How to request information about yourself
Data protection legislation allows individuals the right of access to the personal data we hold about them.
Most commonly, individuals simply want to be given a copy of their information. However, under data protection legislation, individuals also have the right to obtain:
- confirmation that their data is being processed;
- other supplementary information (similar to the information that should be provided in a privacy notice)
This is known as a Subject Access Request (SAR). A request must normally be made in writing, although we have a standard form for you to use, you are not obliged to do so.
The online form can be found under our Online Forms tab, or a copy can be printed from the Downloads section below.
If you are seeking information about the Council, rather than your own records, please see our Freedom of Information Request advice.
Proof we may require
We must avoid personal data about one individual being sent to another, either accidentally or as a result of deception, so we will ask you to verify your identity.
If you are making the request on behalf of someone else, we will ask for evidence that they are happy for you to do so.
Where that person is a child under the age of 13, you will need to prove your parental responsibility. For young people aged thirteen and over, the individual themselves will usually be expected to make the request (or authorise you to do so).
Fees for requests
We will provide a copy of the information free of charge, with the exception that we can charge a ‘reasonable fee’ when a request is ‘manifestly unfounded or excessive’, particularly if it is repetitive.
We may also charge a reasonable fee to comply with requests for further copies of the same information.
Assisting us to locate your information
To help us provide what you want, we will need you to give as much information as possible to help us in locating your data. This might include details of any services you have dealings with now or have had in the past, any reference number (such as National Insurance Number, Benefit Claim reference etc.) If you want a specific type of document, or information for a particular period, if you let us know it will help us deal with your request more effectively. To help us locate the information you are seeking, we may contact you to better understand the outcome you are hoping for from your request.
How long a SAR takes to complete
Information must be provided without delay and at the latest within:
- one month of receipt for standard requests
- three months of receipt where requests are complex or numerous, but only if we inform the individual within one month of the receipt of the request and explain why the extension is necessary
The time limit only starts once all the necessary information for processing the request is received. This includes the time needed to verify a person’s identity and/or to clarify their request.
What will be received
You will be given the information the Authority holds about you on both its computer and manual records. Where you have asked for it, you will also be provided with the required supplementary information.
You will be given a copy to keep and check for accuracy. This will either be a printout from the computer or a photocopy of your manual records. We will also be able to copy the information onto a CD or in Braille.
The Individual Rights of Data Subjects Policy and Procedure explains more about your rights and how we will fulfil them. Our Subject Access Request Guide for Staff goes into detail about how we process requests.