Solihull Council is committed to respecting your privacy. We use and share your personal information to enable us to identify, plan, deliver and monitor services that we provide to you and the community as a whole.
Data Protection legislation defines how the Council must collect, record, process store or dispose of your personal information. It must be:
- Processed lawfully, fairly and in a clear, transparent manner;
- Collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes and not processed in a way that is incompatible with those purposes;
- Adequate, relevant and not excessive for those stated purposes;
- Accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date;
- Kept in a format which allows identification of individuals for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which it is processed;
- Kept secure by taking appropriate technical and organisational measures.
Data Protection legislation gives you a number of rights, which include:
- The right of access – to request access to your personal information and information about how we process it
- The right to rectification if information is inaccurate or incomplete;
- The right to erasure also known as ‘the right to be forgotten’. This will enable deletion or removal of personal information where there is not a legal or compelling reason to continue processing it;
- The right to restrict processing of your personal information This will block or suppress processing of personal information but will allow us to store it but not further use it;
- The right to data portability - to electronically move, copy or transfer your personal information in a standard form for your own purposes; for example, if switching energy providers;
- The right to object to processing of your personal information, including direct marketing and processing for the purposes of scientific/historical research and assistance;
- Rights related to automated decision making including profiling. This is where decisions are made solely by automated means without any human involvement.
Accessing Your Information
Data protection legislation gives you the right to request access to the information that the Council holds about you. However, as it is a legal process, the following ‘Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) should help to inform you and guide you through it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I request access to a certain piece of my personal information?
Yes. If you would like access to a specific document or piece of information on your record between certain dates, this can usually be provided by contacting the relevant service itself, e.g. Adult Social Care, Council Tax, Children Services. This is a quicker and easier way to obtain the information you wanted and without the need to make a formal Subject Access Request (SAR).
Is there a fee for making a SAR?
If you are applying to access personal information held by the Council you will not usually be charged for this service.
Can I see or have access to someone else's personal information?
No, you are not entitled to see someone else's information (even if they are known to you) unless they have given their written permission for you to do so. Likewise, someone else cannot ask for your information unless you have given permission for them to do so; this applies to spouses, relatives, friends etc.
What if I am making the request on behalf of somebody else?
Sometimes an individual may not be able to make the request for themselves; and may ask someone else to act on their behalf. Before we can process a request from a representative, we will require proof of consent from the individual whose information is being sought, for the representative to act on their behalf. If the individual is not capable of giving their consent, the representative may have the legal authority to act using a lasting ‘Power of Attorney’ and must provide this to us.
What if I want access to my child(ren)’s personal information?
There are special rules that apply to a parent/guardian seeking access to their child(ren)'s information. If the child is able to understand the significance of the request (usually at secondary school age or above), their consent may be required before any disclosure is made to a parent/guardian. This is because the legislation deems them to have the necessary legal capacity to make an informed decision about what happens to their own personal information. Please note that the child’s decision will take precedence over the wishes of the parent/guardian.
However, if they are too young or lack the capacity to understand the implications of a request, in addition to providing your identification, you must also provide evidence of parental responsibility.
If it is in their best interests and there is not any legal reason preventing disclosure, the information will be provided.
Can I access Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) records?
Requests for Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs, including references to any representations, evidence, advice or information obtained in relation to an EHCP) are exempt from the right of access under the UK General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.
Although, any information held which does not fall under this definition can be processed as a SAR.
Most documents held on a child or young person as part of their EHCP, are shared with parents through the standard EHCP processes; it would be usual for parent/carers to have most of the information they require without having to make a specific request.
However, the EHCP Service still may be able to assist you with your enquiry. They can be contacted on 0121 704 6690 or via email at email@example.com
Do you have questions about your past?
If you have questions about why you were in care or want to learn more about friends and family, a Subject Access Request (SAR) is unlikely to provide the information you are seeking. It will only provide access to the information which applies to you; it will not provide information about anyone else.
This is because any information about close family such as parents, foster carers, brothers and sisters will be classed as third party details and by law, it will most likely need to be redacted (removed or blocked out) before it is provided to you. Therefore, it is likely to provide you with an incomplete picture containing many gaps.
How can I find out more?
A better and more simple way to learn about your past is to ask Children Services for a ‘counselled disclosure’. This will involve a social care professional reading through your file to find the information and answers that you are seeking. The records may also contain a lot of social work jargon, terminology and processes with which you may not be familiar. The social work professional will be able to provide you with an explanation of these things.
Under the legislation that governs social care, these professionals will be able to make informed decisions about how much information they are able to share with you about family, friends and others.
If you would like to explore having a counselled disclosure, please contact your Social Worker, Support Worker or Personal Advisor (PA) on 0121 717 1473 Mon to Thurs 8.45am to 5.20pm or Fri 8.45am to 4.30pm). Alternatively, you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org Information about their other services can be found on the OVOS website.
How can I access information from my adoption records?
These records are governed by specific legislation and they cannot be accessed under Data Protection legislation. The organisation which manages adoption services on behalf of Solihull Council is Adoption Central England (ACE). The following link will take you to their webpage which includes helpful information and FAQs about accessing adoption records: Support for adopted adults – ACE Adoption
Can I request CCTV images?
