain a record of services provided. What services does the authority provide? In addition to those above this authority provides the following main services: Social services Education Library and leisure services 3

4 Consumer protection Housing Refuse collection and cleansing Planning Licensing Does the Authority need your consent to use information about you for any of these purposes? We do not always require your consent, but we will make sure that all application forms and requests for information requested and whether or not we need your consent. In general we have to make sure we have your consent if we are going to process data about you for purposes other than those we are required to provide by law, or where we intend using data provided for one legal purpose for another. How do you ask to see information about you? You must write to the authority, to the address at the end of this leaflet, asking to see your records. You will need to provide your name and address, details of the service(s) you are receiving, and any other information (e.g. date of birth, rent or council tax number) that he authority needs to be able to find your information. If you only want information the Council holds about you in connection with a particular service or event it will help us to locate the information if you explain this when you write to us. If you cal at any of the authority s offices, you will be given a copy of the Subject Access Request Form. Help is available with filling in this form should you need it. The request form will also be sent to you if you have not provided the authority with enough information. Do you have to pay to see your information? For most requests there is no charge. The Council will charge a fee of 10 (or the statutory fee, which may be higher, in the case of education records) for requests made within 12 months of a previous request, and where duplicates of documents already provided or photocopies of records of more than 100 pages are requested. What information will you receive? The information the authority holds which is about you personally and can readily be identified from both its computer and manual records, a description of the purposes for which we process your data, a list of others to whom it is disclosed and information about sources. How will you be given the information? You will be given a copy to keep and check for accuracy. This will generally either be a printout from the computer or a photocopy of your manual records. We will give you additional information if you need this to make sense of the information (e.g. where 4

5 abbreviations are used). If you would prefer to have information in a particular format, for example a large print copy, please make this clear when you write to us. What do you do if the data are incorrect? You must write to the authority telling it what data are incorrect and asking for the data to be corrected. The authority must tell you what it has done within 21days of receiving your request. The authority will then consider your request and, unless it still believes the information is accurate, correct the information it holds about you. This may include deleting information that is not correct. If the authority does not agree that the information is incorrect you can ask it to record your disagreement on your records. You can also appeal to the Data Protection Commissioner or the court if the authority does not correct the information. What do you do if you think you have not been given all of the information you asked for or if you disagree with the Council s response? You can ask the Data Protection Officer to reconsider your request or you can appeal to the Information Commissioner. The Commissioner s staff will look into the matter on your behalf. How can you prevent the authority from using information about you for Direct Marketing or stop it from using information for a purpose that could cause you damage or distress? You should write to the authority asking it not to process your information for the first of these. If you think that the use could cause you damage or distress you should write to the authority giving your reasons for asking them to stop the processing. How will you know if the authority has done as you asked? The Act requires us to respond no later than 21 days after we have received your request. If we do not do so, or you don t accept any reasons we give for refusing to do as you ask, you can appeal to the court. How will you know if decisions about you have been made by automatic means? The authority will tell you and ask you to write if you have any objections. If you do object the authority will make a new decision but this time will not do so by automated means alone, but will make sure a member of staff of appropriate seniority considers your information, before a decision is made. 5

6 What can you claim compensation for? If the authority has broken any of the rules or conditions established by the Act and you have suffered damage or distress you may in some circumstances be able to claim compensation. You may also be able to claim compensation if the damage or distress was caused by our use of inaccurate data. How do you make a claim for compensation? Claims are made through the court that will only support these if it believes the authority has not taken reasonable care to ensure it complies with the Act and it is satisfied that you have suffered damage or distress as a result of our use of such data. Does the Authority provide help in understanding the information? Yes, if you need help with the information provided, the application form or this leaflet, if you let us know we will provide someone to assist you. A translation service is also available. Address to which requests for access should be sent: Sunderland Council Data Protection Officer The Data Protection Officer ICT Unit 7 Camberwell Way Moorside Sunderland SR3 3DN Information Commissioner: Information Commissioners Office Wycliffe House Water Lane Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF Or Web-site: 6

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