The Council processes, records and collects CCTV images for the purposes of public safety, the prevention or detection of a crime, traffic management and management of housing stock. CCTV footage is retained for 28 days and then overwritten.
Requests either made by an individual or via an insurance company for CCTV images, must be handled under Data Protection legislation as a SAR. This is because images of people are legally classed as personal information. Under this legislation, you are not legally entitled to receive any information which could identify any third party (even if these people are known to you) unless they have given their written permission for you to do so.
Road traffic accidents: If you require any footage to support or dispute a claim, we advise you to inform your insurance company or legal representative that cameras were or may have been situated in and around the location of the accident. They should then follow the appropriate legal process for such disclosures.
Prevention or Detection of a Crime: In the event of a criminal investigation or for the prevention of a crime, please note that full footage will only ever be released to the police or other law enforcement agencies.
An individual is only entitled to a copy of their own personal data, whereas the police and law enforcement agencies have legal powers to obtain full footage. If you have been the victim of a crime, or it is a crime-related incident, you should report the matter to the police by calling either 999 in an emergency or 101 in a non-emergency.
Personal CCTV footage requests: If you still wish to request copies of our CCTV footage for personal usage, you must ensure the council CCTV operators are able to positively identify you for this purpose. You need to provide us with appropriate levels of identification and information. However, as stated above, images of third parties will not be provided to you.
Please provide the following as part of your request:
- your full name and address
- the location of the camera
- the date and time of the footage in question
- appropriate photographic ID such as a passport, driving licence.
- any other supporting information that might assist in identifying you such as the colour and or type of clothing worn on the date and time in question.
We may contact you if further information is needed to assist with the request. However, please note we may refuse to provide images where doing so is likely to prejudice:
- the prevention and detection of crime
- the apprehension and prosecution of offenders
Can I access information about a deceased person?
Data Protection legislation only applies to living individuals. Therefore, a request for personal information of a deceased person cannot be processed as a SAR.
Will I be given everything?
Usually, yes. However, there are circumstances where we may not be able to do so, for example:
- if your records contain details that identify someone other than yourself (even if they are known to you). If we do not have their consent, we are unable to provide this information to you and it will be redacted (blocked out) or removed. This may include whole pages from documents.
- if your records contain information that was provided by a third party, we may need to get permission from the provider of the information before it can be given to you.
- if the records can identify the source of information and we do not have the relevant consent from that person.
- if providing the information may adversely affect a criminal investigation, legal proceedings or prevent the detection of a crime.
Further details about exemptions to disclosure can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office [ICO] website.
How long will it take to receive the information?
The legislation says that we should provide the personal information within one month of receipt of a valid request. This involves an officer from the Information Governance Team reading every page of information which has been provided by the relevant service(s), to determine what can or cannot legally be provided to you.
If the request is complex or there is a large amount of information to be processed (for example 1000 pages or more), by law, this legal deadline can be extended by a further two months (three months in total) from the date we received a valid request.
How will you get the information to me?
For greater security, it will be provided electronically by:
- encrypted email; or
- on an encrypted USB memory stick sent by ‘Signed For’ delivery; or arranging for you to collect it from the Council House. Please note that photo identification will be required.
What if I want information about the Council that is not personal information?
Requests for all other types of information can be dealt with either:
- as ‘Business as Usual’ (BaU) by the relevant service; or
- under the Freedom of Information Act; or
- under the Environmental Information Regulations.
How do I make a request to access my personal information?
The Council provides a very wide variety of different services. Therefore, please be as specific as possible and provide as much detail as you can when making your request. It must include enough information about yourself and the information that you are seeking to enable the Council to identify you and your record(s). For your convenience, you can download and use the access to records form to help you focus your request or email the Corporate Information Governance Team.
Alternatively, you can write to:
Corporate Information Governance Team
What other information does the Council need?
We are legally required to confirm the identity of the requester; to ensure that we only disclose personal information to those who have a legal right to receive it.
Therefore, before we can process your request you will need to provide proof of identification. We will need to see a clear, full colour copy document; one from each of the lists below (unless an original is specified).
Identity Documents List 1:
- current passport
- current full driving licence
- birth certificate (original certified)
- adoption certificate (original certified)
- marriage certificate (original certified)
- NHS Medical Card
Identity Documents List 2:
- gas, electricity or water bill (dated within last 6 months for your current address)
- fixed line telephone bill (dated within last 6 months for your current address)
- Council tax statement/payment book (dated for current year)
- current bank, building society or credit card statement (showing your current address)
NOTE: We cannot accept provisional driving licences or mobile phone bills as identification.
What if I am not happy with how my request has been handled?
If you believe the Council has not correctly dealt with your request for access to records under Data Protection legislation, or you have identified any errors in your record(s), please write to:
Corporate Information Governance Manager
or email and tell us of your concern(s). You will be notified of the investigation outcome within one calendar month of receiving your letter of concern. If in the event there is any reason for delay, you will be notified and the reasons why explained to you.
If you remain unsatisfied with the outcome, you may refer the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO is responsible for enforcing Data Protection legislation and offers a range of publications about your rights, as well as advice and assistance:
Tel: 0303 123 1113 (local rate) or 01625 545 745 if you prefer to use a national rate number. Website: www.ico.org.uk